Euroculture Spotlight # 16: Simon Fink
08 Sep 2017
The Spotlight focuses on special achievements or activities of Euroculture students,
alumni and staff
Today in the Spotlight: Prof. Simon Fink, the new Director of Studies in Göttingen.
— Thanks, Simon, for taking the time to answer our questions!
What is your affiliation with Euroculture?
I am the Director of Studies for Euroculture Göttingen since April 2017, but even before that date I have supervised a few Euroculture theses.
— How is your experience with Euroculture so far?
As a new Director of Studies, I first looked at the institutions - the guidelines for the programme, how the universities interact, the governance of the programme, and so on. As I am a political scientist, this is my usual approach. I am amazed by the ideas and effort that have gone into making Euroculture a really integrated programme. You really notice the effort and "brainpower" that is in every little detail of the programme and the governance structure. Moreover, I took part in the IP 2017, and that was a tremendous experience. The dedication of the students and the staff is impressive, as well as the variety of topics that are discussed.
— An ideal student: what is she or he like?
An ideal student is critical of academic authorities. It´s not my job to preach established wisdom to an awestruck crowd, but to encourage students to challenge established wisdom. When I read academic texts with my students (including my own texts), the best part is finding gaps in the argumentation, ways to go forward, to improve upon given wisdom. Ideal students have an internal drive to do just that. They ask: Am I convinced by the arguments, could there be better arguments, is the empirical study appropriate, are there better alternatives...?
— What did you do before Euroculture?
I did my MA studies at the University of Konstanz and finished with an MA in political science. My minors were psychology and law. I then did my PhD at the University of Bamberg, where I also did my German "Habilitation".
— Could you share some plans for the future?
Well, as I have just started my professorship at Göttingen, I´m trying to settle in academically and privately. Academically, I try to start some research projects on the German energy transformation. Privately, I have two small kids and I try to raise them as best as I can. In the best of worlds, this would mean to teach them being good citizens, to share, to be emphatic with other people, to be curious about the world, and other high-minded aims. In the short term, this means to get them to eat more vegetables.
— What is the best place you have traveled to and why?
If I have to make a choice...I once worked as a guest professor in Seoul, South Korea. I really liked the experience, because Seoul was so vibrant, at times challenging, but always rewarding with a mix of centuries-old history and total high-tech. And I liked Korean food. In Europe, I liked going to Slovenia. It is so much European history (and so many different landscapes) crammed into a tiny country.