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Annual report 2021: Pandemic-hit year successfully navigated thanks to flexibility and innovative spirit

The coronavirus pandemic and the accelerating digital transformation shaped events at the ZHAW last year. Important impetus was generated for sustainable development and the establishment of new degree programmes aimed at countering the shortage of skilled workers. The share of the student population accounted for by women increased. You can read about all this and more in the new annual report 2021.

The digital transformation has accelerated considerably as a result of the pandemic and is increasingly changing the formats in which teaching is provided at universities. The ZHAW has started the process of assessing the experiences it gained with online formats during the pandemic. The aim is to integrate online teaching and learning in such a way that it generates added value over classroom-only teaching through its content and form, enhancing the training provided in the process. Innovative solutions for the challenges posed by the digital transformation are also being developed and implemented as part of the digitisation initiative of the Zurich universities (DIZH). The ZHAW is involved in nine out of the ten projects approved in 2021.

Strengthening of focus topics

In addition to the digital transformation, the ZHAW is also working to advance other focus topics that are highlighted in the annual report: energy, societal integration, lifelong learning and sustainability. The “Sustainable Impact Program”, which aims to promote a culture and community of sustainable development at the ZHAW, was launched during the reporting period. Working together with the other Zurich universities, the ZHAW also founded the “Zurich Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development” in 2021, providing a research-oriented cooperation platform for sustainable development.

New educational programmes

Social, technological and economic changes mean that labour market needs are constantly evolving. This represents a challenge for education providers – one that the ZHAW rose to in 2021 by launching new degree programmes. These address the need for specialists owing to the digital transformation, the obligation towards greater sustainability and entrepreneurship as well as the growing importance of legal issues in everyday life and in the areas of business and administration.

Share of women on the rise

In the reporting period, 14,382 students were enrolled at the ZHAW (2020: 14,256), 11,896 of whom were enrolled on Bachelor’s degree programmes and 2,486 on Master’s degree programmes. The share of women among the student population stood at 51.6% (2020: 50.3%). Of the total of 3,516 employees (2,646 full-time equivalents), the proportion of women stood at 50%. The interactive figures provided on our website show the current data and how it has developed in recent years.

The ZHAW annual report 2021 provides an overview of the most important topics and activities in the past year. The 2021 edition has been published exclusively online.