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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.

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.

MSNBC interviews international student Jonas Bergmann about ICE deportation plans

Student Jonas on MSNBCAugsburg international student Jonas Bergmann was interviewed by MSNBC to share his reaction to plans to deport international students taking an online course load in the fall. Bergmann is an international student from Denmark and is part of an Augsburg team that helps international students have a smooth transition to university life in the United States.

Bergmann, who’s majoring in clinical psychology and gender studies, wondered why now, though the administration soon after this interview dropped the deportation plan. Augsburg plans a mix of on-campus and alternative format classes.

Watch the full interview at the MSNBC website.

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.

 

Reporting Sexual Misconduct

Augsburg University logoContent Warning: Sexual Assault

In light of recent inquiries Augsburg has received as well as forthcoming changes to U.S. Department of Education requirements for the ways colleges and universities investigate and address accusations of sexual misconduct, Augsburg is reiterating its current process for reporting and investigating such conduct.

Augsburg University takes allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously. The following information is not all encompassing; it’s intended to be a brief introduction and/or reminder about Augsburg’s policies and procedures for responding to reports of misconduct and violence. Additional information can be found on the Student Affairs website.

How to file a report
Anyone who experiences or is aware of an incident of sexual misconduct is strongly encouraged to share the information with the university and to seek support.

If you or someone you know would like to report sexual misconduct, you may do so by filling out this form. The form goes immediately to Katie Bishop, chief student success officer and Title IX coordinator, and Sarah Griesse, dean of students.

What happens when a report is filed
When a report is filed, Augsburg initiates a process to gather information about the incident, including meeting with students. When appropriate, a disciplinary meeting is held. As needed, Augsburg may put in place interim measures to promote safety and access to the school for the parties named in the report until the investigation has been resolved. In many cases, those who submit a report as a third party about conduct in which they were not personally involved will not learn the specifics of how the report was investigated or the outcome because of legal protections for the privacy of students involved.

Immediate support
If you are in need of immediate support, Augsburg partners with the University of Minnesota’s Aurora Center to provide confidential sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence support to the Augsburg community (students, staff, faculty, and concerned others).
Phone support: call 612-626-9111 (24/7) to talk to a trained advocate.
Walk-in support and appointments are available from Aurora Center’s professional staff during their business hours.
On your request, Augsburg’s Department of Public Safety can support you in getting connected to the Aurora Center (24/7, call 612-330-1717).

Additional support is available through other providers:
24/7 support through the Sexual Violence Center, a member of the TransYouth Support Network, at 612-871-5111.
Isuroon, an organization focused on connecting and supporting East Afrikan women.

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.

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

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

Statement from Paul Pribbenow May 31 About Temporary Relocation of Resident Students

Augsburg University logoAfter the unsafe events Friday night in Minneapolis, we made the decision to temporarily close residence halls on campus and relocate resident students outside of the metro area if they did not have alternative places to stay. That Saturday morning, it was not clear whether Saturday night would be a repeat of Friday, so we made an alternative housing option available outside the Twin Cities for students—including providing meals and transportation in compliance with our COVID-19 protocols. 

While this alternative provided safe housing for students, we understand some students felt they needed to remain in the Twin Cities and support their community. We recognize this, and yet our first responsibility was to provide for the safety of our students in a volatile, unpredictable situation—and we had to make arrangements very quickly, which presented additional challenges. I want to recognize the extraordinary work of our Student Affairs and Residence Life team who worked diligently to reach our 100+ resident students. They again reached out today to provide housing options and transportation to those students for this evening. I also want to recognize the ongoing and resilient leadership of the Augsburg Day Student Government, who took it upon themselves to provide information and clarification about the resident student relocation after misinformation was posted on social media. In times like these, to see students step up like this, truly shows just how Augsburg pulls together.

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)

$1,435,975 of Emergency Financial Aid Grants were distributed on May 28 and June 15 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.