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Congratulations to Auggies named to the 2020 Fall Semester Dean’s List

Augsburg University SealMore than 1,000 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2020 Fall 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 2020 Fall 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.

Professor William Green Featured in Star Tribune Column About Facing Racism

William Green
William Green

How can Minnesotans face the truth about racism, past and present?  Columnist Myron Medcalf explored that subject recently in the Star Tribune and interviewed Augsburg History Professor William Green.

Green said reading a wide range of material about Black history is the key to knowing the steps that have led to this critical moment.  Many Minnesotans were surprised that George Floyd could happen here in part because so many hadn’t grappled with the state’s true history of race relations. “Some people throw their hands up and say, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ ” Green said. “The conclusion is they do nothing. But that’s not the solution.”

Read the full article at the Star Tribune website.

Mill City Times interviews Professor Joseph Underhill about River Semester

Joe UnderhillMill City Times recently interviewed Augsburg Professor Joseph Underhill about River Semester. Underhill teaches courses in Environmental Politics, International Relations, and Political Methodology, and regularly takes students off campus for experiential and interdisciplinary learning. An experiential education is a hallmark of an Augsburg education and Undehill has been key to helping Augsburg live it out. He has directed the International Relations Program and Model United Nations programs at Augsburg since 1998 and taken students to New Zealand, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Egypt, and Tanzania.

For the past fifteen years, Underhill has taken students out on the Mississippi River to study the impact of human activity on the river ecosystem. Students in the program earn a full semester of college credits with a customized curriculum focused on environmental justice and social change in the Mississippi Joe Underhillwatershed. The River Semester is a regular part of the programming offered by Augsburg University’s Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE).

Read the interview at the Mill City Times website.

For more details about River Semester, visit the River Semester site.

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.

WCCO Report: Augsburg’s Bridget Robinson-Riegler on the Psychology of Voting

WCCO logoAugsburg Psychology Professor Bridget Robinson-Riegler was recently featured on WCCO to discuss the psychology of voting and how can we filter out false claims, conspiracies, misinformation, and lies.

“I don’t think that we do,” said Robinson-Riegler about filtering out false claims.

“So even if it’s inaccurate, there’s research that’s shown the more we hear it regardless of even if we know it’s true or not, the more likely we are to have it influence our behavior,” she said.

Watch the full report at WCCO’s website.

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.

Allen Burton Award goes to Augsburg faculty member Carol Enke

Carol receiving her awardAugsburg University faculty member Carol Enke won the 2020 Allen Burton Award. The award is given to elementary, secondary, or higher education teachers by the Minnesota Developmental Adapted Physical Education Leadership Committee to honor and recognize outstanding efforts and contributions given to students with disabilities in the area of developmental adaptive physical education.

Enke received the award in recognition of her 20 years of work and dedication to hosting Sports Extravaganza at Augsburg. Sports Extravaganza is an annual one-day event that brings children with physical, cognitive, and learning disabilities to campus to play games and compete in activities such as bowling, soccer, relay races, and dancing. It gives Augsburg students the opportunity both to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and to work with students with disabilities. Enke co-founded the event in 1999 and has directed it ever since.

Congratulations to Auggies named to the Summer Semester Dean’s List

University SealMore than 100 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2020 Summer 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 2020 Summer 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.

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.