"We call [the minor] pre-modern because we wanted to use a term that wasn't Eurocentric," Livingstone said, adding that this gave it a more global quality that aligns itself with Wittenberg's strategic plan.
Approved at the final faculty meeting of the 2006-07 academic year, the PAST minor infuses art, economics, English, history, literature and language, music, philosophy, political science, religion and theatre into one multi-faceted minor. The departments came together with the common goal of educating students about the pre-modern and ancient worlds, with each department adding unique perspectives to create a kind of academic melting pot. Twenty-seven professors representing these areas of academia will lend their expertise to the minor.
"It is designed to fit with Wittenberg's globalizing efforts, and encourages global studies," Livingstone said.
Students will have the opportunity to focus their minor in one of three concentrations, including chronological, comparative and thematic. Each subject area provides students with multiple options of approach to explore a certain angle of the pre-ancient world.
Patterned after Africana studies and women's studies minors, the PAST minor will require a two credit-hour capstone course once the five core courses are completed. The capstone course serves as a connection for the various courses students have taken to acquire the minor.
"Initially we thought we would just have students complete five courses, but we wanted something to pull it all together," Livingstone said. "We intentionally wanted to provide a wrap-up."
Since the PAST minor was just announced, no students have yet declared it, but Livingstone has seen interest and hopes to have minor declarations by the end of the 2007 fall semester.
"I would anticipate students from a variety of majors," she said. "We hope to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. The minor can help students make their general education experience more coherent."
During their time at Wittenberg, students are required to take a number of classes to fulfill general education requirements representing several common learning areas. The PAST minor's ability to align itself with this goal has the potential to entice an even larger contingent of students.
Livingstone, along with Ty Buckman, associate professor of English; Mimi Dixon, professor of English; Barbara Kaiser, associate professor of religion; Christian Raffensperger, visiting assistant professor of history; and Alejandra Gimenez-Berger, assistant professor of art, will meet throughout the semester as the PAST advisory committee to strategize and compose plans for the minor.
In-class experience will serve as the primary means of learning, but Livingstone also hopes to provide additional opportunities outside the classroom by attending conferences and giving students the opportunity to share their research and ideas with others.
"We try to give students a lot of latitude in a way that isn't scattershot," Livingstone said. "The students get to see differences, similarities and continuities."
Written By: Erica Strauss '08
Photo By: Robert Gantt
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