“Studying is more than being taught facts”

On 1st July Prof. Dr. Klaus Meier is going to take over as Vice President for Studies and Teaching from Prof. Dr. Markus Eham, who will retire. Meier intends to build on what the Corona pandemic has taught us, namely to innovatively use digital teaching in combination with on-campus events.

The months leading up to the start of his retirement were everything but quiet for Prof. Dr. Markus Eham, who has been Vice President for Studies and Teaching since 2014. “Our lecturers and students had to get in tune with solely digital teaching at warp speed. All of us have learned a lot.” What he found remarkable was that students and lecturers seemed to be on an equal footing. Students sometimes became teachers - and vice versa. “That we have been awarded the title of best university in Germany in this time of the pandemic, distinguishes the KU. This is a standard we want to maintain, while also addressing social issues. Teaching must always keep pace with both subject development and changes in society," emphasizes Professor Klaus Meier.

In the short term, it is important we hold on to these newly acquired digital methods when on-campus teaching resumes. “However, we are also keen to start the winter semester on campus and to be able to live our usual culture of discourse. After all, studying is so more than being taught facts. It is also about gaining life experience in personal interaction. We will do everything we can to ensure that we can get together again - as long as it’s safe, of course," says Meier.

One long-term task is to further develop courses and programs as an innovating university. In this, we should always keep one eye on the great challenges of our times. “We always try to think in an interdisciplinary way: We do not solely want to see digitalization and artificial intelligence from a mathematical perspective. The same holds true for the topical clusters of sustainability and the crisis of democracy and the awareness of democracy”. As Vice-president of many years, Meier’s predecessor Markus Eham knows: “Our students have a great interest in the development of degree programs and show great competence in the university committees.”

About Prof. Dr. Markus Eham 

Prof. Dr. Eham has been a professor of Liturgics, Music and Voice Training at the KU Faculty of Religious Education since 1993. In his time at the Faculty, he held the position of Dean three times. Previously, he worked at the German Liturgical Institute in Trier as an expert for church music. He then became a lecturer for liturgics at the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and an employee at the Office for Church Music of the Archdiocese. His work focuses on projects with a practical orientation and publications on liturgics and church music that particularly deal with musical compositions for church services, which are tailored to the specific characteristics of the parishes. He participated in a commission of the German Bishops’ Conference, which developed a new version of the prayer and song book “Gotteslob”. Eham studied theology at the Ludwigs-Maximilian-University in Munich, where he also obtained his doctoral degree.
About Prof. Dr. Klaus Meier
After a two year journalism internship and a year as a local editor for the newspaper Frankenpost (Hof), Klaus Meier studied journalism at the KU, where he later completed a doctoral degree in communication studies, political science, and philosophy. He has worked as a free journalist among others for Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Bayerische Rundfunk, and is the co-founder of a PR agency. From 1996 to 2001, he was a research associate at the KU’s Chair of Journalism I. During that time, he also worked as a consultant and coach for editorial teams and training institutes for journalists in several countries. From 2001 to 2009, he was a professor of journalism at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, where he helped to establish the degree programs in online journalism and science journalism. At the TU Dortmund University, he held the chair of cross-media developments in journalism at the Institute of Journalism from 2009 to 2010, before being appointed to the Chair of Journalism I at the KU in 2011. In 2017, Klaus Meier was awarded the Ars Legendi Prize for excellent university teaching by the Stifterverband and the German Rectors' Conference.