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Campus News

  1. Ballman honored with economics chair
  2. 2009-2010 tuition announced early
  3. Jackson appointed VP of development
  4. Jewish, Muslim student advisors named
  5. Pathways project underway
  6. Andreen Hall goes coed
  7. Renovated Carlsson Hall renamed
  8. Athletes give back to community
  9. Antarctic peak named for Augustana
  10. Three new majors announced
  11. CSD reaches out to Spanish community
  12. Christmas concert sold out
  13. King celebration linked to Obama's win
  14. Caceres '08 wins top physics award
  15. Number of physics graduates high
  16. Jump-starting community service
  17. Brill '82 wins Hall of Fame award
  18. Avoid Berry 'at your own peril'
  19. River Readings series rolls on

Dr. Richard Ballman lecturing

Ballman honored with economics chair

Dr. Richard Ballman has been appointed as the first Stuart Lee and Virginia Talbott Harbour Professor in Economics at Augustana. The Harbour Chair in Economics was established by a gift from the estate of Stuart '43 and Virginia Talbott Harbour. The Harbours established the chair because they valued the study of economics for majors and non-majors alike. They requested the chair offer academic coursework in practical economics for non-economics majors, too.

"I appreciate the recognition implied by the conferral of this chair. In particular, I appreciate the implied confidence the Harbour family has shown in our program in economics," Ballman said at the time of the announcement.

Ballman chaired the department for almost 20 years and served six years as the chair of the Division of Business and Education. He also represented the division on the Educational Policies Committee for 10 years and served on several important ad hoc committees. Ballman earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a doctorate at the University of Iowa. He joined the Augustana faculty in 1972.

"Endowed faculty positions are important both as a means of supporting the outstanding teaching that is at the core of all we do, and recognizing colleagues who have made remarkable contributions to the college and its mission of preparing students for lives of leadership and service," said President Steve Bahls. "Professor Ballman embodies this, and will be an outstanding inaugural holder of the Harbour Chair."

After graduating from Augustana in 1943, Stuart Harbour served as a pilot in both World War II and the Korean Conflict. Between his calls to active duty, he completed a master's degree in business administration at Georgetown University. He returned from military service to his home in Mercer County, Ill., and sold insurance. After his marriage to Virginia Talbott, the couple moved east and Harbour became an analyst for the Small Business Administration, retiring in 1984. Virginia Harbour died in 1992, and Stuart Harbour passed away in 2002. [Back to top]

2009-2010 tuition announced early

In an unprecedented vote and upon the recommendation of President Steve Bahls, Augustana's Board of Trustees approved tuition rates for the 2009-2010 school year during its October board meeting. This early announcement of Augustana's tuition was intended to help students and parents navigate the college selection process with the critical financial information they need, when they need it.

The college's approval of tuition rates at least six months earlier than its peer schools and the announcement of tuition rates nearly a year before the bills will be issued will help potential Augustana students and parents face and plan for the uncertain economic outlook. In further recognition of the country's unclear economic stability, the trustees approved a 3.9 percent tuition increase for current and incoming students, the lowest percentage in 25 years, mirroring the expected increase of the rate of inflation. Augustana's tuition, fees, room and board for the 2009-10 academic year will be $39,726.

"The decision to talk about our tuition just months into the college search demonstrates our commitment to giving prospective students access to all of the information they need to make an informed decision," Bahls says. "Students and their parents often confirm their college choice before tuition rates have been established for the coming year. We realize education is a major financial decision, and we want them to make the decision to choose Augustana's liberal arts education based upon our education excellence and transparent decision-making, not on economic guesses or assumptions."

W. Kent Barnds, vice president of enrollment and communication, noted that Augustana strives to ensure prospective students know all about the college, including the cost, when they enroll. This is done through voluntary data reporting called Open Book. "We believe that we are market leaders in our transparency and in our accountability to our students and their families because we understand the sacrifices the entire family makes to send a student to college," Barnds says.
In an Inside Higher Ed article posted online, James Boyle, president of College Parents of America, called Augustana's move to announce its tuition early "very smart."

"Right now many parents are confused about what the cost will be," Boyle said. "They see published figures and it's not necessarily made clear that the figure is for the current year and if and when it will change." So even if parents don't like the total figure, it will be "welcome news" to have certainty on the price. "That transparency makes a lot of sense," he added. [Back to Top]

Jackson appointed VP of development

Lynn Jackson new VP of developmentLynn Jackson is Augustana's new vice president of development. Al DeSimone will remain at the college, transitioning to a new position, with responsibilities for assisting with major gifts and other development and planning projects.

Jackson brings 25 years of experience in both the liberal arts higher education sector and banking to Augustana. She most recently served as vice president for college advancement at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa. While at Lycoming, she launched the public phase of the Campaign for a Brighter Future, a $42 million campaign that raised more than 30 percent of the goal in the last two years. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in public administration.

"Along with the board and cabinet, I am pleased to have Lynn's philanthropic expertise as we work to complete the ambitious $100 million Authentically Augustana: A Call to Action campaign for our campus and to continue our affinity building with our donors and alumni," said President Steve Bahls upon announcing the appointment. "I am confident that Lynn's fund-raising skills will complement those of our development team and her leadership will bring many successes to Augustana." [Back to Top]

Jewish, Muslim student advisors named

Lutheran church leaders have singled out Augustana's Five Faith Commitments, which defines the college's relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as an exemplary expression of contemporary Lutheran higher education. Augustana promises to offer every student the opportunity to develop a life-shaping spirituality.

At the same time Augustana adopted the Five Faith Commitments, the college announced its plan to retain a Jewish student advisor and Muslim student advisor, in part to demonstrate that the faith commitments were not intended to exclude.

This past fall, Margi Rogal, a reference librarian at the Thomas Tredway Library, was named the college's Jewish student advisor and Cyrus Zargar, an assistant professor of religion, became the Muslim student advisor. Rogal and Zargar are available to help Jewish and Muslim students find a home for worship in the Quad Cities, explore new ways of educating the campus about their faith, and continue to grow in their own personal faith.

"I am pleased that Augustana, as part of the Lutheran tradition in higher education, takes seriously the spiritual development of all of our students," says President Steve Bahls. "It is important for the college to meet students where they are in their spiritual journey and to challenge them to grapple with spiritual issues not only in their own traditions, but also in the traditions of those who are different from them." [Back to Top]

Pathways project underway

Work has begun to improve 11th Avenue from 36th to 38th streets and to create a path connecting the middle of Augustana's academic campus with the 11th Avenue residence facilities-namely, Parkander Residence Center and Swanson Commons. The Augustana Pathways and 11th Avenue Project represents a partnership between the college, the City of Rock Island, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the federal government.

Paul Pearson '74, vice president of business and finance, says the college is grateful for support received from the federal government and through the Illinois Department of Transportation for creating a linkage between the upper and lower campuses that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for accessibility.

"Given its grade and sidewalk width, not even 38th Street is compliant under the terms of the ADA, and so we are pleased for the manner in which this project helps us better serve all of our campus community and our surrounding neighborhoods," Pearson says. Brandt Construction, based in nearby Milan, Ill., is overseeing the project.

Members of the college's Landscape Task Force, led by chair Dr. Bohdan Dziadyk, professor of biology, have worked hard to ensure the faculty-approved project preserves the tree teaching collection and provides a place to showcase native tree plantings on campus.

When completed in August (weather permitting), the new path will access the heart of campus and the network of walking paths available on Augustana's 115 acres. [Back to Top]

Andreen Hall goes coed

To keep up with the times and to respond to students' expectations, Augustana will no longer offer single-gender housing beginning next fall. Andreen Hall, Augustana's only remaining single-gender residence hall (women), will become a coed facility following this academic year.

"We have a case where the demand for a single-gender residence hall has fallen to the point that it no longer justifies keeping it," says Dr. Evelyn Campbell, dean and vice president of student services. "We had about 20 first-year students request to live there last fall, and we have room for 220. Most first-years want coed environments of some kind."

Andreen Hall was built in 1937 as a tribute to Dr. Gustav Andreen, who retired as the college's fourth president in 1935. When it opened, Andreen Hall accommodated 86 men. Renovations and expansions were approved through the years to house additional students. In 1966, Andreen became a women's residence hall and has remained so ever since. [Back to Top]

Renovated Carlsson Hall renamed

Eighty years after it was named for someone else, a renovated Carlsson Hall was renamed to honor the woman who envisioned it in the first place, Emmy Carlsson Evald. During the dedication ceremony, Dr. Ann Boaden '67 presented a dramatic tribute that portrayed the passion by which Evald lived, as evidenced by her countless contributions around the world.

Evald was all about action. She once wrote, "The powerful and willing leader is the one who says: ‘Come, let's do it.' Such persons believe in themselves, in the thing they are trying to do, and in their colleagues, and they become excellent leaders. The best leader is the one who is not at all afraid of being criticized, and is not easily hurt. A person who does nothing is never criticized."

As Boaden pointed out, Evald was critical to the residence hall's construction in 1928. When the need to provide housing for female students was recognized in the early 1920s, her Augustana Women's Missionary Society raised most of the money to build what first was known as the Woman's Building.

When it was converted to a men's residence in 1960, the Woman's Building was renamed in memory of Erland Carlsson, the father of Emmy Carlsson Evald, who served as chair of the Augustana board from 1860-1889. The current Board of Trustees voted to change the name to Evald Hall as part of this year's renovation.

The 1920s-era building's transformation from a residence hall to a state-of-the-art academic building helps fulfill a goal of Augustana's strategic plan to "provide the necessary infrastructure for academic excellence and student growth." The building is home to the departments of accounting, business, economic, education and psychology, in addition to the Center for Vocational Reflection and the Office of International Programs.

The opening of Evald Hall completes the second of the four major building projects of Authentically Augustana: A Call to Action. [Back to Top]

Athletes give back to community

A young reader goes one-on-one with Augustana wrestler Zachary Holland '10 as part of the Athletes Giving Back programMembers of the men's basketball team were giving it their all off the court last fall. They completed more community service hours-70 hours, to be exact-than any other varsity team on campus through Athletes Giving Back (AGB).

Open to all varsity athletes, AGB works in conjunction with the Student Athletics Advisory Committee to provide a range of service opportunities that give students a chance to get to know the community.

AGB members worked at the Quad City Animal Shelter and the Erin Feis festival in downtown Rock Island. They tutored local elementary school children, gathered acorns for planting along the riverfront with Living Lands and Water, and helped pick up trash in downtown Rock Island and along AGB's adopted portion of 18th Avenue in Rock Island.

AGB co-chair and basketball player Matt Pelton '10 says the group helps new student-athletes get to know each other, in addition to the community. "Just with the basketball team we've had a lot of freshmen get involved," he says. "They didn't know what was out there to get involved in."

The Augustana College Center for Vocational Reflection suggests and facilitates some of the events. After participating, students fill out a questionnaire that gives them a chance to think over not only what they have contributed, but also what they personally have gained and learned from the experience.

Last fall, 72 Augustana student-athletes completed 236 hours of service in six community events. Pelton was the male athlete with the most hours, and softball player Ashley Mulligan '10 was the female athlete with the most hours. [Back to Top]

Antarctic peak named for Augustana

In honor of Augustana's long history in polar and glacial geology, with strong ties to Antarctic research, the National Board on Geographic Names has designated a 9,000-foot mountain as Mount Augustana. Augustana's Fryxell Geology Museum is the home of the only fossils of Cryolophosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur found to date in Antarctica.

Mount Augustana, the largest peak in the center, towers above Dr. William Hammer's research campFor those familiar with the icy continent, Mount Augustana is located between the heads of LaPrade Valley and Cheu Valley in the northern Cumulus Hills, Queen Maud Mountains. Augustana paleontologist Dr. William Hammer worked in this area on his first trip to Antarctica in 1977-78 and again in 1995-96.

"It is a recognition of the 30 years that I have been involved in Antarctic research," says Hammer, who discovered Cryolophosaurus in 1991. "Since I have been at Augustana for 26 of those 30 years, it also recognizes that the college has strongly supported my work. In addition, I have worked closely for those 30 years with Jim Collinson, a geologist from Ohio State who is an [1960] Augustana alum. In fact, Jim talked me into applying for this job 26 years ago."

Another long-time colleague of Hammer's nominated Mount Augustana to the National Board on Geographic Names. "The board approves the name if they feel the person or institution has made substantial contributions to Antarctic science," Hammer says.

It's not the first time a name has linked Augustana and Antarctica. Last year the U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted to christen an ice-covered col (glacial ridge) in the Antarctic's Ellsworth Mountains as "Hammer Col" in honor of the Augustana paleontologist.

Also, Hammer says Lake Fryxell in the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica near the coast is named for Dr. Fritiof Fryxell '22, first chair of Augustana's geology department. Lake Hoare is named for Dr. Richard Hoare '51, who was a professor and researcher at Bowling Green State University. Those features were named in the International Geophysical year of 1957-58. Glacial geologist Dr. Troy Pewey named the lakes for Fryxell and Hoare, Hammer says. Pewey was a student at Augustana before doing his glacial work for his doctorate and was one of the scientists funded for that year.

The research season in Antarctica runs from November to January. Hammer's last expedition was in the 2003-04 season. He has submitted a funding proposal for a trip to take place either this year or 2010-11. [Back to Top]

Three new majors announced

Students at Augustana this fall will have a choice of three new majors: environmental studies, multimedia journalism and mass communication, and anthropology.

The decision to launch the new majors was in part a response to the high interest shown by both current and prospective students in these fields. Environmental studies and multimedia journalism and mass communication will begin this fall; anthropology started this past year.

Students in environmental studies will gain a general perspective on complex environmental issues and a special focus related to their own interests. The program will be strengthened by cooperation between disciplines in the natural and social sciences and humanities. Students may choose from as many as six options tailored to their interests as a major or minor.

Multimedia journalism and mass communication will draw on the college's strong liberal arts tradition to prepare students to enter a quickly evolving field. The new major features an innovative cross-platform approach. The focus departs from the traditional silos in journalism (print, broadcast and web) and moves toward a structure that will better prepare students for the future of converged media.

Anthropology will present students with a curriculum and learning environment that gives them an understanding of the relationship between their lives and culture by examining the lives and cultures of others. Students will gain cultural expertise they may use in professional leadership positions or in the workforce in many areas-from forensic anthropologists to museum curators.
With the addition of these new majors, Augustana will have 40 majors and more than 60 fields of study, the largest number ever offered in the college's history. [Back to Top]

CSD reaches out to Spanish community

Justine King '09 will graduate this spring from one of the only undergraduate programs in the country that includes a specialized course in Spanish speech-language pathology. For about the last five years, the departments of Spanish and communication sciences and disorders (CSD) have together provided training on working with speech development in bilingual children.

"There are no textbooks for this course," says Dr. Barbara Herrarte, associate professor in the Spanish department.

King has a double major in Spanish and CSD and hopes to develop a phonetic guide with Spanish-speaking adults in the Casa de Guanajuato community in Moline. "This will give speech-language pathologists normal data to compare with kids who come to the clinic," King says. "I couldn't do this type of research without the support of the Spanish and CSD departments."

The information will be invaluable as the local and national Spanish-speaking population grows. The U.S. Census estimates this population will triple throughout the nation by the year 2050. King plans to attend graduate school in the fall and continue using her skills as a research assistant. [Back to Top]

Christmas concert sold out

A "hum" of excitement resonated from the Augustana music department this past holiday season. The department kicked off an expanded celebration of Christmas by offering a variety of musical experiences-from opera to a concert featuring several ensembles to Handel's Messiah-throughout the season to showcase student talent and attract more Quad Cities residents to campus. 

"Attendance at the opera was quite good," says Dr. Jon Hurty, director of choral activities and department co-chair. "The Christmas concert was sold out and many people said they enjoyed the format of the new performance."

The expansion allowed the department to perform Christmas music along with the Augustana Symphony Orchestra, which usually accompanies Messiah. "The collaborative nature of the event was really significant," says Dr. Daniel Culver, orchestra director and department co-chair. "To have five conductors working together for a common artistic goal is unique in the profession. [Back to Top]

King celebration linked to Obama's win

Augustana and the local community once again gathered together for a musical celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The annual tribute hosted by the college serves to bring people together from throughout the Quad Cities.

Mark Anderson, assistant dean of students and director of diversity services"This year is unique in that we are attempting to link Dr. King's dream to the reality of a Barack Obama presidency," said Mark Anderson, assistant dean of students and director of diversity services, prior to the event. "In many ways, Dr. King's dream will be realized when President Obama is sworn in during the inauguration ceremony on January 20, three days after our Augustana event."

The celebration held a special significance for Anderson this year.
"As an Augustana administrator, local pastor, and parent of a current Augustana student, I recognize the significance of Dr. King's dream, but more importantly his life," he said. "If it were not for the efforts of Dr. King and others who died during the civil rights movement, I might not be serving as an assistant dean of students at Augustana College."

Scheduled performers in this year's program, themed "Lift EVERY Voice!," included the Augustana Inspirational Gospel Choir, the Quad Cities Community Gospel Chorus, and youth praise dancers from local churches. The evening's program concluded with the collaboration of these groups in a mass choir performance.

The event also featured a dinner for choir members and praise dancers; a small reception for community leaders, program participants, selected Augustana students and staff; and a mini college fair.

Editor's note: Mark Anderson began working as Augustana's assistant dean of students and director of diversity services in August. In his new role, he is charged with moving the college toward its strategic goal of growing a more diverse campus community, adding diversity programs and supporting students. "It's not about me fighting for diversity," he says. "Instead, I see it as creating relationships with people and helping people feel comfortable talking about diversity. That's the place to start." His office, he wants others to know, is a resource not only for students of color. "We are here to support everyone on campus because as I see it, everyone offers some diversity and it's to be celebrated." [Back to Top]

Caceres '08 wins top physics award

Gabriel Caceres '08Gabriel Caceres '08 won the top physics prize and a $3,000 scholarship in a national research competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He was one of five science students honored recently in the inaugural Science and Energy Research Challenge at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Dr. Cecilia Vogel, associate professor of physics, traveled to Tennessee for the competition. More than 500 undergraduate projects were done at DOE sites or were funded by the DOE. Of the 200 students who applied for the competition, only 84 were invited to compete.

Caceres majored in physics and philosophy while at Augustana. Now a graduate student in astrophysics at Penn State, he did the research at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., during the summers of 2007 and 2008. His winning poster was titled Supersymmetric Dark Matter as the Source of WMAP Haze. The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) is a satellite which studied the cosmic microwave background (radiation left over from the very early universe), according to Caceres.

"His research was cool and interesting-determining the properties that dark matter would need to have in order to account for the ‘haze' seen at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy," Vogel says. "And he knew his stuff down cold."

The Science and Energy Research Challenge is part of DOE's effort to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM areas-science, technology, engineering and math.

"Folks from the DOE pleaded with those of us at primarily undergraduate institutions to ‘transform' students," Vogel adds. "We need to turn them into the leaders and citizens of the future, who can do the basic or applied research to solve our energy problems-or at least have the science knowledge and critical thinking skills to make good decisions regarding energy policy and personal energy use."

At Vogel's invitation, Caceres visited campus to speak with students and other members of the Augustana community about his award-winning research. [Back to Top]

Number of physics graduates high

Augustana ranks high in the number of students it graduates in physics, according to the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

The AIP's most recent Enrollments and Degrees Report includes Augustana in its list of the top 35 bachelor's-granting departments averaging 10 or more physics bachelor's degrees per year for the classes of 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Augustana was tied for 22nd in the survey with 11 graduates. First on the list was California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo with 24 graduates.

Dr. Cecilia Vogel of Augustana's department of physics and astronomy attributed some of the success of the college's program to its flexibility.

"Our majors may go on to careers in engineering, tech-nology, medicine, teaching and other fields, or they may continue their studies with graduate work in physics or related fields," Vogel says. "An Augustana physics major gives students knowledge and skills that can be applied in many areas in many ways." [Back to Top]

First-year students made scrapbooks for foster children and painted picnic tables to donate to non-profit organizations during orientation week.Jump-starting community service

During last fall's orientation for new students-renamed Fall Connection-members of Augustana's faculty and staff introduced several hundred students to their new community. Many of these students chose to contribute sweat and energy to such service organizations as Habitat for Humanity, Greenbush Neighborhood Association, Child Abuse Council and Keep Rock Island Beautiful, according to Nancy Loitz, associate dean of the college.

Others served the community through self-selected group activities on campus. Dr. Allison Haskill and Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey supervised students as they assembled 20-page scrapbooks for local foster children.

Wegman-Geedey, an associate professor of biology and a first-year advisor, says first-year students often are so busy working at the basics of Maslow's hierarchy of needs-food, housing, safety-that they have a hard time seeing beyond their own needs to those of others until sometime during junior year or when they're a secure part of a campus group that does outreach or service work. "I hope they can feel connected to something here at Augie and see that their efforts matter right away by connecting them to a need among children in our foster-care system," she says.

Sarah Johnson, general counsel for the college, organized another group activity called "Painting with a Purpose" during Fall Connection. Sixty first-year students signed up to paint 13 children's picnic tables with various themes. The tables were then donated to area non-profit organizations and schools, such as Positive Parenting at Trinity, the Boys & Girls Club of Moline, and Rock Island's Earl Hanson School. These organizations held raffles to "sell" the picnic tables and raise much-needed funds.

Some first-year students made commitments to continue their work with the service organizations to which they were introduced during orientation week, Loitz says. [Back to Top]

Brill '82 wins Hall of Fame award

There is one conference Ken Brill '82, Augustana's associate dean of students and director of student activities, won't soon forget.

Last fall, 10 students joined Brill and Amy Mynaugh at the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Mid America Conference. Mynaugh was the college's assistant director of student activities and director of Greek Life at the time.

At the conference's closing banquet, Brill was surprised to hear he had won the NACA Hall of Fame Award. "The award is selected by a confidential committee so none of us had any clue Ken would be the recipient," Mynaugh says.

The award honors those who have displayed exemplary service and commitment of time and energy to both NACA Mid America and the profession. Recipients are recognized for providing outstanding service, upholding professional standards showing integrity, and earning the respect of colleagues and students.

"Ken received a standing ovation and for the rest of the night he was approached by students, performers, and student affairs professionals congratulating him," Mynaugh says. "He is truly an icon in NACA." [Back to Top]

Avoid Berry ‘at your own peril'

Writer Wendell Berry, called the "prophet of rural America" by The New York Times, visited Augustana last fall at the invitation of his friend Dr. Jason Peters and the college's English department. Underwritten by Augustana's Institute for Leadership and Service, Berry's visit included a reading and a two-hour open discussion with students and other members of the campus community.

Dr. Jason Peters (left) and Wendell Berry"Wendell Berry is the sort of writer you avoid reading at your own peril," says Peters, an associate professor of English. "Few can write sentences as clear, as immediate, and as faithful to intent as Berry can. You don't often see that these days."

Berry was born in 1934 in Henry County, Ky., where he still lives on his family's farm. For most of his life, he has combined writing and scholarship with farming, exploring the themes of place, sustainable agriculture, healthy communities and the interconnectedness of life. He has written more than 40 books of poetry, essays and novels.

In 2007, the University of Kentucky Press published a 368-page collection of essays edited by Peters entitled Wendell Berry: Life and Work. Peters assembled several writers, including Wes Jackson, Barbara Kingsolver, Hayden Carruth, Donald Hall and Gene Logsdon to examine different aspects of Berry's writings.

When asked to name the most important lessons people can take away from Berry's writings on nature and the land, Peters refers to a line from his essay entitled "What Are People For?" which reads "We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do."

"I'm always trying to get students to plumb the depths of this sentence," Peters says. "The lessons are that we can't go through life chomping away. We can't grant ourselves easy permission to be incompetent in the basic tasks and ignorant of the fundamental processes. We can't continue to be the moral simpletons that we are right now."

For those interested in reading Berry's work for the first time, Peters recommends the following essays: "Discipline and Hope," "The Work of Local Culture" and "Imagination and Place." For those interested in fiction, he suggests Jayber Crow or A World Lost. [Back to Top]

River Readings series rolls on

Creative writing at Augustana is growing, fueled by a lot of students and their energy, teaching fellows from the neighboring Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the second year of Augustana's own literary series.

The number-one goal of The River Readings at Augustana is to enrich students' experience, says Kelly Daniels, assistant professor of English and one of the series' organizers. Daniels says he is particularly pleased with the roster of writers during the 2008-09 academic year. "It's a treat for our students, and indeed for the entire Quad-Cities community, to have writers of such stature read right here on campus," he says.

A small committee-Daniels, librarian Margi Rogal, Farah Marklevits '99 and Rebecca Wee, associate professor of English-put together the list of writers this year. "We just throw out names of people we know or have read, people we like as readers," Rogal says.

Marklevits read from her poetry on opening night of The River Readings series in mid-September. She is an instructor of English at Augustana and assistant director of the Reading/Writing Center. Her work appears in the book Three New Poets: Sarah C. Harwell, Farah Marklevits, Courtney Queeney (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2006).

In late October, Rick Moody read from his works, which include seven books of fiction, including The Ice Storm (Little Brown, 1994).

Other writers scheduled for the series are poet Li-Young Lee, who has written four books of poetry, including his most recent Behind My Eyes (Norton, 2008); Aryn Kyle, who wrote the award-winning The God of Animals (Scribner, 2007); and poet Marvin Bell, a faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop for more than 30 years and poet laureate of Iowa from 2000 to 2004. Bell will be a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow on campus for the week of May 4-8.

Rogal says the committee hopes to maintain a connection with the University of Iowa Press by including a writer from its list every year. By coincidence, she adds, the first reader in the series in the past two seasons has had an Augustana connection, something the committee also plans to make a tradition. [Back to Top]