Five ways Augustana students are preparing for the future

Discover some of the ways Augustana staff, faculty, students and community members have worked together to prepare for tomorrow.

Sydney Tancowny - 30 June 2022

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As a liberal arts and sciences campus, Augustana provides students with an education that is adaptable — no matter the career or community in which they may find themselves.

During the 2021-22 academic year, Augustana helped students develop skills that will become invaluable during and following their time on campus. And in many cases, these skills have been developed alongside community partners for mutual benefit. 

Here, you can take a peek into how Augustana students are preparing for the future.


1. By creating musical connections

In fall 2020, the Music Division at Augustana welcomed students into a new program designed to better prepare music students for future careers. Even the world’s top performers regularly engage in musical teaching; so, the music program  was reimagined with this in mind. This year, students took two completely new courses guided by the focus of the program: associate professor Ardelle Ries’ The Child Voice and ATS assistant lecturer Stephanie Schuurman-Olson’s Music Education. Both courses took advantage of the Music Division’s strong connection to our Camrose community. The Child Voice saw students engaging with community members from Augustana’s Music Conservatory, while Music Education partnered students with the campus’ Music with Children and Keyboard Explorers program, the band program at École Charlie Killam School and private music instructors in the Camrose community. By learning alongside these groups, students were able to test practical applications of their education and further develop skills needed for life after graduation.


2. By enhancing their data literacy

Data can help us understand much of our world and how it operates. For instance, national surveys can provide insights essential for problem solving and better strategy. Knowing how to collect data is an important part of this process. However, these data still need to be analyzed to determine what story they tell. This is why this past year professor Paula Marentette’s Introductory Applied Statistics course took a new approach. Instead of having first-year students memorize formulas and learn how to run data sets manually (which is rarely done in the working world), they instead learned how to address real-world problems by analyzing data. Supported by large research databases and tutorials run by students in a senior stats class, student groups learned how to develop and answer self-directed research questions like, ‘What effects did COVID-19 have on employment and income in Canada?’’ Open to students from all disciplines and running again next academic year, more students will continue to learn how data analysis can apply to their future careers.


3. By addressing rural needs 

Rural communities have needs that aren’t present in urban communities. In acknowledgement of this, students in adjunct professor Clark Banack’s Rural Government and Community Development course took part in Community Service-Learning placements to learn about and address these needs. Students worked with both the County of Camrose and the Rural Municipalities Association to put theory into practice. From exploring the practical implementation of electric vehicle charging within the county’s Land Use bylaw, to researching strategies to support rural municipalities to mitigate disastrous impacts of climate change, to applying a rural lens to provincial and municipal policy, students worked to address current and emerging needs in rural communities.


4. By sharing information in new ways 

During the course of their degree, all Augustana students work with community organizations to tackle contemporary challenges. In the Winter 2022 term, associate professor Andrea Korda’s Community Project course saw students working with the Camrose and District Centennial Museum. While Korda approached the museum for this partnership, it was museum staff who suggested projects that met their needs, including creating virtual tours to reach people in new ways. As a result, student groups worked to create their own proposal and detailed work plan to complete virtual tours of their chosen building. Students were then tasked with putting their plan into action – directing and organizing their work in between learning from guest lecturers, including the director of Digital Museums Alberta and a learning specialist in presentation skills. In this way, students gained valuable work experience in project creation and execution while also meeting their degree requirements. Student-created tours will be on the museum website this summer. 


5. By incorporating Indigenous knowledge

Offering an education that crosses disciplines, Augustana recognizes there is rarely one way to learn about a topic. Studying various perspectives on one topic can often enrich students’ learning. This year, two science courses (Resource and Environmental Management and Plant Biology) welcomed Victoria Delorme, student experience Coordinator in Indigenous Student Services, to discuss Indigenous ways of knowing with students. In these courses, students had the opportunity to learn about the ways Indigenous knowledge can (and should) have an equal role in natural resource management, as well as the importance plants such as sage and sweetgrass (found on campus) have for Indigenous peoples. By highlighting various outlooks related to their course content, students were able to develop a deeper understanding of how different communities engage with their field. Future collaborations are being planned for students in science courses in the coming academic year — first by using campus resources (both land and staff knowledge) and later expanding to connect institutional knowledge with Knowledge Keepers.



These are only some of the ways Augustana is preparing for the future. Want to learn more? Be sure to visit our Get Involved section to discover what’s happening on campus and stay connected, all year long.