Interim honors director named; review team established

Ryan Moore, Editor-in-Chief

Psychology professor and Honors council member Stacy Freiheit has been named interim director of the Honors program and was also named chair of the review team that was put in place for the Honors program. This news came in an email to Honors program students and faculty from Interim Dean Dave Matz on Nov. 29.

An email signed by Provost Karen Kaivola and Matz to Honors program students and faculty on Dec. 4 explained the need for the review committee. “Concerns reported by students in recent weeks have raised broad questions about the culture, curriculum, practices, administration and leadership of the Augsburg Honors Program,” the email said. “These concerns are serious enough to warrant a comprehensive review of the Program and the appointment of an Interim Director to serve until such time as the review concludes. Our hope is that the Review Team will take a deep and honest look at the Program and make recommendations on how best to move forward, in ways that align with our institutional mission, culture and commitments.”

According to Kaivola, this review team will be made up of education professor Joaquin Munoz, history professor and Honors council member Maheen Zaman and Ruby Murillo from Multicultural Student Services. Communications professor Robert Groven, sociology professor Diane Pike and religion professor Russell Kleckley will, as Kaivola said, “serve as consultants to the review team.” Students will also serve a role on this review team. Freiheit made a statement on the subject of the review.” This is an important moment in the Honors program,” Freiheit said. “In collaboration with students in the Honors program, the newly formed Honors program review team, and with input from the broader Augsburg community, it is important to review the program in its entirety and identify opportunities for the program moving forward.”

This review will take place throughout the upcoming spring semester. “No question should be off the table — including a consideration as to whether Augsburg should have an honors program at all,” Kaivola and Matz said in their Dec. 4 email. “Or — if we should — how such a program might be defined, structured and organized around a compelling mission that aligns with the institution that Augsburg has become, today, and aspires to be in the future.” For those wondering how long this review will take, Kaivola and Matz said, “Our hope is that the review team will conclude its work by (or before) the end of the Spring 2019 semester.”

This article was originally published in the Dec. 07, 2018 issue.