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Grønningsæter returns to Norway

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Megan DeMouth (‘18), Alexis Hove (‘18), Kari Gronningsaeter, and Hannah Tulgren (‘18).

Megan DeMouth (‘18), Alexis Hove (‘18), Kari Gronningsaeter, and Hannah Tulgren (‘18).

Photo courtesy of Kari Grønningsæter

Photo courtesy of Kari Grønningsæter

Megan DeMouth (‘18), Alexis Hove (‘18), Kari Gronningsaeter, and Hannah Tulgren (‘18).

Biz Wagenson, Staff Writer

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Visiting Instructor in Scandanavian Studies Kari Grønningsæter will be leaving Luther and Decorah following the end of this semester and returning to Norway.

Grønningsæter began working at Luther in 2007 and left in 2009. She came back to Luther in 2012, and has remained until now. She has been working in the U.S. on a five-year J-1 visa since 2012 and applied for an H1B visa. However, due to the uncertainty surrounding how long the visa would take to receive she made the decision to return to Norway following this semester.

Grønningsæter’s husband, retired Professor of American Culture and Literature øyvind Gullikson will also leave Decorah.

“If Luther applies for a H1B  visa for me, there might be a chance that I will come back,” Grønningsæter said. “I am not done  here yet, half of my heart is still in Decorah and at Luther College.”

Grønningsæter teaches Norwegian 101-102, 201-202, and 345 which explore the Norwegian language, literature, and culture. Grønningsæter incorporates field trips to folk dances, Henrik Ibsin plays, and the Vesterheim into her courses.

“It is important for students to get their own view of Norway beyond [its] beautiful fjords,” Grønningsæter said. “to get to know Norway today, not just the beauitful postcards of glaciers.”

Associate Professor of Nordic Studies Maren Johnson commented on how much the Nordic Studies program grew into what it is today because of the effort and unique perspectives brought by Kari.

“Kari brought incredible passion, energy and enthusiasm into our Nordic Studies program,” Johnson said. “In a period of transition, she brought stability to the program. She also helped to engage students to understand the significance of studying Norway and Norwegian at Luther College.”

Grønningsæter said she will miss teaching, the friendliness of Luther’s population, and the students most when she leaves.

“I like to think [the students] keep me young,” Grønningsæter said. “I get so inspired by their energy and curiosity. As I get older myself it becomes so interesting to listen to what this generation thinks about the world and themselves. As I get older myself it becomes so interesting to listen to what this generation thinks about the world and themselves, and be inspired by their freshness.”

Johnson explained that Grønningsæter connects with the students on a personal level that furthers their studies.

“[Grønningsæter] is masterful at connecting with students,” Johnson said. “She cares deeply about each of the students sitting in her classroom and works collaboratively with her classes to ensure she employs teaching methodologies and includes information that makes the courses challenging, exciting, and fun.”

Nordic Studies major Summer Gracey (‘17) elaborated on how Grønningsæter brought excitement into the classroom for all students and made it an enjoyable learning environment for her.

“[Grønningsæter] brings so much energy and enthusiasm everywhere she goes and it really shows in the classroom,” Gracey said. “I always looked forward to going to Norwegian because I didn’t want to miss out on whatever we were doing that day. I will miss [Grønningsæter] so much, along with everyone else I am sure.”

Grønningsæter will have a job teaching international studies part-time at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway next year. Johnson commented on the Nordic Studies department’s will have an empty positon next year with Grønningsaeter’s absence. No decision has been made yet.

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