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Tubingen
Tubingen, houses along the river
Berlin Monument
Berlin, monument to remember the Buchverbrennung, or
Nazi orchestrated book burnings. On May 10, 1933,
more than 25,000 books were burned on college campuses.
Berlin Ornamentation
Berlin, ornamentation on the Reichstag, seat of the
German Parliament
Reutlingen
Reutlingen, Dr. Deborah Arfken stands at the far right in
the group of administrators chosen by DAAD
Berlin
Berlin, view of the Spree River

Globalization of campus continues

Germany is making major changes in the structure of its education system, and Dr. Deborah Arfken, dean of the Graduate School at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, was selected to learn firsthand more about the changes and engage in the discussion of academic exchange programs.

Arfken was chosen as one of 20 senior university administrators from the U.S. and Canada to participate in the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), the German Academic Exchange Service. In Germany, Arfken visited universities which were the first worldwide to offer graduate education.

"I was surprised to learn how many programs and courses were offered in English, that German universities have not charged tuition, although they will start in fall, 2006, and that universities in Germany permit students to take years and years to complete their degrees, and do not have a comprehensive system of keeping enrollment data," Arfken said.

As German higher education experiences less influence from the federal government, universities there are relying more on interactions with research centers, such as the Max Planck Society, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft institutes, and the Helmholtz Association, Arfken said.

"Germany will differentiate its universities on the basis of excellence through the national Excellence Initiative. Each university is focusing carefully on selected areas of excellence rather than trying to be all things to all people," Arfken said.

Arfken learned German educators value accreditation, which they feel will serve as quality insurance and enhance the international recognition of their degrees.

Arfken's group visited many universities, including The University of Bonn, Bonn-Aachen International Center, Bonn International Graduate School in Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, European Confederation of Universities of the Upper Rhine, Institute of Supra-Molecular Science and Engineering, University of Tübingen, Graduate School of Neural and Behavioral Sciences at the International Max Planck Research School, Reutlingen University, Humboldt University and Freie University.

While Arfken was in Berlin, sports enthusiasts were fixed on World Cup Soccer.

"We were surrounded by its passionate fans from all over the world who draped themselves in the flag of their country, painted their faces with miniature flags, and drove around in small cars waving their flags and blaring their horns," Arfken said.

The group also had a guided tour of the Museum of German Post-War History in Bonn; a boat cruise around the city of Strasbourg; a walking tour of Tübingen; a concert by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra at the Konzerthaus Berlin; a walking tour of central Berlin with architect Robert Demel; and a guided tour of the New Jewish Museum in Berlin.

August 11, 2006

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