Whether the syllabus included studying fossils or ancient monuments, students enrolled in Macalester’s January classes got to experience course material in depth and up close. And those classes weren’t held in Old Main or Olin-Rice either. Instead, the students went right to the source, to ancient Roman cities and Caribbean reefs.

This was the Classics Department’s sixth trip to Rome, which has students exploring Roman architecture, artifacts, and monuments from 1000 BCE through the fourth century. “There’s nothing like standing on the actual ground where these events in Roman history took place,” says classics professor Nanette Goldman, one of the trip’s leaders. “The spatial organization of the city, the atmospheric and geographic features of this part of Italy, the textures, sounds, smells, are all critical to understanding the phenomenon of Rome, past and present. You can’t get that on YouTube or in books.”

Twenty other students studied a Bahamanian island’s ecology and geology through its beaches and reefs on a geology department field trip—the department’s fourth visit to the island research center. The trip, led by professors Ray Rogers and Kristi Curry Rogers, included collaborative research along with opportunities for field, lab, and museum study.

Unlike the Rome trip—which drew classics majors and non-majors alike—the Bahamas trip was limited to geology majors and minors. For some it was a first chance to do fieldwork. “Experiences like this are essential to a high-quality geology education,” Ray Rogers says. “Making the connection to rocks and fossils in the field really brings it home for students.”

February 6 2014

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