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The Collegian

The Collegian

BJU to introduce interdisciplinary courses next year

Beginning this fall, students in diverse majors will have the opportunity to join forces to create a single, unified learning experience as BJU introduces its first-ever interdisciplinary courses.

According to Dr. Gary Weier, BJU’s vice president for academic affairs, three such courses are in the works for next year, including Incarnation and the Humanities  (Bi 415 and ThA 415), which will debut in the Fall 2015 semester.

This three-credit course will double as an upper-level Bible elective and theatre arts class, showing students how the central doctrine of Christ’s incarnation shapes a Christian approach to the humanities, particularly theater, art, film and photography.

Dr. Brent Cook of the Division of Bible, and Miss Erin Naler of the theatre arts department, who will soon complete her Ph.D. in aesthetics, will be co-instructors of the course and will lend their respective areas of expertise to the study of Christ’s incarnation as it relates to the humanities.

Naler said she is thinking of several topics that she hopes to incorporate in the class. “I’m interested in how a theatre movement at the beginning of the 20th century in America embodied an Incarnational narrative, or how zombie apocalypse films that are so ubiquitous tell an excarnational narrative, or how photographs of sharecroppers in the South in the 1930s tell a deeply human story of our image bearing,” Naler said.

Two additional interdisciplinary courses will be offered in the Spring 2016 semester: Measurement and Metrics, which combines the disciplines of human resources, management, accounting and actuarial science, and an advertising course, which combines graphic design, marketing and media communication.

Mrs. Kathryn Gamet, a faculty member in the journalism and mass communication department and one of the instructors for the advertising course, said the course will incorporate the University’s recently organized chapters of the American Marketing Association and American Advertising Federation to give the students practical experience in advertising.

The students will participate in a competition through the two associations, where they will work together, all using their specific skill sets, to create and propose a complete advertising campaign.

“The goal of this class is to get the feel of producing a campaign in an actual advertising agency,” Gamet said. “Our goal is to be able to let [the students] have real-world experience and grow from each other’s strengths.”

Weier, who originally proposed the idea to offer interdisciplinary courses, notes the benefit of bringing together faculty and students from diverse disciplines to collaborate in exploring ideas and practical problem solving.

“There’s likely to be lively discussion in and out of the classroom for those enrolled in these courses,” Weier said. “Minds will be engaged and lives enriched!”

Weier also said the introduction of interdisciplinary courses aligns closely with BJU’s mission as a liberal arts university. “In many senses,” he said, “an interdisciplinary approach embodies who we are academically as a liberal arts [university].”

Weier said the engagement and interest among faculty and students surrounding the introduction of these courses has been exciting to see, and based on ongoing faculty engagement and student demand, the interdisciplinary program may expand in coming years.

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BJU to introduce interdisciplinary courses next year