General Studies

The Luther College curriculum allows for the offering of courses under the heading of general studies. This heading is reserved for those courses whose primary content lies outside a departmental subject area, and there are normally no academic prerequisites for those courses. The courses bear full academic credit and advance students toward total number of credits for graduation; however, the courses do not fulfill requirements for major or minors.

General Studies Courses

GS 100 Foundations for Learning and Development

  • 2 hours

The purpose of this course is to enable students to understand the foundations of learning and development by examining their skills, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and the contribution of a liberal arts education to their holistic development (emotional, ethical, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational). Students will develop academic and other skills related to higher-order thinking, social and emotional intelligence, cultural competence, digital age learning, and financial decision-making. They will learn to enhance their own motivation, responsibility and leadership. Students will also explore their personality, strengths, interests, and purpose in order to fully engage in the education process and set goals that represent their values and priorities. Open to first-year students accepted into the SSS TRIO Program.

GS 105 Luther College Symphony Orchestra Residency in Vienna: An Exploration of Viennese Performances

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior

Students will immerse themselves fully in performance in an intensive three-week residency in Vienna, Austria, rehearsing daily and giving several public performances. They will also attend performances and study them from an ethnographic perspective, observing and analyzing the behaviors of the audience and performers, the ways in which the venue affects the performance, and performance conventions that we often take for granted. To effectively undertake this work, students will learn the principles of participant observation, and how to take field notes and write ethnographies. We will also study performance from an historical perspective, examining several of Vienna's legendary musical premieres, including Ludwig von Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, in which he could not hear his audience's applause, and Alban Berg's Altenberglieder that incited a riot in 1913. To better comprehend how the audiences behaved and responded to these and other premieres, we will situate them in the social, historical, economic, and musicological contexts.

GS 110 Critical Reading and Learning

  • 2 hours

We become better students when we become better critical readers aiming to withhold judgement until we have considered texts or issues carefully and thoughtfully. In this course we practice critical reading strategies, including inspectional, analytical, and syntopical ways of approaching issues and texts. In this course we also review and practice best learning strategies in the context of a liberal arts curriculum.

GS 200 Lives that Matter: Vocation, Self and Service (Arizona)

  • 4 hours

This course is designed to help students connect their own gifts, talents, and vocation with the needs of the world. The course begins with on-campus days of introduction to the major concepts of community, service, compassion, social justice, social change, leadership and vocation. These classes will also enable students to identify their own strengths. The second part of the course, based at the ELCA "Spirit in the Desert" retreat center in Carefree, Arizona (close to Phoenix), offers an intensive service experience through area churches in order to allow students to address a specific need such as homelessness. The course concludes with a special 2-day Blessed to be a Blessing retreat at Spirit in the Desert, offering students further readings, discussion, and rich inter-generational reflection in order to incorporate their service experience into an understanding of their own vocation in relation to the needs they have witnessed and addressed. Additional fees will apply ($850 for flight and accommodations in Arizona) Requires sophomore status or above.

GS 382 Integrating Academic and Experiential Learning

  • 2 hours

In this course, offered concurrently with the Rochester Semester immersion intership experience, students will i) identify and integrate pertinent knowledge and insights gained from their previous liberal arts coursework with their internship settings and ii) evaluate the challenges and opportunities posed by the cultures and practices of the organizations in which they are working, as well as their current and potential roles within them. Students will be asked to analyze, synthesize, and reflect on past and current experiences, and to act in preparation for future plans. Drawing on student experiences and insights from external speakers, social and cultural factors of different work environments will be evaluated. Assignments will include journals, reflective essays, interviews, mind-mapping and prototyping exercises, workforce networking, and a capstone synthesis project. One hour and half session/week, 2 cr.