Michael Lansing, associate professor of history at Augsburg College, recently was interviewed on Prairie Pulse, a program on Prairie Public Television. Lansing is the author of “Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics,” which examines both the history of the Nonpartisan League and its lasting effects on politics and community organizing. In the 25-minute interview, Lansing speaks about the genesis of the book, his research process, women’s involvement in the League, and many other topics.
Watch: Prairie Pulse 1308: Michael Lansing on Prairie Public Broadcasting’s YouTube channel.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press included Phillip Adamo, associate professor of history at Augsburg College, in its coverage of recent education news. Adamo was named the 2015 Minnesota Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. More information about Adamo and the award is available on Augsburg’s News and Media blog.
Read: Education notes: News from schools near you on the Pioneer Press site.
Harry Boyte, senior fellow in the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently wrote an online column for political newspaper The Hill in which he argues that educators should seek to develop students’ abilities to handle conflict by engaging them in self-guided civic involvement. Recent conversations about free speech and identity politics have primarily focused on either criticizing or applauding students’ approaches to effecting change, a trend which Boyte feels too readily discounts a student’s agency.
“Young people are hungry for opportunities to learn the skills and concepts to handle conflicts and make constructive change,” he writes. Providing timely guidance and these opportunities is important because, “Young people are citizens today, not citizens in preparation.”
Boyte outlines the Public Achievement model of “citizen politics” as everyday problem-solving and public work. Public Achievement sees students work together on real-world projects (such as building a playground for local children) that require a broad set of skills vital to a democratic way of life. In one example, the students “got the parish council on their side, negotiated zoning changes with city officials, and raised $60,000 from local businesses. To accomplish these feats, they learned how to interview people, write letters, give speeches, call people they didn’t know. They deliberated, created alliances, raised money, mapped power, did research.”
Read: Teaching democratic values on The Hill’s site.
Audrey Lensmire, director of Augsburg College’s East African Student to Teacher (EAST) program, and program participant Salah Ali ’17 were interviewed by MinnPost for a report on Minnesota’s growing number of Somali-Americans working toward careers in education. The article notes that the number of Somalis resettling in the state has more than tripled in recent years, which has caused an influx of Somali students and created a need for teachers, counselors, and socials workers with a deep understanding of Somali culture.
The EAST program is funded by the state’s Collaborative Urban Educator program and seeks to graduate and license K-12 teachers of East African origin. In the article, Lensmire is quoted as saying, “Typically, becoming a professional teacher has been available only to people who have money and the means to get the license.” The EAST program offers financial assistance by providing students with full tuition scholarships as they seek licensure.
Augsburg’s program is one of several made possible by the CUE program. In the article, Ali notes that he knows many Somali students in similar programs at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota. “A lot of us are in the education field right now. Many are doing social studies and ESL programs and counseling licenses,” he said.
Read: More young Somali-Americans are choosing careers in education on the MinnPost site.
Melissa Hensley, assistant professor of social work at Augsburg College, was quoted in a Star Tribune article about the substantial benefits that Habitat for Humanity homes provide to families who move into them. The article reports on the exceptionally positive findings in a newly released study by Wilder Research of more than 400 families. The improvements in the families’ lives include higher income, less reliance on government social programs, an increased sense of security, and better childhood performance in school.
In the article, Hensley states that the Habitat model, in which participants help construct their new homes, provides a sense of pride and cooperation that has ripple effects throughout the families’ lives. “Most individuals want to be engaged in a constructive activity,” she said. “This is something people feel they’re a part of and can be proud of.” She goes on to note that by “Enabling them to move into a place where they have stability and safety, they can blossom.”
Read: Habitat for Humanity dramatically improves families’ lives, study finds on the Star Tribune site.
The Star Tribune included Augsburg College in its recent coverage of top Give to the Max Day recipients. For the third year in a row, the College was the highest donation recipient among colleges and universities and it also placed third overall. The article offers a look at the festivities and work that surround what has become an important annual fundraising event for Minnesota organizations and businesses.
Quoted in the article, Heather Riddle, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Augsburg, has come notice the ebb and flow of Minnesotans’ giving habits throughout the 24-hour event. “People give before they go to work, then lunch hour, then after work, then there’s a burst right before it ends [at midnight],” she said.
Read: Give to the Max Day wraps up, tops $18 million on the Star Tribune site.
Minnesota Public Radio News recently published an article covering Somali singer Maryan Mursal’s concert series at the Cedar Cultural Center, an event co-sponsored by Augsburg College as part of the Midnimo program that seeks to build knowledge and understanding of Somali Muslim culture through music. Mursal rose to early fame as a teenager in Mogadishu, but was forced out of Somalia by war. She eventually found asylum–and a renewed musical career–in Denmark.
In addition to the concert performances, Mursal participated in public discussions, workshops, and community events, as well as a live radio performance on The Current that featured an Augsburg alumni jazz band and Somali musicians from around the world.
Read: Superstar, refugee, legend: Singer Maryan Mursal’s voice endures on the MPR News site.
(SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA) — Augsburg College History Department faculty members Kirsten Delegard and Michael Lansing were presented the Alice Smith Prize for best public history project completed in the previous calendar year by the Midwestern History Association.
The Historyapolis Project (historyapolis.com and facebook.com/TheHistoryapolisProject) was created when Delegard, a current scholar-in-residence at Augsburg College, realized that her hometown of Minneapolis was blind to its own tumultuous history, more comfortable planning for the future than confronting the past. Augsburg students are deeply involved with the project, which aims to make the city’s history accessible and helps catalyze community dialogue around challenging aspects of local history.
Delegard holds a doctorate in history from Duke University and is the author of “Battling Miss Bolsheviki: The Origins of Female Conservatism in the United States” (Penn, 2012). Delegard was also the co-editor, with Nancy A. Hewitt, for the two-volume textbook “Women, Families and Communities: Readings in American History“ (Longman Publishing, 2008). As part of the Historyapolis Project, Delegard is at work on a new history of Minneapolis, which is tentatively titled “City of Light and Darkness: The Making of a Progressive Metropolis in Minneapolis.”
Scott Washburn, assistant director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® program and a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, was one of three experts interviewed by MinnPost in an article examining the impact of Minnesota’s legalization of medical marijuana on teens’ views of the drug. Citing multiple studies, the article explains that there is growing concern that recent legalization of the drug will result in a lower perceived risk, which could result in increased teen use.
In the article, Washburn agrees that there is a correlation between the perceived risks associated with using a substance and actual use of it. He references an ongoing University of Michigan study that tracks high school students’ views and habits regarding a variety of substances. In looking at their data on tobacco and marijuana use, he says, “What’s noteworthy is that in 2010, those two lines crossed. Tobacco use started to decline in 1998 continuing up to 2014. But marijuana use continued to go up and eventually was higher than tobacco use.” Washburn attributes this reversal to our culture’s “significant shift in attitude about marijuana use.”
Washburn then outlines his approach to unraveling what teens and students sometimes see as mixed messages, that the drug is medically beneficial while being potentially addictive and harmful. “I tell my students that just because a drug can harm you doesn’t also mean that it can’t help you,” he says in the article. He adds that, “Vicodin and Oxycodone are legal drugs, but just because they are prescribed by physicians for valid reasons doesn’t mean that they can’t be harmful and dangerous when used incorrectly.”
Read: ‘It’s just pot’: Does legalization of medical marijuana change teens’ attitudes about it? on the MinnPost site.
[Updated November 13] — The Augsburg College River Semester, created and led by Joe Underhill, associate professor of political science, departed from St. Paul’s Harriet Island on September 1. As part of the kickoff, the River Semester class was joined by a group of nearly 100 students, parents, high school students and members of the Augsburg College community who paddled in a flotilla of 24-foot voyageur canoes from St. Paul to South St. Paul. Students participating in the semester-long program will earn as many as 16 credits in the arts, humanities, and sciences as they travel nearly 2,000 miles of the 2,350-mile Mississippi River.
The River Semester kickoff garnered a range of attention. Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed September 1 “Augsburg College River Semester Day” and many media outlets covered the launch of the class.
Since the students and faculty departed on their voyage, print and broadcast media have been sharing the story of this hands-on, interdisciplinary program. In fact, multiple stories have been picked up by the Associated Press and shared through the AP’s member media throughout the nation.
A snapshot of the ongoing media coverage is below. As additional coverage occurs, it will be added to this post.