The leitmotif or vision for the Leipzig Model for American Studies is to bring together the virtues of the "Humboldtian Ideal" with the strengths of "Dewey Pragmatism" to create a unique liberal arts education experience.
The "Humboldtian Ideal" is the renowned concept at the heart of Europe's great universities that research or the pursuit of new knowledge should shape the classroom experience. The German reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt's idea (central at such American universities like Harvard) is built into the American Studies Leipzig program through regular research projects that students undertake in all their modules, and the repeated opportunities students receive to discuss their research with fellow students and faculty.
"Dewey Pragmatism" originates with the American reformer John Dewey, who called for more practical skills and experiences to shape the pursuit of education. Dewey's ideas, like Humboldt's, have shaped higher education around the world. Dewey's vision is built into the BA and MA Program at American Studies Leipzig with our Professional Skills Modules (Schlüsselqualifikationsmodule), into the structure and assignments of all the modules offered, and with the emphasis on study abroad, internships, and community service.
The strength of bringing together Humboldt and Dewey's ideas and visions is to produce a program that permits students to pursue an individualized, interdisciplinary, international, and integrated (classroom and practical experience) higher education career. This is the essence of the liberal arts education vision, or the effort to encourage students to acquire a well-founded confidence with which to engage their communities and their careers.