Posted on May 8, 2009 by Tia Lalani

2009 Spring Soiree highlighted community partnerships and tours of the new library

By Dan Jensen

Partnerships important says Dean Roger Epp
The importance of partnerships was stressed at Augustana’s fourth annual spring soiree and report to the community April 28. "Our partnerships," said Augustana Campus Dean Roger Epp, "are key to creating a dynamic one-of-a-kind university city experience."

Dean Epp said the support from the community in creating hands on learning opportunities for students gives Augustana a tremendous advantage. "One year ago I said at this event that we were on the verge of an explosion of community-based learning and research. Taking students beyond the classroom. And in only one year we have had students placed in more than 60 community agencies. Students working on the Bailey Theatre history project. Student athletes who are involved in mentorship programs. An explosion of activity. Everywhere I go in this community people are talking about Augustana students."

Epp said he feels very good about the range of speakers, concerts and plays that happen on the Augustana campus. "There are not many cities this size in the country where, for example, in the space of about a month we had distinguished speakers from McGill and Toronto, Frankfurt and Yale. That is all good, but it is only good if you have public audiences. I have been reminded again and again of what a remarkable learning community this is and how fortunate we are to be in this community."

Epp noted the combined gifts to Augustana in 2008-2009 far surpassed, for the first time in history, the one million dollar mark. "While we have high ambitions here, it is the generous donors who help us achieve the things that we want to do with students in the community. That is a tremendous investment in students and scholarships, in the Ronning Centre, in student research, in an endowment project in the chaplaincy, in a nine-foot Steinway piano, for which I just signed the papers this afternoon before this event.

"Our commitment is to keep working with you to serve the public good. We remind you to help us know what that is in this community in this region."

Epp said Augustana has helped bring the performing arts centre to the design stage, has facilitated the first graduates in the Bachelor of Science and nursing program, many of whom are working, as expected, in the region, and has worked this year with local food producers, whose food it is proud to serve in its cafeteria.

The fact that Augustana now has higher admission standards, said Epp, means that the university works hard to recruit students from a smaller pool. "Our work is to raise our profile in places where we are still a well-kept secret but don’t want to be. Our work is to build scholarships that attract and retain students. It is important to remember that we are recruiting students with options who live elsewhere, who could live at home. We want them to come to Camrose instead."

The combined average grade of the incoming high school students who presented completed matriculation in 2007/2008 was 78.6 per cent. Of those, 7.6 per cent had an average of 90 per cent or higher, and 41.7 per cent had an average of eighty per cent or higher. Seven-hundred and forty-one of the students come from Alberta, 56 from British Columbia, six from Manitoba, one from New Brunswick, one from Newfoundland, one from Nova Scotia, 17 from the Northwest Territories, 13 from Ontario, 45 from Saskatchewan and four from Yukon. The total number of international students is 53.

New Library tangible evidence of provincial commitment, says U of A Vice President

The new library nearing completion on the Augustana campus is tangible evidence of the provincial government’s commitment to provide comparable access to services to all citizens, says University of Alberta vice president and provost Carl Amrhein.

"The promise of the library and the additional programming space that this structure represents," said Amrhein at Augustana’s fourth annual Spring Soiree April 28, "bodes well for the campus and the entire university very well in the future."

Amrhein said the Augustana campus is leading the way within the University of Alberta in creating innovative programs for the benefit of all. "The dean of rehabilitative medicine is leading the discussions with the faculty of nursing and dean Epp in bringing a number of programs to Augustana campus, programs that represent reaching beyond the traditional liberal arts and science campus concept."

Amrhein noted the University of Alberta has had a tremendously successful campaign creating the endowments to fund student scholarships and other academic priorities around the university. "While we didn’t really anticipate that the financial world would decide it is time to test our patience and test our tolerance, the university, the board of governors at the university, and I think the charitable donors here in this room, have made sure through this year’s budget, recently approved, that the university will maintain the funding of the student scholarships. The money is still going into the hands of students even though the world’s financial markets have conspired to make that as difficult as possible."

Amrhein said in the year ahead, University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekera will be taking the senior team through her second term planning exercise. "This will be an important exercise for the university. We are poised to decide our own future and with a very helpful and uplifting provincial environment we can do a number of things. We can no longer do everything to the level that we aspire, so we have to make some choices and the deans will be leading that conversation."

However the university decides to maintain its resources, Amrhein said recruiting the very best faculty, staff and students will remain a top priority.

"The complex collection of individuals, the professors, the students are all well known to all of us. The silent heroes within the university environment are the remarkable staff who make sure that the faculty and the students have the buildings, the programs and all the procedures in place to allow all of us on the academic side to reach the aspirations to which we hope to get."

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