History of the Faculty

Overview of the last 100 years

Women’s College of Social Work of the Swabian Women’s Association

The Women’s College of Social Work of the Swabian Women’s Association (Soziale Frauenschule des Schwäbischen Frauenvereins) opens in 1917. Unlike the former College of Mechanical Engineering, its roots lie in Stuttgart, and not in Esslingen. The inauguration takes place on 15 September 1917. It is set up after Her Majesty Queen Charlotte establishes a foundation in the amount of 10,000 marks. Generous donations mean the original capital can be increased further to 25,000 marks.

Both the Women’s College and the College of Mechanical Engineering are founded during the First World War.

The college initially provides two years of training which pursues the following principles: the theoretical training is to be generally based on the social sciences, the enrolment age not below 20 and not over 35, and to fulfil the admission requirements, applicants must have completed their training in education, nursing or home economics or have taken an introductory class. The training takes the form of seminars and practical work. The new training facility is granted state recognition on 10 January 1918.

In 1923, the Women’s College of Social Work is recognised as a college of welfare for three areas: health care, youth welfare and economic welfare. Students can train to become a “welfare nurse”. In 1927, the admission of “male welfare nurses” is discussed in-house and rejected.

Women’s College of Social Welfare

The Swabian Women’s Association, which maintains the Stuttgart Women’s College of Social Work, unanimously votes to adapt the association’s statutes to the National Socialist ideology. The then chairwoman, Emma Lautenschlager, resigns her post as a result. The new chairwoman, Else Koetzle, promises to manage the association “as intended by our ‘Führer’ and for the benefit of our youth”. 1934 also saw the Women’s College of Social Work renamed as the “Women’s College of Social Welfare” (Frauenschule für Volkspflege). 

Unlike other schools for “Social Welfare”, the Stuttgart “Women’s College of Social Welfare” is not part of the National Socialist welfare organisation “Nationalsozialistische Volkspflege” (NSV), but remains the responsibility of the Women’s Association. The content of its teaching is getting closer and closer to that of the National Socialist women’s organisations. Finally, in 1938, the members decide to integrate the association into the NS Frauenwerk (women’s organisation affiliated to the National Socialist Party). From then on, the association is known as: “Deutsches Frauenwerk, Gau Württemberg-Hohenzollern Schwäb. Frauenverein e.V.”.

From 1938, Dr. Margarete Junk takes over the management of the school. In 1940, the book “Mädelberufe in vorderster Front (Occupations for girls on the front line)” is published by the Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart. This book is designed for promotional purposes and is aimed at girls of school-leaving age and their parents.  The girls are to be encouraged to train to become a “National Socialist Social Welfare Nurse (Volkspflegerin)”.

By using the term “Volkspflege” the author, Dr. Margarete Junk, performs a paradigm shift in the National Socialist era from welfare work, social work and care as had been developed during the democratically constituted Weimar Republic (1919-1933) to the National Socialist “Volkspflege”, and has this to say on the issue: “The care we provide shall serve only the healthy, the competent and the people of value in our nation (...)”. This paradigm shift affects the teaching as well as the examination content of the training. Dr. Margarete Junk manages the school until 1945.

In September 1945, she is dismissed because of her membership of the National Socialist Women’s League (NS Frauenschaft), the National Socialist Party (NSDAP) and the National Socialist Association of Legal Professionals (NS Rechtswahrerbund). The Women’s College continues under temporary management.

The history of the “Frauenschule für Volkspflege”, as the Women’s College of Social Work is called from 1934 to 1945, is reviewed. Information known to date points to a close involvement with National Socialist ideology. (The Faculty of Social Work, Health Care and Nursing Sciences at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences is committed to reconstructing this history.)

Women’s College of Social Welfare

From 1946 to 1949, the Women’s College of Social Work and the youth leaders seminary are housed in temporary accommodation in the student residence am Hohen Bopser, then at Silberburgstrasse 23 from 1949. 

Dr. Margarete Junk is reappointed Head of the Women’s College of Social Work as early as 1947 and remains in post until 1965. Her book is not taken into account in the denazification tribunal. On reappointment, the examination committee of the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs wrongly classifies her leanings as “completely averse to the Nazi ideology and the methods of the regime”.

After the Second World War, the old training regulations come into force again and hence so does the three-part split of the two-year training programme to become a welfare nurse for youth care, health care and economic welfare which had already been controversial in the 1920s. Director Dr. Junk considers the overloading of the curriculum to be unjustifiable in the long term. Students and lecturers are as good as unable to read their own literature or work out problems on their own.

The teaching staff draw up several demands to bring about a change in the situation. These include a standardised training programme, dropping the requirement to do the different preliminary work placements, extending the programme to three years plus the accreditation year and many other issues. It will take until the 1960s for the demands to be gradually implemented in Baden-Württemberg.

Women’s College of Social Work (Soziale Frauenschule

In 1951, consideration is given to transferring the Women’s College of Social Work to the city of Stuttgart or the federal state of Baden-Württemberg because the association is in a bad situation financially.
In 1957, the association’s new building at Silberburgstrasse 23 is inaugurated.

In 1960, the duration of the training programmes offered by the Women’s College of Social Work is extended from three to four years including a one-year vocational internship.

 Higher Vocational School for Social Work

1963 is an important year for the Women’s College of Social Work, since it and the youth leader seminary are granted “Higher Vocational School” (Höhere Fachschule) status and given the titles “Higher Vocational School for Social Work” (Höhere Fachschule für Sozialarbeit) and “Higher Vocational School for Youth Leaders” (Höhere Fachschule für Jugendleiterinnen).  

The first male member of staff is appointed to the vocational school in 1965.

On 29 September 1967, the Higher Vocational School for Social Work celebrates its 50th anniversary.

In spring 1969, the students’ union (AStA) of the University of Applied Sciences for Social Work (HFS) declares a “state of social emergency” and thus emphasises its demand for the academisation of the vocational training in social work. The academisation process for the social work professions is not self-evident, but one which requires a vehement fight. Drastic arguments such as increased suicide rates, juvenile delinquency, early invalidity and the breakdown of traditional family structures are put forward to justify the need for qualified and thus academically trained specialists in this field.

The schools of social work differ here from the schools of engineering, where it is not necessary to explicitly fight for this change. Their conversion into universities of applied sciences was planned right from the start. The protests at the schools of social work centre around the recognition and continuation of the schools; at the engineering schools, in contrast, the issue is not “whether”, but “how” the reform is to be implemented.

From May 1970, all graduates of the engineering schools, higher vocational schools and industrial design schools are admitted to any university course.

University of Applied Sciences for Social Work

In October 1971, the Higher Vocational School for Social Work and the Higher Vocational School for Social Education (Höhere Fachschule für Sozialpädagogik) split off from the Swabian Women’s Association and are both taken over by the federal state of Baden-Württemberg as the “University of Applied Sciences for Social Work” (Fachhochschule für Sozialwesen, FHS).

University of Applied Sciences for Social Work Esslingen

In April 1974, the FHS and 303 students move from Stuttgart to Esslingen, after the University of Vocational Education (Berufspädagogische Hochschule) did not make use of the rooms intended for it. The ceremonial opening of the ‘Flandernstrasse Campus’ then takes place in May 1974. This has dual symbolism: On the one hand, it represents the recent history of Esslingen University of Applied Sciences, on the other, its architecture is a suitable showpiece for the educational concepts of its formative years.  It seems to be a matter of course that technical degree programmes are also accommodated in these buildings at a later date, although they were built specifically for teachers.
After the move, the school is renamed as “Esslingen University of Applied Sciences for Social Work”.

In July 1980, the FHS degree programme and examination regulations, which have now been reformed and adapted in line with the state framework, are approved. Social education thus becomes the key compulsory subject, the choice of elective specialisations does not depend on the degree programme.

In 1984, the staff rooms, workshops, the audiovisual centre and the library of the now disbanded College of Education (Pädagogischen Hochschule) are assigned to the FHS.

University of Applied Sciences for Social Work Esslingen

In November 1987, the female form of the academic degree is conferred for the first time. In September 1988, a well-regarded symposium on mobile youth work takes place at the FHS. 1988 is also the year the University of Vocational Education in Flandernstrasse closes.

In April 1992, the FHSE becomes a member of the ERASMUS action programme for the first time. The focus here is on the promotion of “student mobility” between Plymouth Polytechnic, the I.U.T. Grenoble, the University of Barcelona and the FHS Esslingen.

In 1999, the Nursing Management degree programme is set up at the University of Social Sciences, followed a year later by Nursing Teacher Education. The HfS is one of the first to adopt academisation as a means of attracting qualified nursing staff.

Today, the university offers three Bachelor degree programmes and one Master degree programme in the nursing sciences. In the CHE ranking published in the Studienführer (Study Guide) of the ZEIT newspaper, these degree programmes lead their field in Germany.

Esslingen University of Applied Sciences

On 1 October 2006, the two universities in Esslingen merge to form the new Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. The merger is preceded by a great many negotiations and a sometimes difficult year of transition. A 13-point agreement which specifies both the staffing and the financial resources for the university provides a good foundation for good and collaborative teamwork.

In September 2007, a new presidential office is elected for a term of 6 years. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Schwarz becomes the new President.

The Bologna Process has also arrived at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences: the switch-over from Diplom to Bachelor and Master degree programmes is viewed with scepticism by many, but can be awarded a good grade as the first intake of students graduates.
The modularisation continues to represent a challenge for the lecturers, nevertheless, but it is one that they have to take on.

December 2007 sees the adoption of the Structural and Development Plan, which contains clear stipulations and goals for the further advancement of Esslingen University of Applied Sciences.

In the winter semester 2008/09, the newly created Faculty of Engineering Management starts its work on the Göppingen Campus. At the same time, the new degree programme in International Engineering Management starts.

The Faculty of Social Work, Health Care and Nursing Sciences, which is part of the independent Esslingen University of Social Sciences until 30 September 2006, and its degree programmes are very popular and in great demand. All the places offered are taken up; Prof. Dr. Falk Roscher heads the HfS until its dissolution in 2006.

In 2009, the “Motor” student fraternity celebrates its 125th anniversary. It was founded in 1884 as the mechanical engineering society “Motor” in Stuttgart. In 1923, the society, which has called Esslingen its home since 1914, is renamed the “Motor” fraternity and has been open to all students of Esslingen University of Applied Sciences since then.  The Esslingen student fraternities have a long tradition - the Motor fraternity is joined by the Suevia fraternity (1902), the Kephallenia engineering and science fraternity (1905), the Arminia engineering fraternity (1911) and the Staufia engineering fraternity (1914). The last fraternity to be founded is the sports fraternity “Sportvereinigung an der höheren Maschinenbauschule Esslingen a.N.)” in 1919; it is now the SV Hohenneuffen sports club.  With the Kandelmarsch procession, the Bauschullauf winter sports competition and the Stallfest festival, the fraternities have brought traditions and rituals to the university which now give it a high profile far beyond the city limits. They also have lots to offer students on a day-to-day basis: advanced training courses which are separate from the university teaching, as well as talks, parties, excursions and company contacts, not forgetting places in student accommodation - it is not only the daily routine of the members which is enriched. They have accompanied the university through thick and thin for many a decade and have made their own mark on student life in Esslingen.

Esslingen University of Applied Sciences

In 2010, i. e. four years after the merger of the Universities of Engineering and Social Sciences, it can be said that Esslingen University of Applied Sciences with its engineering, social science and business studies profile has established itself as a brand and in itself has found a shared identity.

In 2012, the Structural and Development Plan 2013-2018 is adopted. In the same year, important institutions such as the Fraunhofer KEIM Applied Research Center, the Institute for Further Education, and the SüdWest university federation are established. Esslingen University of Applied Sciences is the first university of applied sciences in Baden-Württemberg to be validated according to the European environmental management system EMAS.

The demand for places at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences continues to be high. Around 6,000 students in 11 faculties are enrolled on 25 Bachelor and 11 Master programmes. The close networking of the university with industry and associations ensures that the programmes are always of high practical relevance. The students have more than 50 state-of-the-art laboratories available to them at three locations in Esslingen City Centre, Flandernstrasse and Göppingen. Sustainability and environmental friendliness play a particularly important role at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. The university also has an excellent international network - it has around 60 partner universities.

In September 2013, things change at the senior management level. Prof. Dr. Christian Maercker is elected as the new President for a term of 6 years.

Esslingen University of Applied Sciences is always in tune with the times – and has been for the last 100 years. In 2014, it celebrates the 100th anniversary of its campus in Esslingen.

In 2017, the 100th anniversary of its predecessor institution, the Faculty of Social Work, Health Care and Nursing Sciences, is celebrated.


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