Saint Martin’s University introduces minors in French and physics for the academic year 2015-2016.
These minors were approved by the University’s Board of Trustees and the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities. They bring the total number of minors offered at Saint Martin’s to 28.
The French minor emerged from growing student interest over the years. In the past, students had to design their own study of French, typically through directed study courses; now, students can earn the French minor, which is 21 credits and includes courses such as French Literature and French Cinema. In addition, students can count their study abroad in a French-speaking country towards the minor.
“Language in general is critical to students’ understanding,” says Kathleen McKain, professor of French and director of the minor. “People talk about global awareness and global citizenship but language plays a critical role in understanding the world.”
The French minor is interdisciplinary and compels students to think critically about the world. It also contributes to students’ human development—as students struggle to learn a language, they gain a greater sense of empathy for people who are learning English. The French minor complements virtually any area of study; it increases students’ cultural awareness and makes them more competitive in the job market.
The physics minor stemmed from the growing number of upper-division physics classes offered by the university. Stephen Parker and John Weiss, professors of physics, began the application process for the minor a year ago, presenting their idea to the faculty, the administration and the Saint Martin’s University Board of Trustees.
The physics minor consists of 34 credits, including a 2-credit capstone project that allows students to explore an area of interest to them. Although the physics minor is especially useful for mechanical engineering students, it isn’t just for engineers. A wide variety of students can benefit from the problem-solving skills that are central to physics.
“Physics isn’t just useful knowledge,” explains Weiss. “It’s a way of approaching problems.” Physics challenges students to think outside the box. Rather than plugging in numbers to solve a problem, students must take the ideas and concepts learned in class and develop their own solutions.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 340 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at www.stmartin.edu.