College of the Third Age faculty members are working, semi-retired, or retired faculty or community professionals, with expertise in their course area.
If you are interested in teaching for College of the Third Age, please contact the program office for more information.
Current Faculty Members
Ruth Aaskov received a BA from Augsburg College. She went on to receive an MA in French from Middlebury College and a PhD from University of Wisconsin. She is Professor Emerita of modern languages at Augsburg College.
Since 1994, Duane Addison has been an adjunct teacher in Augsburg’s Religion department, specializing in world religion. Addison is a retired Lutheran pastor, Professor Emeritus of religion, Augustana College. He received his BA from the University of Minnesota, his M.Div. from Lutheran Seminary, and his MA and PhD from Yale University.
William Arden is currently on the faculty of Augsburg College. He holds degrees in astronomy, physics, and mathematics. He is an astronomer and astrophotographer and member of the Minnesota Astronomical Society, the International Dark Sky Association and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He has taught astronomy at North Hennepin Community College and lectures on astronomy for Augsburg’s College for the Third Age as well as the Minnesota Astronomical Society.
Walter Benjamin received a BA from Hamline University. Benjamin completed an MDiv at Garret Evangelical Theological Seminary and a PhD at Duke University. He is Professor Emeritus of religion and applied ethics at Hamline University.
Carolyn Bliss was a church musician before retirement. Now she designs and presents classes about a variety of music for mature adult learners. Ms. Bliss received a BA from Augsburg College in music education, and a MA in music history from University of Minnesota, music history.
Vern Bloom received a BA and MSW from University of Minnesota. One of the founding members of College of the Third Age, Mr. Bloom is also Professor Emeritus of social work at Augsburg College.
Maria Brown is a retired professor of social work at Augsburg College. Her particular interests are in the area of social change, social justice, and human development. Ms. Brown is a singer/songwriter who enjoys music with her friends and faith community.
Elizabeth Burns is an award winning poet and novelist who has taught literature locally at the University of St. Thomas, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, and Metropolitan State University. Burns is a cum laude graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University (BA) and SUNY Buffalo (PhD).
Joan Campbell is a retired nurse from the University of Minnesota Hospital. She is also a former member of the Minneapolis City Council (Second Ward), a former member of the Metropolitan Council, and a long-time civic activist. Ms. Campbell received a BSN from University of Minnesota.
Frank Dreisbach received both an AB and MDiv from Drew University. Mr. Dreisbach also completed an MA at Harvard and an MA at Princeton Theological Seminary. Mr. Dreisbach is Professor Emeritus at Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Arne Fogel is a teacher, jazz-club singer, broadcaster and entertainment historian. In addition to his work with College of the Third Age, Mr. Fogel is an instructor for Compleat Scholar, and Elderhostel, University of Minnesota. He received a BA from University of Minnesota.
Leola Dyrud Furman received a BA and the Distinguished Alumna award from Augsburg College. Furman received an MSW from University of Chicago and a PhD from the Fielding Institue. She has served as an adjunct faculty in social work at Augsburg College and the University of St. Thomas. She is an associate Professor Emerita of Social Work at University of North Dakota.
Charles Graham earned a BS, MA, and PhD from University of Illinois. Graham is President Emeritus at Hamline University and St. Cloud State University. He is also Professor Emeritus of political science at University of Wisconsin.
Irene Khin Khin Jensen received a BA from Rangoon University in Burma. Jensen completed an MA at Bucknell University and a PhD at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is Professor Emerita of Asian studies at Augsburg College.
David Johnston is a lifelong resident of Minnesota. He grew up in Richfield and attended the University of Minnesota and Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul. He has been the lead pastor of CrossPoint Church of Coon Rapids since 1995. In recent years, Pastor Johnston has shifted his ministry emphasis to senior adults. He has volunteered as a chaplain in several senior residences and currently serves as a chaplain for Twin City Christian Homes. His wife Jeanie and he travel across the state performing as Ole & Lena, bringing a touch of Scandinavian humor and folk music to anyone who will listen. He has been married to Jeanie since 1980 and they have two children, David and Kristen.
David Jones received a BA in Business Administration with Secondary Education coursework from Gustavus Adolphus College. He went on to receive a Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management from the University of St. Thomas. He has had experience educating adults for the past ten years. He has a strong interest in history, and making history come alive for his audiences.
James Knutson received a BS from University of Minnesota. Knutson also received an MDiv and MTh from Luther Seminary and a DD from Wartburg Seminary. Knutson is a retired missionary, formerly stationed in South Africa, and former Secretary for Africa for the ALC and ELCA.
Anita Makar received both a BA and MA from Brooklyn College. Ms. Makar is Professor Emerita of speech communication at Minneapolis Community College.
Lawrence Moe is passionate about poetry. He holds the PhD in English from the University of Minnesota, where he also earned the BA with summa cum laude honors in each of his two majors, English and philosophy. He is professor of English at Metropolitan State University, where he was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed a resolution honoring professor Moe for “his exceptional teaching skills.” In recent years he has undertaken a major study of the early poetry of the Red River Valley of the North, and has located and analyzed thousands of poems from that region. Professor Moe has shared his research in poetry through numerous scholarly and community presentations, on television, and in various publications.
Mildred “Mike” Mueller earned a BA and MA from Central Michigan University. Mueller earned an EdD from the University of Minnesota. She is Professor Emerita of education at Augsburg College.
Ronald Nelson is the retired music director at Westwood Lutheran Church and a composer. Mr. Nelson earned a BMus from St Olaf College and a MMus from University of Wisconsin.
Judy Niemi Johnson earned her BA in Theater Arts and Secondary Education from Bethel University and her MA in Leadership from Augsburg College. Her research has focused on postmodern ministry as it compares with traditional and modern ministry models, with particular evaluation of generational and denominational influence on ministry, worship and leadership. Ms. Niemi Johnson has served in church leadership since 1981 and has worked with every age group in an educational role, including child/youth/adult forums, staff development, worship service design and sermon coaching. She is currently employed in the Admissions Department at Augsburg College while she continues teaching and consulting in the area of spiritual formation, church trends/leadership and education at individual churches and professional seminars/conferences.
Bettye Olson is a lifelong resident of the Twin Cities, attending the University of Minnesota, graduating with a masters in art education. She is an exhibiting artist with a career of 60 years, a teacher of art at the University of Minnesota, Concordia University, and Augsburg College. She was a lecturer of Art for Osher Life Long Learning, University of Minnesota; St. Paul College Club, and Augsburg College. She was director of College of the Third Age for six years.
Thomas O’Toole is a well-published scholar and experienced teacher. He is Emeritus Professor of sociology and anthropology at St. Cloud State University with more than seven years of experience in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America as a Fulbright scholar, teacher, and researcher. He is currently an adjunct professor of history at Metropolitan State University and an adjunct professor of Global Studies at St. Cloud State University.
Tina Ottmar is the owner of Artsy Smarty, LLC, an organization that provides art education to senior citizens ages 55-106. Artsy Smartsy began in 2009 in the basement activities room of Chandler Place Assisted Living, in St. Anthony Village, MN for Dolly Ferguson, Tina’s late grandmother. It was a way to encourage her to meet new friends and neighbors and also to help her continue her joyful life and inspire her creativity after her husband Hubert’s passing.
As of July 2011, Artsy Smartsy’s outreach program provides classes to 24 locations across the Twin Cities. Working with co-ops, independent living, assisted living, memory care residences, adult day services, community education and even the Hennepin County Public Library system. Artsy Smartsy booths can be seen at the Uptown Art Fair and the Minnesota Monarch Festival. Seniors have a great deal to offer to society, but few avenues by which to contribute, sometimes there are no outlets for their artistic creativity. Artsy Smartsy strives to change all of that!
As a professional designer, business owner, and artist, Tina brings joy and meaning to seniors now and in the future. Both by encouragement and by example, she assists them in expressing their feelings, their memories and their life experience. Seniors have more knowledge and wisdom than any other segment of society, by showing them the way to make art and providing them the opportunity and materials, everybody learns.
Philip Quanbeck received a BA from Augsburg College and a B.h from Augsburg Theological Institute. Quanbeck earned a MTh and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is Professor Emeritus of religion at Augsburg College.
Arne Sovik is a retired Christian missionary in China, as well as a retired executive director of the Lutheran World Federation. Sovik earned a BA at St Olaf College and a BTh from Luther Theological Seminary, and a PhD from Yale University.
Frank Wright was the associate editor, Washington bureau chief, managing editor, and foreign correspondent with the Minneapolis Tribune and is now retired from the Star Tribune. He received a BA from Augustana College.