Augsburg College global education program touted for excellence in serving students of diverse backgrounds

An article published by the Association of American Colleges & Universities commented on the successes Augsburg College’s Center for Global Education and Experience has had in serving students of diverse backgrounds as they travel to locations around the globe. The article, titled “Global Learning: Key to Making Excellence Inclusive,” described why global experiences are recognized as an essential dimension of a liberal education and how a variety of institutions support increased student participation.

In particular, the article noted that Augsburg maintains permanent centers for global learning in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Namibia. The centers have deep-rooted connections to local communities, and staff members understand the diverse needs of the Augsburg students.

“For example, Augsburg has arranged culturally appropriate homestay placements for single parents who needed assistance with childcare, safe home environments for LGBTQ students, sober homestays for students in recovery (in addition to connecting students in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous programs with sponsors), and access to mosques for Muslim students. This commitment to creating environments for student success is a hallmark of Augsburg’s study abroad programs,” the article said.

Visit the AAC&U website to read the story in its entirety.

Pioneer Press notes Augsburg’s diversity award

logo-smallThe St. Paul Pioneer Press mentioned that Augsburg College was among 92 higher-education institutions nationally to be recognized for excellence in diversity by the magazine Insight Into Diversity.

Read, “Education notes: News from schools near you” on the Pioneer Press site.

Jodi Collen writes quick-tips column for Twin Cities Business

twin-cities-businessJodi Collen, Augsburg College’s director of Event and Conference Planning, wrote a quick-tips column for event planners that was published by Twin Cities Business. Collen offered suggestions for people who will host a tailgating event for teams, customers, or clients this fall. Her advice ranged from venue considerations to food safety.

Collen is the current international president of the International Special Events Society and is a past president of the ISES Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter. Visit the Twin Cities Business website to read, “ISES Quick Tips For Event Planners: September.”

John Shockley provides commentary for MinnPost story on newsroom decision-making

MinnPostJohn Shockley, an Augsburg College political science instructor, recently was quoted in an article from MinnPost’s media section regarding newsroom decision-making and editorial judgement.

Shockley described interactions with a Star Tribune newspaper editor pertaining to the publication’s decision not to cover an often talked-about story from the Twin Cities metro. Visit the MinnPost website to read, “Why the Strib originally passed on the ‘making out’ story.”

Augsburg partners in Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology

$20 million NSF grant goes to UW-Madison, Augsburg College
and collaborators

Z. Vivian Feng, associate professor of chemistry, will use her expertise as an analytical and material chemist in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.

Augsburg College is joining a research group tasked with exploring the benefits and potential risks of nanotechnology.

Augsburg has been added as a partner to the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, a multi-institutional research center based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Supported through a nearly $20 million award of National Science Foundation funding over the next five years, the CSN includes 15 innovative faculty members from research institutions across the United States.

Z. Vivian Feng, associate professor of chemistry, is leading Augsburg’s participation in the center.

Nanotechnology involves the use of materials at the smallest scale, including the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.

Products that use nanoscale materials range from beer bottles and car wax to solar cells and electric and hybrid car batteries. If you read your books on a Kindle, a semiconducting material manufactured at the nanoscale underpins the high-resolution screen.

While there are already hundreds of products that use nanomaterials in various ways, much remains unknown about how these modern materials and the tiny particles they are composed of interact with the environment and living things.

Feng first became involved in the CSN during the final year of its first grant phase, which corresponded with her 2014-15 sabbatical. Her expertise in characterizations of nanomaterials and model membranes, as well as analytical method development will contribute to the understanding of various interactions at the highly complex nano-bio interfaces.

In particular, Feng will lead a team of undergraduate researchers in exploring the various toxicity mechanisms of nanomaterials to environmentally-beneficial bacteria to provide insight to redesign nanomaterials that are benign in the environment. Under Feng’s direction, Augsburg College students Hilena Frew ’17, Lyle Nyberg ’17, and Thu Nguyen ’16 contributed to the CSN’s initial research phase. Frew and Nguyen will continue working as undergraduate researchers with the support of a stipend from the new NSF grant in the coming year. Find additional information about Feng’s research interests and mentorship on her research site.

Along with UW-Madison and Augsburg, research partners on the grant include the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Tuskegee University, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Iowa, and Georgia Tech.

CSN funding is provided by the NSF Division of Chemistry through the Centers for Chemical Innovation Program (CHE-1240151).

MinnPost features Professor Bill Green’s latest book

MinnPostAugsburg College Professor of History Bill Green spoke with MinnPost about his latest book, “Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1912.”

Green told reporter Amy Goetzman that his book chronicles conditions for African-Americans in Minnesota in the half-century following the Civil War and picks up where his previous book, “A Peculiar Imbalance: The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Minnesota, 1837-1869,” left off.

“The history [of Minnesota] is amazing, particularly when you look at who was here before statehood and how they interacted with each other,” Green said. “I found that we were lacking a good accounting of the black people who were part of that history. Most of them didn’t leave a written record, which looks like they had nothing to say, but of course they did. They were part of this experience.”

Visit the MinnPost website to learn more.

Jodi Collen elected event society’s new international president

The International Special Events Society has elected Jodi Collen as its new international president for the 2015-16 year.

Collen, director of Event & Conference Planning at Augsburg, is a previous president of the International Special Events Society’s Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter and has been a member of the International Board of Governors for the past five years. She was inaugurated at the association’s Annual General Meeting, which took place in New Orleans.

Collen’s achievement was recognized by the following organizations:

Bill Green answers WCCO ‘Good Question’

History Professor Bill Green spoke with WCCO-TV about why Minnesotans are quick to defend their state’s image.

A recent Washington Post article identified Red Lake County, Minn., as the “absolute worst place to live in America,” and Minnesotans immediately sought to set the record straight. In the news station’s Good Question segment, Green explained that part of the reason why Minnesotans reacted strongly to the article is because of the major investment they make in ensuring that the state offers a favorable quality of life.

“We work hard to have good government, we work hard to create a society that attempts to include everyone,” he said. “We work hard to invest resources into making this place look beautiful.”

Watch “Good Question: Why Are Minnesotans So Proud Of Their State?” to learn more.

Augsburg alumni bring ‘Hoopla Train’ to rural Minnesota

sodhouseThis summer, Sod House — a theater company founded by Augsburg College Chair of Theater Arts Darcey Engen ’88 and her husband, Luverne Seifert ’83 — brought a production of “Hoopla Train (with Yard Master Yip and his Polkastra)” to 14 historic ballrooms in different Minnesota cities including Barrett, McGregor, Nisswa, and Sleepy Eye.

Engen and Seifert shared the stage with a troupe of performers to put on the production billed as “Lawrence Welk meets ‘Hee-Haw.’” The Sod House Theater project began in 2011 when Engen and Seifert collaborated to create the condensed version of Anton Chekhov’s play “The Cherry Orchard” with Twin Cities colleagues including Sarah Myers, associate professor of theater at Augsburg.

This year the “Hoopla Train” has garnered the attention of media outlets across Minnesota, including the following organizations and stories:

Harry Boyte examines the role of citizen professionals

Huffington-PostHarry Boyte, senior scholar in public work philosophy for Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, described the importance of citizen professionals in a recent article for the Huffington Post. Boyte explained that places like Augsburg College are ripe with students preparing to become “citizen nurses” and “citizen teachers” who will serve as change agents in their future careers.

Read, “Hope and Higher Education — The Role of Citizen Professionals” on the Huffington Post website.