Augsburg Alumna Tanya Schwartz becomes Burnsville’s first female police chief

Courtesy of the Burnsville Police Department
Tanya Schwartz | Courtesy of the Burnsville Police Department

Burnsville Police Captain Tanya Schwartz was promoted to police chief this month. She will be the city’s first female chief.

She will lead the department’s 75 sworn officers and 19 civilian employees in the city of 61,000, the Pioneer Press reported.

“I am so grateful for the city’s investment in me throughout my career, and am excited to give back and continue our strong culture of service and excellence in policing,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Augsburg University.

See the full report at the Pioneer Press website.

The New York Times features Crescent Cove, a hospice home by alumna Katie Lindenfelser

Parker Graf with his family at Crescent Cove the day before he passed away. Jim Bovin, New York Times.
Parker Graf with his family at Crescent Cove the day before he passed away. Jim Bovin, New York Times.

The New York Times recently featured Crescent Cove, Minnesota’s first children’s hospice home that specializes in end-of-life care for families with dying children. Crescent Cove was founded by Augsburg alumna Katie Lindenfelser, who majored in music therapy.

The hospice is a peaceful place for kids and parents to spend their last days together, with a 24-hour watch of specialized nurses, aides, and volunteers. This idea came about when Lindenfelser was a music therapist working with terminally-ill children in an intensive-care unit. Many parents expressed interest in a hospice home for their own sick children so that they wouldn’t have to die at home or at a hospital.

The article provides insight into the lives of the families who have used Cresent Cove and how the hospice came to be.

Read the full article at The New York Times website.

 

Michael Lansing calls history a “live project” in MinnPost

Augsburg associate professor of history Michael Lansing describes history as “a live project” in the MinnPost article, “On Dead White Men and the Politics of Minnesota’s History.”

“Evidence-based efforts to change the names of places with the questions and concerns of the present in mind is what the dead white men of the past tell us we should do,” Lansing wrote. “Historians of an earlier age knew that, by definition, history is always changing. On this count, we should listen to them closely.”

Read the full article at MinnPost.

Michael J. Lansing is the author of “Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics” (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

Student Justice Jones engages with community for Doors Open Minneapolis

Juxtaposition Arts apprentices Bird Coulter and Justice Jones. Marianne Combs | MPR News
Juxtaposition Arts apprentices Bird Coulter (left) and Justice Jones (right). Marianne Combs | MPR News

Doors Open Minneapolis offers people the opportunity to explore the history and culture of Minneapolis through more than 100 of the city’s buildings that will be open May 18 and 19.

Current Auggie, Justice Jones, who is an apprentice with visual art center Juxtaposition Arts, told MPR News, that she will lead an activity at the Mill City Museum with the purpose to “arm people with the tools for participating in the public design process so they can speak up on issues like gentrification and accessibility.”

“Getting people to think about what are you doing with your waste. What kind of materials are you using, are you sourcing them locally? Can you remake a building using the foundation that’s already there? Just finding ways to create communities that are better for the environment and better for people.”

See the full story at the MPR News website.

Kare 11 features Olivia Maccoux ’19 and her graduation journey after 140 brain surgeries

Olivia Maccoux - Kare 11
Olivia Maccoux – Kare 11

Olivia Maccoux ’19 spoke with Kare 11 about her journey to graduation after 140 brain surgeries. Maccoux lives with a rare condition called hydrocephalus, which causes fluid to build on the brain. “College graduation to me is a big deal,” she told Kare 11. “The doctors didn’t believe I’d make it past birth.”

On May 10, Maccoux graduated with honors from Augsburg, a day she thought would never happen. During her freshman year in college, she had a seizure in her dorm room and had to drop out of school for a time. Aside from her family and friends, her neurosurgeon was also present at the U.S. Bank Stadium commencement ceremony. She credits him for why she was able to graduate and now wants to build a career sharing her story with the world. Her experiences have given her a purpose to advocate and be a voice for those with invisible illness and disabilities. Recently, Maccoux spoke at a fundraising event in Hollywood, California, with comedian Conan O’Brien, where she helped raise $300,000 by sharing her story. “Just because you have not so great circumstances doesn’t mean your life is over” she told Kare 11.

 

See the full story at Kare 11’s website.

 

Support for Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama

(Updated May 2019)

Augsburg University is sharing this background about the immigration case involving Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama to keep our campus and the public informed.

Status with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Board of Immigration Appeals has granted Mzenga Wanyama’s motion to reopen the asylum application for him and his wife, Mary Mzenga, for another hearing. Their case will now be transferred back to the local immigration court in the Twin Cities where they will be allowed to present new evidence in support of the asylum application and application for cancellation of removal. This decision allows them to remain in the U.S. while the immigration court reviews their case.

On August 31, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals granted a stay of removal. As a result, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement couldn’t deport them until the Board issued a decision on the merits of the motion to reopen the asylum case.

ICE had previously informed them that they were required to depart the United States in October 2018.

Background
On April 5, 2018, Wanyama and his wife were informed in a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that ICE would allow them 90 days to depart the United States. During a June 29, 2018 meeting ICE confirmed that it had extended their departure date from July 4, 2018 to August 3, 2018. The ICE office had asked them to return to the office on July 25, 2018 for a check-in.

On July 25, 2018, ICE then informed them that they would have to depart the United States on September 9, 2018. He was required to bring the plane tickets with a September 9 departure data to a check-in appointment with ICE on September 4, 2018. The September 9, 2018 departure was later extended 30 days.

Meanwhile, a motion to reopen Dr. Wanyama’s asylum application based on changed country conditions and a stay of removal was filed earlier that summer with the Board of Immigration Appeals. Once ICE was unwilling to use its discretionary authority any longer, his attorney requested the emergency review of the stay of removal that was granted August 31, 2018. If the stay had not granted, he and his wife would most likely have had to leave the U.S. in October 2018.

Augsburg University statements
Augsburg issued a statement from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow following the Wanaymas’ April 5, 2018 ICE meeting, as well as statements before and following the previous ICE meeting, on March 9, 2018. These statements are posted below:

Augsburg University Faculty Senate statement
The Faculty Senate of Augsburg University wishes to express our unanimous and unconditional support for our friend and colleague, Professor Mzenga Wanyama. We urge all those who care about Professor Wanyama to consider signing the petition on his behalf at https://www.change.org/p/augsburg-university-support-augsburg-professor-mzenga-wanyama.

Augsburg University faculty statement
The Augsburg University faculty calls on the U.S. government to halt plans for the unjust deportation of our colleague Professor Mzenga Wanyama and his spouse and Augsburg nursing student Mary Mzenga and to permit their continued work and residence in the US. We stand against the anti-immigrant sentiment that is prompting the current wave of deportations and proudly affirm our status as an institution that supports the many immigrant and refugee members of our academic community.

Website
A website, www.mzenga.com, has been created by friends and supporters of Mzenga and Mary Wanyama. The site includes a statement from the Wanyamas, information about the next Immigration and Customs Enforcement meeting, and information about getting involved and providing support.

Work authorization and sponsorship
Augsburg University complies with federal law that requires employers to verify that employees are eligible to work in the United States. Professor Wanyama has authorization to work in the United States, issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Sponsorship for permanent resident status is not an option at this time due to a restriction related to a J-1 two-year home residency requirement. The two-year home residency requirement means that those who come to the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status, or get work or family-based visa status until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively. A request to waive the two-year home residency requirement was filed several years ago, but the waiver was denied. Augsburg is working with legal counsel to pursue all options available to us under the current scenario.

New Dean To Lead Augsburg Commitment To Student-Centered Learning In Arts & Sciences

Augsburg University has named Ryan K. Haaland as the dean of Arts & Sciences, responsible for providing vision and leadership for faculty and academic programs, and supporting Augsburg’s emphasis on student-centered learning.  

Haaland comes to Augsburg from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, with many years of collaborative leadership experience in multiple institutional contexts, and 21 years of distinguished service in the U.S. Air Force.  

“Ryan is a passionate educator who shares Augsburg’s commitments to the liberal arts tradition and to serving students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education,” said Karen Kaivola, Augsburg’s provost and chief academic officer. “He will support faculty excellence, and his experience in programmatic innovation that prepares students for meaningful work in the 21st century will be a benefit to our students long after they graduate.”

Haaland will transition to Augsburg this summer and be on campus full-time in July. He also will hold a tenured faculty appointment as professor of physics.

“I’m eager to support the Augsburg mission of educating students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders,” Haaland said. “I also am dedicated to advancing Augsburg’s commitments to equity and inclusion.”

A nationally-recognized leader in broadening participation and diversity in STEM education, Haaland has received numerous grants and developed strategic partnerships that advance pathways and opportunities for students with industry, federal institutions, and research universities. Haaland currently serves as Arts and Sciences Liaison to the Provost at Fort Lewis College, where he is professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering. He serves in this dean-equivalent position with cabinet-level responsibilities that include representing 15 academic departments and 25 degree-granting programs. He helped lead the design and construction of a $35 million state-of-the-art science and engineering facility at Fort Lewis College, where he also developed and launched new computer engineering and interdisciplinary environment science programs. He brings extensive engagement and outreach experience with community partners, alumni, and members of the Board of Trustees.

Haaland joined Fort Lewis College in 2006 as a faculty member after serving 12 years in the Department of Physics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he rose through the faculty ranks from instructor to associate professor and department chair, in addition to other leadership roles. Haaland earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, a master of science degree in space physics from UCLA, and a doctorate of philosophy in physics from the University of Oxford, England.

Devean George ’99 honored by NCAA during Final Four week in Minneapolis

Augsburg University basketball star Devean George, who went on to three NBA championship titles, was honored by the NCAA during men’s Final Four week as one of its 2019 Living Legends.

George grew up in North Minneapolis, played at NCAA Division III Augsburg and went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA, winning three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Off the court, George devoted his time and energy to numerous Minneapolis charitable organizations focused on families, education and children.

View the NCAA press release for more details.

Star Tribune features Augsburg’s Traditional Powwow

Shari L. Gross – Star Tribune

Images from Augsburg University’s 11th Traditional Powwow were featured in a photo essay by the Star Tribune. The photos show various aspects of the powwow, ranging from dances and drumming to fellowship and friendship. The event, cohosted by Augsburg’s American Indian Student Services and Indigenous Student Association, includes food concessions, arts and crafts vendors, and informational tabling about Augsburg’s educational opportunities and services for native students of all ages. Graduating Augsburg American Indian students are also recognized.

 

Visit the Star Tribune’s website to view the photos.

Basketball Star Coplin Named 2019 NABC Division III National Player of the Year

Booker Coplin

The National Association of Basketball Coaches named Augsburg guard Booker Coplin ’20, a junior from Shakopee, the Division III Men’s National Player of the Year, the Star Tribune reported. Coplin led the Auggies to a 19-9 record and was the MIAC’s scoring and rebounding champion, averaging 28 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, according to the Star Tribune. Coplin finished second in both total points and points per game among NCAA Division III players nationally. Last month, Coplin was also named MIAC Player of Year.

 

See full story at Star Tribune’s website.

See the MIAC Player of the Year story at Star Tribune’s website.