Ann Lundberg, professor of English, is currently on what she likes to call a “miscellaneous sabbatical.” During her sabbatical, Lundberg has been a park ranger in western Nebraska, has worked on researching and writing an article and has been preparing for a five-day class that will take place in New Zealand.
The Creation Care Study Program is a study-abroad program that has an emphasis on Christian environmental studies. There are programs in New Zealand, Belize and Cascadia, Wash. Lundberg will be working with the New Zealand program to teach environmental literature. Students from colleges around the United States with a variety of majors participate in this study-abroad program. In Lundberg’s class there are history majors, outdoor education majors, various science majors and even an accounting major.
Lundberg heard about this program through Laura Furlong, professor of biology, who works with the Belize and New Zealand programs. Furlong suggested that Lundberg contact the Creation Care Study Program around the time that Lundberg was looking forward to and planning her sabbatical. Two years after she had first contacted CCSP, she was assigned to an opening in environmental literature in New Zealand.
Planning a typical class for a whole semester can be a daunting task. Between trying to arrange lesson outlines, deciding how much reading the students have to do for class and figuring out what homework to assign, professors have a lot on their plate. Now imagine trying to fit that class into just five days with only five hours of class time each day. This will be Lundberg’s task.
Kellie Goedken, a Northwestern student, took western civilization in a similar format called a seven-by-seven. For seven days, students attend class for seven hours to complete the course.
“The days are really long,” Goedken said. “It can be a struggle to keep your focus for that long.”
Goedken said this option is ideal to fulfill general-education requirements as it minimizes the time spent in the classroom on a required course. She recommended taking it with a friend to prevent boredom.
Lundberg’s class will take place from March 31 to April 4, but she will arrive in Kaikoura, New Zealand two days before the class begins and stay two days with the students after the course is finished.
According to Lundberg, preparing for this class is both exciting and frustrating.
“It is a challenge trying to figure out how to make such a course work in a place I have never been to before with students I will only just meet the weekend before,” Lundberg said.
The closest Lundberg has come to planning a course this short is an eight-week course offered at NW.
“It has been a little frightening thinking about the five-day limit,” Lundberg said. “I have been told to take the amount of reading down that I initially intended to assign, which is hard for a literature professor because we want people to read more.”
The class itself has an unusual structure. The class is actually a three-credit course split into two sections. Lundberg will teach the first section about American environmental literature, and the second half will be taught by another professor who will focus on New Zealand environmental literature.
What makes this trip special to Lundberg is the opportunity to fulfill a father’s wish.
“My father has always wanted to go to New Zealand and has never gotten the chance,” Lundberg said. “It became his wish for me to go, even if he couldn’t,” Lundberg said.
After her course is finished, she will spend two additional weeks traveling throughout the country and admiring the vast and diverse landscape that New Zealand has to offer including the “amazing mountains and coastlines and some incredibly strange birds.”