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Jeremy Myers Appointed to the Bernhard M. Christensen Chair in Religion and Vocation at Augsburg University

Headshot of Jeremy Myers wearing a gray button-down shirt over a black t-shirt against a background of windowsAugsburg University announced today that Jeremy Myers, associate professor of religion and executive director of the institution’s Christensen Center for Vocation, has been appointed to serve as the next Bernhard M. Christensen Professor of Religion and Vocation, effective on July 1, 2022. Myers will succeed Martha Stortz, PhD, who retired and was granted emerita status in 2020.

“It is a remarkable testament to Augsburg’s leadership at the intersection of faith, learning, and service that we have in our own faculty ranks a scholar so well prepared to continue the work begun by Marty and her predecessor, David Tiede,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “Jeremy is an innovative problem-solver, a collaborative colleague, and a creatively critical theologian.”

The Christensen Chair was established in 2005 to honor the legacy of Bernhard M. Christensen, who served as president of what was then known as Augsburg College and Seminary from 1938 to 1962. The chair provides public leadership in interpreting and advancing Augsburg’s educational mission, pursues scholarship and teaches in the religion department, and serves as counsel to the president and Board of Regents.

“Jeremy has thought deeply about President Christensen’s legacy at this university and the lessons his leadership continues to have for Lutheran higher education in the current age,” Pribbenow said.

“Dr. Myers’ vision for the Christensen Chair is grounded and shaped by the five lessons of Bernhard Christensen, the Augsburg University mission statement, and the realities and challenges of the 21st century, especially the 21st century church,” said the members of a faculty and staff discernment committee that met with Myers about the role. “This vision aligns with his innovative work guiding churches in ‘place-based vocational discernment’ and will help guide our Augsburg community in new and rich reflection on our own—individual and communal—vocational discernment. In candid conversation with Dr. Myers, we explored the expectations and opportunities of this position and his ability to meet those expectations and expand the opportunities. We think he is the right person for the job.”

Myers, who earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota and his master’s and PhD from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a distinguished scholar in vocation and congregational ministry. In addition to many articles and chapters, he is the author of Liberating Youth from Adolescence published by Fortress Press and a sought-after speaker at conferences and in congregations. He has secured millions of dollars in grants to support the work of the Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg and has served on the steering committee of the Association of Teaching Theologians and on the board of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.

Myers said the concept of vocation is a critical lens for thinking about transformational solutions to the problems we face in today’s world. “The key ingredients of vocation—the neighbor, the self, the common good, and God (or something larger than us all)—give rise to a method of discernment and discovery that is different from any other method currently being used to address society’s biggest issues. These ingredients produce a creative tension that leads to innovation, accountability, mutuality, and hope, and this approach to public life cannot be reserved for those who claim to live a religious life. The tables where vocation is being discussed and discerned need to become long and wide.”

Myers will offer his inaugural address as the Christensen Professor at a symposium at Augsburg in September.

Dave Conrad: New leaders should learn to listen

“Leaders may get so wrapped up in making decisions they forget to just sit down and talk with their staff members,” wrote Dave Conrad, Augsburg College’s assistant director of the Rochester MBA program, in his latest column for the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

A problem exists, according to Conrad, that new leaders can believe their first priority is to develop new game plans independently rather than to get to know staff members to solve problems collectively. Read Conrad’s column, “New leaders should learn to listen,” for tips on how to create an effective workplace communication system.

Dave Conrad: The best managers develop their employees

“Companies need responsive, innovative thinkers and problem-solvers,” wrote Dave Conrad, Augsburg College’s assistant director of the Rochester MBA program, in his latest column for the Rochester Post-Bulletin. A problem exists, though, that companies often do not invest in the training and development of their employees, which leads to an under-engaged workforce. Read Conrad’s column, “The best managers develop their employees” to learn why staff development is crucial for business success.

Dave Conrad: The most important leadership skills

PostBulletinA number of leadership skills are important, but which one is truly key? That’s hard to say, according to a new column by Dave Conrad in the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Conrad, Augsburg College’s assistant director of the Rochester MBA program, notes that leadership skills vary in relevance depending on individuals’ roles within the workforce. To learn why conceptual, relationship-building, and technical skills each play an important role, read “The most important leadership skills” on the Post-Bulletin website.

Dave Conrad: When you follow an incompetent leader

PostBulletinAugsburg College’s Dave Conrad, assistant director of the Rochester MBA program, wrote in his most recent column for the Rochester Post-Bulletin about the steps that allow a new leader to cope with a history of ineffective leadership in the workplace.  Read “When you follow an incompetent leader” for insight into how good leaders can communicate well and ease employees’ anxieties.

Dave Conrad: Good leaders focus on results

PostBulletinAugsburg College’s Dave Conrad, director of the Rochester MBA program, wrote in his most recent column for the Rochester Post-Bulletin about how good leaders should focus on results. Read “https://www.postbulletin.com/news/business/dave-conrad-good-leaders-focus-on-results-and-people/article_c9877a58-313f-527e-92ef-6d014a71da1d.html” href=”http://www.postbulletin.com/business/dave-conrad-good-leaders-focus-on-results-and-people/article_c9877a58-313f-527e-92ef-6d014a71da1d.html” target=”_blank”>Good Leaders Focus on Results” for insight into how good leaders can produce engaged employees.

Dave Conrad talks about shared purpose in Post-Bulletin

PostBulletinDave Conrad, assistant director of the Augsburg College MBA program in Rochester, talked in his most recent Rochester Post-Bulletin column a response to a question about fostering shared purpose and collaboration in the workplace. Conrad outlined steps toward building cohesion, including the need to identify with employees the goals, path, roles, and rewards of a project. Read “Dave Conrad: Shared purpose drives collaboration” on the Post-Bulletin website.

Leadership lessons in the Boundary Waters

survivalcampThis summer a group of Augsburg students spent a weekend in the Boundary Waters. While learning how to right a capsized canoe and how to navigate their way to shore without the benefit of paddles, the students also learned some valuable lessons about leadership.

Penh Lo, director of Pan-Asian student services at Augsburg, started the leadership survival camp last year as a way to give Augsburg student leaders a unique opportunity to discover nature and also to gain insight into their roles as leaders. Continue reading “Leadership lessons in the Boundary Waters”

Leadership students present research

colloquiumHow can corporate leaders optimize their conversation in the workplace? How does a leader’s behavior affect a subordinate’s commitment to their organization? How can communication efforts improve the satisfaction of part-time workers? These questions and others were topics of graduate student studies in the 14th annual colloquium in the Master of Arts in Leadership program at Augsburg College.

The colloquium serves as a showcase of student creativity, highlighting explorations of every angle of leadership. Students are encouraged to research topics they are passionate about and which they themselves have faced in the workplace. Continue reading “Leadership students present research”

Augsburg hosts Latino youth conference

latino_youthThe summer months bring many visitor’s to the Augsburg campus, including local organizations and neighborhood groups.

In May, Augsburg was host to the Latino Youth Peace and Leadership Conference which was co-sponsored by the Augsburg College Hispanic/Latino Student Services office. The one-day conference, organized by La Oportunidad, was planned by and for Latino youth and included workshops, presentations, and activities to promote youth development, leadership, and positive cultural identity. In this forum, Latino youth learned from others and shared their perspectives and experiences regarding the peaceful development of their lives and community.  Continue reading “Augsburg hosts Latino youth conference”