German professor spends sabbatical at UWP

April 23, 2003

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2003_04_23.jpgPLATTEVILLE-The University of Wisconsin-Platteville welcomed German professor Heinz Schmiedel to campus for the spring semester to teach in the electrical engineering department. Schmiedel is on sabbatical leave from the University of Applied Sciences in Fachhochschule Darmstadt, Germany, one of UWP's partner schools in Germany.

"When Rich Shultz (Dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science) was in Darmstadt visiting the University of Applied Sciences, we met and talked about me spending my sabbatical at UW-Platteville," Schmiedel said. "My wife, who is a teacher, and I arrived in February and will be here through mid-June."

Schmiedel is team-teaching two courses this semester, advanced analog electronic circuits with assistant professor Phil Sealy and microstrip circuit design with professor Dave Drury. Schmiedel said experiencing the differences between universities in the U.S. and in Darmstadt is one of the benefits of spending his sabbatical at UWP.

"It's interesting to see how the different systems of the universities work, how the university is run, the class sizes, teaching methods and curriculum content," Schmiedel said. "There are pros and cons to both, but generally I'd say the class sizes here are smaller, which I think is good for the students. Students at UWP, on average, seem more motivated than the students in Germany, perhaps because in Germany the students don't have to pay tuition."

In addition to gaining insight into the differences between teaching in the U.S. versus teaching in Germany, Schmiedel said he hopes to strengthen the relationship between UWP and the University of Applied Science and encourage students to seize the opportunity to study abroad and visit other countries.

Before returning to Germany, Schmiedel plans to work on several research projects involving transmission lines and may revisit several of the Wisconsin state parks.

"Over spring break, my wife and I took a road trip throughout Wisconsin and we really enjoyed the state parks," Schmiedel said.

Mesut Muslu, chair of the electrical engineering department, said having Schmiedel spend his sabbatical at UWP is an excellent opportunity for students and faculty members

"Heinz brings his views on electrical engineering into the classroom and shares them with the students," Muslu said. "It's also a good opportunity for our faculty to share ideas with him, and we hope to send one of our faculty members to Darmstadt in the future."

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