By Katie Gager, Student Reporter
The Study Abroad program will be expanding its global experiences by adding Leipzig, Germany, as an additional location that students may choose to study at in spring 2010.
The program now includes two locations in Oxford, England, and Montevideo, Uruguay, and hopes to see the Leipzig location as a new opportunity for students to learn about the world through studying abroad, said Kevin Kehl, executive director of the Center for International and Intercultural Education.
“It’s central to the east and the west,” Kehl said. “Not only is there great access to Western Europe, but it is in the heart of Central Europe with great access to the east and offers a really different experience than Oxford does.”
Former Provost Dwayne VanRheenen said in 10 years time the percentage of students who have graduated from ACU who study abroad has increased from 5 percent to 25 percent of the student body. The university’s goal within the next 10 years is to increase that to at least 50 percent.
“We want our students to be globally, critically and missionally minded,” VanRheenen said. “There has been a great foundation that has been laid in Leipzig, so our hope would be that the courses that are offered there will draw on all the opportunities in that region of the world.”
The process of selecting Leipzig began in 2007 through correspondence with connections in the local chamber of commerce as well as several trips to Germany made while visiting Oxford, Kehl said.
In the summer of 2008, Dr. Richard Beck, chair of the psychology department, led a group of psychology students to Leipzig for summer courses.
“This brought back a critical mass of information and experiences that led us to believe this would be a place with a very enriching experience,” Kehl said. “We then decided we wanted to offer students a semester-long experience.”
This summer, Mike Winegeart, assistant professor of marketing, will be leading a group of four business students to Leipzig for summer courses.
“One thing that strikes me about Leipzig is that they have made it a strategic initiative of the city that education will lead to the next century,” Winegeart said. “The city has invested a lot of money into their university and is willing to partner with us.”
For the spring of 2010, Ron and Janine Morgan, currently site directors at the Oxford location, will be serving as the initial directors of the Leipzig location to help launch the program.
Other professors for the initial semester have not been selected but likely will be from the Bible and music departments. Courses offered would be basic general education courses in Bible, international studies and fine arts, as well as German language courses as an essential part of the learning experience, Kehl said.
The cost of the program will be the same as that of Oxford and will provide the students with flights to and from the United States as well as group trips throughout the semester. Students will be living in rented flats with classroom space and easy access to the city center.
Students may begin signing up now for the spring semester. The program will be accepting 15 to 18 students.
“Leipzig was considered by some the center of peaceful resolution in relation to the fall of the Berlin Wall,” Kehl said. “What better place for students to consider the roll and responsibilities that Christians have about peace?”