Interim 2019 ACE Courses

The descriptions below highlight the academic civic engagement component of each class. Please check the Academic Catalog for complete course descriptions and prerequisites.

On Campus ACE Interims

Art & Art History

ART 236 Graphic Design

Instructor: Peter Nelson

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This course introduces students to the medium of graphic design as a method of enhanced communication. The course explores the design communication process including conceptualization, creative processes, terminology, and technology. Assignments introduce computer applications used in the graphic design profession as well as graphic design elements of typography, production, color theory, digital printing processes, and basic web design.

ACE Component: Students will work on generating marketing and educational materials for local nonprofits.


Asian Studies

ASIAN 268 Asian Calligraphy

Instructor: Ying Zhou

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From classical form to avant garde , this course introduces students to the various artistic representations of Asian calligraphy. Students explore the aesthetic concepts, evolution of different styles, and practical techniques of brush-written writings. Class lectures complement hands-on practice in which students master the basic strokes, structures, compositions, and movements that are involved in producing calligraphic work.

ACE Component: Students will share basic Asian calligraphy techniques in the PLUS afterschool program at Greenvale Park Elementary.



ENG 123 Introduction to Poetry

Instructor: Juliet Patterson

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This course introduces students to poetry from a range of perspectives including, but not limited to the poet’s life; the application of categories of analysis such as race, gender, and nationality; poetry as literary craft; and the aesthetic appreciation of poems. To experience the literary medium of poetry in the fullest sense, students are required to write about, memorize, orally interpret/recite, and compose their own poetry.

ACE Component: Students will work with ELL students at Northfield Public High School as they revise and refine their poetry for the TruArtSpeaks Poetry Slam on Jan. 18.


ENG 287 Professional and Business Writing

Instructor: Rebecca Richards

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This course gives students a hands-on opportunity to develop their use of writing strategies and technologies appropriate to workplaces. Course themes include workplace practices, professional ethics, technology resources, promotional resources, and writing on behalf of an organization. Students create individual and collaborative projects including employment documents, proposals, brochures, memos, and other professional genres. Through case studies, readings, and/or client-based projects, students analyze writing practices in a range of professional settings.

ACE Component: Students will generate materials for Project Friendship, a local mentoring organization.


Environmental Studies

ENVST 137 Introduction to Environmental Studies

Instructor: Meredith Holgerson

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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

ACE Component: Students will work with the Cannon River Watershed Partnership to collect water stories as part of the 2019 “Year of Water” in Northfield.


Exercise Science Theory

ESTH 295 Internship and Reflection Seminar

Instructor: Cynthia Book

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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.

ACE Component: Students will participate in various internships at community nonprofit and for profit health related businesses.


Family Studies

FAMST 120 I Want to Help People

Instructor: Melissa Mendez

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Students explore service to human beings as a profession, both vocation and avocation. Who needs help? Who helps? Where? How? What motivates people to help? Using the liberal arts as a foundation for helping people, students study opportunities in areas such as health care, social services, ministry, youth work, and the arts. The class includes lectures, discussions, speakers, and field visits.



MUSIC 245 Music and Social Justice

Instructor: Tesfa Wondemagegnehu

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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: Students will work with MPR stakeholders, including the program director of Classical MPR Julie Amacher, to create music and storytelling podcasts.



PHYS 360 Engineering Design Practicum

Instructor: Jason Engbrecht

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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 to develop solutions to engineering problems that they face.



PSYCH 228 Adolescence in Context

Instructor: Anna Johnson

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Adolescence is a transition period characterized by increased risk and vulnerability as well as new opportunities for positive change. This course explores biological, cognitive, and social development in adolescence and emerging adulthood. Students critically examine prominent theories and research methods, and analyze multiple contexts that shape the adolescent experience, such as families, schools, neighborhoods, and cultures. The class discusses how adolescent psychology can promote positive youth development through real world applications.

ACE Component: Working in groups, students will apply what they have learned about adolescent development to design and lead activities with middle school students at the Northfield Middle School Youth Center after school program.


Social Work

SW122 Global Challenges

Instructor: Susan E. Smalling

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Students explore seven major challenges affecting the world’s people including population, resource management, economic integration, information, technology, conflict/security, and governance with an emphasis on their relation to global citizenship and human rights. This course examines issues from social science and global problem-solving perspectives with particular attention to how culture and place affect human experience. Students engage in discussions, forums, a global village activity, and an action project. 


Off Campus ACE Interims

Asian Studies/Environmental Studies

AS/ES 277 Environmental Sustainability in Japan, AS/ES 396 Environmental Research in Japan

Instructor: Katherine Tegtmeyer Pak and Paul Jackson

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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.

ACE Component: Students will participate in daily food life routines to sustain operations at ARI.



BIO 284 Peruvian Medical Experience

Instructor: Sara Fruehling

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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.

ACE Component: Students will assist in the delivery of medical and dental services in the Willoq community.



EDUC 170 Urban Schools and Communities

Instructor: Courtney Humm

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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.



NORW 296 Oslo Internship Reflection Seminar

Instructor: Kari Dorer

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This seminar integrates the experience of work and the search for career in the context of Norway. Course content includes both an internship in Oslo and a reflection seminar. The reflection seminar connects academic theories/analyses of work and Norwegian culture with the internship experience. Through reading, writing, and discussion, this course provides a space in which to reflect on the challenges, hopes, and fears facing students embarking on their postgraduation careers.

ACE Component: Students will conduct internships at various humanitarian organizations.