Unique Education Programs



Schools need to find creative ways to meet growing needs, and one way they are doing this is through offering unique programs, degrees, and classes. Along with the typical core curriculum, colleges, universities, and schools are offering everything from new bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management to K-12 immersion programs in Chinese and Spanish.

The Art Institutes International Minnesota, located in downtown Minneapolis, offers bachelor’s, associate’s, and master’s degrees—as well as diploma and certificate programs—in creative fields such as design, media arts, culinary arts, and fashion. The newest bachelor’s degree offered at the school is hospitality management. The Art Institutes International Minnesota is the only college in the Twin Cities to offer a dedicated bachelor’s level program (other schools offer two-year associate’s degrees).

“The hospitality management program is an excellent choice for those who possess a passion for the culinary industries,” says Anj Kozel, Art Institutes International director of communications. “Whether one dreams of owning or managing a restaurant, or seeks to assume a professional position with a catering company, hotel, resort, cruise line, or institution, the program will prepare students for a variety of employment opportunities.”

The program is also well suited for people currently employed in the service industry looking for new challenges and career options.

“Upon successful completion of the program, students enter the workforce with a well-rounded portfolio that lays the foundation for a lifelong career in the ever-growing hospitality industry,” Kozel says.

The program begins with an exploration of culinary arts and branches into fundamental business practices, event planning, purchasing, cost analysis, and public speaking.

The next session for the program starts Oct. 1, 2007. For more information, contact an admissions representative from The Art Institutes International Minnesota at aimadm@aii.edu or 612-332-3361.

Photo courtesy of
Hamline University

“Had I been able to attend a program like the one now growing at Hamline University, I would have written more books and better books, and would have done so much earlier in my career,” says children’s book author Jane Resh Thomas, recipient of the Kerlan Award in children’s literature.

Thomas is referring to one of only three programs in the country focusing exclusively on writing for children and young adults, the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, now offered at Hamline University. The low-residency program enables students to pursue an MFA while working independently from home. Each student is required to meet with faculty for 11 days during two different times of the year, with the rest of the program carried out through an active online community.

“In launching this new program, we wanted to expand our offerings in creative writing and take advantage of the rich resources in children’s and young adult literature in the Twin Cities,” says Mary Rockcastle, dean of Hamline University’s graduate school of liberal studies.

The first residency began in January of 2007. Residencies are held in January and July.

“Nobody can guarantee that MFA students will eventually publish their work, but their growth as artists certainly accelerates dramatically,” says Thomas, who teaches at Hamline in addition to writing books. “They leave the program better writers and more perceptive and thoughtful people, having found a place in a community of like-minded souls.”

For more information, visit www.hamline.edu/mfa-children or contact the Graduate School of Liberal Studies at 651-523-2047 or gradprog@hamline.edu.

The Early Childhood Music program at MacPhail Center for Music is a nationally recognized and sought after program. The teachers, who are trained musicians, have degrees in music and experience in early childhood education. These early childhood music specialists follow an integrated arts format where musical literacy is reinforced through songs, rhymes, instrument exploration, creative movement, creative dramatics, literature, and visual arts/sensory exploration. MacPhail’s Early Childhood Arts classes are based on the belief that children learn best by experiencing the world through a variety of opportunities. The program is designed for children ranging in age from six weeks to 8-years-old.

“Attending our classes prepares children for future musical study and provides a foundation in vocal, rhythmic and melodic development all through fun, interactive activities,” says Cassie Noll, marketing manager. “Not to mention learning readiness benefits such as pre-reading, pre-math, and social skills.”

The program, in existence for nearly 40 years, was the first of its kind to develop an integrated arts music curriculum. Programs are year-round, with summer camps available. The fall semester begins September 4.

For more information, visit www.macphail.org.

Minnehaha Academy has long been a leader in the private school community, providing students with a strong spiritual and academic foundation. Earning the 2006-07 Siemens Award for Advanced Placement is a testament to the school’s high level of rigor in math and science, a culmination of outstanding work by students and faculty.

Minnehaha Academy was one of only 50 high schools in the nation—and the only high school in Minnesota—to win the award. As part of the recognition, the school will also receive a $1,000 grant to support science and math education.

The College Board’s letter of congratulations to Upper School Principal Nancy Johnson contained the following statement: “This award recognizes that your high school is one of those leading the nation in AP participation and performance in math and science disciplines. In a pool of extremely strong applicants from your state, your school’s application exemplifies your exceptional commitment to providing your students opportunities to explore the AP program and your staff’s dedication to ensuring students’ success. We believe high schools like yours represent the best of American education.”

Minnehaha offers math and science AP courses in calculus I and II, statistics, chemistry, physics with calculus (mechanics, electricity and magnetism), and biology as part of a 19 course Advanced Placement program. Over 40 percent of juniors and seniors take one or more of these college-level classes and consistently score at the highest levels.

For more information, visit www.minnehahacademy.net or call 612-729-8321.


There’s no disputing that cultural knowledge is a valuable resource in a world that is continuously expanding its global reach. The more you know about other cultures, the better off you are. The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition reports that students in immersion programs reach higher levels of second-language proficiency than other school-based language programs. Beginning in the fall of 2007, Minnetonka Public Schools will be offering Chinese and Spanish immersion education at each of their six neighborhood elementary schools, beginning in kindergarten and first grade. In the immersion program, English-speaking students will learn a second language as part of their regular classroom activities, enhancing both their English and second language development. The program is designed to use the same high-quality curriculum as traditional English classrooms.

Minnetonka Schools have a long and positive history in teaching Chinese­­—Minnetonka High School was among the first schools in Minnesota to offer Chinese. Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, both the state and federal government have made Chinese language and culture an important educational priority.

Photo Courtesy of Minnetonka Public Schools

The Spanish language is the most common second language in the United States, and the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world (after English, Chinese and Hindustani). The Hispanic population is the fastest growing demographic within the United States. This presents great domestic opportunities, as well as career opportunities for bilingual professionals.

For more information, visit www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us

Students see 20 plays in 25 days, either in Moscow, St. Petersburg, or Novgorod, Russia in St. Olaf College’s unique interim “Theater in Russia” course. The program appeals to Russian majors, theater majors, and anyone interested in visiting Russia.

“[The course] provides an exceptionally unique look at one of the best national theaters in the world,” says Marc Robinson, St. Olaf associate professor and chair of the Department of Russian Language and Area Studies. “Students become familiar with Russian society, see cultural performances in a variety of genres, such as comedies, classics, opera, ballet, and puppet shows.”

Seeing Shakespeare in a foreign language provides great opportunities for insight and cross-cultural discussions, and Russian plays familiarize students with current issues in Russia like the generation gap, the war in Chechnya, and the hazards of materialism. Students attend classes and lectures to discuss what they’ve seen. Language barriers are used to address issues of staging, acting and audience reactions. Texts and all lectures are all in English.

The trip, patterned after St. Olaf’s Theater in London course, has been very successful. The course will be offered in 2007-08 and then every three to four years.

For more information, contact Marc Robinson at robinso@stolaf.edu.

Another exciting course offered at St. Olaf is the mathematics practicum, available during January term. Junior and senior math majors have the chance to work on unique problems directly proposed by companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. The course ends with a professional presentation, delivered entirely by students, to decision makers at the sponsoring organization’s offices.

“This program is designed for upper level mathematics majors who are interested in answers to that most important of math questions, ‘What is this good for, anyway?’” says Dr. Steven C. McKelvey, St. Olaf associate professor of mathematics and computer science; chair of the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. “This experience closely mirrors working environments encountered by most of our students after they graduate from St. Olaf, significantly strengthening participants’ resumes and giving student important insights as they plan their future career paths.”

The Mathematics Practicum is taught every January and has been running for about 25 years.

For more information, contact Steve McKelvey at mckelvey@stolaf.edu.

Recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show that adult students are the fastest growing educational demographic, and these numbers are steadily increasing. In 1970, 28 percent of all college students were 25 years of age or older. In 1998 the number of adult learners had increased to 41 percent. The Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE) reports that students who are over 25 make up as much as 47 percent of the new and returning student population on many of today’s college campuses.

In order to meet this growing need, Saint Mary’s University offers graduate and professional programs in the Twin Cities, Winona, Rochester, Apple Valley, and a campus in Nairobi, Kenya.

Graduates can complete their bachelor’s degrees or earn a master’s or doctoral degree to take them to the next level in their professional life, often through the flexibility of distance learning and rolling admissions, allowing students to begin their educational journey at any time. The programs are designed for adult learners, tailored to the unique needs of working adults.

Unique programs range from a B.A. in Human Services to an M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management to a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

For more information, call admissions at 1-866-437-2788 or 612-728-5100. For a complete list of programs offered, or to apply online, visit www.smumn.edu.

Facebook Comments