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Kent State and German University Partner in Faculty Exchange Program

Posted Nov. 5, 2012

Studying abroad not just for students

As part of Kent State University 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.

Photo of Helmut FlacheneckerThe 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,” Thyret said. “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 is co-collaborating with Kent State History Professor John Jameson.

“The Middle Ages are one of my focuses,” Flachenecker said. “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 said. “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,” Jameson said. “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 said. “We also want to send more students here and encourage more students to study in Würzburg,” Flachenecker said. “We hope this exchange will go on.”

In October, two students from Kent State went to Germany to study at the University of Würzburg. Three students have come to Kent State from Germany to learn as well.

“German students coming here have mastered English very well,” Jameson said. “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,” Flachenecker said. “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.

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Photo Caption:
In a faculty exchange program with Kent State University, University of Würzburg’s Helmut Flachenecker, Ph.D., is teaching two history courses at the Kent Campus this fall.

Media Contact:
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595