Skip to main content

Faculty Newsletter September 24, 2018

This Week's Message

Please send your Faculty News to



TOPICLifting Up and Living Out the Institutional Faith Commitments of Augustana College

4:00 -  Presentation, 3:30  - Refreshments 

SPEAKER: Jason Mahn, Director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning

As I’ve heard the story, when President Bahls first began his work as the eighth president of the College some 15 years ago, no one could tell him what it meant that Augustana was a “Lutheran college.” Long gone was the assumption that Augustana and other Lutheran colleges and universities were places where Lutheran students went to be educated by Lutheran faculty members. (And happily so, for many of us!)

But if being Lutheran didn’t mean that, what, if anything, did it mean? One of Steve’s first major initiatives was to gather a group of educators together to come up with an answer. Their response, “The Five Faith Commitments” of Augustana College, was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2004, and then revised and reaffirmed in 2015. Augustana lives out it institutional Lutheran identity by committing to interfaith engagement, social justice, spiritual exploration, reasoned examination of faith, and vocational discernment.

My own conversations with colleagues and students suggest that many find this “decoupling” of Lutheran institutional identity from the personal religious identities of individuals here to be resourceful, helpful, and compelling. But they suggest that this reconfiguration is a “hard sell,” given how easy it is to slip back into assumptions that “Lutheran” does or should mean, “where Lutherans are.” Add to this the fact that very few of my students (and certainly not all colleagues) have even heard of the Five Faith Commitments, and it becomes clear that the mission and identity of Augustana as a Lutheran institution requires ongoing deliberation and debate. The Presidential Center for Faith and Learning seeks to sustain that ongoing conversation. Unveiled homecoming weekend a year ago, the Center has been charged with “lifting up and living out the Five Faith Commitments of Augustana College.”    

During this week’s Friday Conversation (9/28) please join me and members of the advisory board to learn about the work of the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning. We would like to hear from you: How does Augustana live out its faith commitments? How might it do so more inclusively, creatively, or determinately? I will also share ways that you can get involved in the work of the Center, including by participating in a proposed NetVUE grant to infuse vocational reflection into our new curriculum at strategic points. If you are one of the 30 educators chosen to participate, you’ll receive a stipend of $1,000, plus money for your classroom or programming.

I hope to see you on Friday!







Faculty News

Please send your Faculty News to



News from America occupies a prominent place in Swedish media. For decades, political, cultural, and social developments in the U.S. have been closely followed in Sweden. This interest has grown even more intense in recent years.

On October 13, 2018, the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College will host a panel discussion looking at how foreign journalists report on news from the United States, using Sweden as an example.

Foreign news media have a long tradition of stationing correspondents in America. These reporters play an essential role in shaping their readers’ perception of America. In the past, Swedish newspapers, radio, and television were the main source of information about the U.S. in Sweden. But today, the internet provides Swedes with easy access to American media. How does this abundance of American news affect the work of journalists? Is there a greater need for context when so much information is readily available? How well informed is the public in the respective countries?

Participants will include Augustana Provost Wendy-Hilton Morrow, Swedish journalists Karin Henriksson and Martin Gelin, and the moderator, Dr. Jonas Björk, professor of journalism and public relations at Indiana University in Indianapolis.

The event will be held in Wallenberg Hall in Augustana's Denkmann Building (3520 7th Ave) and will run from 2 p.m. until about 4:30 p.m. with a coffee break from 3-3:15.

Support for this event provided by the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center and Scandinavian Studies program at Augustana College, through a grant from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.


Claire Kovacs (ATMA) supported the Young Lords’ 50th Anniversary Symposium at DePaul University by curating “Puerto Rico en mi corazón: a pop-up exhibition” for the event. The exhibit featured never-before-exhibited prints, drawings, and photos of now-lost murals, borrowed from artists and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s community archive, situating them within the history of the Young Lords and related self-determination and solidarity movements. The exhibit is the start of a longer project, examining the visual culture of the Chicago Young Lords. The project began this summer when Kovacs was a participant in the NEH/Newberry Library Summer Institute, “Art and Public Culture in Chicago.”






Reading/Writing Center workshop for students:

"MLA Citation"

Sunday, September 30th at 7:00 in Westerlin Lounge


Week five was the Cupboard's busiest operation to date; 55 students were served, translating to 354 pounds of food dispersed. We are currently looking for donations of soup, pasta, rice, and granola bars for next Thursday. Donation drop-off bins can be found on the first floor of Old Main, Founders, Denkmann, Evald, and Olin, as well as the second floor of the library (Gerber). We have had some trouble with bins disappearing; if someone would like to donate but cannot find a bin, please email and I will come pick it up. Thank you all for your continued support!




Center for Faculty Enrichment (CFE)

CORE (Careers, Opportunities, Research and Exploration)

Students are contacting CORE in large numbers about finding jobs on campus. We direct them to Handshake as the place to go to find job listings for on-campus work, but now that it is a few weeks into fall term, positions are being filled in offices and the pool of jobs on Handshake is getting smaller. If you still have student employment positions available in your office or department, we would greatly appreciate you taking a moment to post them to Handshake so that the students who are still looking for work on campus can find your positions.

We also are excited about the Flexible Employment Program (FEP) that was recently launched. If you need to find temporary workers for projects in your office, and are not yet set up to post jobs to FEP, please contact us and we will be happy to help you!

If you have any questions about posting to Handshake or being able to hire students through FEP, reach out to Andy Shearouse at or 309-794-7470."


The Violet M. Jaeke Family Life fund could help to support teaching, research, service or general campus initiatives of interest to you and your students. Proposals accepted year round.

Teaching: Many courses have links to family life. Jaeke Family Life funding can support teaching relevant to family study in both applied and theoretical realms. Jaeke funding has helped with field trips, invited speakers, instructional supplies, library acquisitions and even pizza incentives for focus groups, all in support of family-related issues in the classroom, with topics ranging from immigration and sexuality to public policy and marital therapy, from trans identity talks and feminist art installations to film purchases to support teaching goals.

Research: Jaeke can help cover conference registration and travel fees to conference venues such as The Work and Family Researchers Network ( ), The Council on Contemporary Families, or the Prisoner's Family Network. Most conference support has been on family-related research at venues that have broad appeal. If your work is with families, about families, or benefits families, then please know there could be funding to support that work.

Service-Learning or Internships: Jaeke Family Life funding can help support students in family-related internships in organizations such as the Texas Medical Center or in rape/domestic violence hotline training programs through Family Resources. In the past, Jaeke funds paid for background checks and supplies for students volunteering with refugee families via World Relief. Along with support from Education/Longfellow Elementary funding, Jaeke funds helped support a creative after-school program involving teaching yoga practices to Longfellow children and their families

Service/Outreach: Some service projects might qualify for outreach funding. For example, Jaeke funding recently paid for healthy snacks for Opportunity Kicks Tutoring, an after-school tutoring program run by Augie students that combines soccer with study skills.

Campus Initiatives: Jaeke funds underwrite babysitting fees for Friday Conversations, to help allow Augie parents the opportunity to attend college functions and supporting student workers. This year, Jaeke funds have been proposed to pay for all-gender restroom signs to be installed around campus.

Please contact Sharon Varallo if you, your students, or staff have or would like to brainstorm ideas about family-related research, teaching, service or campus-related initiatives.

Presidential Center for Faith and Learning

 September 28: Friday Conversation with Jason Mahn (director) and members of the PCFL advisory committee.   After discussing the Five Faith Commitments of Augustana College and introducing the work of the   Center, Jason will announce the parameters of a $50,000 grant proposal to infuse vocational reflection into the   curriculum in broad, deep, and integrated ways. Find out how you can be involved (and perhaps receive a $1000   stipend).

Weekly Events

Monday, September 24, 4:00-5:00 p.m. - New Faculty Mentoring Circle, Wilson, Brunner

Tuesday, September 25, 11:30 a.m. - Augie Reflections, Ascension Chapel, Founders Hall 2nd floor

Tuesday, September 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m. - Ekklesia, Old Main 135

Friday, September 24, 4:00 p.m. Friday Conversation: "Week #6 , Lifting Up and Living Out the Institutional Faith Commitments of Augustana College,  Wilson Center, Speaker: Jason Mahn, Director of the Presidential Center of Faith and Learning

Saturday, September 29, 4:00 p.m. Augustana Symphony Orchestra Student Concerto Competition, Centennial Hall