Auggies Engage

 

Auggies Engage​ aims to co-create a shared vision of civic and campus life with fellow students, problem-solving for the benefit of the whole community. Do not underestimate the power of your voice. We don’t.

Throughout September and October, incoming first year and transfer students meet with a student leader on campus to build a relationship and explore your power and purpose at Augsburg University. Your student leader will reach out to you via your Augsburg email account to schedule a time to meet.

As an incoming Transfer or First Year student, you will have the opportunity

  • To connect with current student leaders with whom they may not necessarily connect to create understanding around shared interests, values, goals, and passions;
  • To begin to inform students’ sense of agency and community on campus; and
  • To ask any questions or share any concerns they have regarding their first few weeks on campus.

Engaged Student

Engaged Students operate from a mindset that campus and community change is a possibility, and that new realities can be realized. They build relationships and alliances with fellow students, staff, and faculty; and attempt to build their capacity by understanding others’ values, cultures, backgrounds, and experiences (adapted from Strom, 2006).

Contact Auggies Engage

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your student leader or to the Auggies Engage team at auggiesengageprogram@augsburg.edu.

Marina Christensen Justice Award

Every year at Commencement, one graduating senior receives the Marina Christensen Justice Award for demonstrated dedication to community and working in solidarity with marginalized people. This award recognizes work that is in keeping with the personal and professional life of Marina Christensen Justice, who courageously and effectively reached out to disadvantaged people and communities.

Nominations are submitted in the spring with nominations for other Augsburg Leadership Awards, and are judged on the following criteria:

  • The depth and breadth of community involvement
  • A strong commitment to addressing the systemic roots of the issues
  • A personal and professional commitment to work with marginalized communities
  • Bold and courageous leadership
  • Authentic and sustained engagement with community and issues.

 

Minnesota Campus Compact Award Winners

Each year Minnesota Campus Compact presents awards at their annual statewide summit. At this year’s summit, an Augsburg student, staff member, and community partner were recognized for their leadership and collaborative work. The 2018 award recipients were:

Student Leadership Award: Janet Nguyen

As the student food shelf coordinator this year, Janet built a base of committed volunteers, increased participation and donations, and even navigated a successful recovery from a small fire. Janet brought a bold, equity-focused lens to the food shelf by diversifying offerings and working to destigmatize food insecurity.

Civic Engagement Steward Award: Jane Becker

Jane Becker, Augsburg’s Head Volleyball Coach, organizes more than 500 athletes and their coaches each year to engage with youth in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood and beyond. She has created new summer sports clinics, an on-campus homework help program, and an alternative spring break program for young people.

Community Partner Award: Cedar Riverside Community School

Cedar Riverside Community School is the only school in the Cedar Riverside constantly adapts to best serve the educational needs of an ever-changing population. School leaders and teaching staff are committed to deep, reciprocal partnership with Augsburg, so that CRCS and Augsburg students are prepared successful futures.

 

 

“Citizen Teachers” address teacher shortage in Rochester

 

Interested in education programs in Rochester? Learn more.

 

Three Solutions to Rochester’s Critical Teacher Shortage

By Kate H. Elliott

Each thread of the state’s teacher shortage has tangled into a giant, seemingly hopeless mess—leaving educators and communities somewhat paralyzed as to which string to sort out first.

But Kaycee Rogers, director of education at Augsburg College’s Rochester site, believes in Rochester’s nimble fingers. The overwhelming statistics, she said, aren’t factoring in the power of human energy, the collective strength of community, and the innovative connections mounting among educators and community leaders. Rogers is among a growing cadre of “citizen teachers” working together to increase teacher support and retention, remove legislative and licensure obstacles, and empower neighbors to fill vacant positions within the community’s second largest employer—Rochester Public Schools.

Complex, Mounting Problems

On the rise since the 1980s, Minnesota’s teacher shortage has achieved crisis levels in the past decade. The Minnesota Department of Education, for instance, reported hiring more than 3,500 teachers who lacked necessary licenses, with special education and English Learner teachers among the toughest positions to fill. And students in these populations are increasing at roughly the same rate as the decline of those licensed to teach them.

To wrap these factors in even more red tape—ahem, string—are mounting paperwork and licensure requirements, which are made worse by the fact that some required licenses are not offered at the state’s colleges and universities.

Embrace Diversity, Empower ‘Citizen Teachers’

But Rogers remains hopeful. She uses the phrase “citizen teacher” to reiterate the role of teachers in public life and the importance of community-focused, culturally-relevant education. Rogers said the solution is not “out there,” but within each city, within Rochester.

“Rochester is a resettlement hub for refugees; and with several industry leaders, including the Mayo Clinic, our community draws non-native English speakers, who often start out in the service industry,” Rogers said. “We want to reach out to people who look like our students, come from the same backgrounds—perhaps those already working with our students as teacher aides or in other supporting roles—to advance their education, and we want that education to celebrate all cultures, provide students with multiple entry points for understanding, and make a difference in our community.”

It’s well documented that students retain more and have a positive view of education when they relate to teachers and aren’t asked to check their heritage at the door, Rogers said. Growing teachers from Rochester’s diverse population will beget more teachers of color—as students see someone like them leading the class, they may want to teach the next generation, she added.

Adopt Community-Focused, Student-Led Learning

Rogers and other teacher educators in Rochester are focused on retaining teachers, particularly within the critical first five years (a period with the highest turnover rate). She said that efforts start with conversations that build into professional development and support networks that address challenges. Rogers stresses that incentives and infrastructure must coincide with initiatives to confront the roots of the shortage, including class sizes, paperwork loads, and appropriate student placement, especially for those with special needs.

Meanwhile, teacher educators and administrators are striving to improve classroom culture through support of meaningful, relevant learning experiences. As an example, Rogers shares work an Augsburg student is engaged in as part of her coursework on public achievement:

Heather Mabbitt, a special education teacher in Lyle, Minnesota, asked a group of first-12th graders: What is a problem in our community? Their response: Hunger, specifically that some students go without snack each day. Her next question: Well, what are we going to do about it? As a part of the answer, she is now guiding these students with physical and emotional disabilities to raise awareness and support for a snack pantry of healthy options.

“There’s no reason why students shouldn’t learn through experiences that matter to them, and we can give them the tools to make a difference now,” Rogers said. “We have fourth- and fifth-graders writing grants, speaking to community groups, navigating teamwork, and participating in democracy,” Rogers said. “It’s been amazing to watch our teachers transition to more of a coaching role, while students take the lead to apply classroom learning to issues and situations of meaning to them.”

Broaden the Scope of Licensures

This community-focused approach pairs well with the more comprehensive, inclusive approach emerging to address special populations. More and more colleges and universities are phasing out specializations in narrow disability categories and adopting broader licensures, like the Academic Behavioral Strategist. The ABS prepares teacher candidates to work across all classifications of mild to moderate disabilities.

“A comprehensive, inclusive approach, we believe, equips teachers to address the complex challenges of today’s classrooms and qualifies them for a wider range of teaching positions,” Rogers said. “Exposure to more teaching strategies, more specializations only helps teacher candidates adapt and innovate in order to provide students with multiple access points for understanding.”

 

Interested in education programs in Rochester? Learn more.

Jane Addams School for Democracy comes to a close

After twenty years of democratic education and practice, the Jane Addams School for Democracy met for the last time earlier this month. From the beginning, its founders sought to free and cultivate the talents, cultures, and interests of people from diverse backgrounds and traditions and engage in a minimally structured, non-hierarchical way that allows participants to shape the agenda. The Jane Addams School for Democracy brought immigrant families, college students and other community members together to do public work and learning. It was inspired by the vision of democracy, productive citizenship, and popular education held by settlement house pioneers like Jane Addams, who created Hull House in Chicago in 1889.

As we consider the current state of our democracy, the principles and practices of Jane Addams School are a much needed antidote to the polarization and division that colors public discourse. We have faith that the lessons of Jane Addams School can continue to support a more just and democratic world. In 2007, the Kettering Foundation published a book called Voices of Hope: The Story of the Jane Addams School for Democracy which features 22 essays by 12 Jane Addams School participants, including non-native English speakers, and more than 75 photos.

The Oz Behind the Curtain – Phil O’Neil: Public Achievement Coach

Phil

PA Group: Animal Rescuers

PA Project: Community 3k Walk/Run Fundraiser

Often times, the education system can be seen as rigid and formulaic, limiting the potential of young people. Phil O’Neil, a three-year veteran public achievement coach, knows this well. However, he sees public achievement as a way to break the mold and this has inspired him to pursue a career as an educator.

Continue reading “The Oz Behind the Curtain – Phil O’Neil: Public Achievement Coach”

R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Mukwa uses Public Achievement to encourage others to respect different cultures

PA Profile 1

Mukwa

5th grader at Maxfield Elementary School

PA Group: Culture and Diversity

PA Project: Multicultural Cookbook

Public Achievement creates free space where young people develop the power to take leadership in at least part of their education and impact the world around them. Students choose a community issue they are passionate about and work for an entire school year to develop a solution, using “everyday citizen politics” to work across differences. Throughout the process, students develop public confidence, learn how to organize and become leaders. Continue reading “R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Mukwa uses Public Achievement to encourage others to respect different cultures”

A welcome return of drug-store democracy

by 

New forum relaunches legendary discussion group. The first topic — the legacy of slavery — won’t be timid.

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The iconic pot-bellied stove was absent. No jam-packed retail shelves stood watch. But the essential ingredients of the never-named monthly discussion group that challenged premises and pricked consciences at a Prospect Park drug store for 27 years came together anew last week — chief among them the group’s founder, Tom SenGupta.

SenGupta, 76, has had two cancer surgeries and a run of chemotherapy in the year since he sold Schneider Drug on University Avenue, the independent drug store he owned for 43 years. But the pharmacist has recovered sufficiently to again pursue what always seemed to be his true calling — the perfecting of American democracy. … read more

In a Season of Rage, Populist Lessons From the Movement

The media casts Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as populists. But a civil rights activist reminds us that the great populist movements of the past channeled people’s anger into a force for constructive change.

BY HARRY BOYTE | JANUARY 15, 2016

(Rowland Scherman/US Information Agency/Wikimedia Commons)

Coming back to the US after time in South Africa, anger in the election is like a blast furnace. I’m also struck by the ubiquitous use of populism as a framework of analysis.

Trump and Sanders: Different Candidates with a Populist Streak,” reported Chuck Todd on NBC News. Most reporters and commentators use “populism” to mean inflammatory rhetoric. Thus Jonathan Goldberg, writing in the National Review, argues Trump and Sanders are “Two Populist Peas in a Pod,” stirring up “millions of people [who] are convinced that the system is rigged against them.”

Continue reading “In a Season of Rage, Populist Lessons From the Movement”