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COVID-19: Fall 2020 plans and student resources ›

This section of the News and Media Services department site tracks stories in print and broadcast media that feature Auggie faculty, students, and staff. The area also is home to material developed for University-related programs, events, and more.

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

Kare 11 Report: Professor of Economics Jeanne Boeh Discusses COVID-19 Economic Impact

Kare 11 logoKare 11 spoke with health and economy experts about the hidden costs of fighting COVID-19 and the long-term effects that might stick around for years. A Hennepin Healthcare pediatrician expressed her concern about mental health, addiction, and child abuse. Economists such as Augsburg Professor of Economics Jeanne Boeh are concerned about the financial fallout that may linger on for years.

Boeh explained that many of the jobs that were lost may never come back and many of the businesses that closed may be gone forever.

“Gaps between lower, middle, and upper class may get even wider in the coming years,” Boeh told Kare 11. “People who can work from home, their lives may have actually gotten better. There are no transportation costs. They’re still getting paid.” But she said people who were involved in restaurants and nursing might be adversely affected.

Watch the full report on the Kare 11 website.

Augsburg Bold Tuition Freeze

Augsburg has frozen undergraduate tuition at the 2019-20 level for the 2020-21 academic year. At the same time, Augsburg University logo the university increased the total financial aid awarded to students in 2020-21, as we have over the last several years. 

In addition to freezing tuition and increasing financial aid to students, Augsburg is also investing significantly—in both time and dollars—to ensure a strong and engaging educational experience, to enhance campus facilities, and to ensure operations maintain a safe environment in pandemic conditions. Our faculty have been working throughout the summer to redesign fall courses that feature high-impact learning experiences. As a result, the fall semester will be significantly different from what we all experienced last spring when—with only two weeks of planning and preparation—faculty and students had to suddenly pivot from classroom teaching to remote learning.

In addition, we have invested in technology to support student learning—including expanding our loaner laptop and WiFi hotspot program as well as expanding our Zoom license to provide each student and faculty member with their own individual account. We’ve also made important enhancements to our course management system and have introduced a new application that helps students develop key skills for online learning. 

Whether our courses are offered in the classroom, in blended/hybrid formats, or fully online, they will feature the personalized, high-quality instruction for which we are known. Our staff will support students both academically and personally. We are committed to the same high-quality instruction in courses designed and taught by accomplished faculty dedicated to student learning. Not all online instruction is the same: Ours will maintain close student/faculty interaction, include opportunities to engage with the instructor, and provide intentionally structured learning experiences that support student success.

View the Augsburg Bold Fall 2020 Plan

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. provides access to “nursing knowledge development in order to facilitate advancement of nursing science and humanistic initiatives.”  

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.

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