By Megan Greve
The partnership between the University of Leipzig and Ohio University has been marked by the sharing of knowledge and cultural exchange. This year, Ohio University is helping the University of Leipzig commemorate its 600-year anniversary.
Ohio University is participating in the celebration by teaching a special course at the Ohio-Leipzig European Center (OLEC) in Leipzig this spring. The course, titled "Leipzig: Crucible of Revolutions," will allow OLEC students to study the arts, history, biology, natural resources, geography and journalism of Leipzig, the largest city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany and Europe.
Because of the OLEC, Ohio University's second- and third-year students have the chance to study at a historic European university. The program has a 10-week course, taught during spring quarter, in which students learn about the arts and sciences, as well as study the German language.
This year, the course is being taught in two-week stints by five Ohio University professors, Department of Geography Chair Tim Anderson, Associate Professor of Environmental and Plant Biology Harvey Ballard, Professor of Theater William Condee, Assistant Professor of History Miriam Shadis and Professor of Journalism Bob Stewart.
"This year, the OLEC program's course focuses very much on Leipzig itself," Stewart said. "We're calling attention to the importance of Leipzig the city and as a region to European history."
Shadis, who taught the first two weeks of this year's OLEC course, said she enjoyed her time teaching in Germany.
"It was a wonderful experience," Shadis said. "OU has a really nice long-term relationship with the University of Leipzig. The people who work at that university are very interested in us and they make us feel very welcome. They are very proud of their own university so they are excited to share it with us."
Anderson spent his two weeks in Germany teaching students about the Industrial and Post-Industrial Revolutions in the Saxony region.
"It's kind of hard to put into words, but in terms of the food, the culture, (teaching in Leipzig) feels different and distinctive and I think that's what draws me back," Anderson said. "It feels very different from other parts of Germany. I think it gives students a taste of central Europe, of not just Germany."
Daniel Weiner, executive director for the Center for International Studies, said Ohio University plans to continue to build on the successful programs that the universities have shared.
He added that a new Leipzig Oversight Committee will allow departments to become more integrated in the partnership by allowing their faculty and students to become more engaged with OLEC and the University of Leipzig.
The University of Leipzig's 600th anniversary celebration has more than 300 events planned, including concerts, scientific debates, exhibitions, international conventions, an international student week and a celebratory "Prague-Leipzig Run."
This story was edited on June 1, 2009 for accuracy.