Interview with the new Vice President Education

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Prof. Dr. Andrea Bréard is appointed new Vice President Education. (Image: Gudrun-Holde Ortner)

Prof. Dr. Andrea Bréard is the new Vice President Education at FAU

The Executive Board at FAU has a new member: Prof. Dr. Andrea Bréard is appointed new Vice President Education, following on from Prof. Dr. Bärbel Kopp, who has held the office for the last six years. Prof. Dr. Andrea Bréard holds the Chair of Chinese Studies, focusing on the philosophical and cultural history of China. What are Andrea Bréard’s plans for the next three years? We asked her.

Three questions to the new Vice President Education

Dear Prof. Bréard, congratulations on your new position! From April 1, you will be part of the Executive Board and are responsible for the area of education at FAU. Why did you run for the post of Vice President Education?

My work teaching at the university has always been driven by my firm belief that I am here for my students. As I am not from a family of academics myself, I am especially keen to ensure that all our students are offered an excellent academic experience, irrespective of their background. New students in particular find it hard to get their bearings when faced with the wide variety of degree programs on offer or the complexity of examination regulations. As Vice President Education, my responsibilities extend not only to my own disciplines and students, but also to managing and establishing long-term strategic projects for a university which offers the entire spectrum of academic disciplines. In order to achieve that, I can contribute both my interdisciplinary and my international experience, learning a lot myself at the same time about the complex organization of a large university.

What are your tasks as Vice President Education? What are your specific plans?

The tasks of the Vice President Education cover all teaching matters, ranging from quality management, training teaching skills, developing new degree programs, university-level teaching and digital courses to financial issues such as the distribution of state tuition funding. In order to ensure that everyone is in a position to tailor and benefit from their time at the university in the best possible way, “Education” does not only refer to excellent teaching per se, rather it is means to support the university community in achieving their career and life goals, I also believe that personal development is a central part of FAU’s responsibility to provide education. My predecessor, Prof. Bärbel Kopp, has already implemented wide-ranging measures to combat educational disadvantages. In the next three years, I would like to firmly establish the topic of “educational integrity” at FAU. Raising awareness of and reflecting on values such as sincerity, equality, diversity and inclusion should be aimed at the personal qualities of the students as well as the practices followed by teaching staff. The innovative opportunities for using artificial intelligence in teaching is another topic I am particularly interested in. Reacting in good time to the rapid developments in the field of digital technology by adapting teaching and examination formats accordingly is a major challenge, but also a significant opportunity.

You are not only an academic teacher, you are also a researcher. What is your area of research?

I conduct research at the interfaces between mathematics and Chinese studies. Specifically, that means that I research the history of science in China, from Antiquity until the present. Mathematics in China developed completely independently up until the early modern age. I am particularly interested in how mathematical sciences are integrated into a cultural and a political context. I explore this by investigating the language and content of Chinese primary sources. These include, for example, archive documents, numbers inscribed on oracle bones or algebraic texts from medieval times.

Portrait of Prof. Dr. Andrea Bréard
(Image: Gudrun-Holde Ortner)

Prof. Dr. Andrea Bréard holds a renowned Alexander von Humboldt professorship granted by the Humboldt Foundation in recognition of outstanding international researchers and leads the Chair of Chinese Studies focusing on the philosophical and cultural history of China at FAU. With her work, she combines two very different topics, conducting research into mathematics and Chinese studies.



Prof. Dr. Andrea Bréard is an Alexander von Humboldt professor

What is an Alexander von Humboldt professorship?