St. Olaf faculty formally approved nine new courses and two new study abroad programs on Oct. 1. The courses will be available to students beginning this spring semester and next interim after having been under development for about a year.
The new study abroad programs are a semester on natural history at the Field Museum in Chicago and a semester on global health and human rights in Kenya.
The new St. Olaf courses consist of four classes in the sciences, two music classes, two religion classes, and a Nordic studies class.
The science courses consist of a biology class on neuroethology, which focuses on nervous systems in animals; an engineering class on computer aided engineering; a nursing introduction to public health; and a psychology research experience class.
The music department will add classes practicing for musical success and the pedagogy of Zoltán Kodály, a twentieth-century Hungarian composer.
The new theology courses are comparative religions class on Christianity and Islam and a class on anti-racist Christian pedagogies.
The Nordic studies class is on Nordic explorations of sexualities and genders.
According to William Sonnega, the chair of the St. Olaf Curriculum Committee, professors designed the courses with the new general education (GE) requirements in mind. The religion classes in particular relate to the Christian Theology in Dialogue and Power and Race requirements.
To get course approval, the departments and programs have to bring course proposals to the Curriculum Committee, and from there work together to transfer the ideas into teachable classes, Sonnega said. All 12 members of the Committee, who come from every academic corner of St. Olaf, review each proposal. It’s an “effective way to ensure that when we finally bring these to the whole faculty for approval, they’ve been subject to a lot of different views and questions about them,” Sonnega said.
Once the Curriculum Committee approves the new course proposals, they go to the faculty for final endorsement. As of Oct. 1, the new classes and the College now officially offers them.