Teaching and Integrating International Students

WASHINGTON – What would international students in American classrooms most want their professors to do differently?

A survey of 662 international students at 23 colleges and universities commissioned by ELS Educational Services found that many international students want their professors to:

  • Provide more feedback (35 percent identified this as a desired improvement from among a given list of choices).
  • Seek to understand international students’ perspectives (33 percent).
  • Make classroom materials available after class (32 percent).
  • Provide examples of completed assignments (32 percent).
  • Provide non-U.S. examples in course contents (28 percent).

One caveat for the above numbers is that nearly 12 percent of students in the sample were native English speakers, so their presence in the sample could have skewed some of the overall figures in various ways. For example, 22 percent of all respondents said they’d like their professor to speak more slowly or clearly, while 32 percent of Chinese respondents did.

The sample was nearly evenly split between undergraduates (52 percent) and graduate students (48 percent). The most common classroom challenges identified by the students who were surveyed were: too many writing assignments (65 percent said this was a challenge), too much reading (cited as a challenge by 63 percent of respondents), writing in English (56 percent), participating in class presentations (56 percent), the perceived preferential treatment of native speakers (56 percent), participating in class discussions (56 percent) and professors’ lack of understanding of their culture (50 percent).

More than a third of students — 35 percent — said they felt uncomfortable questioning the opinions of their professors, 30 percent said they felt uncomfortable questioning the opinion of their peers, and 29 percent said they felt uncomfortable speaking in class discussions (the latter proportion was higher among Chinese students, 38 percent of whom said they felt uncomfortable). Nearly a quarter of respondents — 24 percent — said they felt uncomfortable interacting with American students.

Mark W. Harris, the president emeritus of ELS, presented on the findings of the survey during a session Tuesday at the Association of International Education Administrators  annual conference focused on how faculty can “bridge divides” and integrate international students in the classroom. The number of international students in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the past 10 years and now exceeds 1 million, representing about 5 percent of the total student population, according to data from the Institute of International Education.

Recruiting international students was the number one priority for university internationalization identified by institutions who responded to the American Council on Education’s 2016 survey on mapping campuswide internationalization, which the association conducts every five years. In presenting a preview of some of the 2016 data – a full report on the survey is scheduled to be released this spring — Robin Matross Helms, the director of ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, said that one key finding is that there’s been a “backtracking” in terms of support for internationalization-focused faculty development opportunities from the 2011 to 2016 surveys. The percentage of responding colleges and universities that reported offering these kinds of opportunities was lower in 2016 than in 2011.

About a quarter of institutions report offering workshops for faculty on teaching and integrating international students — “my response was, wow, only a quarter?” Helms said.

“If we’re not providing faculty with that professional development support, that’s definitely a worrisome trend,” Helms said.

Darla K. Deardorff, AIEA’s executive director and an adjunct research scholar at Duke University’s education program, described the different forms faculty development can take – retreats, discussion working groups, invited speakers, faculty panel presentations – with common topics being things like: “classroom challenges for international students,” “moving beyond stereotypes and assumptions,” “integrating non-Western perspectives into what is taught,” “communicating with international students,” “creating a supportive classroom environment,” “learning styles in different cultures,” “understanding classroom behavior,” and “interculturally competent teaching.”

Deardorff also shared recommendations to faculty international students have made in various focus groups she’s conducted with them. Recommendations include:

  • to focus on the professor-student relationship
  • to understand what students are used to (and not to assume)
  • to be very clear on expectations and to provide examples
  • to pay attention to underperforming students
  • to be intentional about connecting domestic and international students in the classroom
  • to not single out international students (by asking, say, “you’re from Australia, what do Australians think of this?”)
  • to connect students with various campus resources available, such as the writing center
  • to use examples from students’ home countries.

“A lot of this we know, but it’s nice to hear it reaffirmed by the students,” Deardorff said.

Higher Education Initiatives for Refugees in Germany

Higher Education Initiatives for Refugees in Germany

refugees-daad-e1487176328354DAAD has been developing various programs in collaboration with universities and partner organisations to promote the integration of refugees at German universities. The overarching goal is to strengthen the potential of academically qualified refugees and provide them with access to higher education in Germany. More than half of the refugees arriving in Germany are younger than 25 – in other words, an age when education is most needed. With funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), DAAD has developed a set of targeted measures to enable universities to offer those who wish to study and possess sufficient academic qualification access to higher education.

Approximately 100 million euros in funding will be available in the coming years, 27 million euros of which is earmarked for projects in 2016. With funding from the BMBF, DAAD has developed an extensive package of long-term measures. This website gives an overview of the measures implemented according to these three pillars.

In addition to the overarching measures developed by the German government, DAAD, and the universities, many individuals on campus – from students to professors – are volunteering their time to assist refugees in navigating higher education in Germany.

NPR/WEMU recently portrayed a German professor as an example of how members of academe in Germany are taking the initiative and doing what they can to help. Listen to the report or read the article summarizing the interview here.

From: DAAD New York Newsletter, Feb 21st, 2017

Denison Language and Culture House

Denison Students: would you like to live in an exciting, culturally-diverse environment, get to practice your language skills and make new friends from many different cultures? Then the Preston Language and Culture House is right for you!

Hurry though, spots are limited and the application deadline is coming up quickly: March 1st!

Like our Denison University – Modern Languages Facebook page and you can see all of our Language and Culture Program events, which you Denisonians are welcome to join! https://www.facebook.com/denisonmodernlang/

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Language House Brochure 2017 (pdf)

The Effect of Trump’s Immigration Ban on Higher Education

Trump’s immigration ban: Will it undercut American soft power?

Jason Lane, University at Albany, State University of New York

The Trump administration moved over the weekend to ban all immigration from seven Muslim nations, including stopping the entry of students and scholars with valid study and work visas from those countries.

A large number of students come to study in the United States from these nations: Iran ranks 11th on the list of countries that send students to the United States. Iraq and Syria participate in a student leaders program supported by the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative. The program brings students to the U.S. to “expand their understanding of civil society, as well as the democratic process and how both may be applied in their home communities.”

Iraq also has an active Fulbright program – an international exchange program meant to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange.”

As a scholar of international education, I have seen the impact of American higher education abroad. While conducting field research in the United Arab Emirates on development of American branch campuses in the Middle East, I was struck by the response of the residents after George Mason University closed its UAE-based campus in 2009.

The setting up of the university campus was heralded as an expansion of American values overseas, and its closure was viewed as an example of “America withdrawing its support” for the region. I was asked, “Why did America choose to pull out of the region?”

In a region where higher education institutions are largely controlled by the government, it was difficult to explain that it was a decision of a single institution, not of the American government.

The fact is that over the decades America has made considerable investments in building goodwill around the world through higher education exchange efforts. Evident in the responses of the people in UAE was how the action of a single institution could erode those sentiments.

So, what might Trump’s ban mean for the U.S. role in international education? And will it undermine the use of international higher education as a soft power tool for the United States?

A soft power tool?

First, let’s look at the role higher education has played in expanding American influence and in building stronger relationships between nations.

In 1945, Senator William Fulbright from Arkansas sponsored a bill to fund a program to support “international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.”

A statue of Senator William Fulbright at the University of Arkansas.
Clinton Steeds, CC BY

Today, the Fulbright program is probably the most widely recognized initiative in the world supporting international exchange, facilitating the movement of more than 360,000 students and scholars across more than 160 countries during its history. Its value is more symbolic – it represents the United States’ view about how international education can support democracy and encourage positive relationships between nations.

The free flow of students and scholars has served well the interests of the United States, including students from those with differing ideologies.

One of the most famous alumni of the Fulbright program was Russian student Alexander Yakovlev, who came to the U.S. to study at Columbia University in 1958 – the period of the Cold War. That same person would return to the USSR to become a close ally of Mikhail Gorbachev and eventually become the “father of glasnost,” the political philosophy (along with “Perestroika”) that eventually brought down the Iron Curtain.

More recently, during a standoff between the United States and China over the future of blind Chinese political dissident Chen Guangcheng, New York University stepped in to offer him a visiting scholar position in New York, thereby diffusing a tense situation.

Time and again international education has been a critically important soft power tool.

Students from banned nations

Coming back to international exchange –– it has played a significant role in promoting peaceful relations between nations for decades.

For most of the 1970s, Iran sent more students to the U.S. than any other country. The peak year was 1979-1980, when more than 50,000 Iranian students came to study in the U.S.

After relations between the two nations deteriorated following the fall of the shah of Iran, the number of students coming to the U.S. dropped dramatically, until there were fewer than 1,700 students in 1998-1999. However, in the 2000s, as relations with the two nations began to warm, the trend finally began to turn around, with the number of students more than doubling from 2010 to 2015.

The other nations on the banned list do not have nearly as robust numbers as Iran, yet they do send students to the U.S. Those numbers are growing overall. Both Iraq and Libya have more than 1,000 students currently studying in the U.S. Although other nations send fewer (there are only 35 Somali students) in total, there were more than 17,300 students from the banned countries studying in the U.S. last year.

What is noteworthy is that was a 7 percent increase over the previous year and a more than 300 percent increase from 15 years ago, when there were only about 4,000 students from those same nations. Iran led with more than 1,800 students, and Syria was number two with more than 700.

In fact, more than 10 percent (about 108,000) of the international students in the U.S. come from the Middle East and North Africa regions, the home to most of the banned countries. When they return home, these students serve as ambassadors of the U.S. and, while here, help us gain a greater appreciation for their culture.

Declining enrollments?

How these actions will impact the students is not clear, but we do know that major events can have lasting impact on international education numbers.

For about five years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the total number of international students studying in the U.S. declined. Much of this decline came from students in Muslim majority nations, who could either not obtain a visa or chose not apply for it. They also feared they would not be welcomed in the United States.

And this was at a time when the American president, George W. Bush, argued that “Ours is a war not against a religion, not against the Muslim faith. But ours is a war against individuals who absolutely hate what America stands for.”

Data have already suggested that the rhetoric of the current administration has weighed on the minds of students considering where to study abroad. A study by international student recruiting companies prior to the election found that 60 percent of the 40,000 students surveyed in 118 countries would be less inclined to come to the U.S. if Trump won the election (compared to only 3.8 percent who would be less inclined if Clinton won). And that was before the rhetoric turned into reality.

Even though the U.S. still retains the largest global market share of international students, that market share has been declining gradually. This is due to the increased competition from other nations and international student concerns about safety, cost and hospitality in the United States: In 2000, about one quarter of all international students globally came to the United States. Within a decade, that number had shrunk to 19 percent, and by 2012, the number had dropped to 16 percent.

Where is this all going?

An early policy paper by the Trump team seemingly called for the elimination of J-1 visas, which allow for international youth to pursue temporary work in the U.S. And the current administration has sent signals indicating that it would make it more difficult for immigrants to receive H-1B visas, awarded to individuals with specialized skills.

Both of these programs are used by universities to support student and scholar exchanges. It is not yet clear if the current administration will pursue policies in these area that will affect universities in the same way the ban has done.

A Temple University student holds up her sign during a protest in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Corey Perrine

What is clear is that the recent ban has already sent a chilling effect across colleges near and far. Within one day, there were reports of students being trapped overseas and in the U.S. An Iranian Ph.D. student at SUNY Stony Brook was detained at JFK and almost deported.

Another Iranian, pursuing his Ph.D. at Yale, was traveling internationally to conduct research, and feared that he might not be able to return to his studies even though he was a green card holder (the administration subsequently reversed its ban on permanent residents from those nations). There is no telling how many others are blocked from returning having been away on break between semesters.

Protecting our nation is one of the most important roles of the federal government, and we do need to be thoughtful about how to establish effective immigration polices. However, the broad-based nature of the ban flies in the face of decades of support for the power of international exchange. Even a foreign policy hard line approach would typically be softened by an ongoing support of international exchange.

As Senator Fulbright said,

“Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.”

The motivation for this ban is the concern that we might let in a terrorist. But what if we turn away the next great scientist or peacemaker?

The Conversation

Jason Lane, Chair and Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership & Co-Director of the Cross-Border Education Research Team, University at Albany, State University of New York

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

AUBG’s Dr. Stantcheva’s Visit at Denison

Working with German professor Dr. Diana Stantcheva from the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) as a collaborative team within GLCA’s Global Course Connections Program over the past four years has been a most productive and enjoyable journey. Both Denison and AUBG students have been collaborating on a great variety of projects for 7 continuous semesters. These courses have ranged from intermediate to advanced level , from language to content-focused, and from simple technologies to complex digitally innovative courses.

Students on both sides have gotten to know each other and both professors over the years, and it’s not been seldom that students who had worked together on a digitally supported project found each other to be partners again three semesters later. Via Google Hangouts and later Zoom video-conferencing students on both sides have met regularly over time to discuss American and East-European culture, US and German politics, the refugee situation in Europe, German media, Homosexuality in German film, gender and family, and linguistic phenomena, and much more – all in German!

img_0195This fall, on November 7th, Dr. Stantcheva came to Dr. Dillmann’s “Media in Germany” course to discuss the US presidential election from a European perspective with the class. In turn, students in the course explained and discussed the American voting system with Dr. Stantcheva who was extremely impressed both by how politically informed our students were and how well they were able to describe the complex election system and state their own opinions on the two competing candidates in very clear German.

Dr. Stantcheva’s husband Vladi, an accomplished artist based in Sofia and Berlin, joined us for a campus tour where he talked with several students in German. He was particularly interested in students working at the election information table in Slayter Hall and likewise impressed by how politically savvy and engaged our students are. The stereotype that young Americans are indifferent to the politics in their own country was certainly not confirmed on our campus.

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Definitely a highlight of Diana’s and Vladi’s visit – according to both Diana and Vladi – was visiting the Mulberry MixLab with its director, Christian Faur, showing them the lab space with its manifold artistic production programs and demonstrating to them how the various 3-D printers set up in Mulberry and the Bryant Arts Center function. Diana was especially delighted about the special gift she received from Christian: her name laser-cut into a piece of wood.

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We concluded the evening with a meal at Day Y Noche, where two of our Denison students had the pleasure to be captured spontaneously in a portrait drawing by the artist at the dinner table. They said that they would always treasure this unexpected gift.

Thank you, Diana and Vladi, for your visit and sharing your thoughts and experiences with our students!

5 Denison Colleagues at CLAC 2016

Denison University’s President Adam Weinberg very generously made it possible for five Denison faculty members to attend and to present at the Cultures and Languages across the Curriculum (CLAC) conference hosted by Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa this October 20th and 21st.

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This year’s conference was organized by our very talented and generous colleague Marc Pinheiro-Cadd.

Thank you, Marc!

 

img_0032Nausica Marcos-Miguel, Assistant Professor of Spanish in Linguistics, Charly St-Georges, Assistant Professor of Spanish in Literature and Cultural Studies, Lori Radall, Coordinator of Multilingual Learning, Hanada Al-Masri, Assistant Professor of Arabic, and Gabriele Dillmann, Associate Professor of German had the opportunity to further learn about CLAC pedagogy and internationalizing our campus community and curriculum after they had explored CLAC at the 9th annual conference hosted by Denison University in 2015. President Weinberg was introduced to and spoke in support of CLAC practitioners during that conference as he gave a very well-received keynote address. Gabriele Dillmann then offered 2 follow-up workshops in the summer of 2015 for colleagues across the Denison campus (DIG – Denison Interest Group) to engage faculty members further with CLAC pedagogies and strategies to internationalize their courses.

img_9975The CLAC conference in DesMoines with its very sophisticated conference program, informative sessions and compelling discussions by seasoned CLAC practitioners and CLAC founding members was a very positive experience for our Denison colleagues. Denison colleagues also had the opportunity to meet colleagues across the country, across institution types, and across disciplines to exchange ideas and strategies to embed CLAC components in their own courses.

Keynote speakers Dawn Michele Whitehead, Senior Director for Global Learning whiteheadand Curricular Change in the Office of Integrative Liberal Learning and the Global Commons at Association of American Colleges and Universities and Richard Kiely, Senior Fellow, Office of Engagement Initiatives, Engaged Cornell, rounded off the0969_11_005_select-27guf98-240x300 program with their inspiring presentations on global and local social challenges and suggested possible approaches to think about alleviating some of the most pressing problems. Richard Kiely shared many of his insights that he is further reflecting on in his forthcoming co-authored book Building a Better World: The Pedagogy and Practice of Global Service-Learning.  

avatar-jpg-320x320pxA special event of the conference was the unveiling of the CLAC Clearinghouse by Dan Soneson, Director of the College of Liberal Arts Language Center, University of Minnesota and Caleb Zilmer, Ph.D. Student in Second Languages and Cultures Education, University of Minnesota. The Clearinghouse is an interactive collection of CLAC-related materials curated by CARLA and the Consortium for Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum. We are all strongly encouraged to contribute to and make use of this valuable resource.

img_0001Arabic professor Hanada Al-Masri and German professor Gabriele Dillmann gave a joint-presentation on the benefits of global course connections both for students and faculty: “Fostering a Global Mindset through Globally Connected Courses: Lessons from the German and Arabic Classroom,” which conference participants appeared to find very useful in their own thinking about employing new digital technologies and pedagogies to make an international experience possible in general and especially for those students for whom study-abroad is not an option for various personal and economic reasons.

img_0020One presentation that I would personally like to highlight – among other things because it warmed my heart – was “El Puente Entre Dos Mundos: Spanish Companion Courses for Nursing Majors” by Elizabeth Fouts, Associate Professor of Spanish Studies at St. Anselm College. With much enthusiasm and passion, Elizabeth shared with the audience “how her professional and personal life has changed since she discovered CLAC”, which was reinforced when she came to the CLAC conference at Denison in 2015 and “left with a ton of ideas.” These have since culminated in a rather fast-growing, very impressive Spanish language nursing option program at her college.

Following are some of the impressions and experiences that our Denison colleagues walked away with in their own words.

Hanada Al-Masri

img_9990After attending the CLAC conference for the first time at Denison, I was very motivated to attend the second one at Drake University, Iowa and I am truly appreciative of our president’s support. Of a particular interest to me was to learn about how different colleges proposed different approaches and different perspectives to globalizing their curricula. Some presentations encouraged community service learning on the local level, others worked more on the global level. It was a good learning experience to learn more about the incorporation of culture and how to be prepared to deal with unforeseen challenges. The keynote speakers provided great insights into how to incorporate global and international perspectives into our curriculum offerings. It was interesting to hear the challenges they faced during their process of internationalization.

Charly St-Georges

img_0031The CLAC Conference provided a unique and valuable space for reflecting not only on the importance of global perspectives and experiences in higher education, but on its possibilities. So many different institutions were represented, each with their own contexts and challenges, and it was precisely this diversity in experiences wrestling with a shared goal that I found to be so fruitful. This coming together of ideas, philosophies, and experiences facilitated a cross pollination that have gotten the wheels turning in my head—and in my pedagogy—in a way that would not have been possible without carving out a space to sit down with colleagues and reflecting on the role of cultures and languages across the curriculum.

Nausica Marcos-Miguel

The CLAC conference at Drake University has been a great opportunity to see different approaches to incorporate language and culture across the curriculum. Since I teach language courses, for me, it is a maimg_0022tter of including culture and content in a language class, so it was a new perspective seeing how faculty from different disciplines incorporates language in their content courses. This is clearly a path towards recognizing the fundamental need of learning a second language and becoming aware of different cultures, different perspectives. For example, Kate Yang, from Stockton University, showed how she searched for “cross-cultural awareness and global engagement in a developmental psychology course” by, for example, making learners reflect on the different connotations that the word “adolescent” has for speakers of different languages. Her colleague Laura Zucconi explained how history majors worked with texts in their second languages. By doing so, students could find new perspectives on a topic they were already familiar with.  I also had the opportunity to catch up with my colleagues and learned more about the shared language project they are working on. There were many other interesting presentations and conversations at the CLAC conference, and I came back to Granville with new ideas for my classes. The take-home message for me was: we need to give our students the tools to be global citizens.  

Lori Randall

The clear focus of the CLAC conference made it easy to find relevant, engaging sessions. Indeed, for the first time in my conference-attending experience, I found it difficult to choose between sessions. Each session promised to provide valuable pedagogical ideas and social, pedagogical, or ethical issues to consider. Each session that I attended lived up to that promise. High quality sessions were not the only positive aspect of this conference; the duration and size of the conference were likewise ideal. Attendance was small enough and the events of the conference were condensed enough to foster a genuine sense of community. Yet attendance was large enough to ensure diversity. Attendees represented a variety of institutions, from the Defense Language Institute and the US Air Force to the K-12 public school system, to post-secondary institutions of all types. All of these factors – high quality sessions; small, yet diverse participants; and a condensed, efficient schedule – combined to create a rich, invigorating atmosphere for sharing ideas, strengthening existing relationships, and creating new ones. I, personally, was pleased to have this opportunity not only to connect, share ideas, and plan for the future with colleagues from Denison but also to connect with staff members from the Defense Language Institute, learning from their expertise and sharing my own with them.

Three cheers to CLAC for reminding me of the true value of academic conferences, collaboration, and lifelong learning!

Shared Languages Program Launch

In the Spring 2017 semester, Earlham, Denison, and Oberlin will offer their first Shared Languages Program courses. This program is an initiative funded by a Mellon grant, Global Crossroads, with which the Great Lakes Colleges Association is supporting campus internationalization and globalization efforts throughout its 13 domestic consortial college member institutions.

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In Arabic, Dr. Kelly Tuttle will teach Arabic 341: Alienation in Modern Arabic Literature (in Arabic) at Earlham College while Dr. Hanada Al-Masri will be offering Arabic 300: Media Arabic (in Arabic) at Denison University. Dr. Basem Al-Raba’a will be encouraging Oberlin students, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to continue their Arabic language studies, to participate as guest students in these upper level Arabic courses. Allegheny’s Arabic professor, Dr. Reem Hilal, as well as DePauw’s Arabic professor, Ghassan Nasr, are looking into identifying students for whom these course offerings would be a great opportunity to continue their Arabic studies.

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germanposterIn German, Dr. Gabriele Dillmann will offer German 305: Migration to and from Germany and the EU since 1945 (with a special focus on the current refugee crisis) at Denison University in collaboration with Hope College’s German professor Dr. Lee Forester who will encourage Hope German students to engage not only with Denison students in this course but also with AUBG students as part of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance Global Course Connections program. As a globally connected course, Dr. Dillmann’s students have meaningful opportunities to engage with students from diverse cultural backgrounds at the American University in Bulgaria. Albion’s German professor Dr. Perry Myers has expressed interest in participating in the program in the near future.

The Shared Languages program has been in the making since January 2016 and has since then been directed by Gabriele Dillmann for the GLCA Crossroads Initiative. Interested faculty have met during two summer workshops for Arabic, respectively German to discuss language pedagogy, course content, digital pedagogy, and course logistics. A follow-up working group meeting will take place in December at Denison U to discuss course assessment strategies and faculty will offer a show and tell of their pre-pilot work in their current Arabic and German courses. Logistical and technological details have since been worked out with the help of our participating schools’ four highly engaged registrars and apt IT personnel, and an informative Student Q&A has been created.

Many thanks to Simon Gray (Program Officer at GLCA) and all my Arabic and German colleagues, registrars, and IT personnel who are making this exciting new program happen!!

 

 

 

 

Ethel at German Kaffeeklatsch!

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 8.10.28 PMThursday, December 3rd, was a fabulous day for the German section at Denison University’s Modern Languages Department! The wunderbar string quartet Ethel joined the German social coffee hour to discuss and show via example the influence of revolutionary Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg on the avant-garde and contemporary composers – including Ethel! Students were enthralled.

Evan Woodnorth and Hannah Doermann lead the weekly Kaffeeklatsch, which invites students from all courses and levels of German to join in for conversation and German coffee. Every Thursday during common hour, they discuss contemporary issues such as the refugee crisis in Europe to pop and alternative German music to important historic events. Hannah, who is a native of Bonn, Germany has been co-conducting German KK since her freshman year at Denison and Evan, a native of Minnesota, who is practically linguistically and culturally near-native German after spending a year living in the country right after high school, when he had been awarded the coveted Congress-Bundestag scholarship, has been contributing very creatively to KK for the past year now. Together, they’ve made a great team!

On average, Kaffeeklatsch has a student turnout of about 20 students each week in the Foresman Lounge on the third floor of Fellows Hall, but with Ethel visiting we had to move to a larger space than our regular gathering place – almost all students from all courses as well as students interested in “all things German” came to the social hour, about 100 students. All visitors enjoyed German chocolates, ginger breads, and the famous German Stollen with Jacobs Kaffee throughout the event.

The event was introduced by German student Melodie Petra Faur who presented an informative introduction to Schoenberg’s life and work in German so engagingly that the language barrier for non-German speakers was reduced to a minimum – the music itself made up for the rest! [arnold schönberg]

Beautiful cello artist Dorothy gave a very insightful introduction to the importance on Schoenberg on the American avant-garde and Ralph shared his own experiences with Schoenberg’s genius in his development as a musician from his teenage years. Corin and Kip rounded off the influence of Schoenberg on their own artistic development .. until we ran out of time.

Arnold Schönberg’s work and significance as a major cultural figure was a topic in the advanced German course 311, a writing course and survey of 20th century German/Austrian/Swiss writers and artists. For students to get an in-depth exploration of his work with highly recognized musicians such as Ethel is a treat very few college students get to enjoy in such an intimate and close setting.

I would like to whole-heartedly thank Mike Morris Sr., Director of the Denison Vail Series, and Ching-Chu Hu, Chair of the Denison Music Department, for making this event possible for our German students and faculty (Gary Baker, Gabriele Dillmann, Jeffrey Frazier). Furthermore, I owe much gratitude to Tim, Denison’s amazing photographer, and Jamie Hale from University Communications for taking and then sharing the photographs below with me for this blog. But most of all a heartfelt Dankeschön to Ethel: Dorothy, Ralph (aka Frank), Kip and Corin!!

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