About 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 Call for Proposals for 2018-2019 collaborative projects is open. Project proposals should be submitted by Friday, February 16.


Announcing the 2017-2018 Magnus the Good Collaborative Fellowships

Cindy Book (Exercise Science), Jenny Holbein (Exercise Science), Jordan Lutz ('18), & Randall Rude ('18), Synchronized EEG, EMG, and Video Analysis of Walking Gait at Various Levels of Weight-Bearing While Performing a Cognitive Task

During the summer of 2016, faculty from the dance, psychology, neuroscience, and exercise science departments were given funds to purchase a portable 32-channel electroencephalogram (EEG) machine (see attached photo and description; the psychology department owns eight of the caps seen in the picture).  With advances in technology, this system allows us to measure brain function while people are moving freely in space. Previous versions of EEG machines required participants to be attached to the machine via a series of wires, thereby limiting the activities a participant could do while being measured. With the new portable EEG machine, we can attach and synchronize other measurement devices (an electromyography machine [EMG] and a video camera, for example) in order to view brain and muscle action simultaneously. When we announced this new piece of equipment to the majors in exercise science, Jordan Lutz and Randall Rude immediately asked if they could collaborate on a two-year research project using the portable EEG system in conjunction with the EMG technology. They will use EEG, EMG, and video analysis to examine walking gait at various levels of weight load while performing a cognitive task.

Dick Brown (Computer Science), Chris Hinton ('18), & Omar Shehata ('18), PDC through PL: Interactive Text Materials for Teaching Parallel and Distributed Computing through Programming Languages

We intend to create an online, interactive textbook segment for introducing parallel and distributed computing (PDC) to undergraduate computer science students through the viewpoint of programming languages. This online resource would be a proof of concept enabling students to learn through hands­ on experience with actual PDC resources, conveniently and ubiquitously available through a browser, with immediate feedback. Our programming­ language approach to introducing PDC is novel, and could be presented as a three­ week unit in a programming languages course, or early in a PDC course. This project depends directly on the special expertise and experience of all three members of the team.

Karen Peterson Wilson (Theater), Iain Carlos ('20), & Aaron Lauby ('19), Resurrecting the Playwright: A Practical Exploration of New Play Development through Collaboration between Playwright and Performers

Guided by an in-process handbook by Artistic Director of The New Colony, Andrew Hobgood, we seek to deconstruct the classic theater model; instead, beginning a year-long collaborative process between playwright, director, and performers to conceptualize, synthesize, and produce a world premiere original play. This project seeks to shatter a few common misconceptions about theater: First, that good theater is old theater by dead playwrights. Second, that the typical theater model (playwright to director to performers and designers) is the most successful model for reaching modern audiences. Third, that theater is an art and craft – not a science – and so, requires little theorizing, testing, or exploration. New Plays are particularly necessary on this college campus because they provide a window into the unique experiences of St. Olaf’s students, faculty, and staff through an accessible medium. The benefits of this project will extend far beyond its immediate members: it will include an entire cast of performers, a team of designers, numerous feedback-audiences for mid-process staged readings, members and patrons of the CTAM conference at which we will present, and the all members of the St. Olaf body who able to experience the finished product. In Hobgood’s words, “Every artist who goes through this experience comes out the other side more confident and more in love with this art form than they ever imagined. The Process feels much more akin to having a baby than making a play. And something like that sticks with you forever.”