Bing tracking

Augsburg’s Collegiate Recovery Program Marks 25 Years

A group of 7 Augsburg StepUP participants stand smiling at the camera with arms linked around each other's shoulders.In 1997, Augsburg University was one of just four colleges and universities with a formal collegiate recovery program. Today, StepUP® at Augsburg University is one of the oldest and largest residential collegiate recovery programs in the United States accompanied with sober living. More than 700 students have graduated from the program, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022.

The Phoenix Spirit recently published a piece by Nell Hurley, recruitment and outreach coordinator for StepUP, tracing the program’s history and impact. 

“StepUP is so much more than a sober dorm,” Jon Stentz, one of StepUP’s Licensed Alcohol and Drug counselors, told Hurley. “It’s the connection and the community that students find here that makes all the difference. It’s been said that connection is the opposite of addiction. The StepUP connection is where the magic is. Our students support each other and hold each other accountable. They’re all in this together, both the college journey and the recovery journey.”

StepUP offers a robust program of support and accountability that includes clinical support, random drug testing, weekly meetings, recovery service opportunities, and optional but regular social outings like rock climbing, camping trips, and game nights.

To learn more, read the Phoenix Spirit article or visit the StepUP website.

Soomaal Fellowship Showcases Pandemic Work of Two Emerging Artists

MPLSART.com recently interviewed Khadija Charif and Yasmin Yassin, two Soomaal House of Art fellows whose solo exhibitions are on display through December 14 in the Augsburg Galleries. 

Photographer Yasmin Yassin’s show, “Should Be Good Times,” explores her journey towards motherhood during quarantine, taking viewers physically through a womb-like space with photographs hung from the ceiling. 

“I thought, ‘What if you have to go in and experience the exhibit by using your body and moving through it?’” she told MPLSART.com. “You start at the beginning of this hallway-like gallery space and go all the way down, but you have to move through the pieces as well, and it gets narrower as you go. I wanted to provide that darkness and enclosure, to try and recreate the feeling of spending all that time in my apartment.”

Artist and Poet Khadija Charif’s show, “Strangers of My Sight—In Truth and In Trial” explores “the kindness, love, and short companionship that strangers provide.” The exhibit includes a private space with two chairs and a set of cards which present compelling quotes and questions for visitors to explore. 

“What I hope is that this space allows others to explore conversations with a stranger,” said Charif. “Grab someone you’d like to know, invite them to the table and ask questions. Not the light questions that bore us but the questions that excite us and allow us to deconstruct the barriers we naturally set when we meet strangers.”

The Soomaal Fellowship is a collaboration between Augsburg Galleries and Soomaal House of Art, a Somali artist collective in the Seward neighborhood, that aims to harness the power of art as a tool for intellectual and civic engagement by advocating and advancing the creative development of Somali visual artists. The partnership will continue with new fellows showcasing their work on Augsburg’s campus every 18 months.

Read more on MPLSART.com: Connection/Isolation: Soomaal Fellowship showcases pandemic work of two emerging artists

Augsburg Outpaces Other Minnesota Schools in Diversity Growth, Business Journal Reports

Augsburg University experienced the largest percent increase in nonwhite students among any college or university in Minnesota over the past decade, according to data analyzed by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. The analysis looked at institutions with more than 1,000 students using data from the Department of Education. 

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow was interviewed about the changes. “We are still a predominantly white institution in terms of structure and leadership, though that’s changing,” he said. “So we’ve had to do a lot of important training and intercultural work, knowing that these students are coming to us [with] a very different life experience. And they come to us with different kinds of needs and expectations.”

He attributed much of the growth in Augsburg’s diversity to its relationships with local high schools. Nearly 70% of Augsburg’s most recent entering undergraduate class identified as nonwhite.

Read more from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal: With college affirmative action in the balance, these Minnesota schools have made big strides in diversity

Podcast: Augsburg Enrollment Leaders Talk College Access

Headshots of Robert Gould and Stephanie Ruckel on a green and orange background with white text reading, "Enrollment Edge: the enrollmentFUEL podcast. Episode 45: Robert Gould & Stephanie Ruckel"Robert Gould, vice president for strategic enrollment management, and Stephanie Ruckel, director of admissions operations, joined host Jay Fedje as featured guests on a recent episode of the Enrollment Edge podcast by enrollmentFUEL. 

The episode focused on the power of direct admissions—a simplified approach in which students are admitted based on high school GPA, in some cases before they have even applied—to break down college access barriers. 

“Essentially, what we’re trying to do is remove as many barriers as we can for students, and give them the most options to enroll in whatever institution is a good place for them,” said Ruckel. “When you start thinking about the student’s perspective, you can start questioning the [admissions] process a little bit differently. Why are we requiring these things? How are we using this data? Are we using this information? 

“The challenge in doing this is really stripping down the application—making sure we are collecting what we need to collect, but keeping it as simple as possible.”

Augsburg’s participation in pilot programs with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Common App, as well as significant changes to the Augsburg application itself, puts the university at the leading edge of this new policy movement. 

“I want to credit the whole team,” said Gould. “We’ve literally taken the admissions process and the system and changed it in one cycle. We had some good thoughts about how it fulfilled our mission as an enrollment division, but I think more importantly, people had the appetite for it—wanting to build deeper relationships and wanting to eliminate barriers for all students.”

Listen to the episode here: Direct Admission: Unpacking College Access

The Wall Street Journal Highlights Augsburg’s Admissions Approach

The Wall Street Journal wordmark in black text.The Wall Street Journal highlighted Augsburg’s efforts to streamline and simplify the admissions process in a recent article about the growth of direct admissions. 

“Augsburg University in Minnesota is participating in direct-admission pilots with the Common Application and with the state of Minnesota, and cut its own application to be completed in an average of seven minutes,” noted reporter Melissa Korn. 

The piece quotes a Richfield high school senior who received several college offers through Direct Admissions Minnesota, the state’s pilot program. Augsburg has already connected with 184 students through the state pilot, nearly half of whom weren’t previously on the school’s radar. As of early November, the shift to direct admissions has accompanied a 44% increase in applications over last year.  

Read the full article in: More Colleges Offering Admission to Students Who Never Applied

Augsburg “Isn’t Waiting” on Direct Admissions, Reports Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed logo, white letters on orange backgroundInside Higher Ed recently featured Augsburg in a piece on the growth of direct admissions. While the article cites Minnesota as one of the states with the most movement toward direct admissions this year, Augsburg stands out for its comprehensive move away from traditional admissions practices. 

“Augsburg admissions counselors are shifting their time from reviewing applications to talking to those admitted about the university and what the students hope to accomplish there. Those are the discussions that motivated many of them to become admissions counselors,” according to Robert Gould, vice president for strategic enrollment management.  

“It’s a dream come true,” Gould said.

The piece was the latest in a series on direct admissions in higher education. Read the full article in Inside Higher Ed: Direct Admissions Takes Off.

Learn more about Augsburg Applies to You, Augsburg’s new belonging-centered enrollment approach.

 

“Ground Zero for Police Reform”: Professor Michael Lansing on Minneapolis Police Chief Search

Local media have turned to Augsburg professor Michael Lansing for historical context as the city of Minneapolis prepares to hire a new police chief. 

“Given the recent events, the murder of George Floyd as well as the uprising here in Minneapolis, there’s no question that the selection of a police chief is intensely important,” Lansing told reporter Jay Koll on KSTP’s Nightcast last week. 

The three finalists for Minneapolis police chief all come from outside of Minnesota—a rarity in recent decades. “Not only is it unusual, it’s noteworthy because that only tends to happen when the city has been through some kind of intense experience around policing and public safety and police-community relations,” said Lansing, who is writing a book on the history of policing in Minneapolis. He is also the co-founder, with Dr. Yohuru Williams at the University of St. Thomas, of the “Overpoliced and Underprotected in MSP” project. 

“History never repeats itself, but sometimes it rhymes,” Lansing told TPT’s Almanac. “This is one of those examples when we’re hearing some rhyming: the call for outsiders, the desperate pleas for help to change the culture that you find across the city, in communities of color, in advocacy organizations, on city council, and in the mayor’s office. And yet what’s different is that you have a rearrangement of the actual administrative structure,” with the city’s newly-appointed Commissioner of Public Safety in place.

“I think this is ground zero for police reform in the United States.” 

Read more from Michael Lansing: “Policing Politics: Labor, Race, and the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, 1945–1972” (Minnesota History magazine, 2021)

APM Reports Project on Indigenous Students Features Reuben Kitto Stately ’22

The APM Reports logo is a solid red circle with a lowercase r and a period in white text in the middle.A new audio documentary from APM Reports highlights how four Indigenous college students are using higher education to strengthen ties to their Native roots and support their people. One of the students the project follows is Reuben Kitto Stately ’22. In his segment, Stately also interviews Associate Professor Eric Buffalohead, chair of American Indian, First Nations, and Indigenous studies.

“I was pretty dead set on American Indian studies by the time I was in 10th grade,” says Stately. “I knew that American Indian studies would help me fill in the gaps for all the times in which I don’t understand colonization here in America—how have Native people from all these different nations all become American, in what ways have we totally assimilated, in what ways have we resisted?

“For my whole education, I have known that whatever I learn here at Augsburg, I’m going to take back to my people. To me, it’s an act of resistance because you’re able to indigenize new space or you strengthen the space that your people are already in.”

Listen to Standing in Two Worlds: Native American College Diaries via APM Reports or the Educate podcast.

Inside Higher Ed Spotlights Augsburg’s New Admissions Approach

Inside HIgher EdRobert Gould, vice president for strategic enrollment management, recently spoke to Inside Higher Ed about Augsburg’s participation in a Minnesota direct admission pilot program. Through the program, students in 50 high schools will be automatically admitted to participating colleges and universities based on GPA. 

This move is part of a broader shift at Augsburg from a “gatekeeper” model of admissions to an enrollment experience focused on student belonging. Going forward, Gould said, admissions counselors will have more time to spend on outreach, financial aid, and supporting students rather than evaluating them. 

“Part of the mission here is supporting democracy,” he said. “This is about sharing power.”

The piece was the latest in a series on direct admissions in higher education. Read the full article in Inside Higher Ed: Direct Admissions Takes Off

Professor Tim Pippert Interviewed About Diversity Marketing in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Tim Pippert, Augsburg’s Joel Torstenson endowed professor of sociology, was recently interviewed for The Chronicle of Higher Education about how some colleges attempt to create the appearance of a more diverse student body than they actually have. The article cited a paper in which Pippert and his co-authors analyzed more than 10,000 photographs from the admissions brochures of 165 four-year colleges. The 2013 study found that Black students were overrepresented in admissions brochures by nearly twice their actual numbers on campuses.

One implication of the findings, Pippert said, is that over-representing minorities in marketing materials could hurt students who choose to attend colleges expecting more diversity than actually exists.

Read the full article in the Race on Campus newsletter.