State of the University in 2016
On Saturday, June 4, Dr. Corey Olsen, President and Founder of Signum University, delivered the 2016 State of the Union address. The full address is available on the Signum YouTube Channel, split into three parts by topic (also embedded below).
In the address, Dr. Olsen introduced the new website and outlined three new developments designed to grow Signum University over the upcoming academic year. Broadly speaking, these developments will make it easier for students to plan their academic program, provide a new opportunity for students who are not seeking a degree, and give all students a new place to interact.
Course Offering Changes
Starting with the Fall 2016 semester, Signum University is changing the way courses are offered. Rather than focusing on delivering a small set of new classes – which prompts students to think from course to course, semester to semester – we want to encourage students to think about their degree program as a whole. With that in mind, we have developed a set of four new concentrations into which we have grouped the courses we offer:
- Tolkien Studies
- Imaginative Literature
- Germanic Philology
- Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Literature
With the creation of these new concentrations, Signum is aiming to offer the courses in these concentrations every 2 – 3 years. This will allow students to better plan their studies around their interests, making it easier to accomplish their goal of earning an M.A. in Language & Literature.
In order to offer this many courses each semester – double (or more) the number we have offered per semester in the past – we will be offering a mix of live-lecture courses and pre-recorded courses each semester. All courses will always have live preceptor sessions.
To learn more about this new setup, please see the following new pages on this website:
The portion of the State of the University addressing these changes is provided below.
Student Support & Community Hearth
In the past, Signum has focused mostly on connecting students and professors – which is appropriate, but we would like to expand that to make our connections even broader. We want to connect all those who participate in Signum and Mythgard programs, whether they are our degree courses, our academic events and conferences, or our free seminars.
With that in mind, we are working to improve our orientation process for students and implementing a new program check-in that takes place after five courses (15 credit hours). The new Student Support team, led by Sharon Hoff, will help guide students through their degree program to make sure everything is on track – and if it’s not on track, to figure out what problems need to be solved and then solve them.
In addition, we are rolling out the Signum University Community Hearth. This new section will be located in within Moodle and will contain a number of areas where students, auditors, donors, and other participants can connect. These areas include:
- Hangouts and Meet-Ups
- Student Support Areas
- Special Interest Discussion Areas
- Class Enhancement Areas
- Mythgard Academy
- Classroom Archives
New Programs (Signum Seminars and Certificate Programs)
Signum and Mythgard Academy have seen success with the three primary areas of programming that we have implemented over the last several years:
Now, we are looking to expand into another program that offers some short, multi-part seminars on specific topics. These will be more in-depth than the individual guest lectures we have had in the past, but not as long as our Mythgard Academy discussions typically run. Some of the topics and speakers we have lined up for this new series include:
- A Secret Vice, by Dr. Andrew Higgins and Dr. Dimitra Fimi
- The Fall of Arthur, by Dr. Leonard Neidorf
- The Story of Kullervo, by Dr. Verlyn Flieger
- Tolkien’s Beowulf, by Dr. Tom Shippey
These seminars will be free and open to the public. However, we do want to show our gratitude to our special guests. In order to help offset the cost of these seminars, we will be holding special fundraising campaigns for each seminar, with a goal to raise $2,000 per seminar.
In addition, we will be starting a new Certificate Program designed specifically for people who want to take our courses in their full academic rigor – including discussion sections, papers, and exams – but who do not want or need to pursue a graduate degree. The Certificate Program allows these individuals to show their studious achievement in one of our areas of concentration (announced above), without the need to complete a thesis.
We’re excited about all of these developments here at Signum. As always, if you have any questions about the items Dr. Olsen discussed in his address, or anything else related to Signum University, please contact us.