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Film studies minor approved

Both a new film studies minor and a new religion concentration were passed at last month’s Faculty Senate meeting.

The motion to approve a new film studies minor was carried unanimously the Oct. 15 meeting.

“I think it will be very exciting for faculty to have a film minor,” said Richard Gilmore, professor of philosophy. “It would be very exciting for the students as well.”

The minor has been in discussion for some time, according to Linda Keup, faculty secretary.

The film studies minor did not go through in past years because the administration thought that more professors would need to be hired, Gilmore said. Now, he thinks there is enough interest in existing courses to make the minor sustainable.

Dawn Duncan, professor of English, backed Gilmore up on this speculation. She said the Film and Literature course she taught last spring was over-registered for. Concordia’s banner registration shows there were two more students than the suggested capacity of 22.

“I think that is also evidence of the interdisciplinary draw of the students,” Duncan said.

The new minor will require six courses. Appreciating Film and Analyzing Film from the communication department are two of the required classes, and the remaining four film courses can be taken from the communication, English, German, philosophy, Scandinavian studies or religion department.

Faculty Senate members also approved a new Faith and Leadership concentration within the religion department at the meeting. The motion also put an end to the Church Professions Certification.

Some senate members questioned the draw of this concentration since it can only completed by religion majors, whereas the Church Professions Certification could be completed by any major.

Ernie Simmons, professor of Religion, said the Church Professions Certification was not satisfying for students.

“The problem with the certificate program was…giving a certificate was kind of giving a piece of paper that, as I recall, wasn’t even recognized on the diploma, so it didn’t show it didn’t show up on transcripts,” he said. “Students had little beyond a piece of paper to show for their…effort.”

The new concentration, he said, corrects that issue.

Any student can take classes in the concentration, but it will not be available as a minor. This is because the program is not designed to stand alone, said Adam Copeland, faculty director for faith and leadership. It’s an addition to theological grounding provided in the religion major, but it’s not a substitute for the major.

Concordia sends more students to seminary than any other Lutheran college in the country, said Michelle Lelwica, chair of the religion department.  She thinks the new concentration will increase that number, but she didn’t know by how much. Copeland said he currently knows three students interested in the program.

Students interested in religion rarely say they want to study it from an academic perspective, Lelwica said. Instead, they have a ministerial aspiration.

“In the past we haven’t had something to offer them that we feel really good about,” she said. “This program is something I think that will attract students, and once they’re here, really excite them, and then maybe they’ll realize the importance of the academic study.”

The concentration will require six classes on top of the nine classes needed to complete a religion major. Religion courses needed to obtain the concentration include Making Meaning: Reading, Interpreting and Teaching the Bible, Faith in Dialogue: Interfaith Leadership and an elective course. These courses cannot be double counted for both the religion major and the concentration. Additionally, three new courses taught will be required, including Faith and Leadership, Practicum in Faith and Leadership and Integrating Vocation. Copeland will teach these courses.

In total, the religion major and concentration is 57 credits. Some member of the senate expressed concern for this large number.

“We been very careful…to protect the liberal arts depth,” Duncan said.  “I just want to caution us as we go down that path, you know, to continually be aware that the liberal arts still remains the core.”

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