The FIESOLE Group came into being hand in hand with the opening of the Max Weber Programme in September 2006, when a group of applied linguists, educationalists and language professionals from various higher education institutions in Europe met to brainstorm ideas about how to give concrete support to the first cohort of Max Weber Fellows. Since then, the focus of the Group’s activities has widened to include a concern with developing and disseminating best practices in the field of academic communication, with particular reference to the needs of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers and junior faculty in today’s multilingual Europe.
In addition to the members of the EUI Unit for English for Academic Communication and Professional Development, members of the group include faculty and language professionals from the London School of Economics and Institute of Education (University of London), Humboldt University (Berlin), Collège d’Europe (Bruges), University of Siena, Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona), Department of Education (University of Oxford) and the Central European University (Budapest).
By collaborating through face-to-face interaction, teaching exchanges and e-platforms, the group develops teaching materials, methodologies, and curricular guidelines particularly suited to multilingual settings in which English functions as an academic lingua franca. Areas of particular expertise include teaching and learning in university classrooms (with particular attention to issues of cultural diversity), academic literacy, writing for publication and para-academic communication.
Currently, the FIESOLE Group supports a strategic and transnational approach to professional development within the Max Weber Programme by contributing to the Academic Practice Workshops and the Teaching Practice weeks, in which fellows can practise their teaching in situ in London, Barcelona or Berlin. The locally-based members of the Group – Laurie Anderson, Professor of English Linguistics, University of Siena; Nicky Owtram, coordinator of the EUI English Unit; Nicki Hargreaves, also an EAP trainer based at the EUI – also provide ongoing Academic Communication Skills training and support to the Fellows throughout the year.
Read the recent article in THE about the Fiesole Group.