Tailor-made teaching experiences at UPF Barcelona

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Max Weber Fellows at UPF, BarcelonaBy Daniel Hershenzon and Stefan malthaner, Max Weber Fellows 2011-2012

Since 2010 the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) has been part of the Max Weber Programme’s teaching exchange. This year seven Fellows had the opportunity to spend a week in Barcelona, participating in teaching activities, lecturing, meeting faculty, and spending a few days at a university which is not only among the top ranked in Europe, but also conveniently located in equidistance between the marvels of Barcelona’s historic centre and the Mediterranean Sea.

What characterizes the exchange with UPF is that teaching activities as well as other academic activities are “tailor-made” to fit each Fellow’s disciplinary profile and research interests.

For their stay in Barcelona, individual Fellows were assigned a mentor from the faculty of UPF who organized their participation in lectures and teaching seminars, as well as opportunities to meet with faculty and take part in research workshops.

Teaching experiences thus ranged from 90-minute lectures in front of 200 undergraduate students, to preparing seminar classes for undergraduates and graduates and from giving lectures to the faculty, to participation in full-day teaching workshops. Notable in all cases was the intensive advice and feedback given by the Fellows’ mentors as well as other members of UPF faculty, which is the reason this was more than a teaching exchange. For example, Fellows who in addition to teaching lectured to their host departments received intensive feedback on their work from three faculty members. The visit then provided us with the opportunity to meet with outstanding scholars at UPF and other universities in Barcelona, to present and discuss our research, to practice and better our teaching skills, and to get to know the Pompeu Fabra’s innovative and vivid academic environment.

Yet, spending a week in Barcelona does have benefits beyond the academic, of course. Barcelona offered us its unique architecture, ranging from the magnificent works by Gaudi to contemporary Spanish architects, great tapas and seafood, beautiful beaches and intensive night life. Finally, Futbol Club Barcelona, the leading team in the world, played two important matches during that week giving us a glimpse of the excitement soccer provokes in the city.

View from Park Guell