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 new test-optional admissions policy, effective for students enrolling in fall 2019. 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.

“The test-optional admissions 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.

Submission of ACT or SAT test scores for admission is optional for incoming undergraduate (first-year and transfer) student applications, effective fall 2019, except in specific circumstances. Faculty, earlier in April, approved the test-optional admissions change recommended by the University Council Enrollment Committee and endorsed by the Faculty Senate.

 

For additional information about the test-optional process, see the first-year admissions website.

Support for Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama

(Updated 4/24/2018)

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

Student-led March + Rally
*Augsburg University is sharing these details of the student-led march and rally at the student organizers’ request:

Thursday, April 26th — 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Meet in Murphy Park. Walk together to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office. Peaceful rally + speakers outside

ICE is trying to deport beloved Augsburg Professor Mzenga Wanyama and his wife Mary. We insist that they be allowed to stay! Join this student-led action in support of Professor Wanyama, his wife, and all immigrants as we thank Sen. Klobuchar for her support and ask that she boldly do everything in her power (we have two specific asks!) to advocate for this important pillar of our community.

Please spread the word!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/229862284229407/

P.S. Mzenga has asked that his next meeting at ICE take place without a rally. He is fully supportive of this action, making it our primary opportunity to demonstrate continued public pressure.

 

Most recent news about Mzenga Wanyama and Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The most recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement check-in appointment for Dr. Wanyama and his wife, Mary, was April 5. The outcome of the meeting was that ICE has allowed the Wanyamas 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.

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.

Augsburg Mourns Campus Pastor Emeritus Dave Wold

Pastor Dave in a suitPastor Dave speaking at commencementAugsburg Campus Pastor Emeritus Dave Wold passed away on Thursday, April 12. Following is the message sent this morning, Friday, April 13, from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow.

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Pastor Dave Wold passed away last night. Pastor Dave served Augsburg for three decades — 1983 until he retired at the end of the 2012-13 academic year — and was named Campus Pastor Emeritus by the Augsburg Board of Regents in recognition for his many contributions to our campus life and faith community.

One of Pastor Dave’s gifts was that he knew everyone’s name. He knew each of us. It’s hard to imagine how he was able to personally connect with so many people, but he did, and the breadth of his pastoral care strengthened and supported generations of Auggies. He touched thousands of lives and is beloved by alumni and Augsburg community members around the world.

Pastor Dave was also quick witted and loved to craft words and music. I’m sure everyone who knew him can recall how he loved to share jokes as a way of engaging with people. He lent those talents for words and music to the leadership of our Advent Vespers services over the years. He also wrote hundreds of light-hearted parodies, using familiar tunes as a unique means of sharing messages about faith.

Of course, we all know Pastor Dave’s passion for athletics and for working with young people. He was director of youth ministries for the American Lutheran Church (prior to the formation of the ELCA), founded the Holy Hoops congregational basketball league, and supervised many intern pastors. And, while the number of athletic games and matches he announced may not be known, our memory of his distinct announcer voice will not fade.

Our prayers and sympathies go out to Cathy Wold, Dave’s wife, and his family. Pastor Dave was a fiercely committed husband, father, and grandfather. We will share information about memorial services once those plans are confirmed. This morning, those on campus are invited to gather in Hoversten Chapel following our daily chapel service (10:55 a.m.), for a brief time of remembrance, prayer, and song.

I was honored to work with Pastor Dave for seven years, to sing with him before many an athletic contest, and to have him as my pastor on campus.  I join Dave’s many friends and colleagues in mourning his death and the loss of a good and faithful servant.

Faithfully yours,

Paul

 

News reports: Augsburg professor challenges Economist ranking Minneapolis third most expensive in North America

 

Jeanne Boeh talks to Kare11
Jeanne Boeh talks with Kare11

When The Economist named Minneapolis the third most expensive city to live in North America, just after New York and Los Angeles, reporters from Kare11, Fox 9, and WCCO turned to Augsburg University Professor of Economics Jeanne Boeh for answers. Kare 11’s Gordon Severson questioned the ranking, given that the latest U.S. Census data listed Minneapolis as the 46th most populated city. The Economist study analyzed 150 items such as food, utility bills, rent, and private schools, but left out the cost of owning a home.

Boeh, also chair of the Business Administration department at Augsburg, argues that the study isn’t exactly accurate. “It doesn’t really reflect the average experience of the people who are living here right now,” Boeh tells Kare 11. “If I go to San Francisco, which technically we’re supposed to be more expensive than, the average cost of a house is well over half a million dollars. So, it doesn’t really make sense that Minneapolis would cost more to live in.”

While the study’s measures may be more applicable for high-end executives who travel internationally, Boeh says it’s not an accurate representation when it comes to the average Minnesotan.

See full story on the Kare 11 website.

Related articles: WCCO, Fox 9

See full report from The Economist on The Economist website.

Star Tribune interviews finance professor Marc McIntosh about new Hagfors Center

Marc McIntosh, Finance professor

In a recent Star Tribune article, reporter Neal St. Anthony spoke with Marc McIntosh, professor of Finance at Augsburg University, about the new home for the business department at the Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

“It brings alive the course materials,” McIntosh said about the building’s state-of-the art technology. “This building is not just about studying stock-and-bond markets. … We’re active, including working with small business owners from Somalia and Ethiopia. We also work in the area of financial literacy. And also what really separates us is our diversity.”

The article also highlighted other attributes of Augsburg. “The university is best known for its inner-city location, solid academics and presidential recognition for community service; to say nothing of its MIAC-championship basketball team playing in the NCAA Division III tournament this weekend,” St. Anthony wrote.

 

Read full article on the Star Tribune website.

MinnPost features “African-Americans and the Commonwealth of Freedom” by Augsburg’s Harry Boyte

Frances Harper
Frances Harper by Wikimedia Commons

In a recent MinnPost article, Harry Boyte said that commonwealth was a way for ordinary citizens to develop authority for their claims to equality. The commonwealth vision of civic construction made possible the creation of churches, schools and colleges, women’s organizations like the Council of Negro Women and labor groups like the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Boyte said.

“In a time of eroding faith in democracy and looming threats to the commons, from schools, colleges, and libraries to water resources, coastal areas, and public parks, remembering the commonwealth and the tasks of civic repair can generate the hope we need,” said Boyte, in the article. “The commonwealth vision makes democracy a way of life, not simply a trip to the ballot box, and puts citizens back in as its agents and architects.”

Boyte is a Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University. He is the architect of the center’s public work approach to civic engagement and democracy, and the creator of Public Achievement.

In the 1960s, he worked for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a field secretary with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the Civil Rights Movement, where he learned about the commonwealth and the claims from civic construction.

Read full article on the MinnPost website

Adjunct Faculty, Leah Phifer, Appears on the Cover of TIME Magazine Among Other Women Running For Office

Cover of TIME magazine
Photo-illustration by Sean McCabe for TIME. Photos courtesy of the subjects or shot for TIME.

“The Avengers: First They Marched, Now They’re Running,” reads the headline across the cover. This year, a record number of women are running for office, and among them is Leah Phifer, adjunct faculty at Augsburg University, where she teaches Politics and Policy of Immigration, Introduction to American Government and Political Methodology.

Pifer is running for the DFL nomination for the 8th district seat of the U.S. House. Leah has served Minnesotans through her work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security and has also worked for the FBI, enforcing laws written in the name of national security.

“Of course, electing more women in Congress would not necessarily lead to an instant federal paid-family-leave plan or national child care. Female lawmakers of both parties tend to elevate issues that men ignore.” states Charlotte Altar, the author of the TIME magazine article. “Women have a long way to go to get to parity in American politics. They hold less than 20% of seats in Congress, just 25% of those in state legislatures and only six of the nation’s 50 governorships.” adds Altar.

Leah’s picture is just below the “T” in “The Avengers.” Part of the word “First” is directly over her hair. This appears in the January 29, 2018 issue of TIME.

Read full article on the TIME website

Political Science Professor, Andrew Aoki, tells Fox 9 the Government Shutdown has Minimal Impact in Minnesota

Fox 9 logoThousands of federal employees were furloughed across the country due to the government shutdown that began on Friday, January 19. Fortunately, things do not look so bad for the state of Minnesota.

“We have fewer things that are funded by the federal government, in fact we tend to send in more than we get back from the federal government.” Andrew Aoki, political science professor at Augsburg University explains. However, the shutdown has affected both the Mississippi National River Visitors Center and the Science Museum, as both had to close.

Read full article on the Fox 9 website

Congratulations to Auggies named to the Fall Semester Dean’s List

Augsburg University seal with the text Through Truth to Freedom 1869More than 900 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2017 Fall Semester Dean’s List. The Augsburg University Dean’s List recognizes those full-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and those part-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in a given term.

View the 2017 Fall Semester Dean’s List.

Students who wish to notify their hometown newspapers of their achievement can do so at their discretion using a news announcement template.