MODELS OF COLLABORATION - DEPARTMENTAL
|Biomedical Studies||Media Studies|
Since 2001, Piper Center staff members have collaborated with Professor Ted Johnson, Director of the Biomedical Studies Program, to develop concentration requirements that enhance students' preparation for careers in traditional areas of health care such as dentistry, human medicine, and veterinary medicine, as well as therapies (physical, occupational, speech, music, dance), and work in hospital administration, hospital ministry, and biomedical ethics. In its current form, the Biomedical Studies Concentration allows students to cater the required experiential learning activities and coursework to their own unique career goals. Ted Johnson and Sandy Malecha of the Piper Center work together to actively support students completing the concentration.
Concentration requirements that integrate career exploration activities ensure that students consider alternative career paths. Many students enter St. Olaf with the stated goal of pursuing a medical career and are eager to begin the course of study necessary for entering medical school. The Biomedical Studies concentration is designed not only to provide a broad academic background to students interested in the field of healthcare but also to engage these students in a vocational discernment process to determine whether pursuing medicine is right for them. The Piper Center's contributions in this collaboration include assisting faculty and student organizations with
- workshops on career exploration strategies,
- resources for students as they research three potential careers in the healthcare arena and complete two in-depth informational interviews with professionals or graduate schools in their field of interest,
- career panels,
- graduate school information sessions,
- and internship search strategies and resources.
The Piper Center plays an integral role in assisting concentrators with the completion of their experiential learning requirement in particular. From searching for opportunities to preparing application materials to interviewing and landing their desired position, students are encouraged to use the Piper Center Peer Advisors and staff for assistance with this process. By the time they complete their concentration requirements, Biomedical Studies concentrators will have thoroughly explored opportunities in healthcare and begun building a resourceful network of professionals.
The Piper Center feels strongly that collaborations with academic departments are its most powerful tool in creating meaningful relationships with students, and Professor Johnson acknowledges that the collaboration enables comprehensive and rigorous requirements that would not otherwise be possible. This is another way that St. Olaf works to deepen students' liberal arts experience. If you are interested in exploring ways to collaborate with the Piper Center in a course, concentration, program, or major, please contact Branden Grimmett ’03 at 507-786-3268.
Management: Rick Goedde
Piper Center staff presented the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to students in the Management 251 course as a lens for understanding personal giftedness and examining team strengths. A team activity demonstrates how the interaction of varying styles can impact team performance. Students draw upon the assessment tool’s results throughout the semester, integrating new insights on their sense of self for the remainder of the semester. This knowledge is then incorporated into their final project at the end of the semester. Back to collaboration menu »
The Management Studies (MS) program recognizes the importance of integrating management education and the liberal arts. The concentration includes a five-course program of study; an Experiential Learning Component; and an Integrative Folder. The goal of the Integrative Folder is to demonstrate the interrelatedness of a student’s varied learning experiences at St Olaf and illustrate connections between all facets of their learning.
Students are required to complete a reflective essay that encourages them to reflect on their St. Olaf education and determine what they need to do before they graduate in order to work toward their vocational vision. They are required to include the impact that their experiential learning activities have had on shaping their vision. Then in April, students are required to complete a portfolio on a CD that highlights the various skills and abilities they have gained, and outline their post-graduation action plan. This latter material allows students to be organized prior to graduation. The program deadlines look like this:
- Reflective component including:
Results of MBTI and/or Strong Interest Inventory assessment
- Synopsis of two required informational interviews
- Synopsis of two required Experiential Learning Activities
- Portfolio demonstrating your skill set (saved onto CD and delivered to the Management Studies Faculty)
- A post-graduation action plan
- Final resume
Students’ have remarked that this is a very useful process for them as they start to transition from St. Olaf and need to consider how they intend to make their vocational dreams a reality. The Piper Center facilitates this process by working closely with Management Studies faculty to ensure students are fully aware of the folder and portfolio requirements though information sessions. Piper Center staff also meet with students on an individual basis to further discuss the concentration’s requirements.
TO MANAGEMENT STUDIES SITE »
BACK TO TOP »
A popular and stalwart supervisor of academic interns over his career at St. Olaf, Bill Sonnega, Director of Media Studies and Associate Professor of Theatre, began collaborating with the Piper Center from its inception. Out of this connection came the idea for a Media Studies concentration which would integrate experiential learning, intentional reflection, and a capstone digital portfolio with the required interdisciplinary coursework. Piper Center staff members have worked with Bill to develop the concentration’s components as well as support him in the execution of the requirements. This collaboration supports the Piper Center’s theoretical beliefs about experiential learning— John Dewey’s study-action-reflection model is well embodied within the concentration’s requirements, and as a result, has deeply enriched students’ media-related learning.
The mechanics of the concentration have become streamlined and tailored in recent years in light of students’ needs and goals. They are required to involve themselves in at least one academic internship, and are strongly encouraged to seek out other experiential learning activities in the form of volunteer, leadership, entrepreneurial or related work experience in order to translate and apply their theoretical knowledge to life outside the classroom. These experiences, in conjunction with their media-related coursework, are reflected in their electronic integrative portfolio. Each student's portfolio has direct application to the student's academic interests and/or post-graduation goals and includes several basic items such as a resume, cover letter/personal statement, key academic work, and a capstone reflective essay integrating their academic and experiential learning. From there, students have the opportunity to include items relevant to their individual direction. For instance, a student focused in the area of graphic design might include weblinks/pageviews of websites that they have developed, jpeg files of their art work, and letters of recommendation from their internship experience and student work supervisor in Boe House. The final product is polished, simple, clean, functional, reproducible and thoughtfully constructed.
This alliance has allowed the Piper Center to provide multi-faceted support to Media Studie’s academic program by providing students with connections to experiential learning opportunities, preparing them for their experiences, and involving them in academic internship reflection sessions. The Piper Center works collaboratively with Media Studies to deliver information sessions detailing the requirements of the concentration as well as the development of their portfolios. Piper Center staff meet with students on an individual basis, also, to further discuss requirements and provide consultation on the digital portfolio. A Piper Center staff member also serves on a friends of media studies committee.
TO MEDIA STUDIES SITE »
BACK TO TOP »
The Piper Center works closely with the Pre-Law program at St. Olaf to encourage students to pursue a broad program of study that strengthens their abilities in writing, reading, speaking, and analysis and to embark upon experiential learning activities that complement their unique classroom learning. Doug Casson (Political Science), and Kirsten Cahoon (Piper Center) work collaboratively as co-chairs to advise students considering law, and assist those who are applying to law schools. Cahoon and Casson, along with the larger pre-law advising committee -- Karen Cherewatuk (English), Anthony Rudd (Philosophy), and Steve Hahn (History) -- organize panels, speakers, and forums each semester for students interested in law. In addition, Piper Center staff facilitate law school visits and information sessions, as well as LSAT prep sessions. The Piper Center also offers workshops to prepare and educate pre-law students on the process. Typical programs have included “Law School: Options and Applying,” “Graduate/Professional School Application Process,” “Writing the Personal Statement,” and “Writing a Graduate/Professional School Resume/Curriculum Vitae.” Additionally, the Piper Center has worked to create and facilitate law-related internships, jobs, and networking opportunities that help students discern whether the field of law is right for them.
To PRE-LAW SITE »
BACK TO TOP »