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A market-smart and mission-driven approach

Message from the President Steven C. Bahls • Augustana Magazine Fall 2021

Steve Bahls

Journalist and author Gail Sheehy once described creativity as “letting go of certainties.” Since March of 2020, and the unprecedented period of pandemic response since, certainty has been hard to come by.

In this issue, we share the creativity with which the Augustana community has made its way through uncertain times and brought the college to a better, stronger position from which to face the challenges and ambiguities that lie before us.

At a time when colleges and universities across the country are scaling back and cutting programs, I’m grateful for the colleagues and friends of Augustana who have made the following possible:

• A strategic re-launch of CORE, Augustana’s hub for career and vocation development, which will bring post-graduate success into students’ experience from their earliest days on campus

• The building of the Peter J. Lindberg, M.D., Center for Health and Human Performance and the appointment of Dr. Kimberly Murphy as the inaugural director of the Center for the Advancement of Community Health and Wellness to advance Augustana’s reputation as one of the premier small colleges for students interested in careers in health and wellness

"By embracing creativity, we are keeping Augustana true to its historic values while ensuring it has the strength to face the future boldly and brightly."

• A new Bachelor of Science in engineering with a special commitment to helping students gain critical thinking and leadership skills

• The addition of men’s and women’s water polo, made possible by Augustana’s dive into modern aquatics through the opening of the Anne Greve Lund Natatorium; women’s wrestling and an all-gender esports team join water polo as new competitive programs at Augustana

• The successful launch of the Augustana Prison Education Program by Dr. Sharon Varallo, Jaeke Chair in Family Life Studies, along with colleagues from departments across campus

• Renovations to Bergendoff Hall that add both technology and reconceptualized spaces, such as the Hamann Performance Hall, which are essential to attracting, teaching and showcasing talented music educators, musicians and vocalists.

In particular, I am grateful for leaders like Provost Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow ’94 and Executive Vice President Kent Barnds, who encouraged their colleagues to redesign and improve processes from faculty governance to financial aid.

All of these, and other exciting developments underway at Augustana, are emblematic of what the Board of Trustees’ Innovation and Competitive Position Committee refers to as a “market-smart and mission-driven” approach, reflecting Dr. Robert Zemsky’s book “Remaking the American University: Market Smart and Mission Centered.”

By embracing creativity, we are keeping Augustana true to its historic values while ensuring it has the strength to face the future boldly and brightly.