• About


Strategic leadership of the College lies in the hands of the Scientific Board. The Managing Office ensures the coordination and management of all administrative and organisational processes, and offers different support services for Senior Fellows. 

Scientific Board Managing Office Advisory Board

Scientific Board

The Scientific Board constitutes the governing committee of the College. Its voting members are the Director as well as three professorial representatives from the UA Ruhr member universities who also act as spokespersons at their institutions. In an advisory role, the Board also includes elected representatives from among the research professors, research group leaders, and scientific staff, as well as the Managing Director. The Scientific Board defines the guidelines for academic activities of the College and selects international Senior Fellows. 

Prof. Friedrich Balke

Ruhr University Bochum | Media Studies

Phone: +49 234 32 - 27414


Friedrich Balke is professor of media studies at Ruhr University Bochum, with a special focus on the theory, history, and aesthetics of visual representation. Previously, he was a professor of the history and theory of artificial worlds at Bauhaus University Weimar (2007–2012). He acted as co-director of the research group Media and Mimesis (2014–2020) and he has been spokesperson of the graduate programme “Documentary Practices: Excess and Privation” since 2016, both funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). As of 2022, he is principle investigator at the collaborative research centre (SFB) Virtual Lifeworlds at Ruhr University Bochum. His teaching and research focus on the cultural history of political sovereignty and modern biopolitics, interrelations of media and literature, history and theory of mimetic practices, and elemental media.

Friedrich Balke has held various visiting professorships, including at the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Columbia University, the Center for Advanced Study BildEvidenz at Freie Universität Berlin, and the Department of German at Northwestern University. He was a senior fellow at IKKM in Weimar (2011/12) and at the excellence cluster TOPOI, Humboldt University (2012).



photo of Julika Griem

Prof. Julika Griem

Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen | English Literature || Founding Director


Julika Griem is the appointed Founding Director of the College for Social Sciences and Humanities as of June 2023, and the Director of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen. As a professor of English Literature, her major research interests are literary and narrative theory, literary sociology, and the analysis of contemporary literature and the literary industry – including its institutions, rituals, and business models as well as its changing genres and methodologies of research. Julika Griem is also engaged in the emerging field of cultural science studies and the cultural study of science communication. Here, her research is focussed on the uses of storytelling, on non-fiction genres and markets, and on the institutionalisation and organisation of science and scholarship. Previously, she held positions as full professor of English literature at Goethe University Frankfurt and Darmstadt University of Technology. She completed her doctorate at the University of Freiburg and her habilitation at the University of Stuttgart. From 2016 to 2023, she acted as Vice President of the German Research Foundation (DFG).



Prof. Ute Schneider

University of Duisburg-Essen | Social and Economic History

Phone: +49 201 183 - 4597


Ute Schneider is professor of social and economic history at the University of Duisburg-Essen as of 2007. Since May 2020, she has acted as spokesperson of the Review Board for History of the German Research Foundation (DFG). From 2014 until 2020, she was member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, and she conducted research as a fellow at the Historisches Kolleg in Munich in the academic year 2019/2020. Previously, Ute Schneider worked as a university lecturer in Darmstadt and held several deputy professorships in Saarbrücken, Braunschweig, Vechta, and Cologne. She completed her habilitation at TU Darmstadt University in 2002 on aspects of family law in the former German Democratic Republic. Ute Schneider’s main research areas are the social, gender, legal, and cultural history of Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of science, dimensions of modernity and its processes, cultures of compromise, and methodology in historical science.



Prof. Maximiliane Wilkesmann

TU Dortmund University | Work and Organisational Sociology

Phone: +49 231 755 - 7882


In April 2020, Maximiliane Wilkesmann was appointed to the Heisenberg Professorship for Work and Organisational Sociology at the newly founded Department of Social Sciences at TU Dortmund University. Previously, she was associate professor at the Institute of Sociology of the former Department of Education, Psychology, and Sociology, where she represented the Chair of Social Structure and Sociology of Aging Societies for two semesters. From November 2010 to October 2018, Wilkesmann held the Chair of Economic and Industrial Sociology as junior professor of sociology in the Department of Economics. She received her PhD in 2009 with a dissertation on knowledge transfer in hospitals. Wilkesmann's research focuses on work, organisation, (non-)knowledge, and digitalisation. For her publications, she has received the Emerald Literati Award and the René König Textbook Prize of the German Sociological Association.



Managing Office

The Managing Office ensures the coordination and management of all administrative and organisational processes, and offers different support services. Responsibilities include fellow management, event coordination, and communication. The Managing Office is headed by the Academic Managing Director and serves as the primary port of call for College members and Senior Fellows. 

Dr Mark Halawa-Sarholz

Academic Managing Director

Phone: +49 201 183 - 6541


Mark Halawa-Sarholz joined the College for Social Sciences and Humanities as Managing Director in June 2022. After studying communication studies and social sciences and completing a PhD in philosophy, he held various positions both as a researcher and as an academic coordinator at the Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. In his scholarly work, Mark Halawa-Sarholz mainly focussed on the philosophical foundations of iconology (Bildwissenschaft), the ethical implications of visual practices, and the interplay of (Peircean) semiotics and phenomenology in current debates on aesthetics. As an academic coordinator, he was actively involved in managing research projects funded by the German Research Foundation, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and Fritz Thyssen Foundation. Before joining the College, he served as academic executive assistant of the Vice-Rector for Research and Early-Career Researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Susanne Kups

Assistant to the Managing Director & Administration

Phone: +49 201 183 - 6540


Since June 2023, Susanne Kups has been working at the College as assistant to the Managing Director. She is also responsible for administrative matters including finances, and she is the primary contact person regarding procurement, human resources, and organisation. Before joining the College, Susanne Kups worked in different administrative positions at the University of Duisburg-Essen, at the Centre for Start-ups and Innopreneurship (GUIDE) as well as the Department of Biology Didactics. She received a diploma in environmental sciences from the University of Duisburg-Essen after completing an apprenticeship in industrial business management.

Office Days: Tue, Wed, Thu

Melina Wachtling

Communications Officer

Phone: +49 201 183 - 6542


Melina Wachtling joined the Managing Office as Communications Officer in June 2023. She is responsible for managing communication matters at the College, both internal and external. This includes editorial management of the website and newsletter as well as public relations. She is also the primary contact person regarding science communication. Previously, she worked at a non-profit organisation in the educational sector and held positions at different universities in the field of internationalisation. Melina Wachtling studied media and cultural studies (MA) at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and TU Dortmund University.

Laura Ziewitz

Event Coordination

Phone: +49 201 183 - 6545


Laura Ziewitz joined the Managing Office as Event Coordinator in April 2024. She supports Senior Fellows and College members with planning and organising various academic events. Moreover, she serves as the primary contact person for enquiries of UA Ruhr members about hosting events at the College venue. Previously, Laura worked as a project manager for events at Ruhr University Bochum. She completed a dual study programme in Business Administration (BA) specialising in trade fair, congress and event management at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW).

Sophia-Helena Zwaka

Fellow Management

Phone: +49 201 183 - 6543


Sophia-Helena Zwaka joined the Managing Office as Fellow Manager in December 2023. She is responsible for the Senior Fellowship Programme and she is the primary contact person for the College’s international Senior Fellows in all matters related to their fellowships. Previously, she was employed at the Max Planck Institute for Sustainable Materials in Düsseldorf where she was responsible for the International Office and coordinated the institute’s fellowship programme. Sophia-Helena Zwaka holds a Master’s degree in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS University of London).

Student Assistants

Maja Grüter

Student Assistant (Managing Office)

Maja Grüter is a student assistant at the College as of January 2024. She studies Comparative Literature and German Studies at Ruhr University Bochum.

Saskia Hass

Student Assistant

Saskia Hass is a student assistant at the Managing Office as of March 2024. She studies history and economic, political and social sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Michael Otremba

Student Assistant (Managing Office)

Michael Otremba has worked as a student assistant in the Managing Office since October 2023. He studies comparative literature and German studies at Ruhr University Bochum.

Jonas Wrase

Student Assistant

Jonas Wrase joined the Managing Office as student assistant in February 2024. He studies English and history at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Emre Yüksel

Student Assistant

Emre Yüksel is student assistant at the Managing Office as of March 2024. He studies English and Philosophy at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He is also working as student assistant at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Chair of Theoretical Philosophy).

Advisory Board

The Scientific Advisory Board consists of internationally recognised scholars who are primarily occupied at research institutions abroad. Its function is to advise the Scientific Board in all academic matters, particularly the selection of international Senior Fellows. 

As soon as the Advisory Board has been appointed, its members are listed here.