Coach in Higher Education

Currently, I work as a Coach in the master’s program ZukunftsDesign (Future Design), an interdisciplinary program at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Germany. In the role of a Coach, I facilitate students learning process in interdisciplinary projects. In each semester, students work in projects teams (about 8 members) and engage in solving loosely structured ‘wicked problems’ of regional interest. As a coach, I do not take the role of the project manager but facilitate teamwork by reflecting on the individual team member and the entire process.

Project-based learning has become a widespread teaching approach in higher education. In academic programs this constructivist method is used as a vehicle of knowledge transfer and to empower students for 21st century challenges. These challenges are complex, transcend disciplinary boundaries and thus require integrating multiple perspectives and interdisciplinary approaches. Working on interdisciplinary projects allows students to apply theoretical models and methods to real-world problems. Moreover, project work provides a frame to develop communication skills, collaborative teamwork and effective time management. In this setting the role of the university lecturer has changed towards a facilitator who guides the team and provides means to support the students’ learning and the project process. A main goal of the study program is to foster regional development and contemporary innovation culture. To promote cross-industry and cross-professional thinking and action, graduates from all disciplines can enroll in this program.