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College of Arts and Sciences News

Kent State and German University Partner in Faculty Exchange Program

Posted Oct. 8, 2012

Studying abroad not just for students

As part of President Lester A. Lefton’s visions for the university, Kent State established an international exchange program with the University of Würzburg, Germany, to broaden students’ educational experiences.

The program allows undergraduate students from Kent State and the University of Würzburg to travel abroad and study at the respective universities.

But students are not the only ones involved in this program; professors are also joining in the exchange. Kent State’s Associate Professor of History Isolde Thyret is in Germany for the fall semester teaching at the University of Würzburg.

"Würzburg University does not have a specialist in Russian history,” says Thyret. “I hope to give the students here an opportunity to study a region that has played an important role in German history, and therefore is very important to them.”

In addition, University of Würzburg’s Helmut Flachenecker, Ph.D., is teaching two courses at the Kent Campus. For one of the classes, Flachenecker will be co-collaborating with Kent State History Professor John Jameson.

“The Middle Ages are one of my focuses,” Flachenecker says. “Würzburg was established in the year 704. When the Middle Ages are brought up in American culture, the focus is on the Renaissance. In Germany [one can] walk through the streets and see cathedrals and castles from the 12th and 13th centuries.  I also want them to know that Germany does not just exist from 1939 to 1945. There is more than just Nazi Germany.”

Flachenecker hopes to learn more about American culture and observe the differences between the two cultures.

“There is no public transportation here,” Flachenecker says. “I never travel to the university by car in Germany; I always try to take the train.”

The German Exchange Program is just one of the many education-abroad programs that Kent State offers. This program is just a little different because the faculty members are teaching abroad, as well.

“Kent State has been involved in exchanges for decades,” says Jameson. “This is really nothing new. We’re just expanding on it.”

Flachenecker is excited about the exchange and about the program in general.

“I hope that other staff members are able to come [to Kent State],” Flachenecker says. “We also want to send more students here and encourage more students to study in Wurzburg,” says Flachenecker. “We hope this exchange will go on.”

Two students from Kent State will study in Germany at the University of Würzburg in October. Three students have come to Kent State from Germany to learn as well.

“German students coming here have mastered English very well,” says Jameson. “A big focus of the program in Würzburg is that students can take classes in English.”

Flachenecker sees the opportunity for the students as being “highly valuable.”

“It is important for them to see another culture and other universities,” says Flachenecker. “The syllabuses here are also much harder; in Germany you have more freedom to decide what you want to read.”

To find out more about education-abroad options and exchange programs at Kent State, visit www.kent.edu/studyabroad/exchange/index.cfm