Students and teachers call for a better variety of classes

Classes may be expanding by 7 percent in the fall, but many students and faculty say there are many more courses that NKU isn’t adding that should.

When asked what classes NKU doesn’t offer but should, history major Cameron Cochran thinks hard about his answer.

Before he gives it, he explains that he is a pacifist. “I would be interested in a class that focused on alternatives to military action,” he says.

More specifically, a class which examines the “concrete” history of non-violent tactics, not pacifism in a philosophical context. He says the class could possibly examine the Civil Rights Movement and Mahatma Gandhi. Cochran says he recognizes the importance of studying military history, but a class devoted to non-violent tactics might get people thinking creatively about dealing with different situations.

Candace Klein, a communication major, says she would like to see more Women’s Studies classes offered. Possibly a class on Women’s Suffrage, or classes in the same vein as the Women in Communication class that is currently offered.

There are as many different answers to the question of what courses should be offered at NKU as there are students and faculty at Northern.

Dr. Danny Miller, chair of the literature and language department, says he would like to see more classes introduced in his department that deal with multi-culturalism. A professor who specializes in post-colonial literature has been hired to start teaching classes in the fall. In short, post-colonial literature reflects the experience in areas of the world such as India, which are pulling away, or have pulled away, from colonial rule.

“We need more courses that really focus on poetry and drama,” adds Miller, noting that students have requested more poetry classes. Miller says he is not sure why students request the classes, other than the fact that poetry is a major component of literature and language.

The contents of NKU’s course catalog would be slightly different if the students in Dr. Yasue Kuwahara’s popular culture classes had their way.

Kuwahara, director of the popular culture program, recently asked her students to write down their idea of a “dream” class. The answers she received were varied and included such topics as dream interpretation, contemporary style, anime, Irish folklore and history of natural medicines.

Many “dream” choices suggested that personal interests played a major role in what was written down. One student, for example, wrote that classes on Feng Shui, interior decorating and the Chinese zodiac all sounded interesting.

“We can offer more courses if we focus on students interests,” says Kuwahara, who says many of the ideas are “feasible.”

One subject that emerges from the entries repeatedly is sports. From history of college basketball to baseball and film, students in Kuwahara’s popular culture class listed sports related topics more than any other subject.

There are plans, though, to incorporate more sports related classes into different curriculums at NKU. Baseball in America is currently taught during the summer as a special topic class in radio and television. A new sports business program has also been proposed through the department of management and marketing.

Any proposed class or program will eventually find its way to the University Curriculum Committee. The committee is comprised of representatives from various University departments who scrutinize the proposed classes or programs. They also deal with changes in the course catalog or the deletion of classes.

“It’s usually departments wanting to improve their offerings,” says Carol Dunevant, UCC Secretary.

This is especially true of the education department, which, according to Linda Olasov, interim dean of the college of education, undergoes regular change.

When asked if there are any classes the college of education doesn’t offer but should, Olasov responds with a confident “no.”

“We run a continuous assessment process,” says Olasov. This assessment process includes students, faculty members and the program itself. Olasov says she also attends a regular meeting of educators to find out what skills students studying education will need.

Some recent changes brought about by this process include increasing a classroom management course by one hour and a second practicum requirement for students in the secondary education program.

“We make changes every year based on what the data tells us,” says Olasov.