About UAlberta's Augustana Campus

A Merger several years in the Making

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A photo of former U of A Provost and vice-president (academic) Dr. Carl Amrhein
U of A provost and vice-president (academic) Dr. Carl Amrhein
A merger of these two century-old institutions was several years in the making. U of A provost and vice-president (academic) Carl Amrhein—who still serves in the same role today—was one of those integral to the process.

“Augustana shares the University of Alberta’s commitment to serving the community with the highest educational standards, and we are proud to have them as part of the University of Alberta family,” said Amrhein in 2004. “We saw tremendous goodwill and co-operation between staff at both institutions during the complex merge process, with dedicated teams addressing countless details from academic programs, to computing systems, to staff agreements and infrastructure.”

“The support from the senior administration at the U of A was tremendous and visionary,” said political studies professor Roger Epp, who would go on to become the first dean of Augustana Campus. “There is value in offering degrees embedded in different settings. Augustana has always maintained a broad liberal arts and interdisciplinary focus on our rural campus, alongside a curriculum based on the research and teaching strengths of our faculty. Difference is good for the university.”

A photo of former Augustana Dean Roger Epp
Political studies professor Roger Epp, who would go on to become the first dean of Augustana Campus

Inspired by former AUC president Richard Husfloen's vision, Augustana interim president Ted Langford’s careful planning during the negotiating year included several agreements. The Augustana University College board requested that Augustana continue to focus on undergraduate liberal arts and sciences, that there be a centre for the study of religion in public life and an ongoing chaplaincy presence, and that all Augustana employees would be offered employment within the university. To finalize the deal, the Government of Alberta committed to a significant investment in the campus to clear debt, increase Augustana’s operating budget and update facilities across the campus—including a new library, opened in 2009.

“One size doesn’t fit all,” said then U of A president Rod Fraser during the 2004 signing ceremony in Camrose. “There are rural or Aboriginal students for whom the thought of attending classes that have more students than the population of their hometown can be frightening. Some students prefer to take their degree in a smaller learning institution.”

The Augustana Advantage within the University of Alberta

Augustana quickly adapted its degree programs to suit U of A requirements in arts, sciences, music and management, while maintaining its characteristic liberal arts and sciences approach.

Augustana Dean Dr. Allen Berger
Augustana Dean Dr. Allen Berger

“Following the merger, we began offering the Augustana Advantage,” says Dean Allen Berger from his office in the new Forum Building, where he can simultaneously watch construction on the new Performing Arts Centre and renovations to the century-old Founders’ Hall. “Here, students can earn an undergraduate degree from one of the top five universities in Canada – one of the top hundred in the world. But they do so in a unique setting characterized by a close-knit residential community, small class sizes, supportive relationships with faculty and staff mentors, and rich opportunities for international study, community-service learning, outdoor experiences, interdisciplinary work, and undergraduate research.”

Ten years later, the vision that Chester Ronning and others had for Camrose Lutheran College is still present in the campus commitment to the Augustana Core of liberal arts and sciences education and a mission to educate the whole person. Founders’ Hall is receiving a facelift for its next hundred years of service. Augustana Campus celebrated its centenary in 2011, which might not have been possible without the merger.

 

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