Education vs. Training: A Contradiction or Productive Synergy?

On September 3, join renowned experts at the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York for a discussion on the rapidly changing relationship between a traditional university education and the university degree as preparation for a career.
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Higher Education
Vocational Training
Work Force Development
University Degree
Liberal Arts


New York City - New York - US


NEW YORK - Aug. 30, 2014 - PRLog -- What is the purpose of a university education? Is it, narrowly, to ensure a good job after graduation? Or is the point of a university degree to give students a broad liberal arts education that teaches them how to think and write critically? Or can a college education do both? There has been a push in the U.S. and Germany to provide training at the undergraduate level to enable graduates to immediately enter the work force. How are universities in both countries responding to this pressure, and are there promising models that allow for the cooperation and interplay of the liberal arts with vocation-specific training?  On Wednesday, September 3, 2014, please join our panelists at the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York as they discuss these and other significant questions affecting academia, industry, and the global knowledge economy.

Prof. Ulrike Beisiegel, President of Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, will begin by presenting about the highly differentiated German higher education system. She will explain how education and training form a productive synergy as they fulfill different yet equally important functions in society. She will then speak about the challenge facing many research universities in the future – namely, how to be more socially responsible by conducting research targeted at solving global problems without interfering with the freedom of research itself. She will also discuss how the curricula of future education programs need to be improved by incorporating more aspects of internationalization and themes like diversity management, research integrity, and leadership skills. Lastly, in order to provide this level of comprehensive, high quality education in the future, she will address how universities will need more money per student, which may possibly call for tuition fees.

Prof. Beisiegel will be joined by Prof. Philip G. Altbach, Director of the Center for International Higher Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, who will provide an overview of the significant challenges facing American higher education at present. He will discuss how, on the one hand, the top U.S. research universities and selective undergraduate colleges are doing well in terms of quality, competitiveness, and in some cases, even finances. Yet, the majority of mid-range, four-year colleges and relatively unselective universities have unclear missions and face considerable pressures relating to financing, mission, and employability. The community colleges – two-year partly vocational institutions – are becoming an increasingly important part of the entire system, as national policy looks to upgrade skills. But they too may be facing an increasingly complicated set of missions.

Prof. Altbach will then elaborate on other key challenges, such as the “defunding” of higher education in the U.S. by the states. Without exception, the proportion of support provided to public colleges and universities by the state governments has declined, in some cases by more than half. Results of this include massive increases in tuition costs as well as limiting access and cutting numbers of courses and faculty members – all factors that make it difficult for students to graduate on time. He will also speak about the “privatization of public higher education” and how this “defunding” has led to a “debt crisis” for many students and a large increase in federal government allocations for loan programs. Finally, Prof. Altbach will bring to light the crisis of non-completion and delayed completion of degrees.

Prof. Andreas Bertram, President of Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences (OS UAS), will conclude the evening’s presentations by describing how the higher education landscape in Germany has changed over the past decade as well as where he predicts it is heading. In addition, he will explain how a Fachhochschule or German University of Applied Sciences differs from a typical German university and whether this successful model could be adopted in the U.S.

Prof. Jeffrey Peck, Dean of the Weissmann School of Arts and Sciences, Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, and Vice Provost for Global Strategies at Baruch College of the City University of New York, will moderate the dicussion about what the German and U.S. higher education systems can learn from each other.

The panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, September 3, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the German Center for Research and Innovation (871 United Nations Plaza, First Avenue, btw. 48th & 49th Streets).

Unable to attend? Follow @gcri_ny ( and the hashtag #HigherEd for live tweets. A video recording will be available on ( shortly after the event.

This event is co-sponsored by the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK).

The German Center for Research and Innovation provides information and support for the realization of cooperative and collaborative projects between North America and Germany. With the goal of enhancing communication on the critical challenges of the 21st century, GCRI hosts a wide range of events from lectures and exhibitions to workshops and science dinners. Opened in February 2010, GCRI was created as a cornerstone of the German government’s initiative to internationalize science and research and is one of five centers worldwide.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Audet
(212) 339 8680, ext. 302

Jennifer Audet
Source:German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI)
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Tags:Higher Education, Vocational Training, Work Force Development, University Degree, Liberal Arts
Industry:Education, Government
Location:New York City - New York - United States
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