Deans do Zurich in 24 hrs

We arrived in Zurich in the late afternoon and had a bit of a hike from the train station to our hotel. It is quite warm here. We dropped off our bags and some of us walked a short way to walk around the campuses of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. We were also treated to a beautiful view of the city. The group assembled at about 7:30 to walk to dinner down along the River Zurich. We had some yummy cheese fondue, sausage, rosti and ice cream for dessert. Once again a delicious meal highlighting the regional cuisine. After a night of rest we met with several representatives of the University of Zurich, including the President, Prof. Dr. Andreas Fischer who described the Swiss educational system of universities and the distinction of the canton supported vs federally supported institutions. We also heard from Dr. Yasmine Inauen about the Euroscholars program which fosters reach opportunities for undergraduates. Lastly, Vivien Kappel described the Graduate campus which was established in 2010. It is addressing issues of quality assurance, transferable skills for doctoral students, promoting interdisciplinary interactions, and fostering best practices. Another whirlwind experience.

We headed for the train station for a beautiful ride to Lugano. More later. Here are some photos from Zurich.

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Deans do Zurich in 24 hrs

We arrived in Zurich in the late afternoon and had a bit of a hike from the train station to our hotel. It is quite warm here. We dropped off our bags and some of us walked a short way to walk around the campuses of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. We were also treated to a beautiful view of the city. The group assembled at about 7:30 to walk to dinner down along the River Zurich. We had some yummy cheese fondue, sausage, rosti and ice cream for dessert. Once again a delicious meal highlighting the regional cuisine. After a night of rest we met with several representatives of the University of Zurich, including the President, Prof. Dr. Andreas Fischer who described the Swiss educational system of universities and the distinction of the canton supported vs federally supported institutions. We also heard from Dr. Yasmine Inauen about the Euroscholars program which fosters reach opportunities for undergraduates. Lastly, Vivien Kappel described the Graduate campus which was established in 2010. It is addressing issues of quality assurance, transferable skills for doctoral students, promoting interdisciplinary interactions, and fostering best practices. Another whirlwind experience.

We headed for the train station for a beautiful ride to Lugano. More later. Here are some photos from Zurich.

20120727-112155.jpg

20120727-112217.jpg

20120727-112234.jpg

20120727-112241.jpg

20120727-112249.jpg

20120727-112256.jpg

20120727-112306.jpg


Basel

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We arrived in Basel in the late afternoon and took a couple of trams to the hotel. Checked in and almost immediately departed for dinner in the center of the old part of the city. We were greeted by a sign welcoming the US graduate deans and treated to a wonderful dinner (see pics below). Back to the hotel for the night and rest. After breakfast we sat in the garden and shared our thoughts on the trip so far particularly the issues being dealt with in France as the universities tend to shift to a new governance system and adapting to the Bologna expectations. One striking issue is the apparent lack of branding by universities. We interpreted this as a reflection of the egalitarian system to date. Students do to seem to have an allegiance to their institutions as students do in the US. This has many implications in terms of tracking the placement of students and any expectations of private fundraising.

We then set off for a brief stroll to the University of Basel where we listened to Erich Thaler, the Director of the International Program office. We also heard from faculty in the social sciences and humanities and two Basel students who have participated in the Virginia Tech global perspectives program. As in France Swiss students tend to go to universities close to their home because they are able to live at home. While tuition is not retry expensive universities do not provide residential space. The university is developing partnerships with other universities in Switzerland, Europe and elsewhere to enhance their visibility and provide opportunities for their students. While the Bologna system was instituted to increase mobility across borders there appears to be a contradiction because of the issue of students needing to stay close to home for financial reasons. This may limit the effectiveness of the Bologna system.

After a wonderful lunch back at the hotel hosted by Basel we departed for the train station and are now heading to Zurich. This is truly a whirlwind experience.

Enjoy the pictures.

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20120725-155811.jpg

20120725-171618.jpg

20120725-171629.jpg

20120725-225934.jpg

20120725-225951.jpg


Basel

20120725-155827.jpg

We arrived in Basel in the late afternoon and took a couple of trams to the hotel. Checked in and almost immediately departed for dinner in the center of the old part of the city. We were greeted by a sign welcoming the US graduate deans and treated to a wonderful dinner (see pics below). Back to the hotel for the night and rest. After breakfast we sat in the garden and shared our thoughts on the trip so far particularly the issues being dealt with in France as the universities tend to shift to a new governance system and adapting to the Bologna expectations. One striking issue is the apparent lack of branding by universities. We interpreted this as a reflection of the egalitarian system to date. Students do to seem to have an allegiance to their institutions as students do in the US. This has many implications in terms of tracking the placement of students and any expectations of private fundraising.

We then set off for a brief stroll to the University of Basel where we listened to Erich Thaler, the Director of the International Program office. We also heard from faculty in the social sciences and humanities and two Basel students who have participated in the Virginia Tech global perspectives program. As in France Swiss students tend to go to universities close to their home because they are able to live at home. While tuition is not retry expensive universities do not provide residential space. The university is developing partnerships with other universities in Switzerland, Europe and elsewhere to enhance their visibility and provide opportunities for their students. While the Bologna system was instituted to increase mobility across borders there appears to be a contradiction because of the issue of students needing to stay close to home for financial reasons. This may limit the effectiveness of the Bologna system.

After a wonderful lunch back at the hotel hosted by Basel we departed for the train station and are now heading to Zurich. This is truly a whirlwind experience.

Enjoy the pictures.

20120725-155755.jpg

20120725-155811.jpg

20120725-171618.jpg

20120725-171629.jpg

20120725-225934.jpg

20120725-225951.jpg


Tuesday: The University of Strasbourg

We arrived in Strasbourg via train from Paris at about 1:15 pm, deposited our luggage, and headed to the tram. We were greeted at the University of Strasbourg by the President Alain Beretz and several deans and faculty from the different doctoral schools. The President provided an overview of the higher education system in France and the University of Strasbourg. It is truly comprehensive similar to US institutions in that they have programs ranging from the humanities to sciences and medicine. The university is part of a consortium of 5 institutions in France, Switzerland and Germany. We had a brief welcome from a representative of the Doctoral School of Humanities followed by an overview of the Doctoral School in Chemistry. We learned that they provide professional development training for their students beyond the simple content of the discipline. Like us they are beginning to track the placement of their students. The presentations reinforced the concept of the Bologna process which includes the 3 cycles (1st is the baccalaureate of 3 years, 2nd is the masters of 2 years, and 3rd is the doctorate of 3 years). In many cases the doctorate requires 4 to 5 years. It is common for students in some fields to work while they are obtaining the degree which leads to the longer degree times. We concluded our stay with some coffee and discussion, headed back to the tram and train and are now heading to Basel for dinner and the night.

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Tuesday: The University of Strasbourg

We arrived in Strasbourg via train from Paris at about 1:15 pm, deposited our luggage, and headed to the tram. We were greeted at the University of Strasbourg by the President Alain Beretz and several deans and faculty from the different doctoral schools. The President provided an overview of the higher education system in France and the University of Strasbourg. It is truly comprehensive similar to US institutions in that they have programs ranging from the humanities to sciences and medicine. The university is part of a consortium of 5 institutions in France, Switzerland and Germany. We had a brief welcome from a representative of the Doctoral School of Humanities followed by an overview of the Doctoral School in Chemistry. We learned that they provide professional development training for their students beyond the simple content of the discipline. Like us they are beginning to track the placement of their students. The presentations reinforced the concept of the Bologna process which includes the 3 cycles (1st is the baccalaureate of 3 years, 2nd is the masters of 2 years, and 3rd is the doctorate of 3 years). In many cases the doctorate requires 4 to 5 years. It is common for students in some fields to work while they are obtaining the degree which leads to the longer degree times. We concluded our stay with some coffee and discussion, headed back to the tram and train and are now heading to Basel for dinner and the night.

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20120724-234343.jpg

20120724-234419.jpg

20120724-234435.jpg


Paris higher education: a sampler

I concur with my colleague’s view of the day. I will add that following our visit at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie we headed over to the Sorbonne to learn about programs in the humanities. The sense of history was noticeable as the Sorbonne dates back 100′s of years. Not unlike the US and especially Florida the Sorbonne is facing declining funding related to declining enrollment. We discussed the lack of job opportunities for graduates. Tuition is remarkably low even for foreign students, but there are no residence halls so the cost to an international student living in Paris could be substantial. Most of the French students come from Paris or the nearby environs and live at home.

After our visit we walked back to the hotel and rested a bit before a fantastic dinner at Dans des Landes which was just a block away. This was a tapas type restaurant. we sampled everything from marinated canteloup and shrimp to various parts of a duck and pomme de terres. We ended with various yummy desserts.

Now we are on the train to Strasbourg. More later.

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20120724-234154.jpg

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Paris higher education: a sampler

I concur with my colleague’s view of the day. I will add that following our visit at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie we headed over to the Sorbonne to learn about programs in the humanities. The sense of history was noticeable as the Sorbonne dates back 100’s of years. Not unlike the US and especially Florida the Sorbonne is facing declining funding related to declining enrollment. We discussed the lack of job opportunities for graduates. Tuition is remarkably low even for foreign students, but there are no residence halls so the cost to an international student living in Paris could be substantial. Most of the French students come from Paris or the nearby environs and live at home.

After our visit we walked back to the hotel and rested a bit before a fantastic dinner at Dans des Landes which was just a block away. This was a tapas type restaurant. we sampled everything from marinated canteloup and shrimp to various parts of a duck and pomme de terres. We ended with various yummy desserts.

Now we are on the train to Strasbourg. More later.

20120724-234034.jpg

20120724-234102.jpg

20120724-234154.jpg

20120724-234222.jpg

20120724-234238.jpg


Orientation, Opening Reception and Dinner

It is Sunday and most attention in Paris is focused on the Tour de France. However, today we truly begin our tour of higher education in France and Switzerland. Everyone has arrived now. This afternoon we met and Karen DePauw gave us a helpful overview of the institutions and people we will visit. The benefits of this type of program for our graduate students who will enter the professoriate are many and include an increased awareness of the backgrounds of international students who they will interact with in the future, increased exposure to alternative educational systems, opening up possibilities for post docs opportunities and simply considering the possibility of taking a job in another country. After a brief break we met again to walk to the campus of the University of Pierre and Marie Curie to attend a reception and dinner hosted by the President Jean Chambaz. We were treated to a marvelous view of the city of Paris from the 24th floor of the main building. I am including a few pictures. Enjoy. looking forward to tomorrow.

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20120722-221217.jpg


Orientation, Opening Reception and Dinner

It is Sunday and most attention in Paris is focused on the Tour de France. However, today we truly begin our tour of higher education in France and Switzerland. Everyone has arrived now. This afternoon we met and Karen DePauw gave us a helpful overview of the institutions and people we will visit. The benefits of this type of program for our graduate students who will enter the professoriate are many and include an increased awareness of the backgrounds of international students who they will interact with in the future, increased exposure to alternative educational systems, opening up possibilities for post docs opportunities and simply considering the possibility of taking a job in another country. After a brief break we met again to walk to the campus of the University of Pierre and Marie Curie to attend a reception and dinner hosted by the President Jean Chambaz. We were treated to a marvelous view of the city of Paris from the 24th floor of the main building. I am including a few pictures. Enjoy. looking forward to tomorrow.

20120722-221114.jpg

20120722-221131.jpg

20120722-221149.jpg

20120722-221206.jpg

20120722-221217.jpg