Augsburg featured prominently in a recent article in the Star Tribune about direct admission in Minnesota. In addition to participating in the state of Minnesota’s direct admission pilot last fall, Augsburg became one of the first schools to move to direct admissions for all applicants (including through the Common App and Augsburg’s own application). Unlike many schools that still require traditional, multi-step applications, Augsburg’s application can be completed in under 10 minutes.
Stephanie Ruckel, director of enrollment systems and analytics, spoke to reporter Liz Navratil about the impact of the direct admissions approach, which launched in Fall 2022 as part of the Augsburg Applies to You platform.
“It’s not a mad dash to the finish line,” she said. “It’s just a smoother ramp and transition to college.”
According to the Star Tribune, “Ruckel estimated that the change freed up about 1,300 hours of admissions counselors’ time, making it easier for them to answer questions about financial aid, visit high schools or help students with disabilities develop plans for the new semester.”
This past May, Minnesotans mourned the passing of Koryne Horbal. In her lifetime, Horbal launched the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus and the DFL Feminist Caucus, served as a U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and was appointed the DFL party chair at the age of 31. A vocal and unapologetic activist, Horbal was a champion for women, as well as the LGBTQ+ community. Neither the loss of her husband in 2015 nor the three strokes she subsequently suffered stopped her from working on the 2016 presidential campaign for Hillary Clinton. Horbal did not have the money to attend college in the 1950s, but Augsburg University granted her an honorary degree in 2008 due to her work as a consultant with Augsburg’s Women’s Resources Center. Koryne Horbal lives on through her children, grandchildren, and the feminist spark that she ignited in people around the world.
Nationally, it is estimated that 30 percent of college students are battling substance-use disorders. Colleges and universities are asking what role they can play in helping their students stay sober. Augsburg’s StepUP program is a national leader in the field, with substance-free dorms and counselors available on site. For 20 years, StepUP has welcomed students in recovery, and continues to support those fighting addiction and seeking their degree.
This fall’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum showcased the innovative “Hex House,” a pop-up emergency shelter created to help respond to refugee and natural disaster housing crises. As part of Augsburg University’s continued commitment to social justice and technology, this six-sided, 510 square-foot prototype was constructed and on display at Murphy Square throughout the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Forum. The tiny houses can be packed in a kit, shipped flat, and assembled with tools and instructions, much like an IKEA design.
Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow talks with the Star Tribune’s Randy Furst about how the Augsburg House — and much of South Minneapolis — were once governed by discriminatory housing policies. While the historical covenants are no longer legally binding, Augsburg is seeking a method to nullify the prohibition while still preserving the historical record, “so that we never lose sight of the actions that have segregated and repressed many,” Pribbenow said.
The findings about residential properties in South Minneapolis are part of the Mapping Prejudice project, led by a team of researchers from Augsburg and the University of Minnesota. For more information about the project, see Mapping Prejudice. Go to the Star Tribune article for information about other South Minneapolis homes, a perspective from a Minneapolis real estate lawyer, and an interactive map showing the growth of racially restrictive deeds across Minneapolis from 1910 to 1955.
The Star Tribune’s John Reinan talks with Augsburg Psychology Professor Bridget Robinson-Riegler about how the Great Minnesota Get-Together “not only entertains us, excites us and exhausts us — it makes us Minnesotans.”
“Our identity is formed by our memories. Traditions and rituals are very important in identifying who we are,” said Robinson-Riegler, who specializes in the study of memory. “Families are based on shared experiences, and this is one of those shared experiences we have as a state. The State Fair becomes a collective experience. It gives us a sense of belonging, of togetherness.
“This is what we do as a state. It confirms our identity. It becomes who we are.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published an article covering Steve Wozniak’s Scholarship Weekend presentation at Augsburg College. Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple, Inc., spoke about innovation, creativity, and education in an increasingly connected world.
“My whole life has been teaching myself things that were not learned in school,” he told a packed auditorium. “More important than learning, more important than knowledge, is motivation.”
Wozniak’s comments centered primarily on the early days of his career at Apple and the importance of continually revisiting challenging tasks.
According to the Star Tribune, “Looking back, Wozniak said part of his success came from simply forcing himself to put pencil to paper, over and over again. ‘Creativity is a willingness to think very differently,’ he said. ‘Not knowing how to do something means sitting down to figure it out.'”
Last Sunday, work by Campus Ministry and Sonja Hagander to connect Pastor Mike Matson ’06 of Bethany Lutheran in the Seward Neighborhood with CAIR-MN, a nonprofit that supports our Muslim neighbors, was featured on the front page of the Metro section of the Star Tribune.
Hagander told the Star Tribune that partnerships such as that between Bethany and CAIR are crucial to building a multifaith community, something Augsburg College long has held a commitment to as a school of the Lutheran church.
Bethany, through Matson, and CAIR, via executive director Jaylani Hussein, are looking forward to continuing to grow their partnership.
This fall, Augsburg College hosted alumni, faculty, staff, and community members for an international travel experience that took participants to the Czech Republic and Germany, which is in the midst of a tourism boom accompanying the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The travelers visited Wittenberg, the long-time home of Reformation catalyst Martin Luther, and ventured to historic sites to learn about the origins of the Lutheran faith from Augsburg College Religion Department faculty members Hans Wiersma and Lori Brandt Hale.
Star Tribune reporter Jean Hopfensperger and photographer Jerry Holt accompanied the group to chronicle how Minnesotans are observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the “Land of Luther” in addition to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” given that religious, arts, and cultural organizations across Minnesota are planning special events and exhibits to mark the occasion.
As Hopfensperger wrote, “Luther’s legacy is particularly deep in Minnesota, and not just because of his followers’ enduring embrace of hymn fests — often followed by Jell-O and hot dish. One in four residents trace their namesake faith to the monk from Wittenberg.”
In a Star Tribune story, Augsburg alumnae Carol Pfleiderer ’64 and Kathleen Johnson ’72 described their excitement with the trip itinerary and the ways it reflects and builds upon their understanding of their faith.
The Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, the College’s Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation, was among other alumni quoted in the article. He described some of the ways the Lutheran church is using the Reformation anniversary to foster Lutheran-Catholic dialogue and to make the church accessible to all people.
President Paul Pribbenow met with leaders of the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board to discuss Minnesota’s educational achievement gap among children and youth of diverse backgrounds. The state has one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation, and Augsburg is working to ensure all students of academic ability have access to higher education. The College’s pledge to this work includes limited debt pathways to graduation, setting aside dedicated housing for homeless students, increasing financial aid literacy, supporting faculty in creating inclusive classrooms, and increasing access to course materials.
The editorial explained that Minnesota is rapidly diversifying, but increasing student diversity on college campuses involves more than waiting for more nonwhite Minnesotans to enroll. “As Augsburg College is demonstrating, academic institutions can do much to adapt their own policies and practices to educate what previously has been an underserved share of the state’s population,” the editorial explained.
Augsburg has sought to reduce barriers to college success that often impede students of color, and the College aims to not only to enroll a larger share of nonwhite students, but also to see them through to graduation.