Posted on November 24, 2010 by Dylan Anderson

The Fall 2010 Student Academic Conference is coming! Be there the evening of December 6 and find out what independent studies students are up to.

It seems particularly timely that in the year of Augustana’s centenary we have a very pertinent reminder of the complex intermingling of the past and future of Augustana: the choosing of a new Dean is occurring as we celebrate the achievements of Roger and his team in the centenary planning.

Pastor Craig Wentland and his Religion 291 course have spent the last semester thinking about this very interesting intersection in “The Augustana Spirit” which will culminate in the presentation of the same title that will be one of the opening presentations at the Student Academic Conference on Monday, December 6th. Starting at 6:00, Pastor Wentland’s students will individually present their results from a series of interviews and conversations with Augustana alumni. Friends, family (as many alumni have gone on to send their children to Augustana), graduates (or not) and even past presidents were engaged in conversation by current students to discover, as Pastor Wentland says, “What the spirit, or culture of the institution was”. “Particularly in a year of shiny new buildings”, he elaborates, “it is important not to develop a sense of amnesia about the past of the college”.

These senior level students discovered not only the importance of history, but also the power of narrative and conversation, says Wentland; the need to have a conversation to understand the history of these individuals and this campus created a sense of value and rarity that highlights the necessity of celebrating these insights. Particularly when interviewing family members, students realized that there was more to the campus and to their family than they had realized. Conversations that had never been considered took place as students completed their research project. Students who took the Augustana “experience” for granted began to comprehend that there were individuals and events that shaped the way that they as current students exist and study here on campus.

Understanding the complexities of celebrating the centenary of a college that spent ninety-four of those years as a faith-based institution leads Wentland particularly to value highly the idea of an “Augustana spirit” that silently but definitively affects the lives of Augustana faculty and students, and he hopes that the future of the campus will build on this rich history that his students have discovered in their conversations. Looking at the place-based narratives they gathered will, he hopes, give the campus a strong foundation to build on for the future. Though research is not officially part of his position as Pastor/professor/counselor here at Augustana, he has certainly supported undergraduate research through this innovative and powerful project.

You can find out more about the topics and schedule here.

Posted in Annual theme, Centenary. | Permalink

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