Michael J. Lansing, associate professor and chair of Augsburg University’s Department of History, has been featured in news sources from around the United States since his May 26, 2020, Twitter thread, offering a historical perspective on racial injustices in Minneapolis, went viral.
Lansing and Augsburg also were given a brief nod in the editor’s note by Scott Carlson for a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. In the note, Carlson writes, “I am heartened by seeing my old friend Michael J. Lansing, a history professor at Augsburg University, take to Twitter and to local and national newspapers to bring context to the legacy of race and policing in the Twin Cities. We need colleges that support work like this.”
On June 1, Augsburg University organized a supply drive to aid the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. The COVID-19 pandemic combined with the devastation that followed the murder of George Floyd near campus put a strain on our community given that many local stores were closed and there was little to no public transportation.
More than 550 cars arrived to donate to the supply drive and a few dozen trips were made to the nearby Brian Coyle Center, the recipient of all the supplies.
“This is our community, this is our neighborhood. So when our neighbors are hurting, you step forward and you do what you can to help” a volunteer told Fox 9.
WCCO’s Reg Chapman interviewed Augsburg students about One Day in May, the theme of this year’s virtual commencement and a historic call for change at the university.
One Day in May was a response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
During One Day in May, classes were canceled and the Augsburg community participated in a series of workshops and lectures about racism.
“When we look at the number of students of color that we have now and the beautiful diversity that we have on this campus, we have to remember the significance of One Day in May,” said Director of Pan-Afrikan Student Services Hana Dinku, during the WCCO interview.
The Augsburg experience is supported by an engaged community that is committed to intentional diversity in its life and work. More than half of Augsburg’s traditional day students during this academic year were students of color and last fall’s first-year class was the most diverse in the institution’s history.
HealthPartners Institute, researchers at the University of Minnesota, and Modern Logic have teamed up to create the SafeDistance smartphone application and website, a new tool that helps users track COVID-19 outbreaks using crowd-sourced information from anonymous users.
The free app sends notifications as users travel through high-risk areas. “As you’re moving around, you’ll actually see if you’re going into a higher risk area or you’re coming from a higher risk area,” Brian Krohn ’08 told Kare 11. Krohn is a project manager and entrepreneur-in-residence at Minneapolis-based Modern Logic and technical lead on the SafeDistance project.
Users of the app take a short COVID-19 symptom survey and then see a map of their neighborhood, as well as other neighborhoods. Data will not be used for-profit and users will not be asked for identifiable information. The app also offers tips about health risks and how to maintain social distancing.
Krohn, a Rhodes Scholar, has been described as a “Minnesota “Genius”. His undergraduate research at Augsburg University led him to a “Good Morning America” appearance in which he talked about a process to produce environmentally-friendly fuel, which was later commercialized in the development of a $9 million pilot plant. Among Krohn’s creations are surgery tools,wizard staffs, a cycling workout app, the Soundly app, and more recently, SafeDistance.
While the app launched recently in Minnesota, it is expected to expand across the country soon.
Augsburg University’s Department of Business Administration was recently accredited the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs for both undergraduate and MBA programs.
This globally-recognized accreditation for business programs rewards excellence in teaching and quality of student learning. Founded in 1988, ACBSP has accredited 430 campuses in 60 countries with the mission to promote continuous improvement of business education programs around the world. Evaluation standards include leadership, strategic planning, student and stakeholder focus, student learning assessment, faculty focus, curriculum, and business unit performance.
Augsburg is committed to continuous assessment and improvement to ensure that our business programs equip students with the skills employers seek.
Last year, Augsburg’s MBA program was named one of the top MBA programs by Twin Cities Business readers in a subscriber survey.
The Playwrights’ Center and Augsburg University announce an exciting new partnership to offer accredited courses taught by the nation’s leading playwrights, the Broadway World reported. Through online courses, students will connect with peers across the country and will be taught by leading professional playwrights who are actively working in the field. The course offerings will be guided by Augsburg University’s Theater Department in conjunction with the Playwrights’ Center. Registration and accreditation will go through Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience .
“With these courses, students will learn with and from writers at the top of their field, seeing what it takes to have pieces published and performed-and, perhaps most important of all, seeing that this is possible,” said Patrick Mulvihill, Augsburg’s assistant provost for global education and experience, in a Broadway World interview.
The two first courses, Playwriting and Themes in Playwriting, are now open for registration at Augsburg University for fall 2020. Details on the program and the courses can be found at the Playwrights’ Center website.
WCCO sought input from Jeanne Boeh, professor of economics at Augsburg University, on the U.S. economy during the current COVID-19 global pandemic. Boeh explained that we’re going through an “economic shock.” Boeh also said more people nationally are concerned about the financial implications than they are about the actual illness because of the low death rate.
The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted Augsburg University as one of the colleges that met its enrollment goals this year by “paying attention to the changing diversity of Minnesota’s population and recruiting a correspondingly diverse student body.”
“We wanted to enroll an intentionally diverse mix of students in part because we thought that it would offer a richer academic experience for all students,” said Augsburg’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer Karen Kaivola, in the article.
Augsburg’s current first-year class is the largest and most diverse ever. For the past three years, more than half of Augsburg’s incoming class have been students of color. The article notes Augsburg’s efforts to recruit minorities, such as working with organizations like Act Six, College Possible, and the recent hiring of a “chief inclusion officer” to help navigate conversations on campus about race and diversity.
Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education website.
Augsburg History Professor Bill Green is the winner of the 2020 Hognander Minnesota History Award for his book “The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860-1876”. The book reveals a pattern of racial paternalism in Minnesota after Emancipation.
According to the Pioneer Press, Hognander Award judges said Green’s book was chosen “based on its significance to Minnesota’s history, and its contribution to the broader panorama of race relations and the context of Reconstruction in American history.”
Green, a former Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent, is a second-time winner of this award. In 2016, he was awarded for his book “Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1912.
Augsburg Psychology Professor Nancy Steblay was quoted in a Star Tribune article about a bill for stronger eyewitness ID practices in Minnesota. Steblay is a leader in the research of eyewitness identification in the United States. Star Tribune reported that in recent years, a growing body of research has driven federal law enforcement agencies to change their practices on what makes a sound eyewitness identification.
“The bill represents a consensus of what makes sound science among experts in the field, vetted by the National Academy of Sciences. The rules are also practical for law enforcement to implement” Steblay told the Star Tribune. “The combination of good science and a practice that works makes these very powerful recommendations”.