Augsburg Names Inaugural Professor of Choral Leadership and Conducting, Advancing Music Education in a Pluralistic World

Kristina Boerger head shot
Kristina Boerger

Augsburg University has named Kristina Boerger the inaugural John N. Schwartz Professor of Choral Leadership and Conducting, beginning fall 2018.

The Schwartz Professorship supports Augsburg’s 21st century choral program—combining music reflective of a pluralistic society, superior choral performance standards, and the University’s commitment to civic engagement and inclusion. Boerger, who most recently served as director of choral activities at DePauw University, will lead a creative and visionary program that honors Augsburg’s legacy of engaging music majors and students from across campus, forging innovation in choral music education.

“Kristina Boerger has collaborated with leading composers and artists in creatively advancing the field of choral study and performance,” said Augsburg University President Paul C. Pribbenow. “Her work has garnered national recognition, and we’re excited to have her join Augsburg this fall.”

Boerger holds degrees in music education and conducting from the University of Illinois; has worked in public school, collegiate, and professional settings; and spent a number of years working in New York, where her work received favorable reviews in The New York Times. In addition to conducting, she’s performed with numerous groups as well as being a soloist. Boerger also has founded choirs and is deeply committed to the values of inclusion, access and equity, musics of diverse cultures, and commissioning original works.  

Augsburg undertook an international search to fill the Schwartz Professorship. Named for alumnus John N. Schwartz ’67, the professorship will initially be supported by an operational fund that provides for creative choral activities. Like many Augsburg choir alumni, Schwartz was not a music major. He majored in business but found meaning in the choir and has been singing his entire life.

Augsburg adopts test-optional admissions policy

Augsburg University is introducing a pilot test-optional admissions policy.

Submission of ACT or SAT test scores for admission is optional for fall 2019 incoming undergraduate (first-year and transfer) student applicants, except in specific circumstances.

“The test-optional admission policy aligns with Augsburg’s mission of intentional diversity and is expected to increase the University’s pool of completed applicants each year,” said Nate Gorr, interim vice president of enrollment management.

For a number of student populations, standardized test scores may not reflect an accurate indication of academic ability — including, for example, people without access to test preparation courses and tutors; those who can’t afford to retake the test; people with learning and physical differences, and English language learners.

This also aligns with Augsburg‘s holistic admissions process, which looks at quantitative metrics and beyond. The application-review process allows Augsburg to maintain the University’s academic standards and ensure Augsburg admits students with the capacity to succeed here.

Faculty, earlier in April, approved the test-optional admissions change recommended by the University Council Enrollment Committee and endorsed by the Faculty Senate and the Academic Affairs Committee.

For additional information about the test-optional process, see A-mail post.

Support for Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama

(Updated 6/11/2018)

Augsburg University is sharing this background about the immigration case involving Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama to keep our campus and the public informed.

Next meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Dr. Wanyama and Mary Mzenga attended their monthly check-in appointment at Immigration and Customs Enforcement on June 7. The ICE office asked them to return on June 29 for their next check-in. ICE still expects them to leave the U.S. by July 4.

Background
On April 5, Dr. Wanyama and his wife, Mary Mzenga, were informed in a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that ICE would allow them 90 days to depart the United States.

Augsburg University statements
Augsburg issued a statement from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow following the Wanaymas’ April 5 ICE meeting, as well as statements before and following the previous ICE meeting, on March 9. These statements are posted below:

Augsburg University Faculty Senate statement
The Faculty Senate of Augsburg University wishes to express our unanimous and unconditional support for our friend and colleague, Professor Mzenga Wanyama. We urge all those who care about Professor Wanyama to consider signing the petition on his behalf at https://www.change.org/p/augsburg-university-support-augsburg-professor-mzenga-wanyama.

Augsburg University faculty statement
The Augsburg University faculty calls on the U.S. government to halt plans for the unjust deportation of our colleague Professor Mzenga Wanyama and his spouse and Augsburg nursing student Mary Mzenga and to permit their continued work and residence in the US. We stand against the anti-immigrant sentiment that is prompting the current wave of deportations and proudly affirm our status as an institution that supports the many immigrant and refugee members of our academic community.

Website
A website, www.mzenga.com, has been created by friends and supporters of Mzenga and Mary Wanyama. The site includes a statement from the Wanyamas, information about the next Immigration and Customs Enforcement meeting, and information about getting involved and providing support.

Work authorization and sponsorship
Augsburg University complies with federal law that requires employers to verify that employees are eligible to work in the United States. Dr. Wanyama has authorization to work in the United States, issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Sponsorship for permanent resident status is not an option at this time due to a restriction related to a J-1 two-year home residency requirement. The two-year home residency requirement means that those who come to the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status, or get work or family-based visa status until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively. A request to waive the two-year home residency requirement was filed several years ago, but the waiver was denied. Augsburg is working with legal counsel to pursue all options available to us under the current scenario.

Advisory: Augsburg officially becomes ‘Augsburg University,’ welcomes most diverse class in 148-year history

University’s first-year undergraduate class more than 53 percent persons of color

(MINNEAPOLIS) — As Augsburg celebrates becoming “Augsburg University” on Sept. 5, it also welcomes an incoming first-year undergraduate class of more than 53 percent persons of color.

“As ‘Augsburg University,’ we embrace our leadership role as a university at the forefront of intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Augsburg University President Paul C. Pribbenow.

“We are proud and grateful to welcome to our community the Class of 2021, made up of students of academic ability from an array of diverse backgrounds — including ethnicity, faith, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and more. We know that learning in a diverse community prepares young people to become engaged, thoughtful citizens, and problem solvers.”

The Augsburg University celebration at the Minneapolis campus includes food stations and opportunities for getting an Augsburg University logo T-shirt screen printed on-site, participating in a photo booth, assembling hygiene kits for the Augsburg Health Commons, which serves unsheltered persons who live in Minneapolis, and more. On Sept. 18, the Augsburg University teaching site in Rochester, Minn., will host a special ribbon-cutting to celebrate more than 20 years of providing graduate and undergraduate programs in that community.

PROGRAM and PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

  • 9:20 a.m.: Faculty and staff line up along 22nd Avenue South to applaud students as they process into Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center, for the Opening Convocation.
  • 9:30 a.m.: Opening Convocation in Hoversten
  • 10:30 a.m.: Kick-Off Celebration and Lunch in the Quadrangle
  • 11:30 a.m.:  Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow formally launches Augsburg University
  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.: First-Year Students Begin Service Projects

ADDITIONAL FACTS

  • Augsburg measures diversity beyond ethnicity and culture and welcomes persons in our community of diverse faiths, gender identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, learning styles, and military commitments. Nearly 10 percent of students self-identify as Muslim. More than 11 percent self-identify as LGBTQIA.
  • On Sept. 5, the Class of 2021 will donate nearly $35,000 in service work at more than 20 locations in Minneapolis.

ABOUT AUGSBURG UNIVERSITY

Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and the Rochester site. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Advisory: Hennepin County Library’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum book club fosters dialogue across differences

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Members of the public have a unique opportunity to build knowledge and understanding of issues that have and continue to shape our world through a book club that is offered in partnership by the Hennepin County Library and Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Participants will explore the stories and writings of leading authors and public figures this summer, in advance of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Forum slated for September 15-16 at Augsburg College.

Nobel Peace Prize Forum - Inspiring Peacemaking
Hennepin County Library

“Engaged citizens who participate in the NPPF Book Club will gain considerate understanding of some issues and topics we will dig into at the Forum this September,” said Joe Underhill, program director of the NPPF. “In times of great flux and ongoing violence, developing dialogue across differences and compassion for our global neighbors is a key to building the understanding that leads to peacemaking.”

“We are honored to partner with such a venerable institution as the NPPF to offer this opportunity for our community,” said Stephanie Steinwedel, program and events manager for Hennepin County Library. “At a time when our world feels increasingly divided, bringing community members together to discuss ways we can  strengthen the ties that bind us feels more important than ever.”

SCHEDULE

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Advisory: Augsburg celebrates last commencement as a college on April 29

On September 1, school officially becomes ‘Augsburg University’

(MINNEAPOLIS) – The Augsburg community on Saturday, April 29, will celebrate the last graduating class of Augsburg College when 503 day, undergraduate students are conferred their degrees. Earlier this spring, Augsburg’s Board of Regents and the Augsburg Corporation approved the institution’s name change to “Augsburg University” effective September 1.

“It’s a historic moment for Auggies and a time for our community to celebrate nearly 150 years of educating young people and adults for lives of service,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “As we send off our last class of Augsburg College students, we do so on the eve of becoming Augsburg University and of our sesquicentennial, and we do so knowing that these Auggies are prepared to use their gifts and talents to serve our world’s greatest needs.”

In the afternoon, the school will recognize more than 469 adult undergraduates, graduate and doctoral students, 50 of whom studied at the College’s Rochester site.

DAY UNDERGRADUATE COMMENCEMENT

When: 9 a.m., Saturday, April 29

Where:  Ceremonies in Si Melby Hall located on 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55454 http://www.augsburg.edu/about/directions-and-parking/ (Rain plan: Students will line up in Si Melby’s lower level and process up stairs, into gym.)

PROGRAM

9:30 a.m. – Student Processional, Christensen Center. Group proceeds, led by drummer, from Christensen Center down South 7-1/2 Street to Si Melby Hall. Faculty, in academic dress, line the streets and clap as students pass. Students carry flags representing home countries represented in student body.

10 a.m. – Invocation and Welcome

    • Commencement Speaker: Michele Norris, former host, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.
    • Student Speaker: Eron “Winnie” Godi, of Rochester, Minnesota, will graduate with majors in international relations and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, with a minor in peace and global studies. She maintained a 3.79 grade point average while juggling full-time work and full-time school, while also being integrally involved in the Augsburg community. At Augsburg, she was president of the Pan Afrikan Student Union and a past Peace Scholar. As an Augsburg LEAD Fellow, she has created an online magazine focused on celebrating the African diasporic arts and culture in Minnesota and the surrounding community. Off campus, Godi was a 2015-16  Museum Fellow at the Minnesota Historical Society and a finalist for the Princeton in Africa program, which matches recent college graduates with non-governmental organizations in Africa. She was also a finalist for the Humanity in Action Fellowship.
    • Honorary Degree Recipient: Beverly Daniel Tatum, President Emerita, Spelman College. Tatum is a nationally recognized authority on racial issues.
    • Conferring of Degrees
    • Recessional: Students exit Si Melby. Students, families gather in Murphy Square.

ABOUT AUGSBURG COLLEGE

Augsburg College has been part of the rapidly growing and diversifying city of Rochester for nearly 20 years. The main campus is set in a vibrant Minneapolis neighborhood at the heart of the Twin Cities, and offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds. Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The Augsburg experience is supported by an engaged community committed to intentional diversity in its life and work. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Acclaimed StepUP Program, staff take on increased national role in reducing stigma

Patrice Salmeri named Executive Director for Recovery Advancement

Patrice Salmeri was appointed to the position of Director of Recovery Advancement for the nationally acclaimed StepUP Program.(MINNEAPOLIS)—Students across the nation who seek to live in recovery from substance use disorders will have greater opportunities for success thanks to the generosity of donors to the Augsburg College StepUP® Program.

“This is a pivotal moment for students in recovery across the nation and how we serve them,” said Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow. “We are poised to leverage our 20-year national reputation as the gold standard in collegiate recovery in enhanced ways: to encourage and shape how other colleges and universities throughout the nation support young people in championing lives of recovery, to work to effect policies and programs that will staunch the opioid epidemic gripping our nation, and to reduce the stigma associated with addiction so that young people can lead lives of meaning.”

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Augsburg College to become ‘Augsburg University’ September 1

(MINNEAPOLIS)—Augsburg College will become Augsburg University effective September 1.

The change reflects the reality that Augsburg already offers nine graduate degree programs—including Minnesota’s first program for physician assistants—in addition to its more than 50 undergraduate degree programs.

“Becoming Augsburg University does not change our dedication to our liberal arts mission or our commitment to being small to our students and big for the world,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow.

“As we lean into our reality as a university, we will continue our drive toward the intentional diversity for which we are known. We will ensure we are student-ready and can provide those of academic ability with opportunities for hands-on learning, undergraduate research, international study, and internships so that all Auggies are prepared to share their gifts and talents with the world.”

The name change decision was made after a thorough review that included conducting market research, studying the process and impact of name changes by other institutions, and holding open dialogue sessions with a broad set of stakeholders, including students, alumni, faculty, staff, and regents.

More information about the change is at augsburg.edu/university.

About Augsburg: Augsburg offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and the Rochester site. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Campus Photo: Download a photo of campus at http://web.augsburg.edu/marcomm/augsburg_minneapolis_skyline.jpg

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Statement: President Pribbenow, Provost Kaivola on Executive Orders by President Donald J. Trump

(MINNEAPOLIS) — On Monday, January 30, Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow and Provost Karen Kaivola issued a statement to College students, faculty, and staff about recent executive orders issued by President Donald J. Trump related to immigration and to undocumented/DACA students. Below is the statement the President and Provost issued.

 

Dear Augsburg Community,

We are deeply troubled by the recent Presidential executive orders on immigration: they run counter to the values of this institution and of our nation. 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.

We write today to affirm our commitment to provide a safe learning and working environment with equitable access to education for all members of our campus community. We will not back down on that commitment. We will use all the resources at our disposal to ensure that you complete your degrees, can come to and from work safely, and can thrive as valued members of our community.  Your well-being is our priority.

Augsburg is a community that cares deeply about our students, staff and faculty.  Many members of our campus community are impacted by these actions. We are focused intently on the educational and work experience of our students, staff, and faculty, their lives in the world and their promise. We have a long-standing commitment to hospitality and justice and we will resist changes that run against our values. We will not stand by and allow our values to be trodden upon. It’s a personal commitment we make and it is one shared by all of us at Augsburg. We live it out every day. We don’t step backward, we step forward, and we are proud of this community because of that.

These values are central to how we will respond in support of students who are affected by changes in undocumented and immigration status. 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.

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