Posted on April 15, 2015 by Christopher Thrall

COPLAC gives out two prestigious awards each year: the David Prior Award and the Charles Dunn Award. This year, Augustana swept both awards.

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The cake reads, “Augustana Rules! Congratulations, Kim and Ryan!”

“How did a redneck Albertan Outdoor Ed major win an essay contest?” Ryan Lindsay asked with his infectious grin and customary humility. The fourth-year student B.A. student from Wainwright, Alberta, received the David Prior Award for his reflective essay on the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education.

Read My Path: A Contemplative Essay by Ryan Lindsay.

The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) consists of 29 undergraduate campuses that share a mission of liberal arts and sciences education in the public sector. COPLAC gives out two prestigious awards each year: the David Prior Award and the Charles Dunn Award. This year, Augustana swept both awards. On April 14, Augustana celebrated Ryan Lindsay and the Charles Dunn Award recipient, Professor of German and Chair of the Fine Arts and Humanities Department Dr. Kim Misfeldt.

Dr. Kim Misfeldt, recipient of the Charles Dunn Award

“The Charles Dunn Award is new this year,” explained Augustana Dean Dr. Allen Berger. “It is given to a faculty member for extraordinary engagement and support of students, not just in the classroom and faculty member’s office, but beyond. The beyond part is particularly important.”

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Applause for Dr. Kim Misfeldt

Kim has been recognized with an Augustana Distinguished Teaching Award and the University of Alberta Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2013, she received national recognition when she was named a 3M National Teaching Fellow. This year’s award from the international COPLAC membership continues to shine a spotlight on Kim’s dedication to her role.

“It never gets tiresome to talk about Kim’s accomplishments,” said philosophy professor and Associate Dean, Teaching, Dr. Janet Wesselius. In the Charles Dunn Award nomination letter, Janet mentioned Kim’s role as director of the Canadian Summer School in Germany, noted the personal time Kim puts into hosting international students for Thanksgiving every year and included two comments from international students attending Augustana who felt they could come to Kim with any problem – large or small, academic or non.

“One thing I couldn’t say in the letter is how Kim has been a fabulous role model and mentor for me from the time that I came to Augustana,” Janet continued with tears in her eyes. “I am enormously grateful for that.”

“The things I’m recognized for happen because of the people around me,” Kim replied. “Everybody takes part in these things – nothing I do is an individual endeavour. It’s all about community for me; it’s all about sharing.”

Ryan Lindsay, recipient of the David J. Prior Award

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Augustana Dean Dr. Allen Berger congratulates Ryan Lindsay.

“Ryan was in a Globalization and Spirituality course with me last semester,” explains Pastor Craig Wentland, who nominated Ryan Lindsay for the David Prior Award. “When I read Ryan’s essay, it was a moment of joy.”

Ryan’s essay includes dogsledding in the Canadian Arctic, farming in the prairies, finding Aboriginal artifacts, and eviscerating a deer. These stories, however, are told with a purpose. Ryan quotes theorists like John Dewey, Bill McKibben, and Wendell Berry to lend context.

I have found in my liberal arts education that embracing the challenge of life, rather than running from problems, is a more deeply satisfying way for me to live my life.
                – Ryan Lindsay

“Ryan has the amazing ability to examine his experiences through the lens of a liberal arts and sciences education,” says Craig. “He is an example of what we strive for in all our students. I’m honoured to have Ryan as my student and as my friend.”

“I only took one English course during my degree,” Ryan said, “but it was transformative for me. I learned a lot about romanticism and the value of reflection. I just needed to put my experiences on paper and they spoke for themselves.”


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