Magnus the Good Collaborative Fellowships

The “Magnus the Good” endowed fund, established by friends of the former Paracollege, supports a series of awards to encourage student-faculty collaborations in undergraduate research, or in exploration of innovative applications of learning.

Established in 2003, the fund honors several important values of the college, including (1) that faculty and students learn well when they collaborate in one-on-one partnerships for research and/or reflection, and (2) that students learn well through having opportunities to apply and extend classroom learning.

Thus, the fund supports projects that provide opportunities for collaborative work between students and faculty, and that situate the proposed project in the context of the student’s interests and work, and also in the context of the faculty member’s interests and work.

The 2016-2017 Magnus the Good Awards

Louis Epstein & Anja Pruim (’17), Playing the Music History Game: Measuring Learning through Gamification

“We propose to improve and measure students’ learning in the music history classroom by harnessing the pedagogical insights of educational gaming. In the last 30 years, numerous disciplines within higher education have developed games to help students learn content and acquire skills, but music history has yet to explore this promising area. One reason may be that music historians have only recently begun to receive formal pedagogy training and are just beginning to conduct classroom research. It is in part for that reason that we have chosen to collaborate on this project: Anja brings interdisciplinary experience gained from her work as an elective studies major with emphases in Music and Psychology and insight gained from having taken the music history sequence at St. Olaf; Louis brings expertise in music history pedagogy and classroom research. Together, we will design a computer-based, educational game that students in Music 241 and 242 will play starting in the fall of 2016.”

Catherine Rodland & Isaac Drewes (’17), Organ Improvisation Curriculum for the Undergraduate Organist

“We propose to create a course of study for organ improvisation targeted toward undergraduate organists, with the goal of creating a practical, multipurpose curriculum aimed at developing the whole organist, both through historical and modern approaches. . . . Historically, improvisation has been expected of organists, and has been taught alongside the performance or established repertoire. Over time, the practice of making music spontaneously at the organ has fallen out of favor, and as a result, many students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees, or even graduate degrees, are not equipped with the necessary tools to improvise. . . . Our finished product will be an organ improvisation curriculum directed at skilled undergraduate organists, for use by college professors with their students.”

Hsiang-Lin Shih, Leah Shumei Suffern (’17), & Daniel Gaenslen (’17), Mapping Taipei from the Colonial Period through Modern Times: A Digital Representation of the Shifting Cityscape in Chu T’ien-hsin’s Novella The Old Capital

Hsiang-Lin Shih, Leah Suffern, and Daniel Gaenslen will be performing a close reading of The Old Capital by Chu T’ien-hsin and traveling to Taipei in order to create digital maps and virtual tours for the events in the novella. This project is consistent with other digital humanities work and will seek to enhance information and data about the “impacts of urbanization on Taipei’s landscape and people.”

“The idea for this mapping project originated from Modern Chinese Literature and Society (ASIAN 237) course, which used Chu T’ien-hsin’s novella The Old Capital (1997) as one of the texts.  The author’s unique perspective, as a second-generation mainland émigré to Taiwan, and her nostalgia for a bygone Japanese rule reveal various layers of memories of Taipei. . . . Her lament for the absence of her old friends, both literally and figuratively, displays a Taipei that can be easily forgotten by insensitive hearts and neglected by its visitors.  The protagonist’s criticism of the mangroves being blocked out by the Taipei Metro, and her sense of loss for the hundred-year-old nightshade trees being transplanted, for example, further show a deep connection between human beings and the environment.”

Ka Wong & Tracy Xiong (’18), Breaking Silence, Making History: Stories of Hmong American Women in Higher Education

“Minnesota is home to over 250,000 Asian Americans, of which Hmong constitutes the largest share. However, Hmong also comes last compared to their Asian American counterparts in attaining high school or higher degrees in education and per capita income; their statistics actually resemble more closely those of African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, than Asian Americans in aggregate. . . . This makes those Hmong college students extraordinary in many ways, in particular, female students who often need to fulfill the familial obligations and cultural expectations of Hmong traditions along with facing academic challenges and social responsibilities as modern American women.

Indeed, the majority of these young Hmong American women are making history, being the first generation in their families to attend college. It is time for them to break their silence and share their stories, which, we hope, are informative and inspirational. . . . Through an ethnographic study on Hmong American women in higher education, we can start to shed some light on not only this prominent yet quiet Asian American community in Minnesota, but also the pressing issues of race, gender, and class in the United States as a whole.”