Associate 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.
A recent report airing on KARE 11 television noted that, “Augsburg College is located in the heart of Minneapolis in one of the most diverse zip codes in the city.” And, the College’s graduating class reflects that diversity.
As the story explained, “Under President Paul C. Pribbenow‘s leadership, the college has more than tripled the percentage of minorities in the full undergraduate body. In 2006, there were 11 percent compared to 33 percent in 2016.” The traditional undergraduate graduating class of 2016 is comprised of more than 42 percent students of color — a record achievement for the institution.
Pribbenow said Augsburg has been committed to attracting and supporting students from minority populations for more than a decade and has partnered with college readiness programs to achieve its success.
The broadcast report also included an interview with Robert Harper ’16, an alumnus who described why he values his college experience and the diverse makeup of his graduating class.
Read and watch: Augsburg graduates most diverse class in history on the KARE 11 website.
KARE 11 television recently interviewed a group of 5th graders who created a multicultural cookbook as a way to promote diversity and tolerance. The students are part Public Achievement, an Augsburg College program designed to teach democracy and citizenship through service projects.
The segment also featured program director Dennis Donovan. “There are a lot of issues in the world, and we need people to come together and solve these problems,” he said. “Having young people participate in public achievement gives them a skill-set and process that normally they would not have.”
Watch and read Students create cookbook to promote diversity on the KARE 11 site.
Harry Boyte, senior fellow at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently published an article for Education Week about democracy in education. The article is part of a conversational series between Boyte and Deborah Meier, senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.
Boyte argues that we should view democracy as “an empowering way of life,” and not merely a decision-making process. “We need to combine the ‘head,’ which makes decisions, the ‘heart,’ moral imagination and emotion, and the ‘hand,’ civic muscles that power action in the world,” he writes.
In regards to education, Boyte offers an antidote to a culture that separates the hard sciences, the arts and the professional or vocational fields, parallels to the “head”, “heart” and “hand” metaphor. He argues in favor of Cooperative Education, “a method that combines academic study and classroom learning with practical work experience for which students can receive academic credit.”
Read A New Cooperative Education on the Education Weekly site. This article was also published on the Huffington Post Education site.
The Pioneer Press reports that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has appointed Erik Skold, leader of the North Star Worker Fellowship at the Minnesota Department of Education and the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, as director of Sprockets, the city’s network of after-school programs.
Skold has been serving as the program’s interim director since the departure of previous director. Skold holds a master’s degree in youth development leadership from the University of Minnesota.
Read St. Paul’s Sprockets program gets new director on the Pioneer Press site.
Scott Washburn, assistant director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® program, was one the experts interviewed by MinnPost for an article examining public figures’ right to privacy as well as the rights of the public figures’ significant others. The article examined an overarching theme that probed, “How much of a candidate’s own personal life should be made available for public debate?”
In responding to a question on whether it is appropriate for the mental health or addiction history of a political spouse or other family member to be made public, Washburn argued that sort of political playmaking goes over the line.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate at all,” Washburn said. “The candidate is running, not the family member. The electorate is voting for the candidate, not the family member. The family of a presidential candidate is going to be dragged into the public eye, but I think it’s important to respect some boundaries here. It’s an issue of respect and privacy. The candidate would be fair game from my perspective, but I don’t think family members should be. It just reflects how low things have gone in this political race.
All that being said, if the family member chooses to publically disclose his or her personal history, then that is a different conversation.”
Read additional responses from Washburn in “When is a public figure’s mental health or addiction status off limits?” on the MinnPost site.
Harry Boyte, senior scholar in public work philosophy for the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, shared in a recent Huffington Post article his experiences working with the Center’s namesake: the late Martin Olav Sabo ’59. Prior to the 2009 merging of the Sabo Center and Augsburg College’s Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Boyte had met Sabo while working for the Reinventing Citizenship initiative in 1993.
Boyte writes of Sabo’s reputation as a respectful, bipartisan advocate for democracy. He states that Sabo exemplified the values of Augsburg College “in extraordinary ways, believing in the positive role of government and also the need for a much bigger environment of civic interaction.” He further notes that “Martin was enthusiastic about our work to… create public discussions on the purpose and future of colleges and universities that can reframe what is now often a polarized and narrow debate.”
Read Martin Olav Sabo and the Spirit of Democracy on the Huffington Post site.
The Minnesota chapter of the National Football Foundation recently announced that it will award Missy Strauch, head athletic trainer at Augsburg College, with the Fred Zamberletti Award. The award, named after the famed Minnesota Vikings athletic trainer, will be given in recognition of Strauch’s decades of service across all levels of Minnesota athletics.
Strauch will receive the award at the NFF’s annual Minnesota Football Honors event on April 17.
Read the announcement on the NFF Minnesota site.
The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder recently interviewed Jennifer Jacobs, assistant athletic director at Augsburg College, for an article on the challenges present as colleges seek to increase the diversity of their coaching and administrative staff.
In the article, Jacobs discusses some of the steps higher education administration can take to create a pipeline for people of diverse backgrounds to enter leadership roles. She notes that it is important for institutions to encourage women to seize new opportunities and to promote candid conversations on difficult topics like race.
“[Schools] need to find and foster the female student athletes that would want to get into coaching, administration — you name it, all the way up to the presidential level,” Jacobs said.
Read Navigating through Minnesota Nice on the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder site.
The Star Tribune recently published an overview of the forthcoming Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Augsburg College will break ground on this new academic building featuring classrooms, offices, and laboratories in April.
The article said, “The inclusion of scientific and religious disciplines within the same building is meant to express ‘a firm belief in the intersections and fluidity of boundaries’ on Augsburg’s campus.”
Learn more about Augsburg’s campus improvements in Hot Property: Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion in Minneapolis on the Star Tribune site.