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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called “Chiron Studies?”

Chiron Studies was named at the time of its founding (by students) during the 1968/69 academic year. This was a time of major student activism around the world, surrounding student empowerment, social justice and war. In Greek mythology, Chiron was a centaur distinguished among his wild and debaucherous peers, an astrologer, healer and teacher whose pupils included such heroes as Jason, Achilles and Theseus.

What kind of credit will I receive for taking a Chiron Studies course?

Most Chiron Studies courses are official 4-credit IST (Interdisciplinary Studies) 199-level courses, with the occasional 2-credit weekend intensive and department-sponsored classes as exceptions. These credits are usually applied to one’s general elective requirements. In some circumstances, relevant Chiron courses may be applied to one’s departmental electives, although consultation with a departmental advisor is necessary to determine whether that is the case. Chiron Studies and our instructors are not responsible for determining whether any individual student may count any credits for taking a specific Chiron Studies course towards graduation requirements. Talk with an academic advisor about what will work best for you.

Are Chiron Studies courses graded A-F or P/NP (pass/no pass)?

Students may decide whether they would like to be graded A-F or P/NP for taking Chiron Studies courses.  Again, talk with an academic advisor about what will work best for you.

Why should I take a Chiron Studies course?

For one thing, we strive to offer courses that we think will be really interesting, courses in a variety of subjects that you might not think a major university would offer, courses that push the proverbial envelope. Historically, Chiron Studies has often been the first to offer courses in subjects that went on to become important fields of study at PSU and other colleges and universities. Chiron Studies has provided opportunities for students to incorporate courses on various aspects of gender, multicultural, art and social studies into the university’s curriculum. A list of past, current and upcoming courses will soon be available on our website.

Another great reason to take a Chiron Studies course is that it offers a unique learning experience by decentralizing the power structure in the classroom away from a single individual and making the transference of knowledge in the university classroom a more cooperative and collaborative exploration. This is an experience that is unavailable to students at many other universities.

Who is eligible to propose and teach a Chiron Studies class?

Upper-division (junior and senior) undergraduate and graduate PSU students with a combined cumulative GPA of 3.0 and above are eligible to propose and teach Chiron Studies courses. Students must be degree and/or certificate seeking. Undergraduate Chiron instructors must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours during the quarter in which they are teaching while postbaccalaureate (graduate) students must be enrolled in at least 5 credit hours. This CAN include independent study and/or other credits that a student might arrange to earn in conjunction with their Chiron experience.

How do I propose to teach a Chiron Studies course?

Please visit http://www.pdx.edu/chiron/submit-a-course-proposal for up-to-date proposal information, including applicable deadlines.

Are Chiron Studies instructors paid?

Historically, yes. It is important to us to compensate our instructors for their time, energy and talent. Instructor stipends vary based on our program budget, and are set upon acceptance of a course. Serious inquiries about stipend amounts for an upcoming quarter may be directed to chironstudies@pdx.edu

Do Chiron Studies instructors receive university credit for proposing and/or instructing a course?

Students who are instructing a Chiron Studies course are encouraged to pursue independent study (course by arrangement) credits with their faculty mentor or another relevant PSU faculty member. This allows student instructors more time to integrate the Chiron instructor experience into their academic career and schedule. Consultation with an academic advisor is strongly suggested to insure that such an opportunity will be applicable to one’s graduation requirements. No additional funding is available from Chiron Studies to pay for these “by arrangement” credits, but instructor stipends may be used to cover all or part of the costs.

How do I find a faculty mentor, and what will s/he be expected to do?

The faculty mentorship component of the Chiron Studies teaching experience is very important. It is recommended that students ask faculty members (professors, assistant professors and adjuncts) with whom they have worked previously and whose research, knowledge and interest resonate with the content of the proposed course. The time commitment is approximately 3-4 hours for the term. A faculty mentor will be expected to:

  • Supervise the academic quality of the course. This may include help with developing the syllabus and reading list and advising students to seek assistance from other knowledgeable people.
  • Act as a mentor to the Chiron instructor. This may take the form of meetings, email correspondence, or various forms of “check-ins.”
  • Be the professor of Record by submitting grades at the end of the course
  • Evaluate the course and the instructor at the request of the Chiron Studies Coordinator and/or Instructor (within reason).

Students are advised not to pursue mentors in the following departments: English, History, and Philosophy. While you may be mentored by faculty mentors in these departments, unofficially, they will not be able to serve as your mentor, officially. This does not mean that you cannot propose a class relevant to these fields, but should you wish to do so, your class will need to be interdisciplinary enough to substantiate a relevant faculty mentor in another department.

    What kinds of courses does Chiron Studies generally offer?

    Chiron Studies is committed to offering compelling and relevant courses on a wide variety of subjects.  We only offer courses that are not already offered by the university. If you are considering proposing a Chiron Studies course, consider meeting with the Chiron Studies Coordinator to discuss your idea before completing your course proposal.

    Who decides which courses Chiron Studies will offer?

    The Chiron Studies Committee selects Chiron Studies courses and shapes the program’s goals and vision. The committee is comprised of PSU students and faculty, and alumni who have a strong interest in democratic education and student empowerment. PSU students constitute a majority of the committee, and the Chiron Studies Coordinator is also a student. Chiron Studies also works with PSU Faculty Senate, Educational Policy Committee, and faculty mentors' home departments to ensure that PSU's important curricular shared governace policies are honored. 

    Please direct any other questions to Chiron Studies Coordinator Rozzell Medina via the contact feature on this website or by emai at chironstudies@pdx.edu