New major and minor added to Fall 2022 course catalog

Several departments have come together to form two new interdisciplinary areas of study at Luther: the Law and Values major, and the Counseling minor. Courses for both fields of learning will be offered in the Fall 2022 semester.

The Law and Values major combines political science, economics, and philosophy for students interested in law school, business, or public policy. The program aims to provide students with the understanding of the complex set of institutions that shape society. Associate Professor of Political Science Carly Foster shared what she hopes students will gain from the program.

“We are hoping this new interdisciplinary program will give students that are maybe interested in law or public policy a background in all three areas,” Foster said. “We think that will be very useful preparation for students to learn how different structures and institutions work together, and how values and ethics work within those.”

Students will not only be learning about legislation and judicial rulings; they will also be developing their understanding of the moral considerations relating to law and policy making. Facilitating this aspect of the major is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Identity Studies Holly Moore, who worked closely with Professor of Economics Steve Holland and Foster to integrate ideas of philosophy and ethics. Moore expressed why this program is important to Luther College’s mission.

“To ‘serve with distinction for the common good’ is a part of Luther’s mission statement,” Moore said. “The heart of the program is exactly that. We want students to feel confident they are able to contribute to the shaping of our world, and to live in a world, that is just.”

The new interdisciplinary counseling minor combines social work and psychology to equip students with the skill set needed to pursue a career relating to mental health. Professor of Psychology Joseph Breitenstein worked closely with Professor of Social Work Britt Rhodes to form a program that prepares students for professions such as occupational therapy or school counseling. When asked why this minor is important to Luther students, Breitenstein shared his personal philosophy.

”There are two strands of Luther’s DNA – music, and helping others,” Breitenstein said. “A counseling minor allows a student to take their passion, whether that be art, music, or biology, and combine that with their desire to help others in a way that provides for a meaningful career.”

When the programming addition was announced in February, the administration pointed to both fields’ focus on interdisciplinary study and application of learned skills.

“These new interdisciplinary academic programs demonstrate our faculty’s innovative spirit and steadfast commitment to offering majors and minors that prepare students to meet the demands of today’s complex society,” Provost Lynda Szymanski said in a statement to the Luther community. “These offerings are distinct among our peers and will make students more competitive when applying for graduate schools and jobs. The law and values major will ground students in both theory and application and will empower students to become leaders in law, business, politics, civil service, and the nonprofit sector, while the counseling minor is designed to complement majors associated with helping professions.”

The course offerings for the Fall 2022 semester in relation to these fields include LV-250: Law and Justice, and Coun-301: Evidence Based Practice, which will take place during the second seven weeks.