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Augsburg Represents Minnesota in Common App Direct Admissions Pilot

Today, Common App announced the 2022-2023 launch of its direct admissions pilot, which aims to flip the script on college admissions and offer proactive admission to college-interested students. 

“Direct admissions is about changing the narrative of a college education from one of scarcity to one of opportunity,  by ensuring students know that college opportunity is an abundant resource—and one that’s available to them,” said Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of Common App. “No waiting, no wondering if the institution is looking for a specific set of characteristics. While we’re still in the early stages of this pilot, we’re excited about the potential of this work to help more students pursue a college education.”

Common App has piloted a direct admissions program since 2021, offering admission to students who created a Common App account and provided enough academic information– but had not yet completed all of their open applications. The latest iteration of the pilot offered admission to 18,000 students at six participating institutions, and over 800 students accepted the offer. Results showed the impacts of the intervention were strongest for Black or African American, Latinx, and first-generation students. 

For the third round of the pilot, Common App and 14 participating institutions reached out to nearly 30,000 students with direct admission offers. Augsburg is the only school in Minnesota selected to participate in this year’s pilot. 

“Our institutional commitments to equity and inclusion require that we work to transform inequitable systems in higher education,” said Robert Gould, Augsburg’s vice president for strategic enrollment management. “We jumped at the opportunity to pilot direct admissions through the Common App as part of a comprehensive new approach we call Augsburg Applies to You.

“Moving away from a gatekeeper model of admissions means we can connect with students who thought college was out of reach. It gives our counselors more capacity to support students through the college selection process and cultivate a sense of belonging even before they set foot on campus.”

About Augsburg

Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to approximately 3,200 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. To learn more, visit augsburg.edu/about.

About Common App

Common App is a not-for-profit member organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. Each year, more than one million students, one-third of whom are first-generation, apply to college through the Common App’s online application. In January 2019, the Common App united with Reach Higher, the college access and success campaign started by former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time at the White House. By joining forces, Common App and Reach Higher accelerated progress toward our joint goal of supporting all students, especially low-income and first-generation students, in achieving their higher education dreams. Founded in 1975, Common App serves over 1,000 member colleges and universities worldwide. To learn more, visit commonapp.org and follow @CommonApp and #CommonApp on social media.

43rd Annual Advent Vespers Returns In Person

Augsburg's Advent Vespers takes place in the sanctuary of Central Lutheran Church, with choir, orchestra, and packed pews.For more than four decades, Augsburg University has ushered in the Advent and Christmas seasons with Advent Vespers, a magnificent experience of music and liturgy, focusing on the theme of preparation and culminating in the joyful celebration of the Incarnation.

The 43rd Advent Vespers will be held in person at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis, with one livestream option available. 

  • Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 8 p.m. (open dress rehearsal)
  • Friday, December 2, 2022 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 2 p.m. (with livestream) and 5 p.m.

The event is free, with a suggested donation of $30 per person. Seating envelopes are required for entry and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. They can be requested online, by mail, or in person at the Augsburg Music Office. Seats are going fast—reserve your spot today.

Shuttle service will be available from Augsburg’s Anderson Music Hall to Central Lutheran and back, with limited parking available in lot A on Augsburg’s campus. More information about directions, parking, and shuttle service is available online.

Paul Pribbenow Named to HUD’s Higher Ed Engagement Advisory Group

Paul C. Pribbenow

Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Campus Compact announced the HUD + Higher Ed Engagement Network, a new collaboration to strengthen higher education community action. Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow was one of three college presidents named to a 30-member Think Tank of strategic leaders that will guide network activities. 

“Augsburg has long been engaged in vital place-making work with our neighbors, our students, and our employees,” said Pribbenow, who chairs the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership in Minneapolis. “It’s an honor to be able to share what we’ve learned about mutually sustaining partnerships in an urban setting where we have deep institutional roots.”

The Think Tank will collaborate with HUD leaders to develop and disseminate strategies for campuses to engage with HUD field offices and initiatives nationwide. Member institutions will put these plans into action at the local level, with the goal of building inclusive, sustainable, and thriving communities through increased civic and community engagement. Focus areas will include worker empowerment, maternal and infant health, eviction prevention, landlord outreach, housing security and access, broadband access and digital literacy, and cultural competency. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Campus Compact on this initiative,” said Michele Perez, HUD’s Assistant Deputy Secretary for Field Policy and Management, in announcing the program. “This partnership will bolster HUD’s and the members of the Higher Ed Engagement Network’s ability to serve our most vulnerable populations through the higher education space. Together, we will leverage our strong connections in our respective industries to enable a just, equitable, and sustainable future.”

The HUD + Higher Engagement Network will be led by Campus Compact in partnership with the University Economic Development Association and two organizations with which Augsburg and President Pribbenow have been closely involved: the Anchor Institutions Task Force and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities

Engaging as an anchor institution in Cedar-Riverside and at Augsburg sites around the world is a key strategy articulated in Augsburg150: The Sesquicentennial Plan.

Read more about Augsburg’s anchor institution commitments:

Swedish Ambassador, Norwegian Deputy Ambassador to Speak on NATO, Ukraine, and European Security at Great NATO Debate Event

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Sweden and Finland’s subsequent decision to join NATO have brought the issue of NATO expansion to the forefront of global security and attention. Recognizing the vital importance of these issues, four Minnesota Urban Debate League high school students will debate the implications of Nordic countries joining NATO in a showcase debate, and the Swedish Ambassador and Norwegian Deputy Chief of Mission will speak, respond, and take questions about Ukraine, Russia and the future of European security. 

The event will be held at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Thursday, September 22 from 5:00–7:45 p.m. 

Her Excellency Ambassador of Sweden, Karin Olofsdotter, and Torleiv Opland, Deputy Chief of Mission, Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C., will join the event virtually and speak on a panel. Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor of the United States will accept his 2022 Champion of Change Award and share remarks virtually. 

Governor Tim Walz and First Lady Gwen Walz will provide remarks live and in person, and Mayor Jacob Frey, and Mayor Melvin Carter will serve on the “Turn the Tables” panel. MPR News Host and Senior Reporter Nina Moini will serve as emcee, and Star Tribune Editorial Writer and Columnist, John Rash, will announce the winner. 

Arguing the Affirmative will be Maren Lien, senior at St. Paul Central High School and Leah Schwitzer Rodriguez, a sophomore at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis. Arguing the Negative will be Sebastian Crea, a senior at Highland Park Senior High School, and Lillie Elizabeth Perez, a sophomore at Tartan High School, Oakdale. All are members of their schools’ debate teams, hosted by the Minnesota Urban Debate League, a program of Augsburg University. 

The Affirmative team will argue that NATO expansion will provide an important bulwark of stability, democracy, and a main force for solving climate change. While the Negative team will maintain that NATO expansion provokes rather than restrains conflict, and undermines both European security, trade, and climate change mitigation. 

The event is the 10th Anniversary of the Great Debate series, in which MNUDL students have performed in a debate on a timely topic and been judged by the mayors and other VIPs. 

About MNUDL

The Minnesota Urban Debate League is a program of Augsburg University that provides resources and programming to support competitive academic debate in Twin Cities high schools and middle schools. The mission of MNUDL is to empower students through competitive academic debate to become engaged learners, critical thinkers, and active global citizens who are effective advocates for themselves and their communities. Currently, MNUDL serves more than 1,000 students at 40 partner schools and has seen sustained growth in student participation since its inception in 2004, in programs including national topic policy debate, middle school debate, Spanish Debate League, East African Debate, Financial Literacy Leadership Debates, and MDAW Summer Speech & Debate Camp. 

For more information, contact: Minnesota Urban Debate League, Amy Cram Helwich, (612) 359-6467, cramhe@augsburg.edu. 

 

Center for Global Education and Experience Expands to Northern Ireland

A group of nine students look out over a valley with their arms around each other and their backs to the cameraStudents study abroad for many different reasons. For those who are passionate about social justice, Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) has long offered unparalleled engagement with local communities in Mexico, Central America, and Southern Africa. 

Now that portfolio includes a fourth global site in Northern Ireland. 

In Spring 2023, CGEE will welcome its first cohort of students to a new semester program in the vibrant city of Derry–Londonderry. Based at Ulster University, the Conflict, Peace, and Transition program will critically examine the work of justice, reconciliation, and repair in relation to the history and legacy of the Troubles. 

“This program will give students a unique opportunity to wrestle with the question of building a shared future from a divided past and to witness the hard work of reconciliation after conflict,” said Patrick Mulvihill, assistant provost for global education. Coursework will focus on understanding the politics of the Northern Ireland conflict and the transition to a sustainable democracy. Students will also participate in internships at local peacebuilding organizations and engage in field visits to Belfast, the Antrim Coast, and the border counties of Fermanagh, Tyrone, and Armagh.

Augsburg CGEE programs are open to students from any undergraduate institution. Prior to its transition to CGEE, the Conflict, Peace, and Transition in Northern Ireland program—formerly known as Democracy and Social Change in Northern Ireland–was delivered through the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA), with the first group of students participating in 2002.

“After the disruptions to study abroad over the past two years, we’re thrilled to be in a position now to expand our offerings,” said Mulvihill. “We’re particularly grateful to our program partners in Northern Ireland, whose commitment to experiential learning reinforces everything we’re about here at Augsburg.” 

To learn more, request information, or apply for the spring semester, visit go.augsburg.edu/northernireland.

Augsburg University Announces Comprehensive Supports for Foster Care Students

Introducing Augsburg Family Scholars with campus photo in the backgroundAugsburg University is launching a new program to beat the odds for students with foster care backgrounds. With funding for the program’s initial year from the Sauer Family Foundation, the Augsburg Family Scholars program aims to reduce students’ financial vulnerabilities, nurture their academic progress, and build community throughout their college journey.

“Students with foster care backgrounds have extraordinary strengths and capabilities. But because of the opportunity gap, less than three percent of youth who age out of foster care will earn a college degree,” said Tim Pippert, the Joel Torstenson endowed professor of sociology at Augsburg, who developed the program and will serve as its faculty mentor. “To help students succeed, we need to invest in meeting their unique needs for stability and community once they get to college.” 

Augsburg Family Scholars layers comprehensive support on top of Minnesota’s Fostering Independence Higher Education Grant, a new state initiative that covers tuition, room and board, and fees for students who were in the Minnesota foster care system after age 13.

Augsburg’s program targets the complex challenges young adults with foster care backgrounds face in higher education. Participants will have access to guaranteed year-round housing, support for food and other basic needs when school is not in session, help navigating public assistance programs, and access to a laptop. The program also seeks to strengthen a sense of community from the outset, offering help moving to campus and outfitting students’ living spaces, regular cohort events, and opportunities to participate in peer mentoring and leadership activities. Academically, participants will benefit from a dedicated faculty mentor and support to explore undergraduate research programs and post-graduate options.

“College is a privilege,” said Justin Tverberg, a junior exercise science major from Hastings, MN, and a linebacker on Augsburg’s football team. “But my freshman year was the covid year, and it was a very tough time. I moved off campus sophomore year to save money. Then this new program came out, and I thought, I can get a restart on campus and enjoy my experience. Literally, my mouth dropped. This puts me in a position where I can go to college almost stress-free.”

“The state grant is a fantastic step forward, but cost is only one barrier,” said Katie Bishop, Augsburg’s vice president for student experience and success. “Augsburg Family Scholars is a promise to these students that their specific gifts and challenges are seen, valued, and supported on our campus.”

“The Sauer Family Foundation is excited to support the creation of the Augsburg Family Scholars Program to help students with foster care backgrounds not only make a successful transition from high school to college but also to complete their college degree,” said Colleen O’Keefe, executive director of the foundation.

This summer, the Sauer Family Foundation awarded Augsburg a $53,000 grant to support the initial program cohort this fall. Both new and returning students are eligible to participate.

Learn more at augsburg.edu/augsburgfamilyscholars.

Najeeba Syeed Appointed Augsburg University’s Inaugural El-Hibri Endowed Chair and Interfaith Director

Headshot of Najeeba Syeed. Najeeba is wearing a yellow headscarf and blue spiral earrings.Augsburg University is pleased to announce that Najeeba Syeed has been appointed as the inaugural El-Hibri endowed chair and executive director of Interfaith at Augsburg, effective on August 1, 2022. In this role, she will serve as a national ambassador for the interfaith movement and will partner with campus leaders as a change agent for interreligious learning and living. She also will serve as the faculty advisor for Augsburg’s Interfaith Scholars.

“Professor Syeed is an experienced mediator, a publicly-engaged scholar, a passionate educator, and a seasoned organizational leader,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “This appointment represents a crucial and exciting step forward in our commitment to enhancing interfaith leadership on campus and nationally.”

For more than two decades, Syeed has been a professor and expert practitioner in the fields of conflict resolution, mediation, and interfaith studies. An award-winning educator, she has taught extensively on interreligious education and published articles on faith and community-based conflict resolution, restorative justice, and interfaith just peacemaking. She previously served for 10 years as an associate professor at the Claremont School of Theology. She also held faculty positions at Starr King School for the Ministry and Chicago Theological Seminary, where she was most recently associate professor of Muslim and interreligious studies. She has served as the co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Religion and Politics Section and was a member of the Academy’s Religion, Social Conflict, and Peace Section.

Syeed also brings significant executive experience in organizations focused on conflict resolution in community, higher education, and government settings, including the Western Justice Center Foundation and the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center. In 2021, she served as chief of staff to Nithya Raman, the first Asian American woman elected to the Los Angeles city council. She holds a law degree from the Indiana University School of Law and a bachelor of science degree from Guilford College.

“I am honored to serve as the inaugural El-Hibri Chair and Executive Director of Interfaith at Augsburg. This is a unique opportunity to extend and amplify Augsburg’s remarkable interfaith work and to honor the generous and visionary commitment of the El-Hibri family, “ said Syeed.

“My life’s work combines a commitment to scholarship, teaching, and community organizing,” she added.  “Listen, learn, partner, and co-create is the process I utilize to lead and build with fellow faculty, administrators, students, community leaders, and stakeholders from around the globe.”

Interfaith engagement is a core aspect of Augsburg’s academic mission and reflects the religious and secular diversity of the campus and surrounding community. Interfaith at Augsburg: An Institute to Promote Interfaith Learning and Leadership was established in 2019 to further the belief that religious diversity can be a constructive force serving the common good. In 2021, a significant gift from Fuad and Nancy El-Hibri allowed for the creation of the El-Hibri endowed chair and executive directorship for the institute.

Syeed’s appointment helps to fulfill one of the goals of Augsburg150, the university’s sesquicentennial strategic plan, to advance the public purposes of an Augsburg education by enhancing interfaith leadership on campus and throughout the nation. Building on the strong foundation established by Bishop Mark S. Hanson, founding director, she will lead a strategic planning process that strengthens, integrates, and extends the Interfaith Institute’s work on campus and beyond.

Augsburg University Announces $125 Million Comprehensive Campaign

White text on maroon background reads "Great Returns," with smaller orange text beneath that reads, "We're All In"Augsburg University leaders today announced the public phase of Great Returns: We’re All In, a comprehensive campaign to raise $125 million in endowment and core mission support. With commitments of more than $105 million received to date, it is already the university’s largest-ever campaign. A public launch event will take place on Friday, May 6, at 4:30 p.m. at the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion on Augsburg’s campus.

Rooted in Augsburg’s current strategic plan and following Augsburg’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2019, Great Returns seeks to provide long-term stability as the university looks ahead to the next 150 years. Specific campaign priorities include growing Augsburg’s endowment, including endowed scholarships and professorships; drawing on unrestricted community support for operating activities and athletics in the wake of the pandemic; and investing in campus improvements like the renovation to the athletic training center and locker rooms in Si Melby Hall.

“Donors who care deeply about our mission have made the initial commitments that set the pace for the broader campaign,” said campaign co-chair and Regent Emeritus Paul Mueller ’84, MD. “Through endowed funds, we can invest in students and faculty and produce great returns for many generations to come. A gift to an Augsburg endowed fund for scholarships can help ensure that an Augsburg education is affordable in perpetuity.” 

In recent years, Augsburg has become one of the most diverse private institutions in the Midwest. Fifty-eight percent of traditional undergraduate students are students of color, and half are the first in their families to attend college. More than 97% of Augsburg undergraduates receive financial aid. Great Returns donors have made 111 gifts to endowed scholarships to date, out of a campaign goal of 150 such gifts, along with five new endowed professorships.   

“Our vision is to be a new kind of urban, student-centered university,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “The hardships of the past few years, and the challenges facing higher education as a result, make our work to educate students as stewards of an inclusive democracy all the more critical. We are profoundly grateful to the supporters who invest in making this vision a reality.”

About Augsburg

Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to approximately 3,200 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Learn more at Augsburg.edu/greatreturns.

Augsburg University Honors Nurses for Excellence in Transcultural Care

Two headshots of dark-haired, smiling women. Valerie DeCora Guimaraes (on the left) is wearing a red-striped shirt. Jenna Nelson is wearing a black shirt and gray cardigan.
Augsburg nursing students Valerie DeCora Guimaraes (left) and Jenna Nelson.

Jenna Nelson and Valerie DeCora Guimaraes, two nurses pursuing advanced degrees at Augsburg University, have received the inaugural Nilsson Transcultural Nurse of the Year Award. Transcultural nursing emphasizes care in culturally diverse settings, including outreach to people who are underserved by traditional care systems and who exist outside of the social mainstream. The award is named for professor emerita Beverly Nilsson, who chaired Augsburg’s Department of Nursing and championed care for people living in poverty.

Nelson has spent the majority of her career working with marginalized communities as an emergency department nurse. While working to become a family nurse practitioner, she has engaged extensively as an intern and volunteer at Augsburg’s Health Commons. These nurse-led drop-in sites provide hospitality and care to guests from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, many of whom are unhoused or living with mental illness. When the pandemic closed the drop-in locations, Nelson joined a team making weekly food deliveries to local encampments. “Jenna truly accompanies people on their journeys, wherever the path may bring her,” said Health Commons Executive Director Katie Clark.

Guimaraes is the Mayo Clinic’s first Patient Experience Ambassador to work solely with Native American patients. In this role she works to dispel myths about Native American patients and educates colleagues across the Mayo enterprise about health disparities and spiritual care practices. She established a medication initiative to coordinate care with the Indian Health Service upon patient discharge from Mayo, developed a Native American family fund to address food and transportation needs, and successfully advocated to hire additional Native American Patient Navigators in Minnesota and Arizona. “These successes for Native American patients have not been easy,” said Guimaraes, who is pursuing a doctor of nursing practice degree at Augsburg. “It is my passion to help my people that keeps me going.”

Augsburg offers a comprehensive set of programs for nurses who want to advance their careers, including bachelor’s degree completion, master of arts in nursing, and doctor of nursing practice. Health equity and inclusion have been a major focus of the curriculum and experiential learning both locally and globally since the program’s founding. Augsburg’s doctor of nursing practice was one of the nation’s first programs to focus on transcultural nursing leadership.

Learn more about Augsburg’s nursing programs and Health Commons sites.

Advisory: Augsburg Celebrates Classes of 2022, 2021, and 2020 at In-Person Commencement

Augsburg UniversityAugsburg University will celebrate the classes of 2022, 2021, and 2020 at an in-person commencement ceremony at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 4 at 6:00 p.m.

Augsburg’s commencement ceremony reflects the diversity of its community, as graduates traditionally wear stoles and cords of different colors that represent affiliation with various communities and programs. Flags displayed at commencement represent sovereign nations of American Indian students and countries of the international students graduating in the ceremony.

Tickets are required to attend in person, but the ceremony will also be live streamed via YouTube. Follow the celebration through the hashtag #AuggieGrad on all social media platforms, where students will be sharing images of the celebration.

For more information, including accessibility information, visit the commencement website.