The descriptions below highlight the academic civic engagement component of each class. Please check the Academic Catalog for complete course descriptions and prerequisites.
AMCON 210 Journeys and Encounters
Instructors: Kristina Medina Vilarino
The dynamic, multidimensional character of American culture originates in the journeys and encounters of groups defined by race/ethnicity and factors such as gender, religion, sexual orientation, and social class. As they respond to opportunities, challenges, and conflicts, groups construct meaning and produce art and literature. Using the tools of social science and artistic and literary studies, students examine resulting changes and how institutions, ideas, and policies shape (and are shaped by) these processes.
ACE Component: Students participate in civic dialogue work or assisting with the Mapping Prejudice project.
ART 256 History of Photography
Instructors: Christina Spiker
Since its invention, photography has shaped our ways of seeing, our social history, and our identities. Photography is also a compelling form of artistic expression. This course is an introduction to the history of photography from its origins to the present, including the role of photography in society and in the fine arts. Students learn the skills of formal visual analysis and critical thinking about the power of the photographic image in our lives.
ACE Component: Students will work with the Flaten Art Museum on an acquisition project to further the development of the Flaten collection in conjunction with their collecting priorities.
CHIN 360 Professional Chinese
Instructors: Ying Zhou
This advanced Chinese language course assists students in acquiring content knowledge and language skills in professional and business settings. Course materials include profession-related conversations, news articles, website blogs, and radio and TV news. Class activities include lectures, language drills, discussions, presentations, and group projects. Specialized knowledge in business and economics is not required to take this course. Taught in Chinese.
ACE Component: Students will give 1-2 lessons about Chinese language and culture in the local community.
ENGL 280 Topic: Nature Writing
Instructor: Ryan Eichberger
These courses emphasize the study of literature united by specific formal elements rather than by theme, topic, historical period, or national origin. The genre studied may be broad, such as narrative fiction, or narrowly defined, such as the elegy. The course focuses on the study of literature through a critical exploration of form.
ACE component: Students will record plants and animals for the Natural Lands, with a focus on insects. They will also have the option of contributing some writing to them.
ENVST 237A&B Integration & Applications in Environmental Studies
Framed by a focus on a contemporary environmental topic, the course attends to the nature of environmental inquiry, one’s perspectives and values, and how to use one’s knowledge and skills for personal, civic and work-related roles. Individual and team projects connected to community needs teach students how to think and work across the department’s three areas of emphasis in an experiential learning framework.
ACE Component: In cooperation with a community partner teams of students will participate in a project fulfilling an identified local need, such as research, planning and execute a community event, inventorying and documenting various features of natural environments, etc.
ENVST 381 Advanced Research Topics: Environmental Storytelling
Instructor: Juliet Patterson
Students study topics related to the environment. Topics vary from year to year at the discretion of the instructor. Recent topics offered include Ecosystem Research, Landscape Art, Imaging Environmentalism, and Landscape and Regional Change in the Arctic.
ACE Component: TBD
ENVST 399 Seminar: Environmental Studies Capstone
Instructor: Kiara Jorgenson and Jenna Coughlin
A capstone seminar for seniors in the major, this course involves intensive study of special topics through reflective writing, student generated research projects, presentations, and a grant proposal. Topics relate to local or regional environmental issues of interest to the students, and it provides participants with opportunities to interact with alumni, government and regulatory agencies, and community groups. The work culminates in a grant proposal where students rely on the expertise gained from their environmental studies courses and work in other majors as applicable.
ACE Component: TBD
FMS 220 Film and Media Production
Instructor: Ryan Eichberger
ACE Component: Students will connect with the Archives and share one project for archival purposes.
FYS 120F The Language of Activism
Instructor: Bridget Draxler
How can we learn to think more critically and communicate our ideas more effectively by developing our identities as writers? And in so doing, how can we develop our individual and civic identities as activists as well? Course texts and activities will theorize and question the extent to which social factors, such as race, class, gender, age, and ability, impact identity, and the ways in which those identities shape our perspectives, opinions, and actions. This section is writing intensive and focuses intentionally on the writing process. Projects emphasize expressing opinion, analyzing course texts, researching and analyzing how a movement or event presents itself, and responding to opinion. The final activity is to reflect, using words and images, on influences that inform your identity and the person you imagine becoming. We will talk about writing not just as a skill, but as a form of empowerment and agency.
ACE Component: Students will develop and plan an activism project with a community they identify as belonging to.
FYS 120U Who is Science For?
Instructor: Emily Mohl
Course Description: In this course, we will collaborate and use a variety of methods to try to answer the question: Who is science for? Through readings, discussion, and community engagement, we will explore the natural world around us and consider issues like vaccine acceptance and climate change. We will ask: Why is there skepticism of science?, How do people start to think of themselves as scientists?, and What do we need to learn about our own community in this part of Minnesota to make science accessible and useful to more people? Moving from inquiry to action, we will use our learning to help us develop and curate materials to be used for science outreach at community gatherings and in schools.
ACE Component: The course will culminate with a science outreach event in the community. This course has an Academic Civic Engagement Component: Students will have the opportunity to spend six Thursdays working and learning with youth in the community during and after class until 5pm. Alternative assignments may be given only under special circumstances (athletics or music conflicts).
KINES 250 Performance Nutrition
Instructor: Kat Cardwell
The course is rooted in advanced nutrition science and behavior-change psychology. Students examine the roles nutrient selection, metabolism, and timing play in supporting physical performance as well as mental and emotional health. Students discuss the integration and regulation of metabolism, energy expenditure, hydration, sleep, stress, and recovery; and they conduct an advanced overview of the functions of macronutrients, micronutrients, fluids, and supplements that are determinants of health and diseases.
ACE Component: Students will meet in pairs with a community member to make a short term wellness plan.
KINES 374 Biomechanics
Instructor: Matt Neuger
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.
ACE Component: Students will offer free gait analysis or functional fitness measurements to the greater St. Olaf community (faculty, staff, and students).
KINES 375 Physiology/Exercise
Instructor: Jennifer Holbein
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.
ACE Component: Students will offer free baseline measurements to the greater 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.
KINES 396 Directed Undergraduate Research (DUR)
Instructor: Jennifer Holbein
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests.
ACE Component: Students will work on delivering Matter of Balance curriculum in Northfield community.
Business and Management Studies
BUS 201 Organizational Storytelling
Instructor: Sian Christie
In an age of information overload, stories can rise above the noise. Effective organizational storytelling helps to engage an intended community on a meaningful and emotional level. Students will explore the craft of storytelling and study a variety of media (analogue and digital) on which the story can be delivered. The course will include case study analysis, group work and client-based projects.
ACE Component: Students will work in small groups to develop storytelling materials (print and digital) for clients.
BUS 250 Marketing
Instructor: Sian Christie
This course introduces the key elements of marketing principles. Topics include evaluating market opportunities; buyer behavior; market segmentation, targeting, and positioning; market strategy and planning; development of marketing mix; and marketing organization and control. Students are challenged to apply the principles learned in class to current and real world marketing issues.
ACE Component: Students will work in small groups to develop marketing plans for clients.
NURS 316 Public Health Nursing
Instructor: Mary Beth Kuehn
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.
PHYS 232 Analytical III
Instructor: Eric Hazlett
Physics 232, the third course in the three-semester calculus-based sequence, explores special relativity, waves and oscillations, and the quantum mechanics of light and matter.
ACE component: Students will create take-and-go STEM kits for youth in conjunction with the Northfield Public Library.
PSCI 370A&B Seminar: Courageous Resistance to Injustice
Instructor: Kristina Thalhammer
Individuals, communities, and organizations have found ways to address even the most egregious state abuses of human rights and other injustices. Using comparative analysis, this course considers cases and theories of nonviolent personal and political resistance and the factors that appear to contribute to people taking action and to successful responses. Students research and analyze cases of their choosing in light of the literature.
ACE Component: Students work on social action projects that address an injustice with various community partners or for the general common good.
PSYCH 125A Principles of Psychology
Instructor: Gary Muir
This whirlwind introduction comprehensively examines foundational principles, theoretical approaches, and major areas of study within psychology. Acting as skeptical scientists, students gain another lens on the human experience by which they can better understand themselves and others. Students see psychology as a science and challenge “common sense” explanations about how people function. This gateway course captures the essence of the liberal arts, applying to almost any career choice.
ACE Component: Students deliver short presentations on psychological topics to local elementary school classrooms.
SOAN 371A & B Foundations of Social Science Research: Quantitative Methods
Instructor: Ryan Sheppard
Students gain the skills necessary to conduct and critically evaluate quantitative research. Students learn the underlying theoretical assumptions and orientations of quantitative research, including research design, sampling techniques, strategies for data collection, and approaches to analysis. Students gain practice in data analysis by conducting are search project and using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), a standard in sociology.
ACE Component: Students will work on reesarch projects with an on-campus office. Past examples include projects on student employment and student perceptions of study abroad/away.
SW254 Inclusive Practice: Individuals and Families
Instructor: Hillary Lamberty
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. Students demonstrate learning in recorded role playing and have an academic civic engagement experience.
ACE Component: The story-partners project pairs students with an older community members at FiftyNorth. Students meet with their partner 3+ 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.
WRIT 120G Living Well in Climate Change
Instructor: Ryan Eichberger
Increasingly, we ask ourselves, “What can I do about climate change?” Maybe we try to recycle or donate to environmental causes, but we wonder if such actions make a difference. Maybe what we’re really wondering is this: how do we live meaningfully in the time of climate change? How do we confront climate anxiety, find joy, and be good ancestors to future generations? To address these questions, we’ll discuss environmental media from diverse leaders of the emerging climate renaissance. These voices will take us from the heights of the Arctic to worlds below the earth, through forests that communicate with each other, and into the food cultures of the future. In the process, we’ll do civically engaged environmental work with our local Northfield community and dispel the myths that make writing difficult in favor of evidence-based essay strategies. Ultimately, we’ll work together to find words and ideas to live responsibly in community–with each other and the more-than-human world.
ACE Component: Students will assist with the annual Watershed Wide CleanUP day of the Cannon River with Clean Water Partners. Students will also participate in citizen science wildlife counts.