Organization Executive Board and Central Administration

Executive Board of the University of Bern

Functions and tasks

  • Management of the Rector's Office
  • Chair of the Senate  
  • Presides over the Executive Board of the University of Bern
  • Monitors the tasks of the Senate and the Executive Board of the University of Bern
  • Negotiates nominations for professorships and associate professorships
  • Responsible for relationships with other higher education institutions in Switzerland and abroad
  • Fulfills the tasks assigned by university legislation and the regulations governing the university's activities

Virginia Richter is Rector of the University of Bern since June 15, 2024 and has been Vice Rector International and Academic Careers at the University of Bern since 2021. Since September 2007 she has held the Chair of Modern English Literature at the University of Bern. She was also offered Chairs at the Universities of Göttingen and Jena which she declined. From 2007-09 she was a board member of the German Association of University Teachers in English (Deutscher Anglistenverband), and from 2016-2022 a board member and Vice President of the Swiss Association of University Teachers in English (SAUTE). She serves on the editorial advisory board of The European Journal of English Studies (EJES). At the University of Bern, she was Head of the Department of English (2008-10 and 2019-2021), President of the Institute of Advanced Study (IASH) and its interdisciplinary Graduate School (2010-12 and 2014-15), and Vice Dean (2012-14). She was Dean of the Humanities from 2014-17. She is also President of the Forum für Universität und Gesellschaft (FUG), dedicated to furthering the dialogue between the university and society (

Virginia Richter was born in Czechoslovakia in 1964; her family emigrated to Germany in 1970. She studied English Literature, Comparative Literature, and German Literature at the University of Munich and received her M.A. in 1992. She was a doctoral fellow on the "Gender and Literature" graduate studies programme (DFG-Graduiertenkolleg "Geschlechterdifferenz und Literatur", 1993-95) and manager of the "Postcolonial Studies" graduate studies programme (2001-02). On completion of her doctoral dissertation, she held teaching posts in English Literature and Comparative Literature and received a postdoctoral research grant from the University of Munich. She carried out research on Darwinism, apes, and missing links at the British Library, and as a Visiting Fellow at the KIASH, University of Kent at Canterbury (2004). She completed her postdoctoral thesis (Habilitation) in 2005 and has the qualification (Venia legendi) to teach English and Comparative Literature. Based on this research project, she published her second book Literature after Darwin. Human Beasts in Western Fiction 1859-1939 with Palgrave Macmillan in 2011. For her transdisciplinary research she was awarded the "Therese von Bayern Preis". In 2006 she spent a semester as Visiting Scholar at the University of Leeds. She was Visiting Professor in English at the University of Göttingen and in Comparative Literature at the University of Munich. In spring 2018, she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the IASH, University of Edinburgh, working on a monograph on the beach in modernism. Since August 2020 she is PI of the SNF-funded project The Beach in the Long Twentieth Century (2020-24, The Beach in the Long Twentieth Century ( Her research interests include Victorian and modernist literature and culture, literature and science, literary animal studies, and the beach in modern literature.