Véréna Keller, dean
‘As a commuter, I take particular notice of events related to transport.’
Why did you choose to practise in Lausanne?
VK | A vacancy for a professor at the School of Social Work in Lausanne matched my profile. I passed the competitive examination and I was appointed. I spent over 15 years travelling between Geneva and Lausanne. The Lausanne metro has good connections with the train services and makes journeys run far more smoothly.
What were your first impressions when you arrived in Lausanne?
VK | The beautiful setting – facing the lake and the mountains – and the town with its valleys and hills. It took me several years to understand its geography.
If you had to define the study environment in Lausanne in just three words, what would they be?
VK | Excellence, proximity, dynamism.
Can you tell us about your career before taking up your teaching post?
VK | I was born in Basel and moved to Geneva after gaining my first diploma. I spent 20 years practising as a social worker in various fields. A university degree enabled me to move into education and to apply myself to research.
What do you consider to be key features of the professorship within your branch of study in Lausanne?
VK | The diverse nature of collaborative partnerships, whether with students, fellow teachers and professionals and managers in the field of social work or with the scientific and political communities.
Can you tell us about any memorable events you have experienced during your career as a professor in Lausanne?
VK | As a commuter, I take particular notice of events related to transport. I remember one particular day in spring when the high ground above Lausanne, where my school is situated, was covered in snow and trees had fallen across the roads. The first metro ride was a happy event. I was touched by the pride shown by the people of Lausanne to be endowed with a transport service such as this.
What do you get out of your work as a professor?
VK | Very stimulating encounters.
What is your fondest memory of Lausanne?
VK | Hearing the night-watchman for the first time.
Interview conducted by | Tom Crawford