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LCC International University > News and Events archive > Why I taught a seminar at Vilnius University

Why I taught a seminar at Vilnius University

2024-03-08

Let’s be clear. I teach full-time at LCC International University. I am passionately dedicated to LCC. However, today I taught two seminars at Vilnius University. When I told an LCC colleague this, he looked puzzled and queried, “Why?”  

Vilnius University was established in the 16th century and is one of the oldest universities in Central and Eastern Europe. Founded by the Jesuits, the university was influenced by the Renaissance as well as both the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Reformation. A string of Polish philosophers, authors, and poets published at VU during the period of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The unfortunate closing of the university by Russia did not detour this well-established educational icon from bouncing back after Lithuanian independence. Today, faculty at Vilnius University specialize in the most modern sciences including laser technology, semi-conductors and nanotechnology. Unquestionably the largest and most prestigious institution of higher education in Lithuania, Vilnius University is nestled in the historic center of Vilnius showcasing baroque architecture which inspires the academic rigor of its vibrant historical past.  

Vilnius University is the antithesis of LCC International University. LCC is 33 years young. The entire academic program at LCC is housed in one building. LCC offers only humanities courses, not hard sciences.  

So why did I spend a full day at Vilnius University? To network and share ideas about academic writing. My friend, Jurga Kasteckienė, teaches academic writing to first year students, a required course that builds students’ skills in writing essays, annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, culminating in research essays and reports. I also teach academic writing skills to first year students at LCC, a required course that builds students’ skills in writing essays, annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, culminating in research essays and reports. I was eager to see how the material that we use at LCC would be received at another institution. 

Jurga invited me to teach her classes for a day. During lunch at trendy restaurant in old town, we engaged in a lively discussion about pedagogical ideas. Jurga and I agree on many things. Students are students, whether they enrolled in a newly established university (LCC) or at the oldest university in Europe. Some students are eager and hard working; others are reluctant and lack confidence. (We could go on . . .)  

Teaching English academic writing is similar, but not exactly the same for Jurga and I. We give slightly different assignments. We use a slightly different reference style to cite sources. We each have our unique styles of lecturing. Yet, we both share the same worries, like plagiarism, use of AI, and students’ mental health. We both smile deep down when our students write well and showcase their own ideas in final essays.  

Regardless of what the students in my seminar learned, the magic of the day, for me, was the relationship with a respected colleague who is as passionate about teaching writing as I am. Shared passions spark even greater inspiration for our joint profession, at uniquely different universities.

Author: Robin Gingerich, Ph.D., MA TESOL Program Director at LCC International University.

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