Learning and Teaching
Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) at University College Freiburg is an approach to education, not just a program name. We understand LAS education as an exciting process of intellectual discovery and personal development within an interdisciplinary and international learning community. It is the mission of the LAS program to provide a structured opportunity for students to learn broadly about the human and the non-human world, to systematically develop their capacity for high-level academic work in exchange with others, and to gradually unfold their own unique interests and abilities in ways suited to their aspirations.
Five principles guide our approach to learning and teaching:
1. Integrating Freedom and Structure
The LAS program offers an intellectually challenging and dynamic learning environment in which students can shape their own academic path within a structured set of possibilities. In comparison to standardized one-size-fits-all programs, LAS offers more room for self-directed learning and choice. At the same time, students develop a solid basis of shared knowledge and skills in the compulsory courses in the Core and the Majors. This unique integration of freedom and structure distinguishes the LAS program at UCF from other less structured Liberal Arts and Sciences programs. With this approach we aim to systematically develop student’s ability for rigorous academic inquiry while at the same time allowing them to develop and follow their intellectual curiosity.
2. Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries
Right from the beginning of their studies, LAS students learn about the practices and traditions of different academic disciplines. They learn how knowledge is typically generated in the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Supported by courses that systematically reflect on knowledge and science, this purposeful exposure to academic diversity sharpens students' independent thinking and raises their awareness for disciplinary blind spots as well as possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration. With this foundation and an ongoing exchange across disciplinary boundaries throughout their studies, students develop their capacities for dealing with complex interdisciplinary issues in both research and professional practice.
3. Creating a Learning Community
Bringing the right people together and creating spaces for stimulating exchange of ideas and knowledge is the key to academic learning and personal development. The LAS program brings together students and lecturers from a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds and with a wide range of interests. What unites them is an intellectual openness and a willingness to develop themselves further. This spirit together with the personal atmosphere of the College provide an inspiring environment for learning and collective knowledge creation in and beyond the classroom.
4. Mixing Teaching Methods
Due to the broad range of academic topics and disciplines covered in the LAS program and as people have different learning styles, we apply a variety of teaching methods ranging from seminars to lectures, from real-world projects and excursions to research-based learning. Overall, LAS courses are rather small-scale and adaptable to the students' learning process.
5. Multilingualism as Added Value
LAS is an English-taught program and English is the default for both spoken and written communication at UCF. At the same time, multilingualism is crucial for international communication as well as for academic and professional mobility. As part of the LAS program, all students learn to communicate on academic topics in excellent English and develop skills in another foreign language. Non-German students are required to learn German so as to gain access to the city and University of Freiburg as well as to the rich German traditions in the sciences and humanities.