Bing tracking

COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

Spotlight on Green Chemistry at Augsburg

An organic chemist with a focus on systems-level thinking, Associate Professor Michael Wentzel is out to make science more sustainable.

“Chemistry doesn’t have to be the solution to the problems it created—it could just not create them,” he says in the June 2022 cover story in Private University Products and News Magazine.

Read the full profile to learn more about Wentzel’s path from his family’s Iowa hardware store to chairing Augsburg’s chemistry department, how green chemistry is “benign by design,” and why he’s on a mission to improve science communication.

Augsburg Professor Eric Buffalohead Discusses Native Americans in Film With ICT

In a recent newscast, ICT (formerly Indian Country Today) interviewed Augsburg University Associate Professor Eric Buffalohead about persistent stereotypes of Native Americans in film. Buffalohead chairs the Department of American Indian, First Nations, and Indigenous Studies and is the co-editor, with Professor Elise Marubbio, of the book “Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory.”

“I’ve been teaching “American Indian in the Cinema” for going on 30 years, and people have asked me, what’s the solution to some of these problems?” said Buffalohead. “And it’s contemporary representations. The big theme that you walk away from my course with is that most of our images are stuck in time, meaning that they’re somewhere in the past. People don’t see us as contemporary—they see us as these images in the old West and very much stereotypes of plains or southwest Indians. They don’t see the real diversity of Indigenous people in the Americas.”

The conversation with anchor Aliyah Chavez also touched on expanding representations in television through shows like “Rutherford Falls” and “Reservation Dogs,” translation of major films into the Navajo and Comanche languages, and Professor Marubbio’s work on representations of Native women in film. Find the full interview in the ICT newscast archive (segment begins at 6:15).

Augsburg Faculty Awarded Fulbrights in Ireland and Slovenia

George Dierberger headshot
George Dierberger
Joseph Erickson Headshot
Joseph Erickson

Augsburg faculty members George Dierberger and Joseph Erickson have been named Fulbright Scholars for the 2022–23 academic year. Each year, the Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board select roughly 800 U.S. citizens to receive the Fulbright Scholar award for international travel, study, and teaching.

A competitive Fulbright application requires strong academic merit, demonstrated leadership potential, and a good match between an applicant’s strengths and a host institution’s needs. But for both of Augsburg’s faculty recipients, there’s a personal connection that makes receiving the Fulbright particularly rewarding this year.

Dierberger, an associate professor of business administration who also directs Augsburg’s MBA program, is mindful of family history as he prepares to spend three months in residence at the Atlantic Technological University in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland. While this will be his first trip to Ireland, his great-great-grandfather hailed from County Cork. During the fall semester, Dierberger will develop case studies, lecture on innovation, help to build out a curricular focus on entrepreneurship, and partner with the Letterkenny business community to create an advisory council and internship opportunities.

Erickson, a professor of education and a psychologist by training, first visited Slovenia in 1994 through connections made by former Augsburg colleague Magda Paleczny-Zapp. Several of the graduate students tasked with assisting the Erickson family during that trip are now faculty themselves—including a department chair at the University of Ljubljana. Erickson will spend the spring collaborating with a team in Ljubljana to adapt a tool used to measure racial attitudes in the U.S. for the Slovenian context. He and his colleagues will shape the new scale around nationalism, a key issue for a society at the crossroads of western and eastern Europe and a way station for refugee migration.

In addition to these faculty awards, Augsburg was recently named a top producer of Fulbright students among U.S master’s institutions, with three students receiving scholarships to teach English abroad in 2021–22.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. For over 75 years, the program has provided more than 400,000 participants with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing our communities and our world. ​​Fulbright alumni include 61 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 40 who have served as a head of state or government. Learn more about the Fulbright Program here.

Congratulations to Auggies Named to the 2022 Spring Semester Dean’s List

University SealMore than 850 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2022 Spring Semester Dean’s List. The Augsburg University Dean’s List recognizes those full-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and those part-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in a given term.

View the 2022 Spring Semester Dean’s List.

Students who wish to notify their hometown newspapers of their achievement can do so at their discretion using a news announcement template.

“People Do Their Own Healing”: Minnesota Women’s Press Features Prof. Melissa Hensley

The Minnesota Women’s Press recently featured an editorial by Melissa Hensley, associate professor of social work, on the value of peer support to reduce stigma in social service settings. The essay was part of a larger issue dedicated to stigma and addiction.

Hensley, who also serves as field director for Augsburg’s bachelor of social work program, spent many years as a provider of services to adults with serious and persistent mental illness in a residential setting.

“Peer supporters, who use their own experiences with addiction or mental health to help guide others, are an example of person-centered care … [They] fill gaps in traditional mental health services by providing essential knowledge about the recovery process, such as how to cope with symptoms, develop healthy relationships, and balance employment,” she writes.

“Social workers like myself need to understand that our role is not to “fix what is wrong.” People do their own healing, and our job is to offer tools and resources.”

Read the full piece in the Minnesota Women’s Press.

NPR Features Alumna’s Work to Cool Urban Heat Island

María Belén Power ’07 was recently featured in a WBUR story that also aired on All Things Considered from National Public Radio. Belén Power is associate executive director at GreenRoots in Chelsea, Massachusetts. The environmental justice organization is collaborating with the city and Boston University to pilot a host of cooling strategies on a densely populated Chelsea block, from planting trees to replacing asphalt with lighter-colored material.

In addition to improving local residents’ well-being, the Cool Block project serves as a template for other cities as climate change brings longer, hotter summers, increasing health risks in urban heat islands.

“Some days we feel like—what?—are we really having an impact? Like, is this really going to prevent the climate crisis?” Belén Power told WBUR’s Martha Bebinger. “And then I think, ‘It’s no longer about preventing it. It’s about protecting the most vulnerable communities.’”

Learn more about the Cool Block project from WBUR or listen to the full story from NPR.

Alyssa Parkhurst ’23 Named 2022 Udall Scholar

Alyssa ParkhurstAlyssa Parkhurst, a senior majoring in environmental studies and American Indian studies, has been named a 2022 Udall Scholar. Only 55 students across the United States are selected each year, and Parkhurst is only the second Auggie ever to have received this scholarship.

As a Udall Tribal Public Policy Scholar, Parkhurst will receive $7,000 and spend five days in Tucson, Arizona, at Scholar Orientation, where she will extend her professional network, meet other scholars and alumni, and learn new skills.

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment.

Parkhurst is an Act Six Scholar, summer intern and farmer at Dream of Wild Health, environmental stewardship coordinator at Augsburg, oshkaabewis (ceremonial helper) to her Elder, Noodinesiikwe, and an old-style jingle dress dancer and educator. Congratulations, Alyssa!

Learn more about the 2022 Udall Scholars.

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.