New classes have gained student interest

Jake Hartwell

St. Edward’s University introduced two new minors at the beginning of the 2009-2010 academic year and 15 new courses in the spring semester. Student interest indicates that the minors and courses are meeting expectations. Jewish StudiesOne of the new minors for the 2009-2010 academic year was Jewish Studies. Approved in August 2009, Jewish Studies has already seen six students at the Catholic university declare the minor.”Student interest is very strong,” said Richard Bautch, associate dean of School of Humanities. “Six declarations in six months is a pretty impressive start, and I think it’s going to continue to grow.”In fall 2009, the university offered five courses as part of the Jewish Studies minor. Three more classes were offered in the spring.Freshman Catherine Hughes is one of several students who have expressed satisfaction with the Jewish Studies minor. “I have loved my classes so far,” Hughes said. “I took Introduction to the Hebrew Bible with Professor Bautch, and I loved the curriculum. We learned about the history of Ancient Israel, which is fascinating.”Art HistoryAfter having been in the planning stages for several years, the Art History minor was finally offered for the first time during the 2009-2010 academic year. “I have 14 students who have declared [the minor] or told me they plan to do so,” Assistant Professor Mary Brantl said. “Especially as I meet with newer students, I’m sensing considerable interest in the minor.”Several courses in the Art History minor count towards other programs and general education. Of those courses, the university offered two Topics in Art History courses—Modernism’s “Scream” and Art and Gender.Junior Rebecca Tsucalas said the minor has provided her with a direction. “It’s like I found my passion,” Tsucalas said. “I also feel that the minor has prepared me appropriately for applying to graduate programs.””I’d like to see the day when St. Edward’s has an Art History major, though right now we’re just at the beginning steps of such a possible program,” Brantl said. “Such a possibility certainly seems in line with St. Edward’s commitment to a liberal arts education.” New ClassesSt. Edward’s offered 15 new courses this semester, including diverse topics from Survey of Africa to the Elections of 2008 and 2010. All of the classes are at or close to capacity.One of the courses, Personal Finance, is taught by Associate Professor Amy Burnett. The course teaches students the basics of personal finance—checking accounts, buying a car, getting loans, credit cards, mortgages and more—and is at full capacity for enrollment at 27 students.Senior Sam Cornish said that he enjoys the course.”The class is fun, enlightening and applicable to real life,” Cornish said. “The most important thing that I’ve learned so far is to pay yourself first, not last.”

[email protected]