St. Olaf College | To Include is To Excel

First round of funding grant recipients

Heather Campbell, Education/Education Studies/Teacher Education program:  “Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers: Exploring Curricular Redesign and Diverse Perspectives”

Student teaching enrollments in the Education Department have dropped over the past ten years. These decreases reflect a national trend and are occurring in the midst of a rising teacher shortage. The purpose of this project is to consider innovative ideas to improve curriculum, offer flexibility, and attract more students (and more diverse students) to the Teacher Education program.

Louis Epstein, Music:  ”Inclusive Learning in the Introductory Musicology Classroom”

Students enter music history courses with diverse backgrounds and disparate levels of musical experience, but little research exists to support faculty in their efforts to accommodate such diversity through course design. After convening a virtual workshop of musicologists teaching a new model of introductory music studies course, this project implements an empirical research study on the relationship between students’ prior musical experience and their performance in an introductory level music course. The study’s results have implications not just for teaching “mixed” classes of majors and non-majors but also for rethinking how the exclusive recruitment of “traditional” musicians into music departments might be amended to improve the diversity of the students taking music classes. Thus music classes might become more inclusive to a wide range of learners and identities.

Kathy Glampe & Leslie Moore,  Academic Support and Advising; Piper Center: “Increasing Retention and Academic Success Through SOAR Workshops for First Year Students”

To ensure that all St. Olaf students have the knowledge to participate fully in the St. Olaf College experience, we will pilot a non-credit student success seminar course. Its purpose is to increase retention rates, knowledge of college resources and expectations, and understanding of the importance of engagement in high impact practices. The pilot intentionally includes incoming students from all backgrounds, as singling out a group or groups of students as needing support runs contrary to the grant’s goal of full inclusion.

Rika Ito, Linguistics Studies:  “Understanding Language Matters to Increase Inclusivity and Equity in the Classroom”

We will invite Prof. Dennis Preston who specializes in sociolinguistics, particularly perceptual dialectology, language attitude, and language ideology to help a group of St. Olaf faculty and students to understand the power and the role of language in matters of inclusion and exclusion experienced in day-to-day interactions in and outside the classroom. They will inform faculty, staff, and students on the roles of language in shaping identities and stereotypes through class visits, a public lecture, and a faculty workshop.

Kim Kandl & Laura Listenberger,  Biology:  “Research for All: Integrating Research Across Multiple Courses to Engage All Biology Students”

The Biology Department aims to determine how to capitalize on current use of course-based undergraduate research experiences in St. Olaf biology courses. Through two summer workshops, we will examine data on current use of research experiences embedded in single courses and explore the idea of linking research experiences between multiple core required courses in order to strengthen and deepen each student experience. The long-term goal of this work is to increase retention of diverse students in the biology major through exposure to authentic, relevant research.

Karil Kucera & Barbara Reed, Asian Studies/Art: Creating an Institute for Global Studies at St Olaf

We will explore the possibility of creating an Institute for Global Studies by assessing student, faculty, and administrative interest in connecting St Olaf’s breadth of language and cultural competency programs with other disciplines across the college: natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences and fine arts. Such an institute would complement the current structures on campus and have several desired outcomes: to give students the ability to engage with global issues on campus in a meaningful and coherent fashion; to provide multicultural and international students with a better sense of community and belonging; and to help faculty actively engage with each other in a cross-disciplinary fashion to support students on career trajectories that address global issues.

DeAne Lagerquist, American Conversations:  “Renewing American Conversations”

In this project we will complete curricular and pedagogical revision of the American Conversations program, moving from course descriptions and ILOs to course design and syllabi. We also plan to create new and revise continuing curricular and pedagogical elements to enhance student learning and to more fully engage with issues of diversity, inclusivity, and inequality in the larger community.

Diane LeBlanc, Bridget Draxler, & Rebecca Richards, Writing Programs:  “Supporting Diverse Writers: Assessing Learning and Learning Outcomes in Writing 110 and 107 “

Our project is part of a multi-year assessment study of the effectiveness of Writing 107 and Writing 110. The results will inform the Writing Program and also enhance understanding of how writing curriculum and support serve underrepresented students at St. Olaf and at other small liberal arts colleges.

Alyssa Melby, Academic Civic Engagement (IOS):  “ACE: Equity and Inclusion For, With, and By Students”

The purpose of this project is to examine participation in academic civic engagement (ACE) courses across demographics and disciplines. We can then use this information to inform and strengthen ACE courses to build equity and inclusion for students of all backgrounds, model and demonstrate with students equitable and inclusive classroom practices, and enable equitable and inclusive social action in the greater community by students.

Amanda Randall, German:  “Diversity, Decolonialization and the German Curriculum”

Increasing diversity of perspectives and social justice themes within college curricula is a concern across many academic disciplines. In 2019, St. Olaf College has the opportunity to learn more about, and demonstrate a commitment to, such initiatives by hosting a conference on “Diversity, Decolonialization, and the German Curriculum” (DDGC). Faculty and students from across the campus will have the opportunity to attend panel sessions and a keynote address where they can gather ideas to adapt to their own disciplines.

William Sonnega, Theater:  “A Theater Curriculum for the Digital Age

The purpose of this project is to redesign the Theater curriculum in innovative and forward-looking ways. Working with colleagues across the curriculum, the Theater department aims to make its curriculum more interdisciplinary, contemporary, diverse and responsive to a rapidly changing scene that includes digital technologies, flexible spaces, and an emphasis on global discourses and cultures.

Nancy Thompson & Jane Becker Nelson, Art and Art History and the Flaten Art Museum :  “Decolonizing Collections, Exhibitions, and Curriculum”

The Department of Art and Art History and Flaten Art Museum want to work together to find new and innovative ways to diversify our curriculum, collecting practices, and exhibitions in order to make the visual arts community an even more inclusive environment in which all students can thrive. To begin this process, the The Art and Art History department and Flaten Art Museum staff will gather for a workshop in May 2018 to formulate strategies and establish goals.

Molly Tun, Romance Languages/Spanish:  “Student Success and Inclusive Campus Climate”

Noro Andriamanalina, Ph.D., Director of Academic and Professional Development of the Graduate School Diversity Office at the University of Minnesota will host a series of faculty workshops to promote an inclusive and equitable learning environment and campus climate. These workshops will focus on (1) unearthing academic culture, (2) centering the margins for inclusive practices, and (3) mediating difficult conversations related to privilege and oppression.

Arneshia Williams, Dance:  WE

The intent of WE is to expand the norm of academic learning and diversify learning by revealing overlapping connections between academic disciplines through a deeply embedded thought process that situates itself within a perspective: everything is connected. We will do this through a week-long interdisciplinary, dance immersion experience for students, staff, and faculty.