Leibniz University Hannover scholars visit College, partner in teaching

Four Language Education and Special Education scholars from Leibniz University Hannover (LUH), Germany, visited Purdue this week as part of a new international research and teaching partnership with the College of Education. The purpose of the partnership is to foster international cooperation in teacher education and scholarship, focusing on diversity and inclusion.

(Left to right) Celebrating a new educational partnership: Purdue College of Education’s Phillip J. VanFossen, Interim Dean; Janet Alsup, Head, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Kathy Obenchain, Associate Dean for Learning, Engagement and Global Initiatives and professor of social studies education; Leibniz University Hannover’s Bettina Lindmeier, Ann-Kathrin Arndt, Alena Beck, and Ines Potthast.

The College hosted Prof. Dr. Bettina Lindmeier and Dr. Ann-Kathrin Arndt, faculty members, and Ines Potthast and Alena Beck, PhD candidates, from LUH’s College of Education, to further discuss potential and continued opportunities for research and teaching collaboration and scholarly exchange.

During their trip, the LUH scholars visited a Chicago charter school and a Lafayette elementary school; observed classes in literacy, language education, and special education; toured parts of campus, including the Black Cultural Center, the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center, and the Center for Resources and Equipment for Assistive Technology in Education (CREATE); met with faculty; attended a faculty and graduate student diversity and inclusion workshop; participated in a podcast recording; made a presentation to Purdue undergraduate elementary preservice teachers; and were honored by the College at a reception.

“We spent an amazing time at Purdue, meeting great teachers at local schools and being included in our colleagues’ teaching,” Lindmeier said. “We are going back with a number of ideas on how to promote our goals. Our first approach will be to develop a joint online course for the forthcoming term.”

LUH’s International Office contacted Chrystal Johnson, associate professor of social studies education, and Christy Wessel-Powell, assistant professor of literacy and language education, regarding an international student teaching partnership. “We agreed to Letter of Intent (LOI) that will support a virtual exchange program, faculty exchange program, and the potential for a study abroad experience and an international student teaching experience,” said Johnson.

The LOI was signed by Dr. Lindmeier and Phillip J. VanFossen, interim dean of the College of Education, on September 15 at a reception held in honor of the visit.

Prof. Dr. Bettina Lindmeier, LUH College of Education, and Phillip J. VanFossen, Interim Dean of the Purdue University College of Education, sign the Letter of Intent between LUH and Purdue.

“During the visiting scholar’s tour of the CREATE lab, they mentioned that they do not have a makerspace for individualizing assistive technology and they felt inspired by what we provide for future teachers in the College of Education,” said Jasmine Begeske, clinical instructor of special education. “These global conversations allowed us to wonder about the possibility of international student teaching opportunities and about building a more inclusive teacher preparation where students with disabilities are included in meaningful and productive ways in all school settings.”

“This partnership will extend the College’s mission of diversity and inclusion to the European context,” Johnson explained. “Like in the United States, Germany struggles with how to meet the needs and interests of all students. Given the expertise and scholarship in education at Purdue and Leibniz, this is definitely beneficial for the university community as well as for Indiana.”

“Our idea is to promote transcultural, multilingual, and transformative experiences for Purdue and Leibniz students and scholars and to reduce curricular and structural barriers to go abroad,” Lindmeier said. “We will build an international network of teacher-training institutions. In doing this, we want to provide experiences of schooling and university abroad to our students to enrich their perspectives and thus enable cultural exchange and promote transnational (teacher) education. The motto is: ‘Making teacher education global and local.’ “

Source: Dr. Christy Wessel-Powell, cwesselp@purdue.edu