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International Partnerships Bring Visitors to Campus

German Administrator Completes Two-Week Stay

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Christine Scharf-Hagenmiller, right, of the University of Regensburg in Germany spent two weeks at UMass Lowell on an international work exchange program. Her visit was coordinated by Mary Robbins, left, special assistant to the provost for international affairs.

By Jill Gambon

Students aren’t the only people who come to UMass Lowell to learn. Researchers and administrators from universities around the world are coming to campus to share ideas and expand their knowledge.

Christine Scharf-Hagenmiller is one such person.  An administrator at the University of Regensburg in Germany, Scharf-Hagenmiller recently wrapped up a two-week visit to campus during which she learned about UMass Lowell’s international and experiential learning programs and other offerings.  She was participating in the STELLA program, an international work exchange for university administrators and staff members.

“It has been an amazing experience,” says Scharf-Hagenmiller, who is a coordinator in the college of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies. “I am taking a lot of ideas back home.” 

The STELLA program is offered through the Compostela Group, a network of more than 70 mostly European universities whose goal is to foster cooperation and enable collaboration among members. UMass Lowell was accepted into the Compostela Group last year, one of only three U.S. universities to gain admittance.

Scharf-Hagenmiller is the first visitor to come to campus under the STELLA program.  She had 25 universities to choose from and picked UMass Lowell because of the similarities to her home university.

“We were delighted to have someone from the STELLA program pick UMass Lowell,” says Special Assistant to the Provost for International Affairs Mary Robbins, who coordinated the visit. “It’s been a wonderful experience for everyone involved.” 

Located about an hour outside of Munich in Bavaria, the University of Regensburg is a public research institution with an enrollment of about 22,000. Like UMass Lowell, it has experienced strong growth in recent years.  Enrollment in its software engineering program alone has doubled in the past five years, Scharf-Hagenmiller says. 

The University of Regensburg’s priorities include growing international enrollment and expanding experience-based learning. So, during her stay, Scharf-Hagenmiller spent time at the International Students & Scholars Office and met with the Career Services & Cooperative Education Center staff. She also visited the Tsongas Industrial History Center, toured campus labs, and spent time with other faculty and staff. 

The level of support services for students impressed her as did the tight integration of work experiences like co-op jobs align with the academic curriculum.