The Star Tribune’s John Reinan talks with Augsburg Psychology Professor Bridget Robinson-Riegler about how the Great Minnesota Get-Together “not only entertains us, excites us and exhausts us — it makes us Minnesotans.”
“Our identity is formed by our memories. Traditions and rituals are very important in identifying who we are,” said Robinson-Riegler, who specializes in the study of memory. “Families are based on shared experiences, and this is one of those shared experiences we have as a state. The State Fair becomes a collective experience. It gives us a sense of belonging, of togetherness.
“This is what we do as a state. It confirms our identity. It becomes who we are.”
As Augsburg’s new executive director for recovery advancement, Patrice Salmeri will work to reduce stigma associated with substance use disorder recovery, inspire additional universities to provide recovery programs, and work with StepUP Program alumni, among other duties. Salmeri has led Augsburg’s pioneering StepUP Program for the past 15 years, and Recovery Campus magazine featured Salmeri in a story about the transition to her new role and the current climate of recovery in higher education.
In the article, Salmeri explained that while she’ll miss daily interaction with StepUP students, she is truly “looking forward to focusing more attention on the alumni and the value they bring to our community as well as advocating on local, regional and national levels.”
Scheduled to open in January 2018, the Hagfors Center will be Augsburg’s newest and largest academic building. The facility — designed by Minneapolis-based HGA Architects — features a student-centered layout that will foster intersections among areas of study and encourage collaboration. As the Finance and Commerce article noted, the Hagfors Center was the focus of a successful $50 million fundraising campaign that exceeded its goal.
“Leaders may get so wrapped up in making decisions they forget to just sit down and talk with their staff members,” wrote Dave Conrad, Augsburg College’s assistant director of the Rochester MBA program, in his latest column for the Rochester Post-Bulletin.
A problem exists, according to Conrad, that new leaders can believe their first priority is to develop new game plans independently rather than to get to know staff members to solve problems collectively. Read Conrad’s column, “New leaders should learn to listen,” for tips on how to create an effective workplace communication system.
This month, officials from Augsburg College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College launched the Auggie Plan, a guaranteed pathway to a four-year degree for community college students who meet minimum GPA requirements and who complete general education coursework on their way to enrolling at Augsburg College.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published an article covering Steve Wozniak’s Scholarship Weekend presentation at Augsburg College. Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple, Inc., spoke about innovation, creativity, and education in an increasingly connected world.
“My whole life has been teaching myself things that were not learned in school,” he told a packed auditorium. “More important than learning, more important than knowledge, is motivation.”
Wozniak’s comments centered primarily on the early days of his career at Apple and the importance of continually revisiting challenging tasks.
According to the Star Tribune, “Looking back, Wozniak said part of his success came from simply forcing himself to put pencil to paper, over and over again. ‘Creativity is a willingness to think very differently,’ he said. ‘Not knowing how to do something means sitting down to figure it out.'”
This week, a statement from Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow and Provost Karen Kaivola to students, faculty, and staff about Augsburg’s support of all students was part of a story in the Star Tribune about responses by higher education institutions to recent executive orders by U.S. President Donald J. Trump.
“We do not accept the intolerance which the new immigration policies promote. Augsburg’s history is rich with the contribution of individuals who came to America; indeed, founded by Norwegian immigrants, Augsburg has an immigrant sensibility and will stand firm in the face of threats to our community and our immigrant neighbors,” wrote the President and Provost.
“We will double down on our commitments to hospitality and justice, to supporting our students’ success and to keeping them safe. We will advocate at the state and federal level for policies that support all of our students.”
Last Sunday, work by Campus Ministry and Sonja Hagander to connect Pastor Mike Matson ’06 of Bethany Lutheran in the Seward Neighborhood with CAIR-MN, a nonprofit that supports our Muslim neighbors, was featured on the front page of the Metro section of the Star Tribune.
Hagander told the Star Tribune that partnerships such as that between Bethany and CAIR are crucial to building a multifaith community, something Augsburg College long has held a commitment to as a school of the Lutheran church.
Bethany, through Matson, and CAIR, via executive director Jaylani Hussein, are looking forward to continuing to grow their partnership.
This week, Andy Aoki, department chair of political science and Sabo fellow at Augsburg College, was a featured analyst on Political Insider, a weekly news segment broadcast on KSTP.
Aoki joined Larry Jacobs, a University of Minnesota faculty member, and provided input on a variety of local and national political stories including Minnesota’s health care affordability issue and confirmation hearings for President Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet members.
This fall, Augsburg College hosted alumni, faculty, staff, and community members for an international travel experience that took participants to the Czech Republic and Germany, which is in the midst of a tourism boom accompanying the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The travelers visited Wittenberg, the long-time home of Reformation catalyst Martin Luther, and ventured to historic sites to learn about the origins of the Lutheran faith from Augsburg College Religion Department faculty members Hans Wiersma and Lori Brandt Hale.
Star Tribune reporter Jean Hopfensperger and photographer Jerry Holt accompanied the group to chronicle how Minnesotans are observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the “Land of Luther” in addition to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” given that religious, arts, and cultural organizations across Minnesota are planning special events and exhibits to mark the occasion.
As Hopfensperger wrote, “Luther’s legacy is particularly deep in Minnesota, and not just because of his followers’ enduring embrace of hymn fests — often followed by Jell-O and hot dish. One in four residents trace their namesake faith to the monk from Wittenberg.”
In a Star Tribune story, Augsburg alumnae Carol Pfleiderer ’64 and Kathleen Johnson ’72 described their excitement with the trip itinerary and the ways it reflects and builds upon their understanding of their faith.
The Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, the College’s Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation, was among other alumni quoted in the article. He described some of the ways the Lutheran church is using the Reformation anniversary to foster Lutheran-Catholic dialogue and to make the church accessible to all people.