In the next months, Rooms 112 and 113 in Clark Hall will undergo a high-tech transformation for German cultural activities.
A $100,000 grant from the Max Kade Foundation in New York City will be used to reconfigure the Max Kade Center for German Studies to support a multi-use environment for classes, readings, lectures, workshops, film screenings and more.
Currently those activities take place at different locations around campus, but the renovations will enable the center to be home to German culture on campus, said Jutta Ittner, director of the center and associate professor of German and comparative languages in the College of Arts and Sciences.
"In terms of programming and outreach, we are one of the liveliest and most successful of the Arts and Sciences interdisciplinary centers," stated Ittner. The center's programming brings together faculty and students in German-related classes in philosophy, political science, history, cognitive science, Judaic studies, theater and music at Case Western Reserve as well as at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
The Max Kade Foundation in New York funds diverse educational initiatives in both Germany and the United States to promote a greater understanding of German culture in the two countries. The Foundation has been a longtime and generous supporter of German culture activities on campus.
In 2000, the Foundation gave $65,000 to establish the Max Kade Center for German Culture in the newly renovated Clark Hall. Annually the foundation awards a monetary gift at Christmas that Ittner uses for programming in the following year and for awards to honor first- and second-year students taking German language classes. Additionally the foundation has supported the annual, two-week Max Kade Workshop during which students explore topical cultural issues with a visiting artist or scholar from Germany, Austria or Switzerland. It also helps as many as 15 students of the The Munich Experience, a study abroad program for advanced German language students, to travel and spend four weeks in Germany. Ittner's program has become a model for other study programs in the department of modern languages and literatures.
As part of the center's transformation, a vacant administrative office suite will be converted into a state-of-the-art classroom. When the existing sliding oak doors are made usable again, both spaces together will have the capacity to host events for up to 50 people.
The space will be rewired for videoconferencing capabilities to connect students on campus with peers and faculty at German-speaking universities and organizations. The room will also be equipped with a system to play DVDs and other electronic materials in the European format.
The center also will become home to the Max Kade Library of books, DVDs, audiobooks and other materials, which now fill the book shelves of Ittner's Guilford House office.
Once the center is completed, Ittner plans to focus on expanding a number of activities. She plans to extend the annual short visits by writers and scholars-in-residence to a whole semester and to create a German language floor in one of the campus dorms.
Ittner says the timing of the renovation is especially fortunate as several junior faculty have recently joined the college of arts and sciences whose expertise includes in German studies. Their perspectives and initiatives have already transformed the center. Ittner said she is very excited about the possibilities that the new center will offer to the academic and the Cleveland community.
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