Program Overview

Program Description:

The Luther College Rochester Semester is a new program intended to take advantage of the exciting opportunities available a mere sixty-five miles to the north of Decorah.  It will provide a platform for students to engage in high impact, career-related experiential learning.  Drawing on the College’s expansive alumni base in the area (one that includes professionals in all areas of business, industry, the arts, and sciences), students will have unique access to immersive learning opportunities designed to help them discern their callings, acquire concrete, job-related experience, and facilitate career networking.  To complete the 12-16 credit program, Rochester Semester participants will also enroll in two courses taught by Luther College faculty, and focused on the Rochester community and the unique changes it is undergoing.


The Rochester Semester’s academic program will fulfill the J-2 requirement  and consist of the following:

  • 4-8 credit internship: these credits can be applied toward total credit hours needed for graduation and, in some cases, for credits within the major.
  • Paideia 450, which fulfills the Paideia II requirement.
  • A Writing Course that provides a unique opportunity for students to acquire and apply writing skills directly to real-world cases and fulfills credits toward graduation. This course may be taken for either two or four credits.  The four-credit version will receive the HE general education designation.

    Internships:  Students should expect to spend 10-20+ hours per week in their internships (depending upon the number of credits associated with the immersion experience), and to discuss and share their experiences and growth at regularly spaced intervals with the program’s director and other program participants.  Depending upon the specific internship, such experiences may be paid or unpaid. The Program Director will work with participants and hosts to develop semester-long immersive experiences in an area of the student’s choosing, e.g., working in a Mayo research lab or doing public relations for an Arts non-profit (see reverse side for examples of potential areas). This work will include preparing both students and hosts for these collaborations. 

    Courses to be taught in Spring, 2020:
    Paideia 450 – The Mutable City: Ethical Engagement with Urban Change and Challenges.   This course will investigate various aspects of the monumental transformation taking place in the small, Midwestern city of Rochester, Minnesota.  Students will have ample opportunity to explore the city and engage with individuals and institutions at the heart of the the changes taking place there.  Areas of focus may include:  city planning; sustainability; infrastructure; government engagement; housing needs; immigration; and education.  The operative questions we will be asking in each of these areas are: what are the ethical decisions involved and how are answers to them arrived at.

    ENG (300-level) Writing in the Community:  Rochester.  In this course, students will collaborate with a nonprofit/nongovernmental organization in the Rochester community to design documents appropriate to the organization's needs.  Through this collaboration, students will learn more about the needs of the Rochester community as well the goals of the organizations that serve the community.  Students will engage in ethical service, using a partnership approach and reflecting on the impact of their contributions.  Documents may include informational and promotional brochures, instructions, proposals, letters, social media materials, and other forms of professional and technical writing.