The Department of Teacher Education has planned their five-week Leipzig trip meant for last summer to take place from May to June of 2021.
Dr. Dana Kennamer, associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services and chair of the Department of Teacher Education, said that this trip was influenced by a prior education-majors Leipzig trip in 2016.
“We did a pilot trip a few years ago and we realized we wanted to continue doing Leipzig but offer different course options.” Kennamer said, “We were going to offer this last summer but then, of course, COVID [happened] so we’re really excited to do it this summer.”
Kennamer said one course that will be offered during the trip is a course titled Creativity and Resilience.
She said one of her favorite stories that helps explain this course is a story of citizens of Leipzig after the reunification of Germany using old art pieces and windows kept safe from a demolished church to help rebuild a new church in its place.
“That’s just a great example of this creativity and resilience,” Kennamer said. “‘We are moving forward. We’ve had a hard story to tell because we don’t want to go there again, stories that shaped us when we didn’t have a choice in it,’ and, ‘How are we going to reclaim this creativity that’s in the DNA [of Leipzig] to decide who we are.’”
Mitzi Adams, instructor in the CEHS, said that this course offers a new perspective of the arts because of Leipzig’s large amount of artistic history.
“The course will be more focused on the role of creativity in learning,” Adams said. “In the context [of Leipzig] the arts are in your face all the time. They’re not so much in your face here as they are there.”
Kennamer said the other course being offered is Cultural Engagement for Social Studies Teaching.
Julie Douthit, instructor in the Department of Teacher Education, said that the dark parts of Germany’s history have caused its citizens to respond directly to it, something the course she said will analyze.
“The social studies course being taught there will be so much different than when they’re taught here, taking place somewhere where there is so much history,” Douthit said. ‘We’re going to be looking at citizens’ response to their history, how they have moved on from parts of it and how they have had to almost rebuild and recreate themselves because of it.”
During the trip students will be based in the city of Leipzig and have trips outside of the city as well to Berlin and Buchenwald, among others.
However, Douthit said because of COVID-19, it’s hard to plan out what students will be able to do during the trip.
“Some of our originally planned excursions or trips might look a little bit different,” Douthit said. “We might not be able to do certain trips because, as teachers, we want to be intentional about where we go so some travel might be a little bit limited. But we are hopeful that we will be able to still go to Leipzig and go to museums and do other trips.”
Nonetheless, Adams, Douthit and Kennamer all said that even with the uncertainty of the longevity of COVID-19, they are hopeful the trip will go as planned.
Kennamer said that registration for the trip will be opening soon with the goal to bring 12 students along.