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Presidential Center for Faith and Learning

The new Presidential Center for Faith and Learning sponsors initiatives that live out Augustana’s long-time commitments to interfaith engagement, social justice, spiritual exploration, reasoned examination of faith and vocational discernment.

The center also marks Augustana’s ongoing leadership within the Network of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Colleges and Universities, partnering with 26 other Lutheran institutions in educating for vocation, meaning and purpose.

The center will be directed by Dr. Jason Mahn, associate professor of religion, in consultation with an advisory board drawn from Augustana’s faculty, Campus Ministries, CORE and community leaders.

The center will work closely with NECU on national initiatives related to Lutheran Higher Education, including the journal Intersections: Faith, Learning, and the Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education, for which Dr. Mahn serves as editor.

The center also will collaborate with Augustana’s Center for Faculty Enrichment when supporting faculty development, and with Campus Ministries and CORE when organizing speakers and other events for Augustana students, including students discerning seminary and ministry.


Upcoming events

Maria E. Erling Visiting Scholar April 23-24, 2018

Augustana alumna and church historian the Rev. Dr. Maria E. Erling '78 will visit campus April 23-24, 2018.

In addition to visiting classes and other on-campus visits, she will offer a public talk, "Augustana's Belief in the Power of Young Adults," at 4:30 p.m. April 23 at the Wilson Center on campus.

Dr. Erling is professor of modern church history and global mission at United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa. Her research interests include the history of American Lutheranism, including the Augustana Synod, immigrant histories and stories, and ecumenism.

"In my teaching, I’ve learned that students need to learn to tell their own story – their family’s many decisions and migrations – before they can really learn to hear the stories told to them by the people they meet in ministry," she said.

"Today I am still investigating how these immigrant people saw the new world they entered, especially as it presented uncomfortable and unprecedented challenges. I wonder how the diversity of race and class affected them, and whether we can, through learning that history more fully be better citizens today, owning up to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our communities. Everyone has a story.”

Dr. Erling has written many articles and chapters in several books about contemporary Lutheranism, ecumenism, and mainline Protestantism. She co-authored with Mark Granquist, "The Augustana Story, Augsburg Fortress," in 2008.

Her visit is sponsored by Scandinavian Studies at Augustana, The Augustana Presidential Center for Faith and Learning, and Augustana Campus Ministries.

For more information, contact: Dr. Mark Safstrom, 309-794-7329.

Recent events

• Nadia Bolz Weber, founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, and author of the New York Times bestsellers "Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People" ;and "Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint," will be the featured speaker during Winter Symposium Day, Jan. 17, 2018.

Her appearance will be sponsored by the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning, Campus Ministries, and the Institute for Leadership and Service.

• This past summer Dr. Mahn met with presidents from the 27 ELCA colleges and universities to discuss a draft of “Rooted and Open: A Recommendation Toward Common Language on the Lutheran Identity of NECA Institutions.” Mahn serves on the Faculty Working Group on Lutheran Identity that drafted the document. At the presidential gathering in Chicago, he also presented these remarks about the common calling of NECU institutions.

• The Spring 2017 issue of Intersections: Faith, Learning and the Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education, is available online. Entitled "Education in the Age of Trump," the issue features an editorial by Dr. Mahn, an essay about religion and politics by Dr. Dan Morris (religion), and the poetry of Farah Marklevits.

Throughout the 2017-18 school year, the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning will join Campus Ministries in hosting a series of events commemorating the 500 year anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.

Dr. Jason Mahn

Q & A with Dr. Jason Mahn on the relevance of the Reformation

Dr. Jason Mahn, associate professor of religion and director of Augustana’s new Presidential Center for Faith and Learning, speaks on the importance of the Lutheran Reformation to people today—and especially students.

Relevant Reformation

Relevant Reformation: Celebrating 500 years

Augustana will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation with events throughout the fall and winter.