Miles Christopher, Contributor
The Minnesota College Professionals Association (MCPA) hosted their annual fall conference last week, with presentations and workshops taking place throughout the two-day event. During the event, staff and students involved with higher education were able to attend a wide variety of informational sessions aimed at helping to bridge divides, provide new tools and teach valuable lessons that can be used both in a strictly academic setting and in the wider community surrounding higher education. A group of Augsburg staff were among those who presented, including Mike Grewe, the Director of Campus Life, and Lee George, the Executive Director of the Strommen Center.
Founded in 1969, the MCPA writes that it exists to “connect, develop, and support the Minnesota higher education community.” This year, their conference’s theme was “Access in Higher Education: Navigating the Barriers” and focused on both “physical and systemic” blockades to access to higher education. This year’s conference broached themes imperative to the continuing success of higher education establishments, working to further both the MCPA’s and Augsburg’s commitment to inclusion and empowerment.
Grewe’s presentation, which he gave alongside Ann Garvey, the Vice President of Student Affairs, was titled “Less is more… and more is more: Co-curricular Learning Assessment”. It was focused around finding ways to evaluate the effectiveness of various co-curricular learning programs. Co-curricular learning is the concept of learning and education outside of a traditional classroom setting, and includes many of the programs that Augsburg offers outside of classes, such as those hosted by Residence Life, Campus Life and other similar campus organizations. In Grewe and Garvey’s presentation, they explored ways to “measure student learning… on an institutional level,” in order to better understand what allows some co-curricular programs to connect with students better than others. This is not the first time that Augsburg staff have presented on this topic, as it continues to be an area of development and learning, which allows Augsburg to be a pioneer in co-curricular learning for institutions of higher education around Minnesota.
George, alongside Chief Student Success Officer Katie Bishop, spoke about the issues that exist within some of the service structures and programs in modern higher education. Their presentation, “Dismantling White Structures in Career Services”, explored the aftereffects of higher education having been limited to primarily white males for much of its history. Lee and Bishop discussed the ramifications of continuing to use programs designed and built in a time where there were few students of color and few female students. Much of their presentation was focused around the “unique influential factors affecting First Generation students in order to improve career readiness and employment opportunities…”, and explored how professionals in higher education and career services could better support their First-Generation students.
This article was originally published in the November 8, 2019 issue.