Augsburg as a citizen

By Wendi Wheeler ’06

Building relationships through the Sabo Center for Citizenship and Learning

THE MISSION STATEMENT that Augsburg College launched last year begins with a statement of educational outcomes: Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.

There is a reason, President Paul Pribbenow said, that “informed citizens” appears first on that list. “It is a part of our legacy to equip our students to think of themselves as citizens in a democracy,” he said. “And this shapes our work through our statement of vocation: we believe we are called to serve our neighbor. That is faith, learning, and service linked.”

The Sabo Center for Citizenship and Learning provides venues for Augsburg students and the community to learn from local and national civic leaders and connects students with civic engagement and service-learning opportunities. The components of the center are highlighted here.

THE SABO PROFESSOR, SABO SENIOR FELLOWS, AND SABO SCHOLARS uphold Congressman Martin Sabo’s ’59 abiding faith in the role government can play in improving the lives of citizens. Sociology professor Garry Hesser, the Sabo Professor for Citizenship and Learning, is aided in his work by the Sabo Fellows: Senior Fellow for Academic Civic Engagement, Lars Christiansen, associate professor of sociology; Senior Fellow for Civic Agency, Harry Boyte, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship; Senior Fellow for Leadership and Change, Bill Green, associate professor of history; and Sabo Center Senior Fellow, Jay Walljasper, editor of OnTheCommons.org.

The 10 Sabo Scholars collaborate with Congressman Sabo and Hesser to create opportunities for Augsburg students to engage more fully in civic and public life. See page 20 for more about the Sabo Scholars.

THE CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND CITIZENSHIP collaborates with a variety of partners to promote active citizenship and public work by people of all ages. The center’s work is grounded in the belief that a healthy democracy requires everyone’s participation and that each of us has something to contribute. The center is involved in projects such as the Jane Addams School for Democracy, Public Achievement, the American Commonwealth Project, Twin Cities Teacher Collaborative, and more.

COURSE-BASED SERVICE-LEARNING is an integral part of an Augsburg College education. More than 35 courses per year include a service-learning component, bringing students into the community. The Engaging Minneapolis and Augsburg Experience curricular requirements reinforce this commitment to experiential learning.

THE CAMPUS KITCHEN program served 23,000 meals last year to residents of the community. Campus Kitchen sponsors a farmers’ market on campus during the growing season, provides growing space in the community garden, and also uses the garden to teach neighborhood youth.

THE AUGSBURG BONNER LEADER program provides financial support through work study jobs, leadership development, and practical skill development for students who are dedicated to integrating community and civic engagement into their college learning experience. Through participation in academic competitive debate programs,

THE MINNESOTA URBAN DEBATE LEAGUE empowers junior high and high school students in Minneapolis and St. Paul to become engaged learners, critical thinkers, and active citizens who are effective advocates for themselves and their communities.

THE MINNESOTA HIGH SCHOOL MATHEMATICS LEAGUE identifies more than 3,000 Minnesota high school students with unusual mathematical ability and brings them together for study, competition, and recognition.

MINNESOTA CAMPUS COMPACT leverages the collective assets of higher education institutions and communities, building partnerships and educating students to develop creative solutions to pressing public issues. The coalition brings together all types of higher education institutions dedicated to the civic purposes of higher education. It is also affiliated with the national Campus Compact network, which includes more than 1,100 campuses in all 50 states.

As a college in the city, the role of Augsburg’s director of COMMUNITY RELATIONS is vital to establishing and maintaining quality relationships with community members and organizations.

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