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Augsburg University Announces Test-Free Admissions Policy

Augsburg University INSIDE OUT art wall
Augsburg University and INSIDE OUT art

(Minneapolis) – Augsburg University will shift to a Test-Free Admissions Policy as the pandemic has added more risks and restrictions to test taking. 

The policy takes effect immediately for the 2021 and fall 2022 application cycles, which is the remainder of a previous four-year pilot test-optional admissions policy.

“It’s expected to help prospective students complete their applications during the pandemic when navigating test taking and scheduling is more challenging,” said Devon Ross, director of undergraduate admissions. “The shift also supports our Strategic Enrollment Management vision to approach all we do with an anti-racist and anti-biased lens.”       

For a number of student populations, standardized test scores may not reflect an accurate indication of academic ability — including, for example, people without access to test preparation courses and tutors; those who can’t afford to retake the test; people with learning and physical differences, and English language learners.

This also aligned with Augsburg‘s holistic admissions process, which looks at quantitative metrics and beyond. The application-review process allows Augsburg to maintain the university’s academic standards and ensure the university admits students with the capacity to succeed here.

Augsburg introduced a faculty-approved test-optional admissions policy in April 2018. Submission of ACT or SAT test scores for admission became optional starting in fall 2019 for incoming undergraduate (first-year and transfer) student applicants.

Media Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications. 651-353-0061-cell

About Augsburg
Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Riverside Innovation Hub’s work with congregations to expand with $1 million grant

(Minneapolis) – Augsburg University has received a  $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help expand the Augsburg College Sealwork of the Riverside Innovation Hub within the university’s Christensen Center for Vocation (CCV).

The program is funded through the Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to strengthen Christian congregations so they can help people deepen their relationships with God, build strong relationships with each other, and contribute to the flourishing of local communities and the world.

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $93 million in grants through the initiative. The grants will support organizations such as the Christensen Center for Vocation as they work directly with congregations and help them gain clarity about their values and missions, explore and understand better the communities in which they serve, and draw upon their theological traditions as they adapt ministries to meet changing needs.

The Christensen Center plays an integral role in stewarding the university’s commitment to, and exploration of vocation, the unique way God calls and equips us—as individuals and as communities—to work towards a better world for and with our neighbors. The Thriving Congregations Initiative grant will enable Augsburg’s CCV to expand and solidify the future of this work with congregations. We will walk with our partners through two consecutive two-year learning communities consisting of leadership teams from twelve congregations. Our hope is to develop an ecumenical network of twenty-four congregations over five years who are becoming more deeply engaged in the proclamation of Christ’s good news in transformative ways in their neighborhoods.

“The Christensen Center for Vocation is creating an innovative model for how a university of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can be a learning partner with local congregations and ministry leaders for the sake of the world,” said Paul Pribbenow, Augsburg’s president. “These partnerships will create exciting learning opportunities for our students, staff, and faculty, who wrestle with what it means to live faithfully in the church and in the world in the midst of the various challenges our communities are facing: COVID-19, growing economic inequality, climate change, and the prevalence of racist systems.” 

Augsburg University is one of 92 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, including Anabaptist, Baptist, Episcopal, evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Restoration, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox, as well as congregations that describe themselves as non-denominational. Several organizations serve congregations in Black, Hispanic and Asian-American traditions.

“In the midst of a rapidly changing world, Christian congregations are grappling with how they can best carry forward their ministries,” said Christopher Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These grants will help congregations assess their ministries and draw on practices in their theological traditions to address new challenges and better nurture the spiritual vitality of the people they serve.”  

Lilly Endowment launched the Thriving Congregations Initiative in 2019 as part of its commitment to support efforts that enhance the vitality of Christian congregations.

Media Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications. 651-353-0061-cell

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s grantmaking in religion is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen their pastoral and lay leadership. 

About Augsburg
Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

National Science Foundation grants $5 million to assist high-achieving STEM students

(Minneapolis) – A $5 million award from the National Science Foundation will support the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Augsburg University will receive $3,075,000 of the total award.

The collaborative project will provide scholarships as well as internships and research experiences for nearly 200 students over a five-year period starting this academic year at Augsburg, Century College, Minneapolis College, and Normandale Community College. These institutions will work together to provide seamless pathways for transfer from two-year to four-year STEM programs.

“This award offers students a powerful combination of a scholarship coupled with experience to prepare them for the workforce or further graduate study,” said Paul Pribbenow, Augsburg’s president. “As a member of the Governor’s Workforce Development Board, I know there is strong demand for students with these majors. STEM transfer students enrich our campus and bring talent and wisdom that our country needs.”

Scholarships of $7,500 to $10,000 will be awarded to students pursuing majors in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, food science, mathematics, and physics. These students will be connected to internships and research experiences through partner organizations SciTech, UpTurnships, and MnDRIVE, as well as through Augsburg’s undergraduate research programs.

This is the third phase of a program initiated by Augsburg and funded by the NSF. “Getting the NSF scholarship for my education was an amazing opportunity,” said Radhika Tandon, who will graduate from Augsburg this year with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and is currently a site reliability engineer intern at Thomson Reuters. “Because of the program, I was able to attend various conferences and make connections with many interesting people in my field.”

The overall project will be led by Augsburg principal investigator Rebekah Dupont working in collaboration with principal investigators Jessica Bell and Joann Pfeiffer of Century College, Renu Kumar of Minneapolis College, and Angela Foudray of Normandale Community College. The Augsburg team includes co-principal investigators Alex Ajayi, Ryan Haaland, Amy Larson, and Michael Wentzel. Faculty from all four institutions will work together to create structural supports through mentoring, advising, and improved transfer pathways.

In addition to assisting students who are pursuing STEM-related majors, the project includes an education research component led by Keisha Varma, associate professor of educational psychology in the College of Education and Human Development  and associate vice provost in the Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The goal of the research is to increase the academic success of students through effective mentoring.

“I see great potential to understand how mentorship can improve the outcomes of low-income, high-achieving students and create positive STEM identities,” she said. “Through shared understanding across institutions, we may be able to increase capacity among all of our faculty to be effective mentors.” 

Project evaluation will be led by Xueli Wang, professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who brings expertise in longitudinal, mixed methods research that addresses inequities in access to transfer, particularly in STEM fields. The collaborating institutions will partner with the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) for professional development as well as access to a platform for mentor/mentee assessment across multiple sites.

This third phase of the program is funded by the NSF’s S-STEM program under award number 2030638. Grants in the prior phases (award numbers 1565060 and 1154096) funded scholarships for 111 STEM students, 100% of whom graduated and went on to pursue careers or are continuing their education in STEM fields. 

Media Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications
Office: 612.330.1476  

About Augsburg
Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Media Advisory: Augsburg makes Election Day 2020 a university holiday

Augsburg University

In recognition of Augsburg University’s commitment to democratic engagement, Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, will be a holiday for Augsburg employees and students. 

President Paul Pribbenow lauds the ongoing efforts on campus to encourage voter registration and participation. “Augsburg is poised to be a leader in the national All-In Campus Democracy Challenge,” he said.

Because many people are voting early this year, Pribbenow encouraged faculty, staff, and students to use the holiday as an opportunity to assist others in the electoral process through forms of community engagement such as serving as a poll worker or transporting others to voting sites.

Augsburg administrative offices will be closed and classes will be canceled. Essential staff will be provided time off with pay during their shift to vote, if necessary, and receive an alternate day off.

2020 is a pilot year for introducing Election Day as a new holiday on Augsburg’s calendar. Leaders from the Sabo Center, student government, and Human Resources will develop a recommendation for an Election Day holiday in subsequent years.

Augsburg launches Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Speaker Series

Augsburg University is launching the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, dedicated to advancing Augsburg University logoeducation and support for its students and graduates in the disciplines of innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership. The center’s focus is on the practice and psychology of innovation and entrepreneurship, especially in relation to design thinking, lean start-up, and agile frameworks. Cory Erickson, of the business department, is leading the innovation center.

The center will launch with a 2020-21 Innovator Series, beginning with a presentation for Augsburg’s community from Jeffrey Cernohous, founder and COO of Interfacial. The September 30th presentation is the first of six for this academic year. The series will feature successful innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders from local companies and organizations.

The center will provide practical education and outcomes for Augsburg’s students and alumni through a variety of activities. These activities include cooperative projects between Augsburg student teams and local companies; support for students who are building organizations that impact social causes through innovation and entrepreneurship; support for student entrepreneurs launching their own companies and organizations; the creation of student teams drawn from the science and business departments to solve problems for new start-ups; student contests offering awards and potential funding for new ventures; the generation of research and scholarship through a think tank; and the promotion of rewarding internships for students in the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors.

Media Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications
Office: 612.330.1476  

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Augsburg President Delivers Hot Lunches on Annual City Engagement Day

President Paul delivering hot lunchesDuring Augsburg’s annual City Engagement Day, first-year students traditionally go in groups to work in the community to launch their Augsburg education. Students, faculty, and staff this year, because of the pandemic, were encouraged to engage individually with their local communities in ways that are meaningful to them personally.

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow delivered hot lunches to people experiencing homelessness.

“This annual City Engagement Day, I had the humbling opportunity to provide meals and clothing alongside community partners to the people experiencing homelessness and surviving the pandemic in encampments,” Pribbenow said. “We are called, as Auggies, to be caring neighbors.”

The Sabo Center compiled a list of local opportunities for Fall 2020 for those looking for a place to engage.

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Professor William Green named inaugural Hawthorne Professor

William Green, professor of history, has been named the inaugural holder of the M. Anita Gay Hawthorne professor of critical race and ethnic studies, effective September 1.William Green headshot

The M. Anita Gay Hawthorne Professor of Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies was created on the recommendation of a working group of students, faculty, and staff who advanced, simultaneously, a vision for the creation of a new academic department in critical race and ethnicity studies at Augsburg University. The professorship aims to honor senior faculty with an extensive record of achievement as well as a deep commitment to critical race and ethnicity studies. It seeks to embody the student and community orientation embedded in critical race and ethnicity studies. It aims to make concrete Augsburg’s commitment to critical race and ethnicity studies as a formal and significant component of Augsburg’s undergraduate and graduate curricula. It honors the legacy of Margaret Anita Gay Hawthorne (“Anita”) who drew upon the concept of Pan-Afrikanism to create a program at Augsburg unique to any college in the country.

Anita Gay Hawthorne was the only child of Roscoe E. and Josephine L. Leonard. She held a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Southern University and a master’s in counseling and psychology from Howard University. She moved to Minnesota in 1977 and met her husband Kevin Hawthorne in 1994. At Augsburg, she taught courses such as “Black in America” and “Introduction to Women’s Studies.” She was active in the community, serving on many boards and committees, including African American Social Services, the NAACP, and Excelsior Chorale Ensemble. She co-founded the Asili Institute for African Women in the Diaspora, was active in the Pan African Student Leadership Conference, and served as an officer for the Association of Black Psychologists.  

The professorship is anticipated to rotate among faculty with demonstrated commitments to the pedagogical approaches, research strategies, and thematic interests of critical race and ethnicity studies as well as the intentional design of the CRES department as an interdisciplinary locus. The Hawthorne professor will teach courses in subjects directly related to critical race and ethnicity studies.

President Paul Pribbenow commented on the appointment: “I have known Professor Bill Green for 15 years, beginning when he served on the search committee that brought me to Augsburg in 2006. I have witnessed Bill’s remarkable scholarship, publishing important books that shine a bright light on Minnesota’s historic racial inequities. At the same time, I have watched him bring a classroom to life, mentor students with care and respect, and lead his faculty colleagues in shared governance, not to mention serve the wider community as superintendent of Minneapolis schools. It is this distinguished legacy of scholarship, teaching, and service that we honor with the inaugural Hawthorne professorship.”

A prolific scholar and public intellectual with a long history of community engagement, Green is regularly invited to speak on race, education, civil rights, and Minnesota history. He joined the Augsburg faculty in 1991. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree, doctorate, and law degree from the University of Minnesota. From 1993 to 2002, he served on the Minneapolis School Board, and as chair for three terms. From 2006 to 2010, he served as superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools. Between 2010 and 2019, Green served on the Executive Council of the Minnesota Historical Society (vice president, 2016-2018). In addition, he has published numerous articles, op-ed pieces, and book chapters on history, law, and education, as well as books on race and civil rights in Minnesota history: “A Peculiar Imbalance in Early Minnesota: 1837-1869,” “Degrees of Freedom: The Origin of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1914,” (winner of the 2016 Hognander Minnesota History Award), and “The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860-1876,” recognized with the 2020 Hognander Minnesota History Award. Green is presently working on several new book projects: “Nellie Francis, Fighting for Gender Equality and Racial Justice,” will appear in January 2021; “Strike!: Twenty Days in April When Teachers Broke the Law,” expected to appear in Fall 2021; and “Uncertain Brethren: When Liberals Gathered Under the Bright North Star, 1847-1860,” expected to appear in Fall 2022. He is presently working on “The Case of William R. Morris.”

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Augsburg University Names Inaugural Torstenson Endowed Professor

Timothy Pippert, professor of sociology, has been named the inaugural holder of the Joel Torstenson Endowed Professorship, effective September 1. Joel Torstenson headshot

The Torstenson professorship will be held by an Augsburg faculty member with demonstrated commitment to the pedagogy, principles, and practice that characterize the work and legacy of Joel Torstenson, professor of sociology at Augsburg from 1947 to 1977. The professorship is made possible through the generosity of Mark Johnson, class of ’75, who also supports the university’s Torstenson Scholars program. “I had the good fortune to participate in Joel Torstenson’s first Scandinavian Urban Studies term when I was a student at Augsburg. That experience was transformational, opening my eyes to a global context that has shaped my life,” said Johnson, who was named to Augsburg’s Board of Regents in 2018. “I’m interested in making sure that today’s Auggies have the same opportunities.”

Joel Torstenson ’38 returned to Augsburg in 1947 to develop programs in sociology and social work at the invitation of President Bernhard Christensen. He added courses in social problems, sociological theory, race and intergroup relations, and rural sociology. In the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, he created opportunities for Augsburg students to live in North Minneapolis, learning from people who lived and worked in the community, in what became known as the Metro Urban Studies Term (MUST), the first academic program offered by HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) and one of the premier interdisciplinary experiential education programs in the nation. A sabbatical in Scandinavia led Torstenson to develop the Scandinavian Urban Studies Program (SUST) referenced by Johnson above. These programs offered the foundation for urban studies, which developed some 20 years later: “The more we became involved in urban affairs,” Torstenson observed, “the more we began to ask the question—what is the appropriate role of a liberal arts college located at the center of an exploding metropolis?”

The professorship is anticipated to rotate among faculty members with demonstrated commitments to place-based experiential learning; to engaging students and colleagues in interdisciplinary program-solving; to supporting partnerships with local communities that promote positive social change; and to advancing social justice through educational experiences.  

“We are so grateful to Mark Johnson for his generosity and vision in honoring the Torstenson legacy at Augsburg with this professorship,” President Paul Pribbenow said. “It is particularly meaningful to me that Professor Tim Pippert will be the first incumbent of the Torstenson Endowed Professorship. I have had the privilege to teach with Tim and to witness his commitment to our students. I also am deeply impressed with Tim’s scholarship, which extends the Torstenson legacy with rigor and creativity.”

Pippert joined the Augsburg faculty in 1999. He holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His teaching interests center on family systems, juvenile delinquency, homelessness and affluence, statistics, and race, class, and gender. Recent research has focused on the impact of the recent oil boom in North Dakota on local residents, relationships and survival strategies of the homeless, and the marketing of higher education. Pippert directed the Augsburg Center for Teaching and Learning from 2014 to 2019. In 2011, he received the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning—Excellence in Teaching Award.

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Media Advisory: Professor Jeff Walter Participates in Groundbreaking Scientific Research

Jeff Walter

Professor Jeff Walter, along with undergraduate student Kei Heltemes, is a member of a research team that has electrically transformed a nonmagnetic material, iron sulfide, to a magnetic one. Led by Chris Leighton, a professor at the University of Minnesota, the team discovered a way to do something that was previously considered impossible. Their discovery may help with the creation of more energy-efficient computer memory devices. Read the University of Minnesota research brief, “‘Fool’s gold’ may be valuable after all,” for more details on the research.

 

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Augsburg Bold Tuition Freeze

Augsburg has frozen undergraduate tuition at the 2019-20 level for the 2020-21 academic year. At the same time, Augsburg University logo the university increased the total financial aid awarded to students in 2020-21, as we have over the last several years. 

In addition to freezing tuition and increasing financial aid to students, Augsburg is also investing significantly—in both time and dollars—to ensure a strong and engaging educational experience, to enhance campus facilities, and to ensure operations maintain a safe environment in pandemic conditions. Our faculty have been working throughout the summer to redesign fall courses that feature high-impact learning experiences. As a result, the fall semester will be significantly different from what we all experienced last spring when—with only two weeks of planning and preparation—faculty and students had to suddenly pivot from classroom teaching to remote learning.

In addition, we have invested in technology to support student learning—including expanding our loaner laptop and WiFi hotspot program as well as expanding our Zoom license to provide each student and faculty member with their own individual account. We’ve also made important enhancements to our course management system and have introduced a new application that helps students develop key skills for online learning. 

Whether our courses are offered in the classroom, in blended/hybrid formats, or fully online, they will feature the personalized, high-quality instruction for which we are known. Our staff will support students both academically and personally. We are committed to the same high-quality instruction in courses designed and taught by accomplished faculty dedicated to student learning. Not all online instruction is the same: Ours will maintain close student/faculty interaction, include opportunities to engage with the instructor, and provide intentionally structured learning experiences that support student success.

View the Augsburg Bold Fall 2020 Plan