Early Experiences Give Students a Preview to New Academic Year

The fall semester at Nebraska Wesleyan University officially began Monday, August 26. But first year students in Karla Jensen’s liberal arts seminar, “The Liberal Arts of Yoga,” started their academic year early learning the historical, psychological, economical, and political aspects of yoga.

They started on Sunday, August 18 with a class on basic breathing techniques.

“We wanted them to start early so they could fully and effectively learn basic yoga before we begin applying it to our service learning work at Tabitha,” said Jensen, professor of communication.

In the coming days, Jensen’s students will apply their new yoga skills and knowledge to their volunteer efforts at Tabitha Health Care Services, where they will help patients, staff, volunteers and families understand and gain from the benefits of yoga.

“These few days before the semester serve as a preview for what’s to come this semester,” said Jensen, who was recently certified by the National Yoga Alliance.

Meanwhile, students who enrolled in the liberal arts seminar, “The Necessity of Wilderness,” started their first class on August 11 when they boarded university vans and drove to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota. The experience serves as a case study for the fall semester when they study the recreational, ecological, geological, historical, and cultural values of wilderness.

When students arrived on campus they were greeted by some new programs, new faces, and facility improvements.

New programs: Integrative studies major, which gives undergraduates the opportunity to build their own major based on courses and experiences; two liberal arts seminars and a biology class will pilot the use of IPads as learning tools in the classroom; recruitment begins for the university’s new swimming program. This year’s theme house is the “culturally diverse” house. Residents will live and learn about cultural diversity and explore how it is taught in the NWU and Lincoln communities.

In University College, adult students can now major in criminal justice; the university is also partnering with Duncan Aviation, where it will offer courses for project management certification.

Facility Improvements: The biggest physical facility improvement is the addition of a new tailgate park, located southwest of Abel Stadium. “Bostwick Park” was built in memory of former NWU football coach Scott Bostwick. Abel Stadium also has new field turf made from recycled tires. The field turf project was funded by the Marion and Marian Weary Endowment along with a grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s Waste Reduction & Recycling Incentive Grant Program. Other facility improvements include a new roof on Story Student Center, carpeting in Old Main classrooms, and sound-proofing in Centennial Hall.

New faculty: Sarah Berkeley (Art), Nancy Biggs (Education), Gina Chambers (Health & Human Performance), Molly Fitzke (Nursing), Tamra Llewellyn (Health & Human Performance), Austin Mohr (Mathematics), Lana Obradovic-Candler (Political Science).

New staff: Kim Johnson, vice president for enrollment management; Eduardo Bousson, university minister; Greg Fleming, head swimming coach; Addie Hoffman, assistant registrar; Barbara Keating, costume technologist/costume shop manager; Michelle Lyons, payroll manager, staff accountant; Shari Sorenson, staff assistant to the History Department; Samantha Wilson, assistant athletic trainer.

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Students enrolled in the "Necessity of Wilderness" class got a jump on the semester by canoeing & portaging the Boundary Waters.
Students enrolled in "The Liberal Arts of Yoga" started classes even before the official semester began.
Professor Karla Jensen said having her class meet before the semester begins provides a good preview to their academic career.