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Faculty Newsletter March 16, 2020

This week's message

THURCO canceled this week, March 19th, 2020

Kudos to the college leadership team that crafted a proactive, thorough, brave and thoughtful response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While the nearly 3,000 of us faculty, staff and students are not in identical circumstances, collectively we are in a much better situation than many Americans.  Thanks to past and present leadership, I believe our community is going to be as safe as possible.

I wish that were so for our incarcerated neighbors, both on the southern border and in our nation’s thousands of jails, prisons and detention centers. 

For those of us who are compelled to act instead of react, imagine what it would be like to be rendered even more powerless, to be confined in close quarters with hundreds of other people who are not even guaranteed soap.  I ask you to imagine it because our incarcerated neighbors could be us. There but for the grace of God go any of us Vikings. 

If somehow you believe the lie that incarcerated people are different from us, I challenge you over this break to watch "College Behind Bars" (2019, PBS) about the Bard Prison Initiative or "Which Way Home" (2009) about Central American kids migrating to the U.S. who sometimes end up detained. 

Great documentarians and journalists can help us see the human side and complex context of an abstract story. Great liberal arts connective thinking can enable us to see a deeper picture than a simplistic “good vs. evil” narrative might trick us into believing.

I was invited to write this note because I was scheduled to present at ThurCo this week. My sabbatical work is pursuing a grant to fund an Augustana liberal arts college-in-prison program. It might actually work. 

But funding aside, the ultimate success of any prison education program depends on individuals’ willingness to see the best of ourselves — perhaps even to see God? — in our incarcerated neighbor.  I look forward to taking this journey together with my colleagues.

Thank you for reading. 

Dr. Sharon M. Varallo
Professor, Department of Communication Studies

Faculty news

Dr. Lena Hann (Public Health) published a medical best practices manual, "Patient-Centered Pregnancy Tissue Viewing: Strategies and Best Practices for Independent Abortion Providers," in February through the Abortion Care Network.

The manual is now in more than 100 medical clinics around the U.S. and will be used to train thousands of reproductive health providers. Dr. Hann also presented two provider training workshops at the Abortion Care Network Annual Meeting March 2.

Careers, Opportunities, Research and Exploration (CORE)

The application deadline for students to apply for 2020-2021 study away programs has been extended to May 8 or until rosters are full. For more information, see Please encourage students to consider a study away program in the coming year.


State Historical Society of Iowa
2020/2021 Research Grants

The State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) announces a grant pro­gram for the 2020/2021 academic year. SHSI will award up to 10 stipends of $1,000 each to support original research and interpre­tive writing re­lated to the history of Iowa or Iowa and the Midwest.

Preference will be given to applicants proposing to pursue previ­ously ne­glected topics or new approaches to or inter­pretations of pre­viously treated topics.

SHSI invites appli­cants from a variety of backgrounds, including aca­demic and public historians, graduate students, and indepen­dent re­searchers and writers.

Applications will be judged on the basis of their potential for producing work appropriate for publi­cation in "The Annals of Iowa." Grant recipients will be expected to produce a manuscript targeted for "The Annals of Iowa," SHSI’s schol­arly journal.

Applications for the 2020/2021 awards must be postmarked by April 15, 2020.

Download application guidelines or request guidelines or further informa­tion from Andrew Klumpp, State Historical Society of Iowa, 600 East Locust St., Des Moines.

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center

The Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center (Denkmann Hall) invites applications for its annual Faculty Research Stipend.

This $600 stipend supports one Augustana College faculty member's one-week exploration of Swenson Center library and archival materials, to support the creation of class projects or the faculty member's individual research (priority given to those that will impact students). Apply by May 1. 

Presidential Center for Faith and Learning

Augustana again will send a delegation to the 2020 Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education Conference (formerly known as the Vocation of a Lutheran College Conference).

The conference convenes July 13-15 at Augsburg University in Minneapolis on the theme ““Call to Place: An Education Engaging Rootedness.” Dr. Jason Mahn will give the opening plenary address: "The Gift of Being Placed: Vocation and Community in Lutheran Higher Education."

Please contact Dr. Mahn if you would like to be considered for the delegation. 

Sabbatical leave stipends and summer research stipends

The Faculty Research Committee (FRC) solicits proposals for sabbatical leave stipends and summer research stipends

Sabbatical leave stipend

The FRC awards sabbatical leave stipends of $3,600 each to two faculty members. These grants are to support faculty members engaged in significant academic endeavors during sabbatical leaves of 12 or more credits (the standard sabbatical is 8 credits). These stipends provide supplemental income to offset the salary reduction associated with longer sabbatical leaves.

Summer research stipends for untenured faculty

The FRC awards summer research stipends of $1,800 each to two untenured faculty members each year. These stipends provide supplemental income to encourage sustained and significant academic endeavors.Full-time faculty, joint appointment faculty, and adjunct or part-time faculty, are eligible. This includes librarians, coaches, or appointees to concurrent administrative positions with rank.

• Both stipends are considered supplemental employee pay and distributed through payroll. 

• The proposals are screened by the Faculty Research Committee and funded by Augustana College.

• Award-winning proposals will describe original and substantial scholarly or creative projects.  This does not include projects that focus only on developing courses, traveling to meetings/conferences, or dissertation research and writing.

  Guidelines and selection process of the proposals (see Faculty Handbook for details):

1) Four-page maximum proposal must include:

• Identification of research problem or the goals of the project.

• Explanation of materials and methods of the project.

• Relation of proposed work to work of applicant’s peers

• Nature of result or product anticipated, e.g. publications, art exhibits, etc.

• Timeline for significant milestones or project completion

• Summary of research grants received from Augustana during the past five years, along with results of projects funded

• Current curriculum vitae (includes applicant’s general qualifications and relevant previous work; this is in addition to the four page limit for the proposal; please limit CV to five pages)

• Sabbatical leave proposals must include a copy of the approved sabbatical proposal

2) The committee will evaluate proposals based on eligibility as described above, clarity of presentation, prospects for publication or public attention, applicant’s qualifications, and any additional benefits to the college and our students.

3) Expectation for funded work:

• A brief (1-2 page) report detailing the results of the project, including where the work was presented, performed, and/or published. This should be submitted to the Provost’s office and the Chair of the FRC no later than one year after notification of the grant. Should the project not be completed within a year, a progress report should be submitted.

• Faculty funded by these grants are expected to give a public presentation of the project’s results within a reasonable amount of time. Friday Conversations and Celebration of Learning provide excellent opportunities for this.

• Acknowledgement of Augustana’s financial assistance must be included in products created from funded work.

Please submit your proposal by email by 5 p.m. March 30, 2020, to Michelle Heinrichs and Pamela Karzin in Academic Affairs.  Award announcements will be made by April 10.

Direct questions to the chair of the Faculty Research Committee, Dan Corts, or any other member of the committee: Jeff Renaud, Michelle Wolff, Nadia Schwartz, Juliana Han, and Andrew Sward.