impacts of name change on Augsburg community
On September 1, 2017, Augsburg College officially became Augsburg University.
The change, which was approved by the Augsburg Board of Regents on October 15, 2016 and by the Augsburg Corporation on March 2, 2017, reflects Augsburg’s reality as an institution offering robust graduate, international, and research programs, and it offers the institution the opportunity to reinforce core elements of its reputation: academic excellence, leadership in inclusion and equity, a focus on student-centered learning, and the resulting impact Auggies make in the world.
The name change decision was made after a thorough review that included studying the process and impact of name changes by other institutions, conducting market research, and holding a range of open dialogue sessions with a broad set of stakeholders, including students, alumni, faculty, staff, and regents.
What follows is information in response to commonly asked questions about the name change.
Why has Augsburg College changed its name to Augsburg University?
The name, Augsburg University, aligns with our truths—our reality, our reputation, and our promise.
- Our reality: the academic mission. Our research found that the word “university” is associated with academic rigor, research, graduate programs, and global education. Augsburg has a strong tradition of faculty-led undergraduate research, has offered master’s degree programs for nearly 40 years (and today offers a doctoral program in nursing as well), and is home to a internationally recognized global education program, our Center for Global Education and Experience. The word “university” reflects the reality of Augsburg’s academic excellence.
- Our reputation: equity and inclusion. Both “Augsburg” and the word “university” are associated with diversity. Augsburg’s leadership in equity and inclusion is rooted deeply in the teachings of our Lutheran faith tradition and has been recognized nationally. Augsburg embraces diversity of race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, age, national origin, faith traditions, and physical and learning differences. We are committed to the success of all of our students.
- Our promise: small to our students and big for the world. While the word “university” is associated with “big,” Augsburg intends to create a new kind of university—one not marked by big campuses or large student-to-faculty ratios, but one focused on making a significant and robust impression on the world. Instead of bureaucracy and anonymity, we offer students transformative experiential learning, equipping them to use their gifts and their education to foster positive change in the world.
We are more like a university than a college
Augsburg confers degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. Since at least 2000, Augsburg has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a master’s institution. That reality is reflected by the nine advanced degree programs offered by Augsburg.
Benefit of becoming ‘Augsburg University’
One of the key benefits of becoming Augsburg University is that our name now reflects what we already are and have been for some time—a diverse institution of higher education with robust programs for scholarly research, global study, and postgraduate programs. The word “university” better positions Augsburg for international student recruitment (where the word “college” often is associated with high-school-level education). Changing our name has provided the opportunity to underscore Augsburg’s commitment to inclusion and equity and to retaining our student-centered focus.
Throughout the years since the founding of our institution in 1869, we have been known by at least four different names. Our name has shifted as we have grown, but our commitment to an accessible, quality education has never wavered. Likewise, our deep commitment to the Lutheran principles of hospitality, service to the neighbor, and social justice are as deeply practiced today as ever. Previous names include:
- In 1872, our institution was known as The Norwegian Danish Evangelical Lutheran Augsburg Seminary.
- In 1892, we became Augsburg Seminary.
- Then, in 1942, we became Augsburg College and Theological Seminary.
- In 1963, we became Augsburg College.
- On September 1, 2017, we became Augsburg University.
Official steps taken to become ‘Augsburg University’
Beginning in January 2016, Augsburg held discussions with the Board of Regents, faculty, student government, staff, and the Alumni Board regarding the potential name change. The input from these discussions was reviewed by the Board of Regents during its March 2016 retreat.
During the summer of 2016, Augsburg conducted market research with individuals representing core prospective student groups—high school students, counselors and parents, people considering returning to college to complete their bachelor’s degrees, and those considering pursuing master’s degrees. The findings from this market research were presented to the Board of Regents at its meeting on October 15, 2016. The Board then voted to change the name of the institution to Augsburg University, effective in the fall of 2017, pending approval by the Augsburg Corporation.
The final step in the process was approval from the Augsburg Corporation, which voted on March 2, 2017 to approve, effective September 1, 2017.
Commitment to our Lutheran heritage
The change from “Augsburg College” to “Augsburg University” does not alter the relationship Augsburg has with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Augsburg remains committed to its founding, heritage, and identity as a school of the Lutheran church.
Commitment to liberal arts remains at Augsburg’s core
While becoming a university reflects the reality, reputation, and promise of our institution, we are dedicated to our core liberal arts mission. Augsburg will continue to educate its diverse community of learners for lives of meaningful work shaped by unique undergraduate and graduate academics, and through hands-on and transformative learning experiences. Augsburg also remains committed to its identity as an urban university set in one of Minneapolis’ most diverse ZIP codes and as a school of the Lutheran church.
Augsburg remains committed to small class sizes
Augsburg, since at least 2000, has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning as a master’s level institution based upon the nine master’s programs we offer.
Augsburg has been and will remain committed to its vision of being small to our students and big for the world. That means Augsburg will continue to place great value on excellent instruction and will retain small class sizes where students and faculty develop important relationships that are proven to support retention and persistence to graduation.
Augsburg’s campus will not expand
Augsburg’s 23-acre Minneapolis campus, in the heart of one of the city’s most diverse ZIP codes, remains substantially at its current size. The campus is situated between 20th Avenue South and 25th Avenue South and is bordered by Riverside Avenue on the north and Interstate 94 on the south. For a full view of the campus, visitaugsburg.edu/about/map/
Tuition, financial aid has not changed
The name change to Augsburg University does not affect tuition or financial aid.
International recruitment may be enhanced
Among international students, the word “college” typically is perceived as having to do with high school. On the other hand, the word “university” commonly is associated with a post-secondary education. In an increasingly competitive and crowded market, the name Augsburg University may enhance international recruitment.
Outreach to stakeholder groups
Augsburg conducted a range of stakeholder interviews prior to considering changing its name to “Augsburg University.” Discussions were held with the Board of Regents, the University Council (a committee of faculty, staff, and students that serves as advisory to the president), Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, faculty and staff more broadly, the Alumni Board, and the Day Student Government. Focus groups were held with individuals representing core prospective student groups—high school students, their counselors and parents, people considering returning to complete their bachelor’s degrees, and those considering pursuing master’s degrees.
Degrees from ‘Augsburg University’ may carry greater prestige
Degrees conferred by Augsburg University may carry greater prestige commonly associated with universities. This is most likely true in global settings.
Class sizes have not grown
Our low student-to-faculty ratio is an important part of our identity and a key factor to student success, retention, and persistence.
Faculty will explore organizational structure that supports mission, vision
The name change to “Augsburg University” has not immediately resulted in a change to the structure of our organization. As a separate initiative, Augsburg faculty are working to define an organizational structure that supports our mission and our vision of being a new kind of urban, student-centered university that is small to our students and big for the world. The move to a new organizational structure is driven by the faculty and follows a separate timeline.
Augsburg remains in the same athletic division
Augsburg University athletics remains Division III and has not changed athletic conferences.
Website address remains the same
Augsburg owns the domain augsburg.edu. Augsburg intentionally selected this web address because we generally are known as “Augsburg.”
Campus email addresses remain the same
Department and individual email addresses will remain the same.
Campus signage has changed
Augsburg campus signage has changed over time and according to a prioritized list.
Auggie gear has changed
Augsburg clothing and gear sold in the bookstore now says “Augsburg University.”
Name change costs largely covered by standard operating expenses
Many of the name change initiatives were covered by standard operating expenses. For example, by carefully managing current inventory of printed materials and other branded items, reprint timelines were scheduled so that the name and logo were updated when items are due for reprinting. This has both saved costs and reduced waste.