Recently, Katie Baber has been working to coordinate curricula, travel logistics, and facilities operations at the Marketenderschlössl, a nearly 500-year-old Renaissance building that serves as part of the U of R’s international campus in Salzburg, Austria. In addition to being a University of Redlands professor and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Baber is the new Alice Mozley Salzburg Director and lives in the director’s apartment on the international campus.
Students have had the opportunity to study in the U of R Salzburg program since 1960. The program offers a general humanities and social sciences curriculum in the context of group study and extensive travel opportunities. Available to undergraduates regardless of major, the Salzburg semester is one of the many ways the University facilitates experiential learning.
“Studying abroad is one of the most powerful educational experiences one can have,” Baber says.
Baber’s introduction to Austria came with a 2013 Fulbright award to teach seminars in American music at the University of Vienna and the University of Music and Performing Arts while conducting research in the archives of the Vienna Philharmonic. After embarking on annual trips back to Austria, she decided to make the country her second home.
During her first year as director of U of R’s Salzburg program, Baber is focused on helping students close the loop between their study abroad experience and their academic and professional goals. Finding internship opportunities in Austria and diversifying the kinds of experiences available at the Salzburg campus—from First-Year Journeys to short-term courses for graduate students—are two of her initiatives. She also hopes that the Salzburg campus will contribute to the internationalization of University faculty by growing the community of Salzburg faculty fellows and encouraging Austrian faculty members to spend time in Redlands.
In addition to her directorial duties, Baber is looking forward to co-teaching a course about Austria in Europe. “So much of the story of classical music runs through Central Europe and the former Austro-Hungarian Empire,” says Baber, a music historian by training. “Beethoven, Schoenberg, Brahms, Schubert, Haydn, Mozart—all of them lived and worked in Austria, including my favorite composer, Gustav Mahler.”
Baber says the living-learning community is one of the things that sets the Salzburg program apart from other study abroad offerings. Students and faculty members are able to interact one-on-one and embark on group travel. As on the Redlands campus, students can participate in community service learning; partnerships with local homeless shelters and a middle school facilitate service projects that immerse students in Austrian culture.
Baber is inspired by watching students grow through their experience at the international campus and holds many aspirations for the future. “All of our students and faculty should see this as their place for research and creativity, teaching and learning,” she says. “We’re here for collaboration and to build connections between the communities of Redlands and Salzburg.”