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Ever since the University of St.Gallen’s early days, it has offered lectures to the general public. These lectures are intended to convey general knowledge in the fields of humanist thought and culture to students, as well as to the urban and rural population. What has been a tradition for 121 years has over the years become a programme that covers a wide variety of issues.“We are able to offer about 80 lectures every year and reach an average of 50 auditors per lecture and semester with this service,” says Regula Fraefel, who has been responsible for the organisation of the public lecture courses for 23 years.
"Focus on current issues of economic and social policy."
Although these figures are expressive of the programme’s success, Programme Director Florian Wettstein always wants to introduce
new elements into the programme. “In future, there should be an even stronger focus on current economic issues, as well as questions of social policy which concern society,” he says. This entails the challenge of much more short-term issue planning. In principle, programme planning starts a year before the programme starts since “engagement of faculty for the programme is something accompanied by a substantial amount of organisational work,” Wettstein explains.
In addition, Wettstein and Fraefel are convinced that auditors find the lecturers appealing in terms of continuity. Many faculty members have a regular audience who return time and again, sometimes even irrespective of specific topics. “Generally speaking, the formula applies: the longer a faculty member has been part of the programme, the more numerous their audience becomes in the course of time,” says Wettstein.
However, Wettstein also finds it important to attract young lecturers to the programme. “The public lectures are a great practice room for future faculty members, who are able to try out issues and experiment with teaching formats,” he says. This freedom is what he appreciates as Programme Director. “It is a great working space with lots of creative leeway which I want to exploit in order to be able to offer an attractive programme to the general public, HSG members and students every time.”