Initiatives in the School are driven by our commitment to the three critical elements of St. Kate’s — Women, Catholic and Liberal Arts. As St. Kate’s responds to the forces of change that call for innovative thinking, action and work, women’s education, Catholic Social Teaching and the liberal arts remain central.
Beyond academic borders to integrated learning
Integrated learning comes in many varieties: connecting skills, knowledge and perspectives from multiple sources and experiences; applying theory to practice in various settings; utilizing diverse and even contradictory points of view; and, understanding issues and positions contextually. Disciplines in the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences have developed unique pedagogical approaches through decades of commitment to student-centered learning. Key initiatives include:
The Antonian Scholars Honors Program offers high achieving bachelor’s degree students an even more challenging liberal arts learning environment. Students take at least two honors seminars, which have a liberal arts focus and are team taught by faculty from different disciplines. Honors students also design a senior honors project, working closely with a faculty mentor. The research project or creative work is publicly presented to the campus community.
Related topics: Antonian Scholars Honors Program
Work is underway to integrate global learning and global studies experiences into all of the School’s programs, making it possible for many more students to study abroad as part of their St. Kate’s degree. Departments are working with the Office of Global Studies to identify global studies programs and courses that match and complement the on-campus curriculum. Students can engage in the issues and topics of their majors through a variety of carefully selected and focused international programs offering academic coursework, internships and on-site research projects, as well as language learning and cultural immersion.
Related topics: Office of Global Studies
St. Kate’s is nationally recognized for its collaborative work developing the first STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) minor in the country. The goal of the program is to send confident, STEM-literate educators out into the classroom and the community. The STEM minor is a model of interdisciplinary teaching and learning that bridges the gap between scientific knowledge and pedagogical application. Courses in the minor are team taught by faculty from the science disciplines and from the education department. This interdisciplinary approach strengthens scientific knowledge in the educational setting and provides a new paradigm for how science is taught, learned and disseminated in the classroom and in public settings.
Making connections across disciplines
Core curriculum. The core courses provide common experiences and build community as each student connects with the University’s mission. The Reflective Woman (TRW), uniquely responsive to women’s learning needs, guides students to explore issues in the world from liberal arts perspectives and acquire skills in communication, cultural analysis, critical thinking and information literacy. The Global Search for Justice (GSJ) is a capstone seminar designed as an in-depth examination of the conditions of justice experienced by people outside of North American majority culture and an active inquiry into how global citizens must work to improve those conditions.
Working collaboratively with other St. Catherine schools, the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences is further developing the core curriculum as a laboratory for teaching and learning, increasing the University's capacity to infuse liberal arts throughout the curriculum, utilize inquiry-based and community-based learning, develop additional opportunities for global study and, through the core convocations, strengthen students' abilities to connect their education to the work of artists, activists and global leaders.
Related topics: Core Curriculum
Women’s Studies and Critical Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Women’s studies and Critical Studies in Race and Ethnicity are two nationally recognized interdisciplinary majors and minors at St. Kate's. These programs share many courses in common and are truly interdisciplinary, offering a total of 56 courses cross-listed equally with humanities, arts and natural/social sciences. As a part of the liberal arts core curriculum, all bachelor's degree students must incorporate at least one course from either of these programs into their program of study.
Women's studies courses examine the experiences, contributions, perspectives and theorizings of women both in the United States and globally through two lenses: feminism and the multiple differences of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and age.
Critical Studies in Race and Ethnicity provides a framework for understanding race and ethnicity in historical, contemporary, national and global contexts. Students use the lens of race/ethnicity to critically examine texts, language, media, art, music, statistical records, and social structure and systems. Recently, the American Association of Colleges and Universities recognized this program as "an exemplary diversity program."
Providing new opportunities for academic excellence
Collaborative research and scholarship. A new institute of undergraduate research and scholarship is now taking shape under the directorship of the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences. The institute will put into practice a vertical-team model to support collaborative scholarly research by faculty and staff across all disciplines at the University. Faculty will serve as team leads, and advanced students will mentor less experienced students. Students will be actively engaged in research in significant ways that merit recognition as contributors to the final product.
Multilingual learning. Also under development through the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) is a multilingual learning institute that will offer learning-readiness activities to middle school students and families, courses that integrate linguistic development with study of global issues, leadership and mentoring opportunities for multilingual college students and a development laboratory to increase multilingual teaching skills for faculty.