Message from Dean Demetres Tryphonopoulos

A photo of dean Demetres Tryphonopoulos

On behalf of my colleagues at Augustana Campus, University of Alberta, I wish to welcome you to our faculty and to introduce you to the innovative, interdisciplinary and novel range of programs we offer. As an undergraduate liberal arts and science campus, Augustana is as singular as it is distinct: over its long history, Augustana has come to enjoy a place of pride and innovation in Camrose and the surrounding community as well as within the University of Alberta.

Augustana: Then and Now

Established in 1910—110 years ago! —by Norwegian settlers, Camrose Lutheran College became a university degree-granting institution in 1985. Its current name dates from 1991, Augustana being a reference to Confessio Augustana, the Lutheran Confession of Faith. Indeed, Augustana reflects a tradition of excellence that goes back to its very founding. While valuing diversity, inclusiveness and freedom of expression, Augustana also maintains a close connection to its origins by championing the ideals of liberal education, including the exercise of moral and intellectual rigour; the goal of achieving personal wholeness; being of service to others as an act of leadership; and the promotion of a spirit of cooperation among all students, faculty and staff.

Augustana became part of the University of Alberta on July 1, 2004 and now holds an inimitable place within the university, which is defined in For the Public Good, UAlberta’s strategic plan, as “a living laboratory for teaching and learning innovation to the benefit of the entire university.” Our academic calendar is, undeniably, a living, evolving, innovative laboratory for teaching and learning that includes the “3-11” calendar and First Year Seminar (both introduced in 2017); interdisciplinary programs of study such as Law, Crime and Justice Studies, Ethics and Global Studies and Creativity and Culture; and a revised core program that allows students the opportunity to work together to tackle real-world issues.

Indeed, this is a very exciting and auspicious period in Augustana's history and development: Our innovative learning environment is designed to provide students with the skills—critical and creative thinking, oral and written communication, complex problem solving and the ability to collaborate effectively—which employers continue to identify and value as crucial to success in the workplace. Students are encouraged to confront societal problems with personal integrity and to internalize the requisite self-awareness, open-mindedness and empathy necessary for a life of lifelong learning and employment but also personal success in the context of an ever-changing, challenging world.

Augustana’s curriculum emphasizes innovation, interdisciplinarity and the cultivation of students’ curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Our world-class faculty members are excellent teachers and active researchers, writers, performers and artists. Their commitment to innovative pedagogy and their successes in their individual disciplines translate into unique and lively classroom experiences. Besides being excellent academics, my colleagues are also truly committed to student success.

In the Face of COVID-19 and Unprecedented Change

Now more than ever, our mandate and instructor complement have positioned us well in the face of the challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The resilience of our students, staff and faculty members were in clear evidence during the Spring of 2020 with a quick and successful transition to remote delivery of our programs. Over the last several months, instructors, administrators and support staff have continued to work tirelessly to ensure students continue to receive the world-class educational experience for which the U of A in general and specifically, Augustana, are well known. The innovation and commitment of our instructors but also our students’ willingness to explore new ways of thinking and learning have ensured success now and into the future.

Let it be said as well, that Augustana and the University of Alberta more generally are also going through a period of radical transformation. The University of Alberta for Tomorrow is an ambitious plan for the future of the university, which Bill Flanagan, our new President and Vice-Chancellor has envisioned and is working diligently and imaginatively with others to implement. This plan for restructuring is tackling budgetary realities and other challenges facing the university and is designed to ensure that we remain committed to excellence in teaching, learning and research across the entire institution. For 15 years now, Augustana has played an important role within the University of Alberta and rural Alberta in general. It will continue to offer liberal arts and science programming to Alberta’s rural and urban population as well as students from across Canada and, indeed, the entire globe.

Augustana’s mission calls for students, faculty and staff to work together so that students may have an opportunity to discover their calling and build the foundation for a successful life, a satisfying career and engaged citizenship. Here at Augustana, we are intent on helping students become well equipped for the challenges of the 21st century—and, moreover, become influential voices and leaders in their chosen fields and communities. I’m thrilled to be working at one of the top universities in Canada and to have the opportunity to collaborate with an excellent and dedicated group of colleagues in undertaking a series of curricular exercises that promise to transform Augustana and make its programs more competitive and better designed—all in the interest of serving our students’ educational needs and aspirations.

Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos
Dean, Augustana Faculty & Executive Officer, Augustana Campus