Audrey Lensmire and Salah Ali contribute to MinnPost article on Somali-Americans choosing careers in education

MinnPostAudrey 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.

Augsburg College project named recipient of Alice Smith Prize

(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 ( and 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.”

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River Semester media attention grows as class travels down-river

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 2.35.52 PM[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.

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ELCA scholarship recipient Sarah Abendanon is interviewed by
The Lutheran

The LutheranAugsburg College student and Suriname citizen Sarah Abendanon was interviewed for an article in The Lutheran, the magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The story detailed a scholarship program for women leaders from the “global south,” which is comprised of Africa, Central and Latin America, and most of Asia.

Noticing a lack educational access for women in these areas, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted in 2013 to raise $4 million over a five-year period in order to provide scholarships for 200 women.

“My religion professor asks what we think about our readings and encourages different points of view. In Suriname schools, what the teacher says goes,” Abendanon explained.

As far as the outdoor climate, Abendanon has prepared for winter by purchasing a large winter coat. “Bring it on!” she said in the article.

Read: Women of purpose – ELCA scholarships prepare emerging leaders from the ‘global south’ on The Lutheran site.

Star Tribune reports on Augsburg College’s participation in
Ripken Foundation field day

Minneapolis Star TribuneThe Star Tribune recently published an article covering a field day held in north Minneapolis by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in partnership with Minneapolis Jeep Dealers. The event paired roughly 50 young athletes with coaches and players from Augsburg College’s baseball team as well as athletes from the University of Minnesota. Minnesota Twins mascot TC Bear also participated, at one point serving as a soccer goalie.

According to the article, the Maryland-based Ripken Foundation develops youth programs and partners with cities to create parks in distressed communities. Augsburg baseball head coach Keith Bateman is quoted as saying of the young participants in the multi-sport event, “They might not remember some of the stuff we say, but hopefully they remember when they think back [and say] man, I really had a good time. I want to do that when I get older.”

Read: Ripken Foundation brings together college athletes, local kids for field day on the Star Tribune site.

Augsburg College global education program touted for excellence in serving students of diverse backgrounds

An article published by the Association of American Colleges & Universities commented on the successes Augsburg College’s Center for Global Education and Experience has had in serving students of diverse backgrounds as they travel to locations around the globe. The article, titled “Global Learning: Key to Making Excellence Inclusive,” described why global experiences are recognized as an essential dimension of a liberal education and how a variety of institutions support increased student participation.

In particular, the article noted that Augsburg maintains permanent centers for global learning in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Namibia. The centers have deep-rooted connections to local communities, and staff members understand the diverse needs of the Augsburg students.

“For example, Augsburg has arranged culturally appropriate homestay placements for single parents who needed assistance with childcare, safe home environments for LGBTQ students, sober homestays for students in recovery (in addition to connecting students in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous programs with sponsors), and access to mosques for Muslim students. This commitment to creating environments for student success is a hallmark of Augsburg’s study abroad programs,” the article said.

Visit the AAC&U website to read the story in its entirety.

Pioneer Press notes Augsburg’s diversity award

logo-smallThe St. Paul Pioneer Press mentioned that Augsburg College was among 92 higher-education institutions nationally to be recognized for excellence in diversity by the magazine Insight Into Diversity.

Read, “Education notes: News from schools near you” on the Pioneer Press site.

Bring Me The News shares roundup of River Semester info

bringmeThe online media resource Bring Me The News shared a compilation of information about the Augsburg College River Semester, a three-and-a-half month program in which students and faculty members will traverse the Mississippi River from St. Paul to New Orleans while studying topics in the arts, humanities, and sciences. As the story noted, “Students will sleep in campsites instead of dorm rooms and will paddle rather than walk to their classes this fall.”

Visit the Bring Me The News website to read, “Rollin’ on the river: Augsburg prepares to launch its first semester on the Mississippi.

Star Tribune previews Augsburg College River Semester

Minneapolis Star TribuneAugsburg College’s first-ever River Semester will be an opportunity for students to spend the fall and early winter months traveling from St. Paul to New Orleans in 24-foot voyageur canoes on the Mississippi River. Participants will study topics ranging from ecology to history to literature.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently discussed this experiential education opportunity in the article, “Augsburg preparing to launch ‘River Semester’ on the Mississippi.

Pioneer Press features debut book from Howling Bird Press

PioneerPressHowling Bird Press, a student-run press run out of the Augsburg MFA in Creative Writing program, is bringing out its first book.

“At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody” was launched as part of the MFA program’s publishing concentration. The book-length poetry collection by Los Angeles-based Marci Vogel, winner of the 2015 Howling Bird Press poetry prize, was chosen from a field of more than 60 from across the nation and was shepherded into print by Howling Bird associate editors Amanda Symes ’15 MFA, Ashley Cardona ’15 MFA, and Kevin Matuseski ’16 MFA.

Visit the Pioneer Press website to read, “‘At the Border’ a first for Minnesota’s Howling Bird Press.”