Browse by Interest Area

Examples of past courses with an academic civic engagement component by interest area.  Please check the Academic Catalog for course descriptions.  Please verify with the faculty member who is currently teaching the course whether or not it will have an academic civic engagement component in the semester when you are registering.   Many of these courses are offered every year or every-other year.

Interest Areas:  Arts and Music | Economics | Environment | Health | Immigrants and Refugees | Public Policy | Other

Arts, Music, and Theater

 

Music and Social Justice (Music 245)

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Students study how music can engage and advocate for those on the margins of society, inspiring social justice movements. Analyzing historical and current events, class members design a musical project that can empower a people, group or organization in addressing moral and social problems such as racial inequality, rural or urban violence, or prison reform. A Christian normative framework, along with religious and secular alternatives, help guide the ethics implications pertaining to this subject.

ACE Component: Four evening visits the Women’s Correctional Facility in Shakopee, MN to work with their women’s choir, plus generating musical advocacy program/project ideas in conjunction with Northfield area nonprofits (Northfield Arts GuildUnion of Youth/The KeyGreenvale Park Community SchoolCannon River Watershed Partnership).

 

Advanced Acting for the Lyric Stage, James McKeel, (Music 267)

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This studio course focuses on advanced techniques of acting and singing for the musical stage with emphasis on opera. Students explore voice, movement, improvisation, and characterization at an advanced level. Participants receive coaching in musical and dramatic style through solo and small ensemble literature and prepare scenes for class performance. The course culminates with public performances of a fully staged and costumed lyric theater work. St. Olaf students in the course, “Acting for the Lyrical Stage” performed in full Commedia dell Arte costumes for students in local elementary schools.  The performance included singing, dancing, and improvising to involve the younger students.  This course is part of the Music department’s school outreach program.  See photos from the event.

 

Music Opera Workshop, James McKeel (MUSIC 269) and Dale Kruse (2016)

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The Mozart Experiment: This class will research, interpret, compare, rehearse, and perform a variety of ensembles and recitative scenes from Mozart’s operas in order to develop a sensitivity and ease with the collaborative dynamic of effective lyric communication in an ensemble setting. Performances by the class will be offered to the public free of charge.

In 2016, St. Olaf students devised and created an opera about immigration with students from Prairie Creek Charter School.

 

Arts Management,  Sian Muir, (MGMT 229)

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This course provides an overview of the key issues that face arts administrators. Topics addressed include strategic planning, budgeting, fund raising, audience development, and human resource management as each relates to the unique setting of the arts. Case analysis and guest speakers provide opportunities to explore application of key concepts. Teams of students will research and write grants for various local arts organizations and present their projects to the community partners at the end of the semester.

 

Oil/Acrylic Painting (ART 221)

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This course develops and stimulates research into the emotional/expressive properties of painting. By investigating thematic, compositional, and technical problems, students develop a personalized approach to ideas and content. Students learn the importance of process, flexibility, alternatives, and the recognition that a painting has a life of its own. Materials fee. Offered annually. Prerequisite: ART 102.

ACE Component: Creating paintings in response to community spaces that will be used in the May 2018 event, “The Northfield Experience,” produced and directed by internationally-renowned choreographer and director Stephan Koplowitz.

 

Sculpture/Direct Metal (ART 224)

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This sculpture course introduces students to metal forming, shaping, fastening and brazing, and welding, building upon concepts from the foundation course and presenting the next level of sculpture topics, issues and concerns. Both majors and non-majors discover an art and industrial process that has great artistic and practical application

ACE Component: Students will create a sculpture float for use in the May performance event, “The Northfield Experience,” a project being facilitated by guest artist Stephen Koplowitz.

 

Animated Art (ART 228)

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This course focuses on the creative use of animation techniques. Students study the principles of animation and produce projects utilizing a variety of techniques including flipbooks, stop motion photography, animated GIFs, and 2D and 3D computer-generated animation software. Students regularly screen, analyze, and discuss contemporary and historic animations.

ACE Component: Students will create animated shorts for use in the May performance event, “The Northfield Experience,” a project being facilitated by guest artist Stephen Koplowitz.

 

Graphic Design (ART 236)

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For the ACE component of this course, students will plan, research, and develop graphic design projects for local non-profit organizations.

 

Intermediate Photography,  Meg Ojala  (ART 238)

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In this intermediate photography course, students explore a variety of techniques and topics. Techniques include historic processes such as cyanotype and salted paper printing, digital photography, large-scale color printing, and traditional black and white photography. Students investigate experimental approaches and nontraditional forms for presentation, and they investigate photography from broad historical, aesthetic, and social perspectives. This course includes field trips, readings, discussion, and slide presentations. For the ACE portion of this course in 2014-15, students photographed Rice Creek watershed during the winter and spring thaw in order to study nature photography as well as to document the hydrologic patterns for the benefit of the local management unit for the watershed. For the ACE portion of this course in 2018, students captured images of the various spaces being utilized for Stephen Koplowitz’s The Northfield Experience. Select photos were then showcased in “The Northfield Experience” gallery exhibition at the Northfield Arts Guild.

 

Projects in Public Art, Michon Weeks (Art 340)

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This course enables the advanced studio art student to pursue further work in any chosen two or three dimensional medium or combination of media including performance, installation, and collaborative ways of working. This course is organized around an interdisciplinary theme set each year by the instructor. Within a seminar format, students read, discuss, and write on the selected topic in conjunction with topic-driven individual studio work and critiques.

Students engaged in numerous public art projects as part of this course.

  • Students created temporary public art sculptures at Way Park in the first week of class. Students rearranged nature to create the pieces. This project was inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy.
  • Students toured Public Art in Minneapolis and St. Paul with Jack Becker of Forecast Public Art.
  • St. Paul Public Artist-in-residence, Amada Lovelee, visited the class to share her work and to engage students in a short workshop.
  • The course instructor and Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Michon Weeks, shared about her recent showing of 36 of her new paintings in a public art event in Indianapolis. The event was called “Art in Odd Places.”
  • Students researched a range of topics related to public art including: public art controversies; temporary vs. permanent; monuments & memorials; relational aesthetics & public practice; the business of public art; and site specificity.
  • Students proposed designs to a set of community stakeholders for painting the warming house at Way Park. The class painted the warming house based on the winning design.
  • Students invited kids and adults from the Way Park neighborhood to create drawings for a pop-up gallery in the warming house. They shared candy, played music, and created a well-attended casual art show opening within the warming house.
  • Students created individual mock public art grant proposals. The proposals were exhibited in the Groot Gallery Opening on Dec. 4th.

 

Theater Senior Capstone, Karen Wilson (TH 360)

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In this course, we ask students to develop projects that reflect their interest in theater and what they want to do with theater once they graduate.  This project incorporates research work that they have pursued on their own and they put that research into a material project. Interested students had the option of working with elementary students from Greenvale Schools’ PLUS program to lead an afterschool theater club.

 

Senior Dance Seminar, Anthony Roberts (Dance 399)

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This seminar course for senior Dance majors focuses on career development. Students design and carry out a senior capstone project with assistance from a team of faculty advisors. This year, several students chose to work with area choreographers to create solo performances, others elected to carry out a research project and presentation, and still others chose to develop a dance performance engaging fellow students. The performances will be offered to the public free of charge.

This year’s performance is titled, “Beyond Boundaries”. Students will be presenting multiple, integrative aspects of their St. Olaf experiences through dance. Eight distinct students will perform and give presentations that go beyond the boundaries of how movement interacts with their lives. The evening will begin with four performances that explore emotions from life, the feelings of loss and hurt, chaos in movement, and issues of colonization, race and power. The performances feature collaborations with Twin Cities artists Stuart Pimsler, Brian Evans, and Timmy Wagner. The second half of the evening will consist of four presentations that explore how dance can be used as an intervention for individuals on the autism spectrum, the use of Dance Movement Therapy with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, the role of dance in occupational therapy, and how psychology, dance, and creativity can inform one another.

 

Economics

 

Healthcare Economics, Ashley Hodgson (ECON 245)

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Students created cost-benefit analysis videos for Health Finders, a local nonprofit agency that provides free and sliding scale care for members of the Northfield community.  The students researched statistics on Heath Finders and put those statistics into an analytical argument promoting the cost-effectiveness of Health Finders.

 

Professional/Business Writing, Rebecca Richards (ENGL 287)

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English 287 is non-fiction writing course that focuses on workplace writing. Its primary goal is to give students the opportunity to develop their use of rhetorical strategies and communications technologies appropriate to workplaces. With an emphasis on written communication, students will engage in projects that require them to analyze and respond to a variety of situations. Students will plan and create a range of individual and collaborative projects including, but not limited to, employment documents, proposals, reports, brochures, newsletters, memos, letters, and other business genres. Students partner with various local community organizations or government agencies, including Project Friendship.

 

Marketing, Sian Muir (MGMT 250)

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Students are challenged to apply the principles learned in class to current and real world marketing issues. Student teams develop strategic marketing plans for various local for profit and nonprofit organizations. Students present their recommendations to the community partners at the end of the semester. This course includes readings, case study analysis, in-class exercises and group projects.

 

Arts Management, Sian Muir (MGMT 229)

Read Description

This course provides an overview of the key issues that face arts administrators. Topics addressed include strategic planning, budgeting, fund raising, audience development, and human resource management as each relates to the unique setting of the arts. Case analysis and guest speakers provide opportunities to explore application of key concepts. Teams of students will research and write grants for various local arts organizations and present their projects to the community partners at the end of the semester.

 

Environment

 

  • Green Course Listing on St. Olaf’s SustainAbilities website – List of courses that address sustainability issues or environmental questions.  Many of these courses have an academic civic engagement component.

 

Interpreting Journeys, Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak and Ka Wong (ASIAN 220)

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Students will be required to present on independent research projects related to sustainability and the environment that they will undertake while in Beijing and Tokyo for the Exploring Asia [AS215] interim course. With the help of this grant, these presentations will be made public, incorporating not only other St Olaf students and faculty, but also Arcadia Charter School.

 

Environmental Sustainability in Japan, Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak (AS/ES 277)

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Students investigate community-based approaches to environmental sustainability during this Interim course taught at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in northern Japan. Students explore how ARI builds on local Japanese resources to support its mission of training rural leaders from developing countries in organic agricultural practices. Activities include field trips, discussions, and symposia with Japanese students, as well as hands-on participation in the daily food life at ARI.

 

Conservation Biology, Diane Angell (BI/ES 226)

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For the past nine years we have hosted eight elementary classrooms a year from Greenvale Community School to St. Olaf’s Natural Lands to learn about wetlands. The program takes advantage of St. Olaf’s 15 wetlands and 150 acres of restored prairie.  Students in Conservation Biology participated in the wetland site visits from elementary students and created an educational product that supported this effort to educate students about our local wetlands.

See more detail about similar past civic engagement assignments in this class – Project Description for Conservation Biology (Word doc.)

 

Introduction to Environmental Studies, Diane Angell (ENVST 137)

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As part of this course, St. Olaf students visited Greenvale Community School twice during month-long Interim course to engage several classes of 3rd graders on topics related to food and the environment and healthy eating. This interdisciplinary course uses basic concepts of environmental science to explore global environmental issues. Topics are drawn from recent texts and current periodic literature, and participants will recognize many of the themes from coverage in the media. Because most environmental problems involve issues beyond the sciences, the class examines the economic, political, and ethical dimensions of environmental questions and environmental decision-making.

 

Integration and Action in Environmental Studies (ENVST 281)

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Solving complex environmental problems and generating creative work requires the integration and application of multiple ways of knowing. Team projects connected to community needs bring the department’s three areas of emphasis into conversation within an experiential learning framework. The course attends to the nature of environmental inquiry and creativity, one’s own perspectives and values, and how to use one’s knowledge and skills to contribute in personal, civic and work related roles.

 

Environmental Studies Seminar, Charles Umbanhower (ES 399)

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Groups of students utilize skills and knowledge informed by environmental studies courses to conduct research and complete projects for various local organizations.  The academic civic engagement component of this course varies year-to-year depending on available projects.  There may be some years in which the course does not have an ACE component.

 

Environmental History (HIST 275)

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Students will pursue historical research on a topic of their choosing related to the environmental history of Northfield and present their final projects in a public symposium at the end of the semester.  The students’ research papers will be shared with the Northfield History Collaborative and made publicly accessible on its website and any oral histories they conduct will be added to the collections of the Northfield Historical Society.  View collection of Student Research Papers.

 

Environmental Research in Japan at the Asian Rural Institute (abroad), Paul Jackson (AS/ES 396)

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Environmental stewardship manifests itself in place and culturally specific ways here and in Asia. Through collaborative experimental design students will conduct and communicate environment and sustainability research during this course at the Asian Rural Institute in northern Japan, and they will discover how landscapes and institutions recover after a major disturbance. Field trips, discussion, and symposia with Japanese students, as well as participation in the daily Foodlife at ARI enrich the context of the work.

 

Invertebrate Biology, Emily Mohl (BIO 248)

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Students in this course will plan and teach a series of classes on invertebrates to students at Prairie Creek Community School.

 

Health

 

Foundations of Professional Nursing (NURS 311)

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This course introduces the philosophical and scientific foundations of professional nursing. Students examine historical foundations of the nursing profession and scientific processes and frameworks underlying nursing theory and practice. Exploration of concepts in the nursing discipline builds knowledge and understanding essential to the provision of holistic patient care across the lifespan. Emphasis is on development of professionalism, use of critical thinking, and evidence-based practice.

ACE Component: Students implement a one-time project/activity at the Northfield Head Start.

 

Gerontological Nursing (NURS 313)

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Students examine social, psychological and biological aspects of aging within the context of holistic nursing. Application of knowledge and skills using gerontological principles for prevalent health problems experienced by older adults is emphasized. The course incorporates instruction and feedback for developing oral communication through the practice of interpersonal communication skills. Clinical experiences focus on elder care in a variety of community settings.

ACE Component: Students practice therapeutic communications skills with clients at local long-term care facilitites, producing a final client for their residents (letter, journal entry, etc.) based on their dialogue.

 

Public Health Nursing (NURS 316)

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Public health nursing is informed by community needs and environmental factors focusing on health promotion and disease prevention. Through project management, students address the health needs of groups and communities utilizing group communication processes, teamwork, and collaboration. Students focus on utilizing community resources, identifying risk factors, and evaluating the impact on population health as related to current epidemiological trends.

ACE Component: Students prepare presentations on puberty and adolescent concerns for 5th and 6th graders at Medford Public Schools. In addition, students help coordinate and facilitate county employee health fairs in Rice and Steele Counties.

 

Behavioral Health (NURS 317)

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Students synthesize knowledge and apply evidence-based practice in the care and management of clients experiencing a major psychiatric and/or mental health disorder. Emphasis will be placed on the role of the professional nurse in various treatment settings as well as current treatment modalities. The client population includes children, adolescents, and adults along the health-illness continuum.

ACE Component: Students conduct an educational presentation on a behavioral health topic to the nurses at their clinical site.

 

Community Health, Mary Beth Kuehn (NURS 388)

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This course emphasizes the health of communities and populations. Topics include population-based health issues such as environmental health, epidemiology and communicable diseases. Students assess and screen individuals and families within communities, address identified needs and educate populations across the lifespan, collaborate with other health care professionals, make referrals, and participate in health promotion clinics. Clinical experiences occur in rural public health agencies, community-based programs, and simulation.

 

Biomechanics (ESTH 374)

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Students analyze mechanical principles in depth as they affect human motion. Topics include study of muscular and skeletal systems, skill analysis, and motion measurement techniques. The course includes a laboratory component.

ACE Component: Students will work in pairs to conduct a Gait Analysis (recording, analyzing, and recommendations) on members from the St. Olaf community.

 

Physiology/Excercise (ESTH 375)

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Students study in-depth the physiology of exercise, covering cardiovascular and muscular adaptions to exercise and factors affecting performance, including body composition, environmental influences, training implications across gender and age, and the assessment of fitness. The course includes a laboratory component. Offered annually. Counts toward neuroscience concentration. Prerequisite: junior standing and BIO 143 and BIO 243 or permission of instructor.

ACE Component: Students will offer free baseline measurements to the great St. Olaf community (faculty, staff, and students). During the process, participants will receive not only the measurements, but information about the measurement testing and suggestions for how to improve their health based on their individual measurements.

 

Excercise Prescription (ESTH 376)

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This class is a good example of the connection of theory to practice as students translate classroom learning into real-world experience by serving as teachers, where faculty and staff become their students.  The exercise prescription course was designed to give senior exercise science majors the opportunity to utilize their skills in prescribing exercise regimens to “clients”.  This would be very similar to what a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or personal trainer would do.  The clients are chosen from the St. Olaf community (faculty and staff, not students).  Each exercise science major is assigned two clients for the entire semester.  The client is assessed on numerous factors (e.g., strength, endurance, flexibility, nutrition, blood pressure, body composition) at the beginning of the semester.  The student then prescribes exercise regimens and offers dietary advice to the clients for 12 weeks.  The client participates in the same testing at the end of the semester (and the results are fantastic).  The potential benefits to members of the St. Olaf community include increased workplace wellness and reduced medical and insurance claims.  The students gain a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment as they integrate and utilize course material in a real-world setting.

 

Peruvian Medical Experience (abroad), James Demas, (BIO 284)

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This course is a service/learning experience. Week one is spent on campus learning basic clinical techniques, examining emerging disease, and studying existing health care issues. Students spend three weeks in Cuzco, Peru, assessing patient needs in a public hospital, a homeless shelter, orphanages, and a small village. Week four involves discussion and writing reflective journals.

 

Healthcare Economics, Ashley Hodgson (ECON 245)
Read Description

Students created cost-benefit analysis videos for Health Finders, a local nonprofit agency that provides free and sliding scale care for members of the Northfield community. The students researched statistics on Heath Finders and put those statistics into an analytical argument promoting the cost-effectiveness of Health Finders.

 

Exploring India: Human Development in Cross-Cultural Context (abroad), Dana Gross (PSYCH 223)

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This is a study abroad course taught at various locations in India. This course explores childhood and family life in modern India through site visits, observations, lectures, and readings, addressing questions such as: How does India’s unique history and culture, population growth, and economic development affect parenting practices, children’s self-concept, relationships, and education? How do adolescents in India understand and experience gender roles and the transition to adulthood? How do Indian psychologists and social workers integrate traditional and contemporary approaches in this religiously and linguistically diverse nation? The academic civic engagement component of this course is theoretical rather than applied. Students visit field sites in Chennai where they learn about internships being conducted by Indian social work students from Madras Christian College. Students also visit several non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in Bangalore and learn about these programs. The month of study/travel also provides daily opportunities to consider what we can learn about ourselves by studying these issues in this important South Asian nation.

 

Community Applications, Dana Gross (PSYCH 224)

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This course integrates on-campus classroom activities with service-learning placements.  Readings, classroom discussions, and assignments highlight the unique theoretical perspectives, skills, and methods that psychologists use to address social problems and community needs through research, practice, and policy.  Onsite experiences within the community provide opportunities for the application of previous coursework as well as guided written reflection about and exploration of students’ personal and vocational development.

 

I Want to Help People, Jennifer Manner (FS 120)

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Students explore service to human beings as a profession, a vocation, and a volunteer commitment. Who needs help? Who helps? Where? How? What motivates people to help? Using the liberal arts as a foundation for helping people, students study career opportunities in areas such as health care, social services, ministry, youth work, and the arts. The class includes lectures, discussions, speakers, and field visits. The civic engagement component of the class varies from year-to-year.  In 2014-15, students experienced different shadowing opportunities with the Cedar House in Faribault, ate lunch with clients as a way of promoting healthy relationships, & then met as a large group to debrief. The class also went to the Community Action Center where we met with the Housing Specialist & learned about transitional housing options and needs in Northfield.

 

Inclusive Practice with Individuals and Families, Susan Smalling (SW 254)

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Social work majors study the methods and skills of social work practice, particularly intercultural communication. They describe strengths and problems of diverse individuals and families; frame goals and plans for change utilizing the planned change process and the systems perspective; and use ethical decision-making, informed by the scientific method, grounded in the liberal arts, and concerned with social justice.The story-partners project pairs students with an older community member residing at the Northfield Retirement Center. Students meet with their partner 6-8 times throughout the course of the semester for the specific purpose of encouraging their partners to tell stories about their lives. Students practice what they have learned through role-playing in class such as active listening and asking clarifying questions, which helps to build their one-on-one conversation and interviewing skills. The volunteer participants gain an enthusiastic listener, validation for their experiences, and the opportunity to reflect upon their lives, furthermore students demonstrate learning in recorded role playing and have an academic civic engagement experience.

 

Inclusive Practice with Groups, Organizations, and Community, various faculty (SW 261)

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Social work majors continue to study the methods and skills of generalist practice. They assess strengths and problems of diverse groups, organizations, and communities and use the systems perspective to help client systems frame goals and plans for social change. Students scientifically assess macrosystems and develop plans for implementing change that are reflective, scientific, just, and grounded in the liberal arts. This course includes a community engagement project. As part of this course, in 2014-15 students worked with Rice County Mental Health Collective to interview youth-serving organizations. These interviews collected data on teaching of social-emotional skill building to youth who participate in these programs. The ACE component in 2018 included a housing survey and analysis for the League of Women Voters under the supervision of faculty member Lisa Moore.

 

Just Practice, Susan Smalling (SW 373)

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For the civic engagement component of this course, students tour the American Indian Center in Minneapolis to learn about what the center does and the community it serves. Students also participate in a powwow by serving food at a community feast and observing as part of the audience.

 

Immigrants and Refugees

 

Asia in America, Ka Wong (AS 123)

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This interdisciplinary course introduces the field of Asian American Studies and the multiple cultural and historical productions of Asia and America, from art and film to food and lifestyles. Critical analysis of topics such as ethnic/cultural identities, stereotypes, citizenship, media/pop cultures, body images, sexuality, practices of different Asian communities, and various contemporary issues are explored through interactive in-class activities, films, presentations, and more.  As part of the civic engagement component in 2014, students experienced a taste of ethnographic research through several field trips to Asian-American communities in Minnesota.  For their final project, students gave presentations about Asian/Asian American issues to middle and high school students at Arcadia Charter School.  In preparation for these presentations, St. Olaf students interacted with a subset of Arcadia School students to discuss what aspect of the larger theme they were interested in and why in order to engage the students in meaningful conversations and to determine the presentation topics.  The final talks took place in Arcadia School and all students were invited.  The Arcadia students provided their feedback by voting for the “best” presentation overall.

 

Immigration and Citizenship, Kathy Tegtmeyer-Pak (PSCI 350)

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Part of a multi-year project, the civic engagement component of this course built upon past work by St. Olaf students regarding immigration issues.  The Rural Immigration Network project aims to create a useful and well-used online network of national scope, which will share practical information and cultural knowledge.  It seeks to reach rural communities diversifying through immigration across the United States.  Students in this course conducted research to translate social science findings pertinent to community leaders in rural communities into a standardized format suitable for sharing online.  These findings will help to identify innovative, positive responses to immigration in rural communities.  Students also participated in a hands-on workshop with immigration scholars and leaders from around the country to help shape the next steps for this project.

 

Cultural Heritage of the Hispanic U.S., Maggie Broner (SPAN 273)

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Students will be asked to take part in a number of after school activities at Greenvale Community School with elementary students who are primarily from Spanish-speaking families.

 

Spanish 1st/2nd Language, Maggie Broner (SPAN 276)

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Students explore the processes involved in the acquisition of Spanish as a first and second language and the variation present in the language of both native and non-native speakers of Spanish from Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. Hispanic linguistics are studied with special attention paid to the socio-cultural as well as structural aspects. The course includes the study of at least one substantive literary work. Includes pronunciation lab.

ACE Component: Students will create clubs to facilitate at the Greenvale Park Community School.

 

Language in Society (SPAN 311)

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What is the role of language in our society? What is the impact of bilingualism in the U.S.? Students explore such questions from current Spanish socio-linguistics research. Through analysis of data, students examine issues of language contact, variation and change, language and gender, language and power, and/or language planning. May be repeated if topic is different. This course includes the study of at least one substantive literary work.

 

Public Policy

 

Declaring Ind: 1607-1865, Eric Fure-Slocum (AmCon 101)

Read Description

The ACE component is offered in election years only.  As a means of learning about voting and the practices of citizenship, an academic civic engagement project provided four options for students to gain hands-on experience.  Options offered included: voter registration, election judge, political campaign work, and helping at a League of Women Voter’s forum.  In addition, Jeff Narabrook, Voter Outreach Director from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, visited the class to share about his work and to talk with students about their experiences this past fall.

 

Democratic Vistas (AmCon 102)

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The ACE component is offered in election years only.  As a means of learning about voting and the practices of citizenship, an academic civic engagement project provided four options for students to gain hands-on experience.  Options offered included: voter registration, election judge, political campaign work, and helping at a League of Women Voter’s forum.  In addition, Jeff Narabrook, Voter Outreach Director from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, visited the class to share about his work and to talk with students about their experiences this past fall.

Remaking Am: 1865-1945, Mark Allister (AmCon 201)

Read Description

The ACE component is offered in election years only.  As a means of learning about voting and the practices of citizenship, an academic civic engagement project provided four options for students to gain hands-on experience.  Options offered included: voter registration, election judge, political campaign work, and helping at a League of Women Voter’s forum.  In addition, Jeff Narabrook, Voter Outreach Director from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, visited the class to share about his work and to talk with students about their experiences this past fall.

 

France in WWII, (HIST 210)

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St. Olaf College owns a distinctive collection of World War II propaganda posters from Occupied Europe.  For the academic civic engagement assignment, students will use the historical knowledge and research skills developed in this seminar, and work with experts in collections curation at St. Olaf and other institutions, to draft formal research reports on selected posters related to France during the war.  These reports will contribute directly to efforts by Flaten Art Museum and the Libraries’ Special Collections section to curate a College resource that will eventually be accessible to students, scholars, and the larger public.

 

Parties and Elections (PSCI 255)

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For the ACE component of this class, students will run community exit polls at voting sites and present the results of the poll to the general public at a mini-conference. This will help the community gain new insights into voting and political participation in the community.

 

Research Practicum (PSCI 296)

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Students will be conducting semester-long research on candidate communication on congressional websites.  Students will present their findings to the general public through an elections mini-conference. This will inform members of the public about how candidates communicate, prominent issues in political debate, how issues are framed, how information is disseminated to the public, and how candidates deploy negativity and/or rhetorical attacks.

 

Immigration and Citizenship, Kathy Tegtmeyer-Pak (PSCI 350)

Read Description

Part of a multi-year project, the civic engagement component of this course built upon past work by St. Olaf students regarding immigration issues.  The Rural Immigration Network project aims to create a useful and well-used online network of national scope, which will share practical information and cultural knowledge.  It seeks to reach rural communities diversifying through immigration across the United States.  Students in this course conducted research to translate social science findings pertinent to community leaders in rural communities into a standardized format suitable for sharing online.  These findings will help to identify innovative, positive responses to immigration in rural communities.  Students also participated in a hands-on workshop with immigration scholars and leaders from around the country to help shape the next steps for this project.

 

Mathematics Practicum (MATH 390)

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Students work in groups on substantial problems posed by, and of current interest to, area businesses and government agencies. The student groups decide on promising approaches to their problem and carry out the necessary investigations with minimal faculty involvement. Each group reports the results of its investigations with a paper and an hour-long presentation to the sponsoring organization.

 

New Hampshire Primary (off-campus), Daniel Hofrenning

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Since its inception in 1916, the New Hampshire primary has attained a preeminent place in American presidential politics. This course will provide students with a broad overview of the presidential nominating process through a detailed examination of the New Hampshire primary. Students read academic analyses of the New Hampshire primary and intern with a presidential candidate. A prior version of this course is the subject of the following article from the Journal of Political Science Education: New Hampshire: The Effects of an Experiential Learning Course on Civic Engagement.

 

Youth and Tutoring

 

Principles of Psychology, Gary Muir (PSYCH 125) Many Education courses include volunteering in local classrooms

Read Description

Introductory psychology students in small groups present some aspect of the course material to local elementary school classes. The project challenges undergraduate students to demonstrate the deep level of understanding required to be able to flexibly communicate the presentation material in an age-appropriate manner to kindergarten through fifth grade students.

 

Adolescence in Context, Anna Johnson (PSYCH 228)

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Students will teach a series of enrichment classes to youth in after school programs at the Northfield Middle School.

 

Research Method in Psychology (PSYCH 230)

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For the ACE component of this class, student groups will conduct research projects for on-campus and off-campus constituents.  In addition, the entire class will assist with education-related research for a preschool in Northfield.

 

Stress and Development (PSYCH 390)

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All children, adults, and families experience stressful life events. This seminar examines how stressors shape behavioral and biological development. For the ACE project, students will work with community partners to reduce stress-related risks and foster healthy development in the Northfield community.

 

Urban Schools and Communities (EDUC 170)

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In this course, students examine how schools and communities in the Twin Cities interact to provide support and developmental opportunities for school-age children. Through lectures, readings, discussions, field trips, and in-school and co-curricular placements, students gain an understanding and awareness of how race, class, ethnicity, national origin, and gender shape the complex character of urban youth and schools. Students spend one week in orientation activities on campus and two weeks in the Twin Cities. The last week of Interim is spent back on campus discussing the experience.

ACE Component: During the time in the Twin Cities, St. Olaf students participate as tutors and classroom assistants during the school day and then assist in various after-school and community programs.

Second Language Acquisition

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How do humans learn language? How do they learn more than one language, as is the case for the vast majority of people living?  What enables or hinders language learning? Are bilinguals really smarter? These are just some of the fascinating questions addressed in this course which combines study of theory, fieldwork-based analysis of learner language, and pedagogical considerations, and includes a focus on both English and World Language learners. ACE course, 10-hour field experience. Required for ESL licensure and TEFL certificate, counts toward concentrations in Education, Linguistics. Prerequisite:  First Year Writing. Offered fall semester.

ACE Component: The course includes a 10-hour Field Experience (FE) component, where St. Olaf students will work directly with children and/or adults who are learning English or other languages and formally analyze learner language to better understand their SLA status and how to support their on-going language development.  Students will apply course readings and research strategies to capture and analyze developing learner language, connect their findings to pedagogical approaches that are helpful to the children and adults they are working with, and will reflect in writing on their experiences.

The course contains the following ACE elements: 2. Civic learning: Ability to apply academic knowledge and proficiencies (such as written and oral communication, teamwork, critical and creative thinking, information literacy, intercultural competency, quantitative skills, etc.) in service of a civic/community aim; 4. Civic reflection: Ability to describe and evaluate one’s civic/community aims and accomplishments; 5. Civic efficacy: Confidence in one’s ability to contribute effectively to civic and community endeavors; and 6. Civic action: Commitment to pursue civic, community and work roles that foster the common good.

Global Challenges, Susan Smalling (SW 122)

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Students have the option of partnering with community organizations through a Taking Action project. Students engage with community partners in projects that involve education, awareness, or fundraising related to global challenges that impact the local community.

 

Other

 

Ethical Issues in Software Design (CS 263)

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So you write cool applications and utilities and they they do cool things. Or you see a new use for a current application. Or you want to use or install the latest technology in an organization. How do you know the application will do what you think it will? And how do you know it will not do unfortunate things, like kill people, or accidentally start a nuclear war, or more prosaically, discriminate against some people because of its design? As a thoughtful designer of technology you will want to know how to answer these questions.This class will give you support and practice in thinking about how people will use the software you design. It is not about code or languages, but is instead about people and systems. Thus, you will learn some basics of human-computer interaction (or user experience design), some basic philosophical ideas, a fair amount about particular ethical issues in computing (privacy, safety, professionalism, property, etc.), and a great deal about the topics and socio-technical system associated with the system you will be helping to design.

 

Engineering Design Practicum (PHYS 360)

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This course gives students the opportunity to work on real world physics and engineering problems. Companies, non-profits, and other organizations provide projects relevant and important to the organizations’ goals. Students work in teams to approach these projects from an engineering design perspective that emphasizes hands-on work, prototyping, and organizational skills.

ACE Component: Students work with two businesses (this year: Medtronic and Sage Glass) to develop solutions to engineering problems that they face.

 

Internship and Reflection Seminar (MEDIA 295)

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This seminar integrates the liberal arts with the experience of work and the search for a vocation or career. Course content will include both an off-campus internship and on-campus class sessions that connect academic theories/analyses of work with their particular internship experience. Students will also consider and articulate the value of the liberal arts for their pursuit of a creative, productive, and satisfying professional life.

 

Internship and Reflection Seminar (ESTH 295)

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This seminar integrates the liberal arts with the experience of work and the search for a vocation or career.  Course content will include both an off-campus internship and on-campus class sessions that connect academic theories/analyses of work with their particular internship experience.  Students will also consider and articulate the value of the liberal arts for their pursuit of a creative, productive, and satisfying professional life

One of the overarching goals is to provide a space to reflect on the challenges, hopes, and anxieties that accompany the experiences of having an internship and searching out post-college employment.  Classroom discussions focus on analyzing and understanding the students’ experiences in their internships and how they potentially connect with future professions that are personally rewarding and meaningful.

This class was specifically designed to include students in pre-health, pre-med, and exercise science. Students are exposed to a wide range of sub-fields through in-depth conversation with other students.

 

Pur/Happiness: 1920-Pres., Colin Wells and Judy Kutulas (AmCon 202)

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Students in this course examine technology, the mass market and consumerism, and the increasingly complex relations between identity and material goods. They also explore the images, institutions, and stories of environmental, feminist, and Civil Rights activists in the context of Cold War America. Topics and texts range from Yosemite National Park and Japanese internment camps to Adrienne Rich’s poetry and prose, Freedom Summer, Las Vegas, and the Mall of America. For the ACE portion of this course will be to produce (and consume) a class blog dedicated to civic life and public policy – on campus, in Northfield, in our hometowns and cities, and in the United States or the world generally. Our blog will be a site for sharing and discussing examples of “citizen journalism,” in the form of posts written by students on relevant topics they find interesting, as well as responses to those posts.

 

Science Conversations: Cultural Context, Chuck Huff & David Booth (SCICN 217)

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Students consider the political, cultural, ethical, and theological underpinnings of scientific issues. Students will investigate various scientific issues and present that they have learned to the campus community through a public poster session.

 

Internship and Reflection Seminar, William Sonnega

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This seminar integrates the liberal arts with the experience of work and the search for a vocation or career. Course content will include both an off-campus internship and on-campus class sessions that connect academic theories/analyses of work with their particular internship experience. Students will also consider and articulate the value of the liberal arts for their pursuit of a creative, productive, and satisfying professional life.