Talk Lehre 2019

  Copyright: Andreas Schmitter

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On June 4, 2019, the Talk Lehre event took place at Super C for the ninth time. The main topic this year was the internationalization of teaching.

Rector of RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Ulrich Rüdiger, opened the event, which was attended by approximately 180 guests. In his welcoming address, he emphasized the University's aim to prepare students for a life in a globally networked world in the best way possible. The international atmosphere at RWTH is reflected in a series of strategies, measures, and services to promote the internationalization of studies, teaching, and research, which have also been incorporated into the University’s internationalization strategy.

Student Union AStA Chairman, Jannis Koesling, emphasized the significance of teaching at RWTH. He was optimistic that the challenges posed by internationalizing teaching, for example, language promotion, additional requirement modules, mobility, can be solved. Concerns voiced by students are heard at all times through quality assurance instruments.

Following the welcoming speeches, moderator Dr. Frank Hees presented the program and moderated the discussion rounds on the various lectures.

  Man at a podium Copyright: Andreas Schmitter

Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter, Rector of the University of Bremen and HRK Vice-President for International Affairs, spoke as an external guest on the topic of "Internationalization of Teaching: More Than Just English!” Universities will face a major change and paradigm shift over the coming years with regard to internationalization. This requires an intensive discussion of the positions and framework conditions, since this change will not be limited to teaching alone, but will also affect services or university administration. The proportion of students abroad will have to be significantly increased in the future in order to maintain competitiveness and offer people global perspectives. This requires appropriate language support, international curricula, and networking and cooperation programs. All of this must be incorporated into modern teaching that is adapted to the realities of students' lives.

Vice-Rector for International Affairs at RWTH Aachen University, Professor Ute Habel, then reported on the RWTH's internationalization strategy. The University pursues a holistic approach that aims at continuous implementation and branching in all areas of the institution. With internationally oriented measures, the quality of research and teaching is to be increased and thus contribute to the reputation and better visibility of RWTH on a national and international scale. International strategic partnerships and cooperations are being established with the aim of jointly developing innovative solutions and cutting-edge technologies in order to meet the global challenges. The internationalization of teaching is to be promoted among other things by T.I.M.E. double degree programs, English-language courses of study or UNITECH International. Incoming and outgoing students, doctoral candidates, postdocs, and visiting scholars enjoy extensive support, funding, and information opportunities to promote mobility at all levels.

  People holding certificates Copyright: Andreas Schmitter

RWTH Lecturer Award 2019

Dr. phil. Andrea Philipp from the Institute for Psychology and Dr. Steffen Jöris from the Biblical Theology Teaching and Research Area were honored with the RWTH Lecturer Award 2019. The prizewinners stand out for their outstanding teaching and research. Dr. Philipp uses various creative forms of teaching, for example panel discussions and challenges her students to think critically in her courses. She aims to raise students' awareness of the importance of communicating and evaluating scientific results. Dr. Jöris reformed the teacher training course in an innovative way, shaping its new structure and orientation and developing new course concepts and formats. Professor Doris Klee, Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development, presented the awards.

RWTH Lecturer Award 2019
Dr. Steffen Jöris

Biblical Theology Teaching and Research Area

Dr. phil. Andrea Philipp Institute for Psychology

  People looking at posters Copyright: RWTH Aachen

Poster Display

During the break, participants could find out about best-practice projects, service and informative offers related to the internationalization of teaching in the form of a poster display. This provided an opportunity for lively discussions.

Best-Practice Examples from the Internationalization of Teaching

In the second part of the event, selected RWTH projects and best-practice examples were presented on the basis of further presentations.

In her talk "World-Class Means Worldwide – Selected International Office Programs", Dr. Henriette Finsterbusch from the International Office presented the IDEA League and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, UROP for short. These two projects are key features of internationalization at the University. The IDEA League is an association of leading European technical universities: RWTH, TU Delft, Politecnico Milan, ETH Zurich, and Chalmers University of Technology. In addition to the internationalization of teaching, it is also committed to comparable study structures and a high-quality engineering education based on European values. The IDEA League offers summer schools, doctoral schools, or joint study programs, such as M.Sc. Applied Geophysics. With UROP, RWTH has a structured research program for Bachelor’s students that specifically focuses on the concept of research-oriented teaching. Students gain an early insight into current research issues and the practical application of theoretical knowledge. In three program specializations, they can develop intercultural skills, an international network, and gain early clarity about the further trajectory and focus of their studies.

  Man talking to an audience Copyright: RWTH Aachen

The European Mining Course, EMC for short, presented by Prof. Bernd Lottermoser from the Chair in Sustainable Resource Extraction, is a transnational study program organized by three leading technical universities in Europe: RWTH, Aalto University in Helsinki, and TU Delft. The program was founded in Aachen in 1996. It aims to train mining engineers, who are urgently sought worldwide in the field of raw material extraction and mining. In addition to participants from these three universities, each year a number of guests from Europe and beyond take part in EMC in order to get to know the world of mining together in a varied and challenging way. An integrated international curriculum was developed for the course. At the Helsinki, Aachen and Delft locations, a wide variety of topics is covered, from rock mechanics to geostatistics, project management and raw materials management. Upon successful completion, the graduates receive a triple degree from the three universities and thus start their careers with an international degree certificate. A welcoming culture has been specifically established for these students, ranging from the organization of accommodation, excursions, and events to comprehensive support. In addition, a large number of industrial partners participate in the course with guest lecturers and donations to cover tuition fees.
Integrating refugees and people with a migration background into society through education is an important task, which RWTH has been committed to for several years now through projects with various partners, for example Technische Hochschule and Kiron Open Higher Education. In her lecture "Integration of refugees into university studies", Dr. Anja Fitter from Media for Teaching described specific problems for target groups and conditions of international students with different backgrounds and presented different solutions. These are to be implemented above all by measures for the personalization of the university entrance by digitization. The aim is to develop higher education programs to help international students get on this path and make informed choices about their future career perspectives. Thematic focuses include study orientation, preparation for and entry into higher education, access to higher education, and alternative educational paths. Thanks to digital teaching and learning scenarios and the revision of teaching materials, continuous learning processes are also to be promoted.

The meaningful combination of internationalization and digitization in the sense of a professional IT project and service management was discussed in the concluding lecture "Internationalization meets Digitalization - Projects and Developments in the Context of Student Mobility" by Florin Hilfinger from the International Office. Students wishing to acquire a degree or credit points abroad are often confronted with non-transparent and informal admission and recognition procedures. Thus, heterogeneous processes and data structures can be found, and information on study programs and modules is usually only available via the respective universities. In order to significantly simplify these processes in the future, various measures and projects are being implemented at RWTH in cooperation with other universities, the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD for short, and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF for short. In future, a web-based recognition tool will be used to implement digital applications, digital support for administrative processes, and the provision of information. In addition, a central EMREX prototype is to be developed at RWTH to enable the exchange of structured machine-readable documents in future. This technical infrastructure is to be tested in the next few years, initially in close cooperation with selected international partners and as part of transnationally interconnected curricula and study programs. All measures are aimed at making the individual processes more transparent and comprehensible. At the same time, the development of new IT-supported processes or changes to existing processes should reduce the workload for students, faculties, and university administration.

At the end of the Talk Lehre, Prof. Aloys Krieg, Vice-Rector for Teaching and Aline Nüttgens, Student Union – AStA Teaching and Communication, gave a positive summary of the event and expressed their gratitude to the lecturers.

We warmly encourage you to take a look at the Talk Lehre 2019 lectures available below.