Events - 25.04.2013 - 00:00 

Contextual studies conference opens

In recognition of their 12th year of enriching students by providing a solid foundation in the humanities, the HSG "The Future of Content is Context" conference seeks to celebrate their program and look toward the future.


25. April 2013. The opening session held at the historic St. Gallen town hall brought together members of the academic, student and business community to put the last 12 years of the program into perspective with an eye to the years to come. The session was kicked-off with an enthusiastic introduction from HSG Rector Thomas Bieger, who welcomed the attendees and noted that as a leading business school, he believes strongly in giving his students a foundation in contextual studies. The opening session‘s panel speakers included:

  • Monika Bütler, Economics and Public Policy, Dean School of Economics and Political Science, HSG
  • Katja Gentinetta, Philosopher, Author and Television Moderator
  • Vincent Kaufmann, Chair of French Language and Culture Institute for Media and Communications Management HSG
  • Theresa Niederle, Student Representative
  • Thomas Sattelberger, Deutsche Telekom
  • Sascha Spoun, President of Leuphana University in Lüneburg/Germany and Guest Professor for Quality Management HSG

Context of Conference
Before introducing our speakers, event host Ulrich Schmid, put the purpose of the conference into perspective noting that the HSG Humanities faculty wanted to use the event to assess what has been done, to see whether the vision for the program has been realised and what can be done to make the programme more effective.

The Keynote address was delivered by Sterling Professor of French and Chair of the Humanities Program at Yale University Howard Bloch. In his eloquent speech, he noted that sometimes in an ocean of immediate information – Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia – the usefulness of the Humanities can seem less useful because they are intangible. He continued to point out that a basis in the Liberal Arts was not questioned and was standard at most, if not all higher learning institutes until 1969.  “The Humanities provides perspective and helps clarify situations and conflicts.”

Unique Perspective
HSG Student representative Theresa Niederle had a specific suggestion on how to encourage the segment of the student body that are cold to the idea the inclusion of contextual studies into their mostly economic and business focus. Her suggestion was to keep contextual studies mandatory but to make the classes void of grades… encouraging students to enjoy them and try different areas of interests, rather than choose courses that require the least amount of effort and that would best serve their grade point average.  

The HSG’s vision for their students changed 12 years ago while moving away from the Bologna System. Currently the university requires that 25% of a bachelor’s students course load regardless of their area of focus, is in the Humanities, bringing “context” to their studies. The conference concludes on April 26th at the Textile Museum in St. Gallen. 

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