The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



 Lorena Maia (left), a freshman at Newberry [S.C.] College, was one of several students from her school; Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, N.C.; and Lutheran Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C., who worked at a Summer Splash day camp for refugee children aged 4 to 15. The students helped prepare children newly arrived to the U.S. for academic programs and social interactions during the school year.
      The college and seminary students, in turn, said Newberry freshman Jessica Hook, “have truly been opened up to [Somali Bantu] culture and way of life.”
      Funded by a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, the day camp was made possible by Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas; Reformation and Gethsemane Lutheran churches in Columbia, S.C.; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; and a host of other organizations.
• Robert Bill, information technology director at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, traveled to the Thai-Burmese border this past summer to help pro-democracy activists learn ways to communicate news from inside Burma, also known as Myanmar, to the world. Bill helped the activists use Web-based tools to publish, advocate, report incidents and communicate securely. He told Minnesota Public Radio that the country’s Internet cafes are monitored, and users must be registered with the state. Bill’s trip was funded by the International Republican Institute, a government-supported group that helps promote democracy. He credited the health and education work of Augsburg colleagues for sparking his human rights work.

• Ninety-two percent of students at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D., who applied to a medical school in the past two years were accepted. “The national average is 45 percent,” said Augustana biology professor Maureen Diggins. She said that of the school’s 25 applicants from the classes of 2005 and 2006, the two students not accepted would likely be accepted on their second application. “We recruit bright students, we challenge them with rigorous courses and significant research opportunities, and we help them to make realistic career choices,” Diggins said.

• With $550,000 in federal funding, Wagner College, Staten Island, N.Y., launched “Civic Innovations.” The effort creates long-lasting partnerships that provide nonprofits with steady volunteers and teach students the value of civic involvement. Wagner was one of nine institutions selected from more than 200 that applied for funding from the Washington, D.C.-based Learn and Serve America. During the 2006-07 year, about 200 Wagner students will spend 30 to 100 hours a semester applying classroom learning to practical, nonprofit problems. The college hopes to involve 1,200 students by the third year.

• Studio art faculty from Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., joined local artists in offering Kaleidoscope, an art program serving people aged 4 through adult. With courses ranging from one day to four weeks, instructors teach painting, sculpting, papier-mache, textiles and gyotaku, the Japanese art of fish-rubbing. Students from the school’s education department serve as program assistants.

• Imagine learning ethics from a coloring book. That’s just the tool students at Midland Lutheran College, Fremont, Neb., used to help young children in the community learn the importance of ethical decision-making. The students, members of the college’s Phi Beta Lambda Students in Free Enterprise team, distributed English and Spanish versions of the “Finder’s Keepers?” coloring book to all second-grade students in Fremont.

• When temperatures surged to 111 degrees in August, staff and students at Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pa., worked with homeless people through Summer Splash. One of eight service-learning initiatives funded by a two-year grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Summer Splash was an opportunity for 19 first-year students, five upper-class mentors and three staff mentors to study the causes of homelessness, volunteer at shelters, make and distribute bag lunches in neighborhood parks and learn about related advocacy efforts. University chaplain Mark William Radecke, program coordinator, called it a way for new students to begin “serving to learn and learning to serve,” and “have meaningful encounters and conversations with some of God’s children whose experiences differ greatly from theirs.”

• Using a $300,000 grant from the New York-based Teagle Foundation, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.; Roanoke College, Salem, Va.; and Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pa., are partnering with Drew University, Madison, N.J., and Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pa., to explore what and how students learn. The three-year project will develop tools the schools can use to assess programs with intense student-faculty interaction, including capstone projects at Muhlenberg and Susquehanna, and first-year seminars at Roanoke.

Luther College, Decorah, was the only school in Iowa selected to participate in HonorRollOnline.com, a new Web site that allows major employers to review student profiles, request real-time references and conduct face-to-face, webcam interviews. Any site visitor can view information about colleges and companies, but only recruiting partners can download candidate information, which is housed at the site for one year after graduation. The service is free to students and colleges.

• Dave Admire, associate professor of criminal justice at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kan., participated in the Oxford Round Table at Oxford [England] University last March. The five-day gathering brings together leaders from several countries to study and consider current issues in state and national education systems. Admire was chosen through referrals Oxford received from others in the criminal justice field. He made a presentation to the group arguing that adult criminal justice systems must pay great attention to the social cost of learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Admire also discussed a program he developed that has “consistently reduced recidivism by 40 percent,” he said. Before becoming a Bethany professor, Admire served as a prosecutor, defense attorney and district court judge.

St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., moved up five spots to No. 11 on the Peace Corp’s 2006 list of top-producing colleges and universities. Twenty of the school’s alumni serve as Peace Corps volunteers in 2006­, with a total of 428 St. Olaf participants since the corps’ founding in 1961.

Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, launched a three-summer program to help current music teachers continue teaching while earning a master’s degree. Licensing rules now require that the state’s music teachers have master’s degrees.

Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, and associate professor of chemistry John McClusky were awarded a patent for NMR Mosaic, an organic chemistry teaching tool McClusky developed. The tool helps students determine the specific organic compound that generated the NMR spectrum—one of the most important skills an organic chemist can learn.

• This fall, many students at Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, are sporting plain white T-shirts that read “I Am Not A Stereotype.” The shirts were first distributed during a campus activities fair in August, where people were offered markers to add the stereotypes about themselves they hoped to abolish.

Gettysburg [Pa.] College allows anyone to download an audiovisual series on faculty members and their published works from its Web site. The series, downloadable to iPods and personal computers, lets authors talk about their works, challenges and surprising developments. In September, the podcasts ranged from philosophy professor Kerry Walters’ take on how to become a more spiritually integrated person to English professor Fred Leebron’s story of a couple who becomes increasingly discontented as peers make more money (his book, Six Figures, was made into a movie). Each month the school plans to add three new faculty authors.

Thiel College, Greenville, Pa., received $916,000 in state funding for a neuroscience program that begins this fall—the largest academic grant in its history. The funds, from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Higher Education Assistance Grant Program, will support an interdisciplinary academic program in neuroscience. The program emphasizes experiential learning, with laboratory experiences, field trips, a required internship and a senior research project. It’s intended as preparation for graduate-level work in the sciences, as well as professions in medicine, technology or medical sales. For the past year, Thiel has worked on a joint neuroscience project with UPMC Horizon, FHC Inc. and the Greenville Area Economic Development Center. FHC Inc., a manufacturer of medical equipment for targeting brain dysfunction, is working to develop a Greenville-based neuromodulation clinic.

• This fall, economic classes at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., are implementing the same technology the TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire uses to poll the audience. Lynn Hunnicutt, associate professor of economics, will use remote-control “clickers” that send individual responses via radio frequency to a reader attached by a port to her computer. Hunnicutt’s computer will immediately display classroom responses to questions, like the audience polls on the TV show. The clickers provide instant feedback for Hunnicutt, who will know that if half the class misses the question, she’ll need to explain the concept again. If only a few students miss it, they’ll know they must review or ask questions.

• Nine communication students at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa, took a three-week study trip to Europe this summer, viewing museums and other cultural sites, as well as performances in Rome, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Paris and London. Before the trip, students were required to take night classes on European arts, cities and languages. Each student wrote a research paper on a piece of art or artist viewed during the journey.

• Laura Behling, an English professor at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., was one of three U.S. academics to receive a Washington Internship Institute Faculty Fellowship for spring 2006. Fellows are appointed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Behling spent the semester in Washington, D.C., at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, studying, among other things, connections between politics and humanity.


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February issue


Embracing diversity