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20 Years Ago

from The Bridge, vol. XXIX, no.6, pp. 1,6; February 4, 1998.

Irish Studies Program Adopted

On January 8, 1998, the Academic Committee approved a proposal for a new class called Senior Seminar: Irish Studies. The pilot program, to be added to the 1998-99 curriculum, is the first in a succession of new seminar classes. During the spring term of their senior year, 12-14 students will learn about Irish culture and travel to Ireland. The seminar program application will be similar in format to that of a term abroad. According to Donna Inglehart, who came up with the idea, the seminar “will incorporate primary elements of the Strategic Agenda: the international perspective, cross-disciplinary studies, and the senior seminar.”
The seminar courses consist of an English class and a seminar class, both taught by Dennis Kennedy. During the early weeks of the spring term, students will be taking a more traditional English class heavily focused on Irish literature. The block schedule allows for intensity, so the readings will be extensive and varied. During the day’s second block seminar class, students will be studying Irish history and culture in an effort to absorb as much information as possible before leaving for a three-week trip to Ireland.
Students will be more than just tourists in Ireland. They will be able to learn about a specific topic of interest in greater depth and detail from first hand experience. From this knowledge, students will be able to share with the group what they have learned. This gives students the opportunity to become teachers as well as learners.
After their return to NMH, students will continue their English classes, but will concentrate largely on individual projects for the senior seminar. Each student will design, plan, execute, and present a complex project on a chosen area of interest relating to the theme of Irish Studies. Possible topics include the impact of dance on Irish society, the role of politics and religion, and Celtic Art. The end of the term will culminate with the presentation of the completed project to the Northfield Mount Hermon community.
Inglehart…expressed her excitement in the set-up and scheduling of the program during the academic year. Because it takes place during the spring term of senior year, the course allows students a closing and summation of their years at NMH. In completing their independent projects, students have the opportunity to look back at their time at their time at Northfield Mount Hermon and develop their project while examining their academic and personal growth. The seminar accomplishes one of Inglehart’s goals for this program, instituting the chance for seniors to continue to grow during their last term at NMH.
Class participants will be able to preserve their life at NMH in addition to reaping the benefits of traveling abroad. The independent project gives students the chance to develop a complex project of their own design, reflecting the work of the term.
Many students are interested in taking part in the new pilot program. Interested students should contact Donna Inglehart for more information.

The Senior Seminar: Irish Studies is the first of many new interdisciplinary programs being planned for the future. If the new class works well, there are many opportunities for future seminar programs.