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COVID-19: Fall 2020 plans and student resources ›

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.

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. 

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, 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

Augsburg University Launches Justice for George Floyd Initiatives

A new Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies department and a requirement that all faculty and staff complete diversity, Augsburg University logoequity, and inclusion training are among efforts at Augsburg University to combat systemic racism after the police killing of George Floyd near our Minneapolis campus. 

“We acknowledge the pain, fear, and trauma faced by the Augsburg community, especially our students, faculty, and staff of color, that was amplified in recent weeks but remains a lived reality every day,” said Paul Pribbenow, the university’s president.

The Justice for George Floyd Initiatives being planned are an important continuation of our ongoing work to build and maintain an equitable and inclusive campus. This work by Augsburg will be persistent, resolute, courageous, and integrated into everything the university does. The Justice for George Floyd Initiatives focus on working to heal our community, creating leadership and structures that make tangible change, and ensuring accountability for the work of undoing racist systems. These initiatives include:  

  • Funding an emerging proposal from faculty, staff, and students for a Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies department.
  • Completion by all faculty and staff of our robust diversity and inclusion certificate program within the next two years—and anti-racist training by the end of the fall semester.
  • Creating a scholarship at Augsburg in memory of George Floyd.
  • Establishing a fund to match donations from students, faculty, and staff to organizations doing important work, especially for Black-owned businesses and nonprofit organizations.
  • Expecting new accountability for inclusive, anti-racist leadership across the institution. 
  • Reviewing Augsburg’s major academic and administrative policies and practices with a special focus on undoing bias and discrimination and enhancing student success.
  • Creating a new blog-format daily calendar on the Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Department webpage that lists community events and volunteer opportunities connected to the memory of George Floyd. The calendar will also have a Google form available for Augsburg community members to submit information about their own events, or events they wish to have added.

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.

Advisory: Augsburg University Cancels Classes, Suspends Operations Thursday and Friday to Honor George Floyd

Augsburg will cancel classes and suspend operations Thursday and Friday, June 4 and 5, to mourn and reflect on the murder of George Floyd.

Thursday is an important day for our community, as a memorial service for George Floyd will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at North Central University. The service will be live streamed via media outlets. Many will want to pause to mourn, reflect, and commit to the important social justice work ahead. 

Some may wish to use this time away from work in community or as a quiet time to reflect and begin healing. We must create the space to mourn, to express our pain and anger, and to come together as a community to build resolve for our future work.

Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow shared this message: 

We face the daunting challenges that 400 years of racism and oppression have laid before us. Augsburg will not step back from the responsibility we have to advance the cause of justice and inclusion in our society.

We know systemic racism is deeply entrenched in the fabric of our society—and that racial disparities are more pronounced in Minnesota than elsewhere. To achieve tangible and lasting change, our work together must be courageous, constant, and persistent. This work is Augsburg’s calling in the world, led by members of our community who live up to our mission.

There is much more we need to do—and will. Thanks to our students, staff, and faculty leaders, we are having frank conversations and making plans for how we will better pursue the work of addressing systemic racism at Augsburg and in the wider community, form partnerships to work to reform law enforcement in our city, and set a future path with room for all of our beloved community.

Augsburg stands in solidarity with the Black community and affirms that Black Lives Matter.

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 issues student emergency aid from federal coronavirus relief legislation

(Updated: July 7, 2020)

Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Augsburg is issuing $700 of relief Augsburg University logofunding to day undergraduate students and $275 of relief funding to graduate and adult undergraduate students enrolled in the spring semester 2020. The U.S. Department of Education has directed that these funds be paid directly to students and did not allow the funds to be distributed using the university’s student accounts system, so the payments will be delivered to students via emailed digital checks, using their Augsburg.edu email address. 

The funding for the relief payments comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provision of the federal CARES Act. Under this provision, Augsburg was allocated approximately $1.62 million of emergency stimulus funds by the U.S. Department of Education to distribute directly to students for expenses (including technology, course materials, food, housing, health care, or child care) specifically related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Universities were encouraged to prioritize students with the greatest need as well as ensure that the funds are distributed as widely as possible across the student body. In order for Augsburg to ensure the funds were distributed to students with demonstrated need, Augsburg designated the funds to students who completed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as of May 1. Augsburg established the two payment levels of $700 and $275 based on the higher average need profile among students in the day undergraduate program as compared with that of students in the graduate and adult undergraduate programs.

May 21 (first 30 day report) 

Augsburg University acknowledges that it has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. $1,629,621 of funds have been allocated to Augsburg University from the DOE pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. No funds have been received or distributed by Augsburg as of this date.

July 7 (first 45 day report)

$1,380,225 of Emergency Financial Aid Grants were distributed on May 28 to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. 2,526 students at Augsburg University are eligible to participate in the federal student financial aid programs under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and thus are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. All 2,526 students have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant at Augsburg University under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. 

Augsburg University announces Augsburg Bold, including an undergraduate tuition freeze and unique new programming for incoming students

Today, more than ever, the world needs people who are equipped to navigate the complex issues of our time. Augsburg is committed to educating students for that very purpose (it’s in our vision statement), so we are launching Augsburg Bold, a set of unique programming and responses to the current environment that demonstrate our commitment to students. Below are just some of the plans we have in place—or in the works—for fall 2020.

Fall semester. What’s most important for us this fall is providing a high-quality learning environment and a safe on-campus experience. Because of uncertainty right now about what the public health requirements for our campus will be in the fall, we are developing a flexible learning model that blends on-campus and online classes. Our goal is to maximize the opportunity for students to engage directly with faculty while also ensuring the health and safety of our campus community. Our faculty will be working over the next month to design our approach to the fall semester, and we expect to provide more detail in June. 

On-campus housing. Augsburg also is preparing to welcome students to our residential community this fall. In fact, we have kept our residence halls open for students who meet certain criteria this spring, and will continue to do so through the summer. As a result, we have experience with the public health policies and practices required by the Minnesota Department of Health to help keep our community safe and healthy. This fall, we expect that all returning students will be able to live in the residential units they selected in mid-February.  And, because Augsburg has a broad variety of campus living arrangements—from apartments to traditional college residential hall units—we also are able to offer a number of campus housing options for new students. Next week, our Residence Life team will send a communication to incoming Auggies to provide more detail about the residential options available to them. 

Tuition freeze. To assist all full-time undergraduate students, a tuition freeze has been approved for the 2020-2021 academic year. The full-time tuition rate for 2020-2021 will be reset to the 2019-2020 rate. This means that returning students will not see their tuition increase for the coming year. New incoming first-year and transfer students will receive a mailing that documents the revised tuition, the lower cost of attendance, and the resulting savings for the 2020-21 academic year. The amount of financial aid that students receive from Augsburg will not be reduced.

A new summer learning opportunity. This summer, Augsburg is offering—for free—a selection of our most popular courses online to our incoming undergraduate students. Designed to give students the chance to meet Augsburg’s amazing faculty, this option allows students to get a head start on earning college credits in a relaxed environment, while learning more about what to expect at Augsburg when all classes resume in the fall. Details about these special courses and instructors will be provided during Student Orientation and Registration (SOAR) in June.

Technology access. No one should have to complete a research paper on a smartphone. To ensure that every Auggie has the tools needed to be successful in college, Augsburg launched a program earlier this year to support students who need laptops or internet access. More information about technology resources is posted on the Resources for Students page of Augsburg’s Outbreak Planning website.

Study abroad from home. We are excited to announce the Augsburg Experiential Semester, a new program that offers incoming students a unique opportunity to engage with Augsburg’s international sites, even while international travel is restricted. The semester courses are taught by Augsburg’s Cuernavaca, Mexico-based faculty and include engagement with culturally-diverse residents and businesses in nearby Midtown Minneapolis. Once it is again safe to travel, Augsburg will cover airfare, lodging, and meal expenses for the students in the program to travel to Augsburg’s Cuernavaca location to meet and engage in person with the faculty who taught their courses. Information about this program will be provided during Student Orientation and Registration (SOAR) in June.

A distinctive experience in a committed community. The Augsburg Bold framework—including the initiatives outlined above, and potentially more to come this summer and fall—is a reflection of the distinctive experience offered at Augsburg. We understand that making friends, bonding with faculty, and discovering your gifts and callings are all part of the college experience. Augsburg University is called to help students strive toward this sense of community and discovery no matter what mode of instruction and public health practices we will need to implement to keep our community safe. 

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. 

How we keep our campus safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Augsburg coronavirus task force includes an epidemiologist, nursing faculty, academic deans, global education leadership, staff from across campus, and dedicated student representatives.The task force monitors new directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health and works to implement public health guidelines across our programs. Find more details about Augsburg’s response to the pandemic and resources for students at the Outbreak Planning website.

Advisory: Augsburg celebrates Class of 2020 with virtual commencement

Augsburg University will host a virtual commencement ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2020.Augsburg University logo

The virtual commencement ceremony consists of a prerecorded ceremony that will be streamed online. There are two viewing times when graduates, families, and friends can watch and chat together in real time.

  • Friday, May 29, 2020, 7 p.m. Central.
  • Sunday, May 31, 2020, 2 p.m. Central.

You can follow the celebration through the hashtag #AuggieGrad on all social media platforms, where students will be sharing images of their virtual celebration.

As soon as it’s safe to have large gatherings, an in-person commencement ceremony will be planned for the Class of 2020 with the more familiar traditions of commencement.

The in-person commencement ceremony, previously scheduled for May 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium, was canceled given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit Augsburg’s commencement site for more details.