Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Larry MacIntyre
University Communications

Ryan Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, December 2, 2010

In the spirit of Herman Wells, IU expands partnerships with Germany's top research universities

Dec. 2, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- More than 60 years after its legendary 11th president, Herman B Wells, helped establish a "free university" in post-World War II Berlin, Indiana University announced today (Dec. 2) that it has renewed and expanded cooperative agreements with that institution as well as another of Germany's leading research universities.

While leading a university delegation to Germany, IU President Michael A. McRobbie signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Free University of Berlin, renewing a half-century of relations with that city's largest research university and expanding the partnership into new areas of cooperation -- including faculty exchanges, joint workshops and enhanced academic collaborations.

Presidents Signing MOU

IU President Michael McRobbie (right) and Hans-Jochen Schiewer, president of the University of Freiburg, sign an agreement formalizing academic and research collaborations between their respective institutions.

IU's partnership with the Free University of Berlin, which Wells helped found in 1948, is the university's longest-running exchange partnership, delivering German students to Bloomington and IU students to Berlin for graduate study and research.

McRobbie also signed an MOU with the University of Freiburg, one of Germany's oldest and most prestigious universities, founded in 1457. The agreement will formalize IU's academic and research collaborations with Freiburg, which has been home to some of the world's greatest academic thinkers and numerous Nobel laureates and, over the last two decades, has become a popular study-abroad destination for IU students.

"By expanding our partnerships with two of Germany's most preeminent research universities, Indiana University is providing its students and scholars access to the finest academic resources available anywhere in the world as well as the kinds of rich international experiences necessary to thrive in today's increasingly competitive global marketplace," McRobbie said. "We are also furthering the university's long and proud tradition -- initiated by Herman Wells -- of engaging the world through globally aware education, study abroad programs, alumni activities and strategic partnerships with the world's major institutions of higher learning."

While at Free University in Berlin, the IU delegation, which included McRobbie, Vice President for International Affairs Patrick O'Meara and Shawn Reynolds, university director of international partnerships and strategic initiatives, discussed strengthening collaborations between the two universities in areas including the sciences, computer science, instructional technology, Germanic studies and area studies.

At the University of Freiburg, which is home to the prestigious Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, the IU delegation discussed partnership opportunities in natural and medical science and in the humanities. While in Freiburg, delegation members visited the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik to discuss possible linkages with IU's Jacobs School of Music, one of the world's most comprehensive and acclaimed institutions for the study of music. Also in Freiburg, they had a "great" meeting, McRobbie said, with about a dozen IU students studying in the historic university city.

From Freiburg, the university delegation traveled to Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, which is particularly renowned for its education and research programs in computing and computational linguistics. Discussions at Saarland focused on developing partnerships in various areas of information technology.

In Berlin, IU entered into an agreement with the Hertie School of Governance, one of Europe's top schools of public policy, which, together with IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, hosts a summer course on globalization and European public policy. The agreement is expected to expand the trans-Atlantic cooperation to include both teaching and research activities. Additionally, exploratory meetings were held in Berlin with several educational organizations, including, among others, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

While not in meetings, McRobbie hosted two events for IU's international alumni -- one in Berlin that included IU graduates from all across Germany and another in Zurich, Switzerland, to commemorate the official founding of the Zurich Chapter of the IU Alumni Association. Approximately 50 of IU's 129 Swiss alumni attended the event in Zurich.