Contact maintenance with alumni world-wide was a subject on the agenda of the recent 192nd plenary meeting of Germany's Standing Conference of Higher Education Rectors in Bonn. As an example of further education offerings for alumni the Conference spent some time looking at the Alumni.med.Live virtual medical faculty, presented by founding President Prof. Dr. Christian Herfarth, medical director of the Surgical Hospital of the University of Heidelberg. The virtual medical faculty is targeted at medical graduates trained in Germany and active in medical research or as medical practitioners all over the world. It comprises a multi-media database with further education offerings accessible on the Internet at www.med-live.de. "It's now grown to over 60 hours of symposia and courses on the Internet," Herfarth reported, "with 10 more hours every two weeks."
Herfarth: "Bearing in mind that the virtual medical faculty was only established last June things have developed at considerable speed. And that means there's a genuine demand out there, all over the world."
The virtual medical faculty assembles 53 university hospitals and teaching hospitals. 314 professors and department heads represent 35 different branches of medicine. There have already been events launching the project in China, Brazil, Syria and the Lebanon, and conferences are planned in India and Africa.
The plenary meeting of the Rectors' Conference acclaimed the project as a successful blend of international marketing for Germany's universities, alumni contact maintenance and virtual further education. The participants at the Conference emphasised the importance of the Internet for cultivating contacts with former students at home and abroad, stressing that in this area there was still a great deal of untapped potential universities could make greater use of.
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