Interdisciplinarity and Employability 2015
The inaugural "Interdisciplinarity and Employability Event" at University College Freiburg took place on the 4th and 5th of December 2015. The two-day event focused on (1) the challenges of interdisciplinary teaching and the employment opportunities for the program's graduates within the broader context of higher education reform and on (2) providing the LAS students networking possibilities with selected guests.
Employability Market of Opportunities
The first day of the event was marked by face-to-face contact possibilities of students and invited representatives of companies, institutions, foundations, and other potential employers. The guests were representatives from entities such as Ernst and Young, Rombach Verlag, Welcome Center Freiburg of Wirtschaft Touristik und Messe GmbH & Co. KG (FWTM), Literaturbüro Freiburg, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Städtische Museen Freiburg (Municipal Museums), Umweltschutzamt (Environmental Protection Agency), Gründerbüro and Teach First. The aim was to give our LAS students and soon-to-be graduates an insight into different work fields and career pathways as well as firsthand information on organizations and opportunities from the guests/potential employers in an informal and familiar atmosphere. Our Director of Outreach, Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Gehrke, happily opened the event with a welcome speech.
Interdisciplinarity and Employability Workshop
The second part of the event focused on an academic discussion and involved international partners from selected LAS programs with similar experiences. Eight guests from universities in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany joined the UCF team to discuss the challenges and possibilities of interdisciplinary teaching and learning and the career opportunities for LAS graduates.
The conference opened with a Pedagogy Panel. Dr. Brookman, Director of Liberal Arts King's College London, discussed "Liberal Arts, Interdisciplinarity, and Graduate Attributes"; Dr. Dekker, Acting Dean of University College Maastricht, presented on "The Importance of Being Interesting"; Ms. Savage, Director of Career Development of American University of Paris, examined "The Role of an International Education as Part of a Liberal Arts Bachelor's Program"; and Dr. Becker, Managing Director and Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature of Bard College Berlin, focused on the organization of internships within a study program with an extremely international student body.
Continuing the discussion about students' career paths on the Employability and Career Development Panel, Dr. Zutavern, from Leuphana University, stressed the "Skills, profile development and 'employability' in an open LAS curriculum"; Dr. Puras, Dean and Director of Education of Amsterdam University College, talked about the "Entrepreneurial Student Activities at AUC as a Catalyst for Career Prospects"; Prof. Dr. Jenainati, Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies of University of Warwick, discussed "A Framework for Engaging Employers, Embedding Professional Training and Enhancing Employability in Liberal Education Programmes"; and Dr. Defize, Career development officer from University College Utrecht, informed his colleagues about "Career Awareness and Employability of University College Utrecht Students".
The Conference offered an enriching academic discussion and perspective on the similarities of various European LAS study programs, their benefits and potential problems, and allowed a very specific and intensive networking between the students and the invited guests and potential employers.