Kristin Anderson helps explain Norwegian church history

Tri-State Neighbor - logoThe Tri-State Neighbor newspaper recently sought expert input from Kristin Anderson, archivist and professor of art history at Augsburg College, for an article about the history of Singsaas Lutheran Church, a historic Norwegian church in Brookings, South Dakota. The article points out many of the church’s historical connections, including its 1884 altar painting.

Occupying the central panel of the Gothic altar, the image was painted by artist Sarah Kirkeberg Raugland, who’s work Anderson has studied. Among the few women who were creating altar paintings during the period, “Raugland really stood out for both quantity and quality of her work,” Anderson said. The altar was one of the few furnishings retained when the church was rebuilt in 1921.

Read Norwegian church has place in history books on the Tri-State Neighbor site.

Dennis Donovan discusses cookbook created by Public Achievement students in KARE 11 segment

kare 11 - logoKARE 11 television recently interviewed a group of 5th graders who created a multicultural cookbook as a way to promote diversity and tolerance. The students are part Public Achievement, an Augsburg College program designed to teach democracy and citizenship through service projects.

The segment also featured program director Dennis Donovan. “There are a lot of issues in the world, and we need people to come together and solve these problems,” he said. “Having young people participate in public achievement gives them a skill-set and process that normally they would not have.”

Watch and read Students create cookbook to promote diversity on the KARE 11 site.

Harry Boyte writes for Education Week

Education Week - logoHarry Boyte, senior fellow at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently published an article for Education Week about democracy in education. The article is part of a conversational series between Boyte and Deborah Meier, senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.

Boyte argues that we should view democracy as “an empowering way of life,” and not merely a decision-making process. “We need to combine the ‘head,’ which makes decisions, the ‘heart,’ moral imagination and emotion, and the ‘hand,’ civic muscles that power action in the world,” he writes.

In regards to education, Boyte offers an antidote to a culture that separates the hard sciences, the arts and the professional or vocational fields, parallels to the “head”, “heart” and “hand” metaphor. He argues in favor of Cooperative Education, “a method that combines academic study and classroom learning with practical work experience for which students can receive academic credit.”

Read the article, which also was published on the Huffington Post Education site.

Devean George ’99 offers his take on Kobe Bryant’s retirement in Star Tribune article

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThe Minneapolis Star Tribune recently interviewed former Augsburg College basketball player and retired NBA star Devean George ’99 about the upcoming retirement of legendary Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant. George, who retired in 2011, played his first seven seasons in the NBA alongside Bryant.

George said that he knows Bryant is ready to retire from professional sports because he has seen familiar signs from his own retirement. “What I’ve seen him go through this year, you can see the flame is not there and he knows it’s time,” he said. “It’s the old cliché: Father Time, no one can beat it. There comes a time where no one wins. Basketball is a young man’s sport. It’s that simple.”

Read George: When it’s time, it’s time on the Star Tribune site.

Basketball program founded by Jennifer Weber ’11 gets specially designed uniforms, MN Daily reports

MN Daily - logoThe Minnesota Daily recently covered the Cedar Riverside Community Traveling Basketball program, which provides coaching, practice, and competition for six teams of local boys and girls ranging from sixth to 10th grade.

The program was founded by Augsburg College alumna Jennifer Weber ’11, who recognized a need for such programs. “The kids here in the neighborhood need more quality programming,” she said. “The kids want it. They go to open gym all the time.”

Another need Weber recognized dealt with a lack of functional athletic attire that was culturally acceptable for the many Muslim girls in the program.

Luckily, design students from the University of Minnesota had already been working to solve that problem. Working with the players and other partners, the students designed uniforms with adjustable hijabs, knee-length skirts and breathable leggings. A grant from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station provided funding to donate the completed uniforms to the program.

The article concludes with a statement from coach and co-founder Muna Mohamed ’16, an exercise science senior at Augsburg who grew up in the neighborhood.

“These girls are getting an opportunity to have culturally appropriate clothing, at the same time … [as] enjoying sports,” she said. “They don’t have to worry about fixing their scarves. They don’t have to worry about ‘How can I play basketball and also respect my culture?'”

Read For girls, new uniform opens gym on the Minnesota Daily site.

Pioneer Press profiles Ted Bigos ’74

Pioneer Press - logoThe St. Paul Pioneer Press recently published an article about real estate leader Ted Bigos ’74 and the current climate of urban living in downtown St. Paul. Bigos owns five buildings in the area and many others across the state.

“I put a lot of my back into those buildings,” Bigos said. With the help of his father, Bigos began purchasing, renovating, and reselling apartment buildings at age 19 while he was a student at Augsburg College. Eventually, he retained some of the renewed properties and began renting them to tenants himself.

About the current state of the downtown area, which has seen many development projects in recent years, he said, “In all the years I’ve been in St. Paul, it’s never felt as good as it feels today.”

Read: Ted Bigos: ‘I think the city has really come into its own’ on the Pioneer Press site.

St. Paul’s Sprockets program names Erik Skold as director

Pioneer Press - logoThe Pioneer Press reports that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has appointed Erik Skold, leader of the North Star Worker Fellowship at the Minnesota Department of Education and the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, as director of Sprockets, the city’s network of after-school programs.

Skold has been serving as the program’s interim director since the departure of previous director. Skold holds a master’s degree in youth development leadership from the University of Minnesota.

Read St. Paul’s Sprockets program gets new director on the Pioneer Press site.

Lars Christiansen adds expert opinion to MinnPost article on crosswalk laws

MinnPost recently published an article covering efforts by the City of St. Paul to more strictly enforce crosswalk laws and change a driving culture that places drivers and vehicles ahead of pedestrians. State crosswalk laws dictate that drivers should stop for pedestrians at every crosswalk, marked or unmarked, but drivers in the city rarely comply. This has led to fatalities and, more recently, sting operations designed to ticket drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians.

Lars Christiansen, associate professor of sociology and urban studies at Augsburg College, feels that the problem is larger, and less easily addressed, than simply ticketing individuals. “This isn’t about an individual flouting the law, it’s a very real feeling of pressure from motorists,” he said. “One feels the heat of the other cars around you as you’re moving, so to do something unusual [like stopping for a pedestrian] feels dangerous.”

Read St. Paul launches effort to change the city’s driving culture — by enforcing crosswalk laws on the MinnPost site.

Star Tribune profiles Augsburg history professor Phil Adamo

star tribune icon

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published an article about the life and career of Phil Adamo, professor of history at Augsburg College and 2015 Minnesota Professor of the Year.

The article focuses on Adamo’s engaging approach to teaching history and his personal history with academia. As a young man, he decided to forgo a college education in favor of a career as a clown with the Ringling Bros. Circus. Eventually, the constant demands of performance wore him down. “I was exhausted by performing so much, and I started to think that I wasn’t funny,” he said. “That’s a bad thing for a clown.”

Returning from the circus, he enrolled as a medieval studies major at Ohio State University, where a senior project involving a summer in a monastery led to an award-winning dissertation and propelled him toward a career in academia.

The article also depicts Adamo as an ardent supporter of having a liberal arts education, which he says “gives the benefit of having a better life, a more interesting life, a better understanding of who you are as a human.”

Read Augsburg professor left circus to bring history to life on the Star Tribune site.

MPR News interviews Mohamud Mohamed ’19 about federal youth program

mprNEWS - logoMinnesota Public Radio included an interview with Augsburg College student Mohamud Mohamed ’19 in a recent article about a federal anti-terror program aimed at Somali youth and designed to counter terrorist efforts to radicalize young American Muslims.

While Mohamed respects the stated goals of the program, he disagrees with the approach the government has taken. “For sure, let’s have community programs, let’s have after-school programs, let’s have arts and all of these things, let’s promote these things,” he said. “But the way they’ve gone about it has been inherently disingenuous. … They never once approached Somali youth as a whole, they never called a meeting, or town hall.”

Other community members interviewed in the article oppose the program for its links with the Department of Justice and concerns over potential surveillance abuses the program may allow. Mohamud Nur, of the the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, disagrees. “It is to help the community find better opportunities. I’m confident that the people who are going to be seeking help will get the help that they are seeking,” he said.

Mohamed also has concerns about the alienating effect such a program can have on him and his peers. “I’m being pushed into the margin, as inherently violent, inherently extreme, someone that needs to be saved from their own devices. And that’s deeply troubling. And I can’t ever sign onto that,” he said.

Read Some young Somalis voice skepticism about federal anti-terror program on the MPR site.