Since 1996, CEU’s Summer University (SUN) has been bringing academics and professionals together in Budapest to learn from CEU professors alongside leading scholars and experts from universities and international organizations worldwide. This year, SUN has collaborated with the Open Society University Network (OSUN) yielding new interdisciplinary course offerings designed through the framework and values of the network.
“OSUN and SUN have a shared mission and interest in promoting civic engagement in higher education, encouraging intellectual curiosity and fact-based research in training academics and professionals,” comments CEU SUN Executive Director Eva Gedeon. Having become part of a larger network, she notes that SUN has benefited from access to a wider range of new collaborations for courses in the program, which include both research intensive courses as well as policy and training courses.
“CEU faculty have found this new opportunity exciting and convened or joined the teaching teams of thirteen courses for 2021 within this framework. OSUN, on the other hand, has found in the CEU summer program a partner to serve the thematic and skills-building needs of OSUN colleagues and students and provide a platform for debate and collaboration across the sectors of education, policy, practice, and activism,” remarks Gedeon.
Along these lines, SUN also provides space for experimenting with new topics and initiatives and can work as a smaller-scale pilot project for larger OSUN collaborations in the planning phase. “As a next step, I can foresee the summer courses more closely aligned with some larger OSUN projects as, for instance, either an exploratory phase at the beginning or a dissemination channel at the end of a project,” adds Gedeon.
A great part of SUN’s attraction comes from the course design. This year, several offerings, such as Confronting the Crisis of Expertise, Disruptive Narratives and Liberalism Infected, explore the crisis of liberal democracies and the backsliding of democracies globally in a post-truth world from various disciplines. Another cluster of study focused on education and pedagogy illuminates topics of higher education policy and design through The Quality of University Education and Designing a Collaborative and Connected Liberal Arts Classroom. While courses deploy CEU expertise and research that can be expanded in specialized areas, SUN ventures into related, but interdisciplinary territory, for example, with courses such as Feminist Political Economy, and Commoning Art and Culture, as well as those that focus on music as intangible cultural heritage and literary journalism.
In 2021, the SUN courses will be delivered digitally. While acknowledging that online courses cannot fully replace the in-person experience, Gedeon is confident that the experience will be lively and engaging for participants: “Our courses are not solo performances conducted by one professor but there is a team of faculty, an ensemble performing together for the course audience. This in itself contributes to the intellectual variety and diversity of perspectives that students are confronted with, helping to keep them stay fully tuned in and actively participate in the online sessions.”
In 2020, SUN received an overwhelmingly positive response to the first ever online courses, which were taught digitally due to pandemic constraints, with over 150 students from more than 50 countries. The intensive courses employ a range of modes: short, live faculty presentations and pre-recorded lectures, alternating with both facilitated and independent small group discussions in breakout rooms, followed up by plenary sessions, one-on-one consultations with faculty, individual or group assignments and presentations, digital fieldwork, and more.
Those who want to participate in this year’s SUN program can still apply to several SUN courses accepting applications. Additionally, faculty interested in teaching next year can reference the 2022 Call for Course Proposals.