That’s not a typo, just a tiny bit of German. I am in Freiburg Germany right now (at times it is easy to see that English is a Germanic langauge). I am very fortunate to be able to travel for Penn State this summer. I was recently named as chair of Freiburg “Faculty Implementation Committee,” or “FIT.” Last spring a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between PSU and the University of Freiburg. This is a university-wide agreement and we already have decades of collaboration between our two universities from philosophy to forestry and now energy and honors. In a few weeks over a dozen of my colleagues in the Penn State Institutes for Energy and the Environment will be arriving in Freiburg to meet with their counterparts here and we will reciprocate by hosting the Freuiburgers next year in Happy Valley. In addition to representing the university as a whole, I am also going to be working with their new University College Freiburg to establish an exchange program. I am very excited about that and more details are to come…
The trip here was fairly uneventful, although delayed by two hours. We pushed back from the gate at Dulles and they realized there was a brake problem. We returned, they fixed it, and an hour later we were on our way. Somehow we then lost another 50 minutes en route (with a tail wind, go figure). It was not a big deal for me since I simply took the train from Frankfurter Flughafen to Freiburg and walked two blocks to my hotel.
The Best Western “Hotel Victoria” bills itself as the greenest hotel in the world and I believe it. They have solar cells on the roof, wood pellet heaters for the water, and wind power from the city. (Freiburg is one of Germany’s foremost “Green Cities.”) After dinner at a local Italian café (and watching Spain-Italy tie in Euro 2012) I took a walk around town. Here a few pictures of my walk.
Yesterday broke foggy and cold in Oxford which was actually very nice. It brought back so many memories of my own days as a student here, making my way into town for a day in the Oriental Institute researching and occasionally writing. This day I took my DSLR, looking every bit the tourist, and captured what I hope will be some nice shots of the colleges through the fog. I won’t be able to upload those photos until I get home, but I also had my point-and-shoot and have a few to share. It is a visual clichÃ©, but Christ Church really is such a beautiful college, how could I not?
Christ Church War Memorial Gardens, looking back towards the college.
As the day warmed up the weather cleared leaving the sky crystal clear. I headed over to Mansfield College at 10 am to begin a day full of activity. Scholar and PLA student Kaitlyn Randol met me at their student accommodations and showed me around. Why? Because…
We are developing a new study abroad opportunity for our incoming first year students! This won’t be up and running until summer 2012, but it will be two 3-credit courses, CAS 100H, which is a speech class that every Penn Staters must take, and an honors course on “Ethics of Global Leadership,” taught be yours truly. The first three weeks will be taught in July at University Park and then we will all pack up and head over to Oxford for three weeks with special guests and field trips. We are working through the details now and should have it already for our incoming students next summer. Stay tuned!
After meetings with Mansfield College and lunch and tea in the Senior Common Room (where the fellows of a college hang out, the grad students have the “Middle Common Room,” and undergraduates have the “Junior Common Room”) I hoofed it up the Banbury Road to St. Clare’s College international high school. It is quite an impressive school that offers and International Baccalaureate program. I met with 18 students who will be applying for college this coming year.
The night ended with a wonderful evening with two of our current students studying in Oxford for the year and two graduates. They were incredibly long suffering of the old man telling stories about when he was studying in the city of dreaming spires (can you think of a better way to spend the first four years of your married life?) and the food was very good. I cannot tell you how proud I am of all our students, past and present. It was such a wonderful evening!
Today I was supposed to be off to Wales for a visit with another international school but sadly they are all struck down with the flu and cancelled. The good news is I have a day free in Oxford! So I am taking my cameras and heading out for a bit more touring and visiting with old friends.
I am very pleased to say that I awoke this morning at 7:15 am GMT. This is good because I am, in fact, in the UK and jet lag can be a real drag, but I managed to get some sleep on the plane Sunday night and stay up all day yesterday.
Yesterday I met with two old friends, which is always good, but in this case I was also enlisting their help with a new course that will start summer 2012. (Stay tuned!) I also had time to wander around town a bit. Above is the Radcliffe Camera, a library where I spent a fair amount of my time as a doctoral student. I realize the town is nigh on a thousand years old but it always surprises me how much things are the same, even 14 years on. Last night I enjoyed dinner at St. Catz’s high table.
Today I will meet with folks from Mansfield College then on to meet some high school students at an IB school outside of Oxford. Finally…dinner with our students! I will be taking two of our alumni and two of our current students (and PLAers!) out to dinner at The Trout. This used to be a lovely rustic pub along the river in Wolvercote that is now quite posh. Still a great location and I think they will enjoy it.