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2014 Winter Linfield Magazine

“ While the political aspects of my classes gave me the tools to analyze foreign policy, the literature portion ensured that my classmates and I did not lose sight of soldiers’ and civilians’ individual experiences.” – Beth Turner ’13 Winter 2014 l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e - 9 He is part of a core group of faculty and student fellows who collaborate to bring discussions and events to campus, explore new ways to promote integrative learning and civic engagement, and serve as ambassadors for the program. “I believe PLACE has the potential to position Linfield on the cutting edge of 21st century education,” Cottrell said. “PLACE is above all designed to promote innovation and experimentation in liberal education. It brings together faculty and students from different disciplines to learn from one another as teachers, scholars and citizens. As we learn collectively from these experiences, our goal is to share best practices and ideas for others to use, while continuing to seek out new ones. Indeed, one of the distinguishing features of PLACE is its role as sort of a learning laboratory.” Although physics Professor Joelle Murray collaborates regularly with science colleagues, she is now talking with peers in the social sciences and working with them on events and projects. These interactions, such as a lecture by an anthropologist who studied physicists, spark enthusiasm for faculty and students alike. “We’re designing creative ways to get our students to engage more meaningfully not just in their courses but in their development of intellectual pursuits,” said Murray, who plans to incorporate the anthropologist’s book in future classes. Professors Barbara Seidman and Dawn Nowacki (English and political science, respectively) have collaborated to take a year-long look at gender and war in their classes, breaking from more traditional topics associated with the male military or political experience. Nowacki focused a course on gender and war, while Seidman designed a new Inquiry Seminar for first-year students, Women Writing War. A wide array of speakers, from scholars to novelists, boosted the classroom discussion. Brian Winkenweder, associate professor of art history, weaves the war theme into a number of his classes. After teaching at the large University of North Texas campus, Winkenweder appreciates the cross-disciplinary and handcrafted education Linfield provides through PLACE. “At my previous institution, I hung out with art historians and it would be considered cross discipline if I worked with an art educator or studio artist,” he said. “Now, I’m talking to colleagues across the spectrum. I get to move out beyond my discipline’s space at Linfield.” Students are challenged to explore beyond their majors as well, according to Tyler Schiewe ’16, a math major. “With the variety of disciplines we have on campus, it’s easy to get into a clique atmosphere where you don’t spread out beyond your academic area,” he said. “But PLACE brings us together, creating deep connections between disciplines. It’s turned my education into what I want it to be.” As a PLACE student fellow who helps administer the program, Schiewe has gained experience in strategic planning, budgeting, publicity, advertising and management, practical skills that employers value. Coupled with a liberal arts perspective, those skills make students more innovative and adaptable in the workplace, regardless of the field. “The combination of this increased academic challenge and civic engagement is something the job market really wants,” Schiewe said. “In order to be a good candidate for a career position, you need both qualities and the experiences associated with those.” It’s not only the type of learning that’s evolving, it’s the type of opportunities available for students. A PLACE archive containing related research, papers, transcripts and other material will soon be available online. But perhaps more importantly, students have direct access to prominent scholars and leading experts. Megan Schwab ’15, also a PLACE scholar along with Schiewe and Breanna Ribeiro ’14, hopes students will see the speakers, events and exhibits as tools to augment their class work. For example, when Andrew Bacevich, a leading international A Linfield Gallery exhibit by photographer Suzanne Opton used large-format photography to explore the complex emotions of veterans who served in military operations overseas. The PLACE subject has been woven into a number of art classes, for example discussing surrealism in the context of World War II.


2014 Winter Linfield Magazine
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