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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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 Teaching Humanities

This certificate in teaching humanities has been constructed to serve the needs of a special population—those students who will soon graduate or hold degrees in English, Art, Music, Philosophy, History, Theatre, or Foreign Languages with secondary certification, but who, by interest and/or their school’s specific needs, may need to pick up some specific skills in teaching in the Humanities. Since Humanities is not an option for certification in Minnesota and since Humanities courses continue to be among the most popular offerings taught in high schools, this certificate has assembled a collection of courses geared for the presumably already-employed teacher as well as those prospective teachers hoping to build more versatility into their application for a teaching position.

The emphasis that binds the elements of the certificate program together is Interdisciplinarity: we understand that teaching Humanities is a more complex endeavor than most, requiring an ability to engage students in a variety of cultural texts, not just those from a teacher’s major area of preparation. Thus, an entrant into the program must be able to demonstrate completion of an undergraduate major in the humanities, the natural sciences, or the social sciences. And in addition to courses that expose program participants to research skills, texts, and pedagogical theory related to Humanities, six credits of courses from the College of Education in strategies for teaching within specific disciplines will also be required.

Because the audience this certificate program is designed for will require courses that are accessible, practical, and pedagogically-driven as well as a program that can be completed quickly and efficiently, courses will be scheduled at times of the day and in platforms for delivery for maximum flexibility. Thus, courses will be offered in the late afternoon and evening and in the summer, and courses will be designed with full on-line capability.


Humanities 550: Humanities Seminar (4 credits) for the prospective and practicing teacher with a pedagogically-focused project, lesson plan, or teaching journal.

Humanities 631: Seminar—Teaching Interdisciplinary Humanities (3 credits), a course involving students in issues, strategies, and materials to be used in designing and assessing the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary Humanities course. Part of the course will involve prospective and practicing teachers observing Humanities classes either here at MSU, at cooperating community colleges, or in area high schools and the teacher’s delivery of those classes and then to report on and evaluate what has been viewed.

Humanities 652: Bibliography and Research in Interdisciplinary Humanities (2 credits), introducing the prospective and practicing teacher to research tools, strategies, and materials related to the Humanities that he or she can use to write the Plan B paper and to import into classroom activities that students will be doing. Particularly crucial for this course will be the careful definition of what a “text” is, given the interdisciplinary nature of humanities studies. Students will also discuss and learn to apply theoretical formulations useful for examining, teaching, and writing about cultural texts. To be offered every Fall Semester.

Humanities 676: Humanities Portfolio (2 credits), which will proceed as an independent written project in one of several ways. It may well be the culmination of a student’s internship in which he or she reflects on and analyzes the planning and actual teaching associated with the experience and then reacts to changes that might be made if the course were to be taught again. Obviously, student audience issues would be engaged in the course of the analysis. The project for the 676 could focus on the development and articulation of a course that the practicing or prospective teacher plans to put into operation, with all of the assessment and evaluation pieces included in the course package. The independent paper could also be a review of some Humanities courses that are currently being offered at various locations on various platforms (on-line included), with a report and critique on the assumptions on which they have been built. The paper could contain a raft of items, like WEB pages developed, unit plans drafted, assessment activities constructed, and the like. Still another possibility could be a Plan B paper, of seminar paper length (25-35 pages) which identifies a problem associated with the development, delivery, or audience of a Humanities course and seeks to engage research in reaching a solution to that problem.

Humanities 698: Interdisciplinary Humanities Internship (4 credits), in which a prospective or practicing teacher will team with a faculty person at MSU, at a community college, or in the high school to deliver a Humanities course and enter into a formal contract that articulates the intern’s responsibilities. Wherever the internship should occur, a faculty person representing the Humanities Program will visit the intern’s classroom, observe the intern several times, and then evaluate the process and the results of that teaching enterprise. The intern will write and submit a detailed daily log and self-evaluation of his/her preparations and classroom experiences.


2 of the following courses—

KSP 630: Materials for Young Adults

KSP 634: Design and Production of Resources

KSP 550: Human Relations in a Multicultural Society

or other courses from Education approved by each student's advisor.