In recent semesters, AU has added two new complementary majors to the program list. Students can now pair almost any major with a Christian spiritual formation or music complementary major.
Complementary majors are smaller than full majors but larger than minors, are completed in addition to primary majors and can augment students’ main fields of study.
The complementary Christian spiritual formation major is an opportunity for students to think about how Christ transforms them, as well as how their faith is expressed in their lives.
The SOTCM already has majors in Bible and religion, Christian ministries and youth ministries. This complementary major is an opportunity for students who might not want to do full-time vocational ministry to be introduced to the riches of Christian spirituality.
Additionally, the major is designed not only to be an academic study of spiritual formation but to give students opportunities to practice it.
Dr. Samantha Miller, assistant professor of the history of Christianity, is a strong advocate for the new complementary major in the department.
“We’ve designed the major to get students to think of their formation as part of their lives as a whole, not only as something they do on Sunday mornings,” explains Miller. “The major will ask students to reflect on their own faith and give them opportunities to draw closer to Jesus so that they can make them look a little more like him.”
Students enrolled in this complementary major take three spiritual formation classes: intro to spiritual formation, a capstone class for the major and one of two options that asks either “Where am I?” or “Who am I?”
Preston Howell is a junior enrolled in the spiritual formation complementary major. “I believe it is pretty foundational in Christian education to see where your faith affects your life,” says Howell. “It is one thing to learn about your faith and the Bible, but a whole other to apply it to your life. I would hope that other students would see this benefit as well.”
The complementary major can help students think about formation as more than purely “spiritual,” but to also pursue their Christian formation in whatever place and work they find themselves in.
“One really exciting thing is that we have two options for courses off-campus,” explains Miller. “One option that counts for credit in the major is ‘Celtic Christianity’ with Dr. Varner, who will take the class to Scotland for a course in the history of Christianity. The other option is my own course, ‘Backpacking with the Saints,’ which will go to the Adirondack Mountains for two weeks for a backpacking and canoeing trip as we learn how creation shapes our spiritual practices.”
This new complementary major in the SOTCM will assist students in determining what their faith means and how to improve it by experimenting with new spiritual practices.
“It adds to the learning experience by showing me how all of it affects my faith,” explains Howell.
Studying what one is passionate about is important, and new majors provide that opportunity. The new music complementary major is a perfect fit for students like senior Blake Clatterbuck, who wanted to combine his business degree with his passion for music.
“At first, I was the full music major,” says Clatterbuck. “But then, it was too much for me to juggle two full majors. So, I ended up switching to the music complementary major and it was the best fit for me.”
The music complementary major has given students like Clatterbuck the opportunity to be educated musically, but also get experience elsewhere.
The music complementary major is a program filled with ensemble involvement, private lessons and a number of music courses to help students build their knowledge of music.
Dr. Jonathan Brooks, associate professor of music, sees this music complementary major as an opportunity for students to still pursue music in their life, even if it’s not their main focus of study.
“We hope to encourage and convince students to pursue the passions for music in their lives,” says Brooks.
The music complementary major is geared towards people who want to continue music, be involved with performance and expand their horizons of music appreciation.
“This complementary major gives students a way of continuing to practice music without having to make it their main field,” says Brooks. Students can expect a full year of music theory, which provides more knowledge and oral comprehension, coursework in keyboard I and II, music literature and world music, private lessons and ensemble involvement.
Students on the edge of fully immersing themselves in music can now have the best of both worlds.
“Hopefully, this will encourage and push students to pursue music, even in this small way,” says Brooks. “We want this music complementary major to open more doors for students, so that they can keep music a part of their lives.”
Students can visit the registrar’s office to inquire about adding a complementary major.