St. Ambrose to offer face-to-face classes, events this fall

For The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University is making plans for a return to “responsible normalcy” for the 2021-2022 academic year, which will begin Aug. 23.

This means students may take a full schedule of face-to-face classes and a normal schedule of curricular and extra-curricular activities.

“We are basing these plans on the growing availability of vaccines and positive public-health trends,” St. Ambrose University President Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, said in a statement to students, faculty and staff. “Of course, among the many lessons we have learned through the past year is the need for careful preparations and readiness to adapt as circumstances warrant. These contingencies are part of our 2021-2022 planning process, too.”

St. Ambrose has been open most of the 2020-2021 academic year but with nearly all courses offered as a hybrid combination of in-class and online learning. The hybrid accommodates social distancing and other safety protocols recommended by public health experts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

University leaders have begun making plans to offer the more standard academic and campus experience that students and their parents both have said they desire. “We have learned many lessons living and working through a year of historic, pandemic-related challenges. One thing we have been especially gratified to rediscover is how our students truly want and value a full St.

Ambrose University education and campus experience,” Sister Lescinski said. “Students want to interact with faculty members and classmates face-to-face, to fully partake in extracurricular activities, and to be immersed in the invigorating growth and self-discovery that is the best part of what St. Ambrose has to offer.”

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St. Ambrose participates in transfer majors program

For The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University is the second Iowa private university to join the statewide Transfer Majors Associate Degree program. Community college graduates from across the state can now enroll in 11 St. Ambrose degree programs prepared to succeed and on schedule to graduate by having completed core courses in their intended major while earning their associate degree.

St. Ambrose has more than 60 undergraduate programs. The programs included in the statewide agreement are Business, Chemistry, Communications, Criminal Justice, English, History, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work and Sociology.

The Iowa Board of Education introduced the Transfer Majors program in 2018 to ensure that graduates of Iowa community colleges could transition smoothly to four-year state institutions, with all credits fully accepted and the opportunity to affordably graduate in four semesters.

Iowa community college graduates will take at least 18 hours of core curriculum courses in their four-year major and then enroll in upper-level courses on arrival at St. Ambrose. The university has had a Major Transfers agreement for two years with nearby Scott, Clinton and Muscatine community colleges — the collective members of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.

Now, SAU can offer the same advantage to graduates of 10 additional community college systems — Des Moines Area, Hawkeye, Iowa Central, Iowa Lakes, Iowa Valley, Kirkwood, North Iowa Area, Northeast Iowa, Northwest Iowa and Western Iowa Tech.

“These students will start at the third-year level and on the same path to graduate as students who started here as first-year students,” said Maureen Baldwin, St. Ambrose dean of student academic services and community college relations. “There is a definite affordability advantage in that they can graduate within four semesters.”

St. Ambrose also offers a Dual Admission Program to community college students who enroll prior to completing their associate degree work. The benefits include a $1,000 dual admission scholarship; early access to academic advising; an SAU student ID to access to the SAU Library; use of the Wellness and Recreation Center; access to events at the Galvin Fine Arts Center and guidance from the Career Center while they are still enrolled in community college.

“Transfer students are St. Ambrose students, even before they get here,” said Paul Koch, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs. “We value and welcome them, and encourage them to get to know the campus and the SAU community as soon as possible. We want them to maximize their Ambrosian experience.”
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KALA, SAU theatre department win national award

For The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — A spirit of innovation and collaboration in the face of an unprecedented challenge helped the St. Ambrose University Theatre Department and KALA-FM, the public radio station on campus, earn a first-place national award.

During its March 6 conference, the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System presented an award for Best Radio Drama to St. Ambrose for its fall 2020 performance of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, “An Enemy of the People.”

The St. Ambrose submission won first-place honors over nominated performances by the University of Virginia, Kansas University, DePaul University, Montclair State University and Chapman University. It marked the second straight first-place award for KALA, as Sharon (Adasme) Bentley, ’20, won the Best Newscast award a year ago. St. Ambrose’s radio play also was honored as an invited submission at the virtual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region IV in January.

“An Enemy of the People” aired on KALA radio during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic protocols led theatre professor Corrine Johnson to accept a longstanding invitation from KALA station manager Dave Baker to perform a play as a radio broadcast.

“We’re delighted,” Johnson said of the national honor for her actors, who adapted to a new way of performing and learned new ways of conveying characters and emotions. “It was a wonderful experience.”

In casting for the radio play, Johnson said she turned her back to the actors to better understand the range of voices and to be certain each voice was distinctive enough to be recognized in character by listeners. The cast included December graduate T.J. Green ’20, seniors Luke Peterson, Anthony Duckett, Tyler Hughes and Niki Dewitt and sophomores Peyton Reese and Quinnie Rodman.

The award is especially welcome for a theatre department in transition. The theatre major will be discontinued, but Paul Koch, PhD, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, said theatre education will be ongoing and annual performances will remain a staple St. Ambrose activity.

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