MinnPost spotlights Augsburg students who compose music for pediatric patients

Augsburg College music therapy students created original compositions to help patients and families at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital get better sleep, and MinnPost recently featured the students’ collaborative endeavor.

During the 2016 spring semester, students in the Music Therapy Senior Seminar course taught by Annie Heiderscheit, director of the Master of Music Therapy program, wrote lullabies as part of a community partnership.

The music therapy students worked with music business students and their advisor, Augsburg Instructor Dain Estes, to produce high-quality recordings for use on the hospital’s network of digital, interactive health care features. Individuals can choose to play the calming tunes using devices in their hospital rooms. The Auggies’ compositions also are part of a pilot study that is exploring whether listening to music helps improve sleep quality in patients and families who use it in the pediatric intensive care unit.

“We had to spend time talking about how we use music for sleep and styles of music and specific elements within the music that we really need to leverage to help young patients fall asleep,” Heiderscheit explained to MinnPost.

Next the students began creating their original pieces, which was a complicated task, according to Estes, because the compositions included substantial tempo reductions to guide listeners into a relaxed state.

“This was an extremely difficult assignment because of how the heartbeat works,” Estes said. “Starting every song at 120 beats per minute and bringing it down to 40 beats per minute is not as easy as it sounds.”

Read “Augsburg students create music to lull pediatric intensive care patients to sleep” on the MinnPost website.

[Photo]: Music therapy major Tristan Gavin’16 records a composition for use at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

MinnPost unveils Augsburg College’s urban arboretum plan

MinnPost - logo“You’d never expect to find a leafy arboretum in a high-density, high-diversity, high-traffic neighborhood,” says MinnPost writer Jay Walljasper. “But that’s exactly what Augsburg College is planning for its unmistakably urban campus in the heart of Minneapolis, which borders Fairview Riverside Medical complex, the high-rise Riverside Plaza towers, two freeways, two light rail lines, busy shopping districts on Franklin Avenue and Cedar Avenues, plus one of the largest Somali communities outside of Africa.”

Walljasper, a senior fellow for the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, described Augsburg’s ambitious plan to transform its campus into a living laboratory in a recent article on the history of the urban college, its intent to plant native Minnesota species, and its brainstorming and decision-making processes for the landscape design project.

Read: “Augsburg College looks to transform its campus into an urban arboretum” on the MinnPost site.

 

Auggie earns “Most Promising Young Poet” national honor

Donte Collins, Augsburg College studentDonte Collins ’18 was named the “Most Promising Young Poet” by the Academy of American Poets this fall. His poem, “what the dead know by heart,” previously won Augsburg’s John R. Mitchell Prize, which qualified him for the prestigious award.

Collins is a theater major who is active in the local, regional, and national spoken word and poetry scene.

Collins told Minnesota Public Radio that he plans to use his $1,000 prize from the award to self-publish his first collection of poetry, a chapbook called “autopsies.”

Star Tribune Editorial Board recognizes Augsburg College’s equity and inclusion work

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoPresident Paul Pribbenow met with leaders of the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board to discuss Minnesota’s educational achievement gap among children and youth of diverse backgrounds. The state has one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation, and Augsburg is working to ensure all students of academic ability have access to higher education. The College’s pledge to this work includes limited debt pathways to graduation, setting aside dedicated housing for homeless students, increasing financial aid literacy, supporting faculty in creating inclusive classrooms, and increasing access to course materials.

The College was applauded for this leadership through a compelling editorial, “Augsburg College leads the call for campus equity,” written and published by the Star Tribune editorial board on Aug. 30.

The editorial explained that Minnesota is rapidly diversifying, but increasing student diversity on college campuses involves more than waiting for more nonwhite Minnesotans to enroll. “As Augsburg College is demonstrating, academic institutions can do much to adapt their own policies and practices to educate what previously has been an underserved share of the state’s population,” the editorial explained.

Augsburg has sought to reduce barriers to college success that often impede students of color, and the College aims to not only to enroll a larger share of nonwhite students, but also to see them through to graduation.

WCCO story showcases Augsburg College’s diverse incoming class

A recent report airing on WCCO radio noted that as students of all ages returned to school this fall, “Augsburg welcomed the class of 2020, with staff greeting students as they walked into the chapel for convocation. However, the class of 2020 had a special distinction – they are the most diverse class the college has seen, with more than 45 percent of them being students of color.”

As Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow explained, ““For Augsburg, that means that our commitment to diversity, to inclusion and [our] commitment to justice is actually being lived out by the students who come here to be part of our community,”

Read and listen: Augsburg College Welcomes Most Diverse Freshman Class Ever on the WCCO website.

 

 

Lars Christiansen discusses Friendly Streets Initiative

Lars ChristiansenAssociate Professor Lars Christiansen teaches courses in Augsburg’s Department of Sociology and Urban Studies Program. Christiansen puts his scholarship into practice as director of the Friendly Streets Initiative, a St. Paul-based organization that facilitates community organizing through creative public engagement events. The group aims to help communities envision positive change to public spaces, collect and analyze data, and assist neighbors in navigating city planning processes.

Christiansen described the successes of the Friendly Streets Initiative to author Jay Walljasper for a chapter of the new book, “America’s Walking Renaissance: How cities, suburbs, and towns are getting back on their feet.” Walljasper serves as a senior fellow in Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, and his writing explores how new ideas in urban planning, tourism, community development, sustainability, politics and culture can improve citizens’ lives.

An excerpt from “America’s Walking Renaissance” was published by MinnPost and included a photo of Darius Gray ’15, a community organizer with FSI.

Read, “Friendly Streets: Bottom-up St. Paul project changes the way people look at their city” on the MinnPost site.

 

Bill Green lends historical perspective to Black Lives Matter media coverage

Summer 2016 Pinterest6

What does it mean to matter?  What does it look like to matter?

With the Black Lives Matter movement, questions of racial equity have ignited important—and difficult—conversations in communities and courtrooms, on political campaign trails, and at college campuses.

Augsburg College Professor William “Bill” Green studies and writes about Minnesota history and law. He teaches U.S. Civil Rights subject matter, and he recently has been called upon to share his expertise on these topics to assist media outlets covering Black Lives Matter news in the Twin Cities.

Green was quoted in a Minnesota Public Radio article that examined the roles non-black activists play in furthering the Black Lives Matter movement’s agenda.

In the article, “Allies on the front lines: Black Lives Matter’s non-black activists,” Green used the history of the Civil Rights movement to analyze current demonstrations and protests. He also discussed the ways “protest fatigue” could impact the movement’s progression.

On August 5, Green also appeared on Twin Cities Public Television’s “Almanac” program where he provided a comparison between contemporary protests or demonstrations and those occurring decades — perhaps even centuries — earlier. Green explained that the tactic of making a public display can be useful when a group is seeking to meet a particular goal.

“The trick with the demonstrations, of course, is somehow helping society turn the corner so that … a community doesn’t feel the need to resort to desperate measures,” he said.

The interview with cohosts Cathy Wurzer and Eric Eskola is available on the TPT website and begins at the 31:55 minute mark.

Green’s comprehensive knowledge of Minnesota history has been cultivated over decades, and his latest book, “Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1912” chronicles conditions for African-Americans in Minnesota in the half-century following the Civil War. The publication picks up where his previous book, “A Peculiar Imbalance: The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Minnesota, 1837-1869,” left off. Green spoke with MinnPost about the publication, describing his interest in state history.

“The history [of Minnesota] is amazing, particularly when you look at who was here before statehood and how they interacted with each other,” he 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.”

The Minnesota Book Awards honored Green and “Degrees of Freedom” with the 2016 Hognander Minnesota History Award.

Michael Lansing writes for MinnPost

Michael Lansing, associate professor and History Department chair, recently penned an article comparing the United States’ contemporary political landscape with periods in the late 1960s and late 1970s.

Lansing is a historian of the modern United States, and his research focuses on political history, environmental history, and other topics. In his Community Voices commentary, Lansing argued that the state of American democracy and milestones occurring in 1979 are similar to current events.

Read, “To understand this summer, look not to 1968 but to ’79” on the MinnPost site.

 

Andy Aoki discusses influence of vice presidential picks

Andy Aoki
Andy Aoki

WCCO TV recently sought counsel from Andy Aoki, professor and department chair of political science at Augsburg College, to answer a question about how much a presidential candidate’s vice president selection influences voters.

“How Much Does The Vice President Pick Matter?” was the focus of the recent Good Question segment.

Aoki provided a straightforward answer.

“It doesn’t usually matter a lot,” he said. “The vice presidents tend to get a lot less attention, so it’s not that easy for people to make their pick based on them because you don’t know much about them.

Read and watch the Good Question segment on the WCCO site.

Bill Green lends historical perspective to MPR News article

bill_green
Bill Green

Augsburg College Professor William “Bill” Green studies and writes about Minnesota history and law. He recently was quoted in a Minnesota Public Radio article that examined the roles non-black activists play in furthering the Black Lives Matter movement’s agenda.

In the article, Green called on the history of the U.S. Civil Rights movement to analyze current demonstrations and protests. He also discussed the ways “protest fatigue” could impact the movement’s progression.

Read, “Allies on the front lines: Black Lives Matter’s non-black activists” on the MPR News site.