In May 2012, education professor Joe Erickson and psychology associate professor Stacy Freiheit traveled to the University of Ljubljana in Ljubljana, Slovenia to begin work on a proposed spring 2014 travel seminar for Augsburg students.
The seminar, called “The Heart of Europe,” would bring together two Augsburg courses, one each from psychology and education, comparing psychological and education traditions of several central European nations with American practices and history. Erickson and Freiheit met with elementary and secondary school staffs, mental health professionals, professors in a wide variety of fields, and students in both psychology and education. The relationships they established will permit them to develop a full travel seminar proposal with plans for study in Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, and Italy.
Since 1994, Augsburg College has had an international partnership with the University of Ljubljana to develop faculty and student exchanges. While in Slovenia, Erickson said they learned that Augsburg’s partnership with the University of Ljubljana is one of the very few remaining bi-lateral partnerships still functioning between the University and other institutions of higher learning. Recent European higher education reforms have ended nearly all bi-lateral partnerships in Europe, so Augsburg is in a unique position to partner with a very active and enthusiastic faculty without any competition from other institutions.
Erickson and Freiheit also delivered lectures to Slovenian students and met with professors at the University of Ljubljana and the University of Klagenfurt in Klagenfurt, Austria. Financial support for their travel was provided by the Office of the Dean through its internationalization travel fund.