A new social activism minor, and cuts within the world languages and cultures department and classical studies department; changes in Concordia’s offered majors and minors.
This year a new minor, social activism, is being offered.
“Social activism is an interdisciplinary minor that provides students with theoretical and practical knowledge to assist them in enacting social change through activism,” director of the social activism program, Dr. Kirsten Theye said.
It is a 20 credit minor with one required activism class, ACT 301: Social Activism, Making Change Happen, along with elective courses and Pivotal Experiences in Applied Knowledge (PEAK) project where they get hands-on experience.
The course is taught differently than any course at Concordia said Theye.
“To my knowledge there hasn’t been a course taught like this before at Concordia,” Theye said.
It is split into four sections, each taught by a different professor.
The first section is about social movements and taught by assistant professor of sociology, Dr. Mallary Allen. Second is associate professor of political science, Dr. Ken Foster’s section on public policy. Third is Theye’s section on persuasion and public relations and fourth is faith, hope and how to stay strong taught by assistant professor Dr. David Creech.
Theye said there is often more than one professor present dur
ing each class period. When it is one professor’s section, they are in charge of material and grading, but each of the professors is involved with the class throughout the semester.
The social activism minor is for students who would like to take a role in improving what they think is wrong with the world, said Theye.
“Students in the first class are from a huge variety of majors and minors,” Theye said.
The new class, ACT 301, filled its 20 spots quickly.
So far the program has sparked interest around campus, and Theye said the students in the class are a passionate and motivated group.
“All of the professors in the program have heard from students who are interested in taking it next year,” Theye said.
Though there is high interest in the new minor, low interest in other programs has resulted in major degree cuts.
Based on low enrollment in classes, low numbers in majors and the budget, Concordia College made cuts within the world languages and cultures department and classical studies department.
In the world languages and cultures department the Norwegian and Scandinavian studies, German and French majors have all been cut.
Also three faculty members were let go. Now, the Norwegian and Scandinavian studies, German and French languages each have just one professor.
At the end of this school year, the Norwegian and Scandinavian stud
ies professor will be let go and those classes will no longer be offered.
Concordia College was in the position of cutting faculty because the number of students drastically decreased said chair of world languages and cultures, Dr. Mary Rice.
Cuts made were budgetary. Administration took a look at the number of freshmen coming in with declared language majors. Since French, German and Norwegian and Scandinavian studies majors were low in numbers, they were cut.
“Typically people declare language majors sophomore or junior year,” Rice said.
Because of this, the department is hoping to bring back the German and French majors in the future. Rice said that to do this they will have to find new ways to structure the majors.
Rice believes that although there is just one faculty member teaching each language, offering a major is still possible. She said the Chinese major has been offered with only one faculty member for about seven years.
“We know we can do it with one faculty member if we have to,” Rice said.
For Norwegian and Scandinavian studies though, Rice said it is not likely Concordia College will see a return of those classes due to low enrollment for the past couple of years. Students who have declared this major need to finish it out this school year.
Along with the cuts to the majors, there were also cuts made within the languages and cultures department as a whole. The native assistance budget was cut. This means that native speakers will no longer be paid to come live with students on the third floor of the Bogstad Apartments and have discussions with students.
Since this program was cut, the department has found a new way to allow students interaction with native speakers.
Many of the language classes have begun using a program called Talk Abroad. This program con
nects students to native speakers in various countries and allows one- on-one discussion. The program also records the conversation so students can learn from their mistakes and professors can see what students need more help with and what they should focus more time on in class.
Also, Rice said they are reaching out into the Concordia community as well as the Fargo/Moorhead community to see if native speakers would like to come help students have more opportunities to speak and become more involved.
“We have to come up with things that aren’t going to cost us money that we don’t have,” said Rice. “We’re making more use of resources that are available and free.”
In the classical studies department four majors have been cut. These include the classical studies, Latin, Latin education and classics majors.
Along with these changes, one professor took early retirement at the end of last school year and another pre-tenure professor will be let go at the end of this year.
Beginning in fall of 2017, chair of classical studies, Dr. Heather Waddell will be the only faculty teaching in the classical studies department. She said this will leave a major gap in one area in particular where she doesn’t have expertise–archaeology.
For this reason, any student who needs specific classical studies classes will need to take them within the 2016-2017 school year. The 24 students who have already declared a major that is no longer offered need to finish required classes within the department.
“The courses offered this year are designed for those students so they can get what they need,” said Dr. Heather Waddell.
Heritage and museum studies majors need to meet the archaeology course requirement before that class is no longer offered next year.
Although the heritage and museum studies major will continue, revisions will need to be made due to archaeology, a previous requirement, not being offered next school year.
Waddell said students do show a lot of interest in archaeology, but it was still cut, “purely because of a staffing decision.”
This changes a lot in the department said Waddell, many of them being within the course offerings.
“For example, this semester we’re not offering elementary Greek,” said Waddell. “I hope to rectify that.”
Also, the demand for Latin classes at the college has been steady in previous years. Now, even though demand is still there, only two sections can be offered. Due to the remaining high demand, those classes are filling up quickly. At one point, Waddell said there were up to six sections taught during a single semester.
Although these cuts are occurring quickly, Waddell remains hopeful that classes, majors and/or minors can be brought back in the future.
“I have plans and ideas and we certainly hope to bring back the classical studies major,” said Waddell. “The wheels are in motion.”