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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.

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.

Mother Jones Quotes Professor Michael J. Lansing in Article on Police Unions

Mother Jones logoAfter recently sharing his historical expertise on racial injustice in Minneapolis with several news outlets, Professor Michael J. Lansing, chair of Augsburg University’s Department of History, has been cited in “The Infuriating History of Why Police Unions Have So Much Power,” a story in the September/October 2020 issue of Mother Jones. 

In the article, Lansing shares historical information about the conflict between Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naftalin and the Police Officers’ Federation of Minneapolis in 1967. The story ends on a note of hope that in the future police unions will no longer hamper the push for police reforms. In Lansing’s words: “Anything that can be created can be uncreated.”

MinnPost: Professor Lindsay Starck Shares Views on Gun Violence

 

MinnPost logo MinnPost recently ran an opinion piece on gun violence by Lindsay Starck, assistant professor of English and associate director of Augsburg University’s MFA program. In her August 13 commentary, “Defund the guns: They do not make us safer,” she notes that gun sales have gone up since people have been calling to defund the police and asks readers to reconsider the best ways to protect themselves. She points to findings that people are actually less safe when they bring guns into their homes. Instead she suggests that we “support community-led anti-violence programs that are proven to work.”

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 Central Health Commons Director Blogs About Racial Inequities and Public Health

Kathleen Clark photo Kathleen Clark, an assistant professor in Augsburg University’s Department of Nursing, was a recent guest contributor to the blogs on NurseManifest and Nursology.

Clark’s post on NurseManifest, “The aftermath of George Floyd’s death: How 8 minutes + 46 seconds affected the health of a community,” reflects on how Minneapolis communities came together following Floyd’s killing. She calls on nurses to use their power “to support and create change in the communities where we are called to care.” In her Nursology post, “Struggling to Find Air: Emancipatory Nursing Response to COVID-19,” she shares stories of nurses pursuing social justice as they respond to the needs of marginalized communities affected by COVID-19 and the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

NurseManifest was established 20 years ago to raise awareness, inspire action, and open discussion of issues that are vital to nursing and health care around the globe. Nursology.net provides access to “nursing knowledge development in order to facilitate advancement of nursing science and humanistic initiatives.”  

Augsburg’s EAST Program Director Audrey Lensmire interviewed by Sahan Journal about the program’s work to increase East African educators

EAST scholarsAs Minnesota gains its first Somali public school principals, an Augsburg University program is actively helping to increase East African educators here.

Located in Minneapolis’ largely Somali Cedar–Riverside neighborhood, Augsburg’s East African Student to Teacher (EAST) program is committed to recruiting, retaining, and licensing highly qualified East African students who wish to become K-12 teachers. EAST covers tuition costs towards initial licensure.

“In a relatively short time, we’ve been able to multiply the number of educators of East African descent in the state of Minnesota from a handful to a bit of a larger handful,” EAST Program Director Audrey Lensmire told the Sahan Journal. Lensmire is an associate professor in the education department.

 

Read the full article at the Sahan Journal website.

Learn more about Augsburg’s EAST program.

 

Professor Michael J. Lansing Provides Media with Historical Perspective on Racial Injustice in Minneapolis

Michael Lansing
Michael Lansing

Michael J. Lansing, associate professor and chair of Augsburg University’s Department of History, has been featured in news sources from around the United States since his May 26, 2020, Twitter thread, offering a historical perspective on racial injustices in Minneapolis, went viral.

Among the places where he has shared his expertise to explain the history leading up to the killing of George Floyd are The Washington Post, where his perspective piece, “Will Minneapolis learn from the failed handling of its last uprising?” was published on May 30; MinnPost, for which he co wrote the June 1 piece, “Is Minneapolis prepared to dismantle—not just acknowledge—structural racism?”; the Minnesota Reformer, where he was featured in the article “Twin Cities historian Michael Lansing on why this is happening,” published on June 1; and U.S. News & World Report, which quoted him in a June 4 story “The ‘Minnesota paradox’: A state grapples with stark racial disparities.”

Lansing and Augsburg also were given a brief nod in the editor’s note by Scott Carlson for a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. In the note, Carlson writes, “I am heartened by seeing my old friend Michael J. Lansing, a history professor at Augsburg University, take to Twitter and to local and national newspapers to bring context to the legacy of race and policing in the Twin Cities. We need colleges that support work like this.”

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.