For more than 50 years, University of Redlands students have been traveling abroad to study at the University’s international campus in Salzburg, Austria. On Wednesday, faculty members and students came together for the first-ever Salzburg Symposium, hosted by Dean Kendrick Brown, to discuss their experiences teaching and learning in the program.
Katherine Baber, a professor in the School of Music who will become Mozley Salzburg director and associate dean of the College next summer, helped introduce the symposium.
“It’s my hope that this symposium will be a part of an ongoing conversation about how we can continue to ensure that the Salzburg program provides a meaningful experience for our students,” said Baber. “One of the most important ways we can do that is by making sure that it’s a place for reinvention, experimentation, and innovation in our teaching.”
Brown also announced a few additional initiatives, including an effort to allow students from the School of Business and School of Education to study abroad in Salzburg and a new May Term course in which a faculty member from the Salzburg campus will travel to Redlands to teach a course in the School of Music.
During the event, students shared their Salzburg experiences alongside the professors who led courses. Professor of History and Salzburg Faculty Fellow Patrick Wing presented on “The Ottomans in Europe: Nationalism, Islam, and Empire,” a 10-student class that focused on Eastern European history and the cultural and religious identities and dichotomies that exist between the east and the west.
Lucas Tekin ’20 took Wing’s semester-long course and emphasized how it changed the way he viewed Europe. “Being able to travel through Europe and see it and talk to people who’ve lived through historical events was extremely valuable,” he said. “It’s education on a much more physical level—it’s not just talking about a place, you can actually go and see what remains.”
Professors Sharon Oster and Renée Van Vechten both taught May Term travel courses in Salzburg. Throughout her course, titled “Remnants of the Past,” Oster focused on Holocaust literature and geography, leading students on tours through multiple concentration camps and Holocaust memorial sites in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
One of Oster’s students, Natasha Agramont ’20, talked about the course’s impact on her life after she returned from Salzburg. “We read about the Holocaust in history books, but there’s a certain kind of barrier to understanding it fully when you’re in the United States,” she said. “After the trip, I continued to read historical memoirs and actually had the chance to speak to a Holocaust survivor, which was an amazing experience. The class truly changed my perspective.”
Van Vechten’s course on politics and art prompted students to learn about the history behind European art. She detailed an exercise called “You’re the Docent,” where students would research a work of art before visiting a museum and then present their knowledge to their fellow classmates. By the end of the course, students had developed an arsenal of knowledge on the production and politics of European art.
The event ended with a question and answer session, in which many students expanded on the weight of their experiences. “My experience really combined art and history and music,” said Matthew Sanders ’19, one of Wing’s students. “It spoke to the value of a liberal arts education.”