Interview with the Academic Dean
April 24, 2020
Lancaster University Leipzig welcomes its new Academic Dean, Dr Mark Brewer.
Having worked on a broad range of international projects, activities, and partnerships in both higher education and the private sector over the past two decades, Dr Brewer brings with him a wealth of experience of transnational education programmes, research, and stakeholder engagement.
Dr Brewer, what is your connection to Germany?
I first lived in Germany in the summer of 1996 while I was writing my PhD at the University of St Andrews in the UK, which focused on the relationship between European Union law and German law. After completing my PhD, I was very grateful to receive a Robert Bosch Stiftung fellowship, which provided generous support to allow me to work in the Federal Finance Ministry, the Max Planck Institute, and the Bundesrat. During the fellowship year, I learned so much about Germany, and I feel incredibly privileged to have met so many wonderful people and experienced so much about German politics, society, and culture. Thereafter, I became the first student to do a joint law degree between a German and an American law school, when I was very generously funded by the DAAD to study at Humboldt Universität in Berlin in conjunction with my studies at Cornell University in New York. After completing my law degrees, I worked at two major international law firms in Frankfurt, where I worked with companies and financial institutions across Germany to raise capital for a variety of projects. Over the years I’ve lived in Germany, I have made some of the best friends I have, experienced wonderful artistic and cultural performances and events, and felt the warm hospitality and kindness of so many people. I am deeply grateful how I’ve been so warmly welcomed!
What do you think you will bring to the success of LU Leipzig?
Having studied in the UK, I very much value the rigorous, challenging, and rewarding approach to higher education that British universities provide. I therefore feel passionate about building Lancaster University Leipzig’s campus to offer such a world leading educational experience in Germany. I look forward to being an advocate for students seeking an international education and outlook, and I will work hard to promote Lancaster University Leipzig’s engagement in research, business, and other key stakeholders in Leipzig, across Germany, and throughout Europe.
LU Leipzig is first of its kind being the first UK university in Germany. What direction would you like to see the campus to go in? What are next steps in the Academic development?
Our campus will focus on providing an exceptional student experience, outstanding research, and multidimensional engagement with the business community, other academic institutions, governmental bodies, and other valued stakeholders. We will bring a top UK university education to the heart of Europe, offering a distinct student experience that brings the best aspects of British higher education together with the opportunity live, study, and work in one of Germany’s greatest cities. While we are starting in the areas of business, accounting, finance, and computing, we will grow into a multi-disciplinary campus that provides a wide range of academic subjects and opportunities to engage with Lancaster University in the UK as well as its other campuses globally, including in China, Ghana, and Malaysia. Along with the top-notch academic programmes, we believe an education should not only challenge the mind but create well-rounded graduates. Therefore, we look forward to welcoming a range of student organisations and activities, sporting and cultural events, student competitions and service projects, and deep engagement with businesses and the community.
Leipzig will be the new home for you and your family. What was the first impression of the city?
We love it! Along with its beautiful architecture to its impressive musical heritage, Leipzig is a city that inspires creativity and innovation. Its many green spaces and lakes provide plenty of opportunities to relax, and its museums, galleries, music venues, and other cultural facilities provide so much to see and do. I cannot imagine a more exhilarating, beautiful, exciting, and interesting city!
Covid-19 has created an unforeseeable situation for all universities around the world. What is LU Leipzig’s answer to it?
Covid-19 has brought very serious challenges to higher education institutions in all countries throughout the world. At Lancaster University Leipzig, we have been actively engaged in planning to ensure we can respond appropriately to these challenges. Our first and foremost concern is the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community, and we will do all we can to minimise possible risks. We also realise the importance of providing opportunities for students to continue with their studies so they are prepared for their future careers. We will offer traditional lectures and seminars as far as possible under relevant guidelines, but we also have the ability to offer excellent online teaching when and if necessary. Given Germany’s particular approach to Covid-19, we are optimistic that our offer will appeal to a broad range of German, European, and international students who choose to take advantage of enrolling at a top-ranked British university in Germany. We certainly look forward to welcoming students who are attracted by this particular opportunity, and Lancaster University Leipzig is indeed “open for business”!
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