published Monday, December 5th, 2011

Covenant College takes on German and international studies

Students at Covenant College now can choose majors in international studies or German studies.

Officials at the Lookout Mountain, Ga., college say implementation of the two majors will better prepare students for careers in the global workplace.

The new choices come after recent additions of a theater major, a political studies minor and concentration and a master of arts in teaching program.

Cale Horne, assistant professor of political studies, said the curriculum for the international studies major was "custom-designed for the Chattanooga area." The multidisciplinary program will incorporate economics, history and political studies as well as intensive foreign language coursework, he said.

Each student will be required to study abroad either over the summer or for one semester.

Horne said the program should help create a skilled workforce for companies such as Volkswagen and Wacker Chemical, two German companies with factories in the Chattanooga area, as well as jobs in other businesses, nonprofit agencies, the military and government service.

"Our aim is to hopefully begin to position students with internships in those companies and help the city produce a workforce that's prepared to enter these kinds of industries," he said.

In addition to language, the new German studies program will include instruction on continental philosophy, European history and political science. With more than 120 million speakers, more people speak German as their native language than any other language in Europe.

That fact, paired with the area's influx of German companies, encouraged the college to add the new program, said modern language professor Tom Neiles, who serves as the German studies adviser.

"It certainly gave us a little more impetus," he said. "At this point, there isn't anything else in the Chattanooga area that has this."

Like Covenant's Spanish and French majors, anyone in the German program will be required to study abroad. But unlike the other language programs, German studies majors will be immersed in philosophy, European politics and history, Neiles said. The multifacted approach will help prepare students for a variety of careers or further academic endeavors, he said.

The college has implemented more than half dozen new majors in the last decade and now has about 27. Neiles said it's all part of an effort to diversify Covenant's offerings.

"There's been so much that hasn't been offered," he said. "We're trying to reach as many areas as possible."

With just more than 1,000 students, Covenant College is a liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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