Interfaith activist Chris Stedman ’08 returns to Augsburg

Previously a Humanist chaplain at Harvard and Yale, Stedman now a Sabo Fellow

Chris Stedman(MINNEAPOLIS) — Interfaith activist and author Chris Stedman ‘08 joins Augsburg College as a fellow of the Martin O. Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship where he will facilitate and build new community partnerships for non-religious and interfaith civic engagement. Stedman also will consult on the development of interfaith engagement programs at Augsburg.

“We are excited to welcome Chris back to Augsburg where his interfaith work began nearly a decade ago as an undergraduate,” said Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow. “Chris returns to us a successful author and a national leader and thinker on the Humanist movement. His work as a Sabo Fellow is testament to our commitment to interfaith dialogue so needed in our ever-diversifying society.”

Stedman’s work with the Sabo Center comes at an important time in Minnesota given the state’s rapidly increasing diversity of faiths combined with the growing number of “nones,” also known as religiously unaffiliated, and the nonreligious. According to Pew Research Center, 23 percent of adults as of 2015 identified as “nones.” Continue reading “Interfaith activist Chris Stedman ’08 returns to Augsburg”

The New York Times features interfaith work at Augsburg College

Fardosa Hassan
Fardosa Hassan ’12

Award-winning author, columnist, and professor Samuel Freedman featured five Augsburg College community members in a commentary for The New York Times’ On Religion section. The piece, “Muslim College Chaplains Extend a Hand Across Religious Divides,” highlighted the work of Muslim Student Program Associate and Chaplain Fardosa Hassan ’12. 

As Freedman reported, Hassan is among dozens of chaplains on college and university campuses across the U.S. to “play a vital dual role: helping Muslim students feel welcome, and introducing Islam to non-Muslims.”

This work, according to Hassan, has the potential to assist students during their college days and positively influence individuals’ lives long after graduation.

“My role is to help students negotiate this multifaith, diverse environment,” Hassan explained to Freedman. “I’m going to give them a tool for when they go out of this institution, so they know how to be respectful of others. A lot of times, people are afraid even to ask the questions of people who are different. So I say, begin with friendship. Start by saying hello.”

In his column, Freedman acknowledges that interfaith conversations are meaningful and necessary not only on Augsburg’s campus but also just beyond its borders in Minneapolis.

Augsburg “is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has traditionally attracted the vast majority of its students from white Protestant denominations,” he writes. “Yet its campus directly abuts the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood that is the epicenter of Minnesota’s population of 31,500 Somali Muslims. Perhaps nowhere else in the United States does a hockey rink sit so close to a halal meat market.”

While Augsburg has been a collaborative neighborhood partner for many years, President Paul Pribbenow has deepened that commitment in an effort to help the College fulfill its calling to foster conversations between the diverse residents of its vibrant community.

The story touches on interactions between Hassan and Augsburg College students whom Hassan has helped reflect on their spirituality to consider how it shapes their interpretations of the world. In this role, Hassan partners with College Pastor and Director of Ministries Sonja Hagander in individually supporting students as they navigate highs and lows, challenges and opportunities, faith and even their final exams.

Person-to-person efforts, according to Hassan, are at the heart of her work.

 

Augsburg College recognized for Muslim student organization

Augsburg College was mentioned in the Minneapolis Star Tribune as part of an article about Muslim student associations that boast women in leadership roles.

Augsburg’s Muslim Student Association, led by Muna Mohamed ’16, aims to promote unity among Muslim students and to raise awareness within the Augsburg community about the culture, history, and language of the Muslim community.

To learn more about Augsburg’s Muslim Student Association and similar organizations at other campuses, visit the Star Tribune news site.

Imam, Pastor share story about transition from enemies to friends

Rev. Mark Hanson, left, moderates a panel at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum with Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye.
Rev. Mark Hanson, left, moderates a panel at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum with Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye.

Minnesota Public Radio last week interviewed Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye about their journey from mortal enemies to dear friends. The two men, each who headed religious militia in Nigeria, shared their story of reconciliation and forgiveness at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. “The same energy that we use to promote division we are using it now constructively,” Wuye said in the interview with MPR’s Tom Crann. Listen to the interview, “Enemies to Peacemakers.”

Ibrahim Al-Hajiby ’14, President Pribbenow speak with Star Tribune

Minneapolis Star TribuneIbrahim Al-Hajiby ’14, an international student and alumnus of Augsburg College, discussed his advocacy for his home country of Yemen in a recent Star Tribune article.

In the story, Al-Hajiby discussed his “mission to upgrade the image of Yemen, which is synonymous with terrorism and political upheaval in some Western minds.” According to the article, which also quoted President Paul Pribbenow, “Al-Hajiby instead plays up the country’s ancient culture and a young generation yearning for democracy.”

Read, “Augsburg honors student who shows there’s more to Yemen than terrorism,” on the Star Tribune website, or hear Al-Hajiby speak about Yemen and his activism in a recent Public Radio International story.

Ibrahim Al-Hajiby ’14 discusses activism with PRI

2eda4c6Ibrahim Al-Hajiby ’14 was featured by Public Radio International, a global nonprofit media company, and discussed social activism and his role in raising awareness of the condition of his homeland, Yemen.

Al-Hajiby, who came to Minnesota in 2007 as a high school exchange student, found himself drawn back to the state to attend college.

After hearing about protests in Yemen’s capital to overthrow dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011, Al-Hajiby organized his own 24-hour protest on the Augsburg campus.

“I felt like I was disconnected from historymaking, so I wanted to do something here in the United States, especially in my college,” Al-Hajiby said.

Today, Al-Hajiby keeps a close watch on what’s happening in Yemen which made him a good source for context on the conflict, prompting the PRI interview.

Read “A Yemeni watches from afar-again-as his country erupts in chaos” on the PRI news site.

Al-Hajiby’s comments also aired through media outlets including:

Auggies in 2014 nab international, national, state media spotlight

Top 21 news stories featuring Augsburg faculty, staff, students, alumni

Members of the Augsburg College community were featured in more than 220 international, national, and statewide media stories in 2014. Faculty, students, alumni, friends, and staff shared expertise on scholarship and pedagogy, experience as Auggies, and insight on current and special events. Here we take a look at a very small fraction of the many times Auggies made the news during the year. To see more of the coverage earned by Auggies, visit the News and Media blog on a regular basis and read the “Other Information” section of the Augsburg Weekly archives. Thanks to all those who shared their time and stories and helped put Augsburg at the table on so many topics.

International Stories

  • John Zobitz spoke with the International Business Times.
    John Zobitz spoke with the International Business Times.

    John Zobitz talks to International Business Times: Associate Professor of Mathematics and environmental science researcher John Zobitz helped to answer the question posed by many in the wake of a recent record-setting snowfall in the Buffalo, N.Y. area — Why is it so cold and snowy in November? The reason is global warming, according to Zobitz and other scientists studying the Earth’s climate. Read more about how changes in the Earth’s temperature influence weather patterns on the International Business Times website.

  • Auggies in the Augsburger Allegmeine: Three Auggies were featured in a story in the Augsburger Allegmeine’s series, “We are all Augsburger.” Natalya Brown 14, Kayla Feuchtmann 14, and Jens Pinther 14 shared photos of themselves on campus, their areas of study, and comments about Augsburg College’s namesake with the German newspaper’s Nicole Prestle. See the story on the Augsburger Allegmeine website. Click on the photo in the story to go to a gallery of photos of the three students.

National Stories

Katie Clark, nursing faculty, talked with Girls Life magazine.
Katie Clark, nursing faculty, talked with Girls Life for the August/September issue of the magazine which is read by 2 million girls.
  • Katie Clark in Girls’ Life magazine: Nursing instructor and the director of the Health Commons, Katie Clark, spoke in July with Girls’ Life magazine to answer questions posed by the magazine’s readers. The publication, which has a readership of more than 2 million girls ages 10-15, is sold at many major bookstores throughout the nation. Clark answered a range of questions for the  August/September issue of the magazine.
  • Stephan Eirik Clark all over the place: Augsburg Assistant Professor Stephan Eirik Clark was featured in media across the nation after his debut novel, Sweetness #9, received the “Colbert Bump” on The Colbert Report. In many instances, Augsburg College was mentioned. See a range of the coverage on the News and Media blog under the tag “Stephan Eirik Clark.”
  • Yemi Melka 15 featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Yemissrach “Yemi” Melka ’15, a chemistry and international relations student, recently spoke with Beckie Supiano of The Chronicle of Higher Education about Melka’s participation in the Model United Nations. Melka, a Peace Scholar, is interested in exploring how scientists can use their expertise to promote international peacemaking. Listen to “A Science Student Talks Her Way onto the Model UN Team.”
  • Alex Peterson ’16 talks with The Scientist: Augsburg College StepUP student Alex Peterson ’16 was interviewed for the cover story in the February edition of The Scientist magazine for an article titled “Pain and Progress: Is it possible to make a nonaddictive opioid painkiller.” Peterson, a student in Augsburg’s successful StepUP program for students in addiction recovery, shared his story and perspective on opioids. Read the article here.
  • Hans Wiersma in Christian Science Monitor: Hans Wiersma, associate professor of religion, spoke with the Christian Science Monitor about whether a Baptist church in Kansas could continue after the passing of its charismatic founder. Read Wiersma’s comments in the article “Could Westboro Baptist survive without founder Fred Phelps.”

State Stories

Janice Gladden '14, left, graduated with honors in communications.
Janice Gladden ’14, left, graduated with honors in communications.
  • Janice Gladden ’14 talks with WCCO: WCCO profiled the graduation from Augsburg College of Janice Gladden ’14, who left college 35 years earlier. Gladden put on hold the education her father urged her to pursue while her husband developed his baseball-playing career, going from an amateur free agent to major league star. Her husband would become a champion left- and center-fielder for the Minnesota Twins and go on to play in two World Series. She shares the story of returning to pursue her college education, of finishing what she started at the urging of her daughter (also an Auggie), and of her early years working to support her husband. Dan Gladden shares his pride in seeing his wife graduate. Watch the WCCO story, “35 years later, woman who put school on hold for former Twins player graduates.”
  • Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ’16 talks with media: Auggie Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ’16 spoke at length with media in the days before the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Forum about meeting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at several junctures throughout Paichang’s life. Read “Dalai Lama’s visit will be third juncture for Augsburg student,” by Maja Beckstrom, Pioneer PressPaichang also shared his story with WCCO. Watch “Dalai Lama visits Minneapolis for NPPF and Tibetan New Year,” by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield, WCCO. Additional coverage of the NPPF — totaling more than 40 stories — is on the News and Media blog by searching for “NPPF.”
  • President Paul Pribbenow talks to MPR: Minnesota Public Radio’s higher education reporter, Alex Friedrich, visited Augsburg College’s campus to experience a day in the life of an Auggie. Friedrich blogged throughout the day about his experiences and found that Augsburg College has a wide variety of traditions and experiences to offer to its students, faculty, staff and alumni, and also to its neighboring communities, as well. During the visit, he met with Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow to discuss Pribbenow’s vision for the College, his commitment to Augsburg students, and his passion for bow ties. Read “The man leading a changing Augsburg.” More stories from the MPR visit are featured in “MPR offers readers a glimpse into Augsburg College life.”
  • Jennifer Simon talks with KSTP 5: Jennifer Simon, director of Augsburg College’s American Indian Student Services, talked to KSTP TV about the College’s 6th Traditional Powwow. Simon shared highlights of the powwow, including recognition of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for a gift of $250,000 for endowed scholarships to support American Indian students. Watch “Traditional Powwow at Augsburg College Thanks Local Sioux Tribe.”

Stories Featuring Faculty

  • Phil Adamo on set with Diana Pierce at KARE 11.
    Phil Adamo on set with Diana Pierce at KARE 11.

    Phil Adamo on KARE 11: Associate professor of history and director of Medieval Studies at Augsburg College, Phil Adamo, was a guest on KARE 11 on Halloween to talk about the origins of the holiday. Adamo shared with Diana Pierce and viewers how Halloween started as a Celtic festival that celebrated the final harvest and eventually was incorporated into Christian traditions to lure non-Christians into the Church. He also discussed the origins of the bonfire, jack-o-lanterns, and Halloween candy. Watch the segment “Halloween History 101” on KARE.

  • Andy Aoki on KARE 11: Political Science Prof. Andy Aoki spoke with KARE 11 about the importance of creating diverse police departments in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The story, which took a look at local police departments, was being explored in light of recent clashes between the public and police in Ferguson, Missouri. Watch the interview on “Ferguson fallout: Looking at local police diversity.”
  • Joseph Erickson in the Pioneer Press: Professor of education and former member of the Minneapolis school board Joseph Erickson spoke with the paper for perspective on contract talks between the St. Paul Public Schools and the St. Paul Federation of Teachers. Erickson told reporter Mila Koumpilova that the agreement, which averted a strike, represents a “creative mix of contract changes, addendums to the contract and board resolutions.” Read the full story on the Pioneer Press website.
  • Jenny Kluznik 13 in Mpls. St. Paul Magazine: Assistant Professor Jenny Kluznik ’13 MPA, who teaches in the physician’s assistant program, spoke with Mpls. St. Paul Magazine about her decision to return to college so she could join the fast-growing PA field. Kluznik shared her decision to become a PA, why she picked Augsburg College, and shared advice for those considering going back to school. The profile of Kluznik was part of a longer story that explored education needs behind some of Minnesota’s fastest-growing careers. Read “Jenny Kluznik, 33.”
  • spotlight-coverJoyce P. Miller in OR Today: Joyce Miller, an assistant professor of nursing, was profiled in OR Today about her nearly 40-year career as a nurse, transition to the classroom, and work in diverse communities through the Health Commons projects. Miller, DNP, RN, shares in the story her perspective on transcultural nursing, actively listening to the needs of patients, the complexity of healthcare, and the importance of establishing rapport and trust with patients. Read “Spotlight On: Joyce P. Miller, DNP, RN” in the online edition of OR Today.
  • Michael Wentzel on KSTP 5: Mike Wentzel, assistant professor of chemistry at Augsburg College, spoke with KSTP TV about a new study that found marinating meat in dark beer reduces the cancer-causing carcinogens that form when grilling. Wentzel said that a chemical in beer is shown to lessen the formation of harmful molecules during the grilling process and, therefore, can help lower the harm to people who eat grilled meats. Watch the KSTP story “Augsburg chemist: Marinating meat in beer reduces cancer-causing chemicals.”

For more faculty featured in the news, search the Faculty category on the News and Media blog.

Stories Featuring Alumni and Friends

  • Edor Nelson ’38 was presented a special jersey in honor of his 100th birthday.
    Edor Nelson ’38 was presented a special jersey in honor of his 100th birthday.

    StepUP supporters speak with MinnPost: Kevin and Polly Hart, mentors for Augsburg’s StepUP Program, were honored at the annual StepUP Gala for their avid support of the program. The Harts, who have volunteered with StepUP for several years and are in recovery from addiction, were presented the Toby Piper LaBelle Award for their dedication to serving students in recovery. Kevin Hart spoke about the honor and his work with the recovery community in “Sobriety champion Kevin Hart offers financial and emotional support to people in recovery.”

  • Edor Nelson ’38 earns statewide attention: Legendary Auggie coach, athlete and instructor Edor Nelson ’38 died August 27 at the age of 100. Nelson, who led the Auggie football and baseball teams for nearly four decades, died only nine days after a centennial birthday celebration at Augsburg where hundreds of friends and Auggies turned out to honor him. Nelson’s birthday celebration and his death garnered an outpouring of attention thanks to the hard work of staff in the Athletics Departments. See the coverage in “Coach Edor Nelson ’38 honored by community, media.”
  • Kuoth Wiel '13 played a role in The Good Lie featuring Reese Witherspoon.
    Kuoth Wiel ’13 played a role in The Good Lie featuring Reese Witherspoon.

    Amineh Safi 14 in Star Tribune: Star Tribune columnist Gail Rosenblum featured Augsburg College student Amineh Safi ’14 in a recent story examining news coverage of Muslims. In the column, Safi described findings from her research on the portrayal of Muslims in the media and her experiences with diversity in college. Safi’s research opportunity was offered through the McNair Scholars program at Augsburg and conducted under the mentorship of Diane Pike, sociology professor, who also was quoted in the column. Read “Time to look at news coverage of Muslims” on the Star Tribune website.

  • Kuoth Wiel ’13 in national media: Social psychology major Kuoth Wiel ’13, a star in the feature film “The Good Lie,” has garnered a plethora of media coverage. The film, which was released in Minnesota Oct. 17, has been well received and is generating Oscar buzz. Augsburg has received several media mentions thanks to Wiel, both prior to her graduation when the College sought to place her story with media, and since the film’s release. Check out the most recent coverage in “Kuoth Wiel ’13 gains wealth of media coverage.”

Augsburg named one of five finalists for national interfaith award

HigherEdHonorRollAugsburg College was one of five finalists named to the prestigious President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction in the interfaith and community service category.

This is the fifth time that the College has been named to the top tier of recognition—the honor roll with distinction—for this prominent national award. More than 500 schools vied for the 2014 award that celebrates outstanding achievements in and commitment to interfaith and community service work.

In 2010, Augsburg took top honors from among a field of 850 applicants. Read about this campus accomplishment in the story “Augsburg College earns Presidential Award for service learning and community service.”