College students to learn about refugee resettlement during Germany trip

By Bob Ashenmacher

Students from three area colleges will get an up-close experience with refugee resettlement and gain a fresh global perspective during a trip to Germany this spring.

Seventeen students from The College of St. Scholastica, the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the University of Minnesota-Duluth will take a two-week trip to Germany later this month. They’ll leave on May 21, and return on June 2.

The trip leader is Connie Gunderson, associate professor of social work at St. Scholastica. She will be assisted by Michelle Robertson, assistant social work professor; Karen Rosenflanz, associate professor of Global Cultural & Language Studies at St. Scholastica; and Lynn Goerdt, associate professor of social work at UWS. Goerdt and other UWS staff members organized the logistics and financial aspects of the trip, including writing and receiving a grant to defer student costs for the program.

“We wanted to focus on a human rights perspective; a European perspective on the refugee situation,” said Gunderson, who lived and taught in Germany for 23 years and has extensive contacts there. “How do we look at the challenges and opportunities facing communities and refugees that are getting to know each other and living with each other?”

The trip is a follow-up to a visit to Duluth last fall from two of Gunderson’s German contacts who are active in building an assistance network for refugees in their community of Schwerin, Germany. They came to learn about social work practices in the United States, and share their own experiences.

The itinerary, developed by Gunderson, will include visits to Berlin and the Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin (university), named for a major pioneer of social work in Germany. Other stops will include Bremen and Oldenburg. A trip to Schwerin will feature meetings with the mayor, community members, and refugees.

Gunderson said a recurring theme for the trip will be St. Scholastica’s Benedictine values.

“It’s a wonderful fit of how we practice radical hospitality and a sense of community and respect, a love of learning about cultures and each other,” Gunderson said. “I think it’s so important that the students are getting an international perspective on how people approach refugees, people who are different and who are in need.”

The American students will also have a chance to interact with their German counterparts. A visit to the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven will be a highlight, Gunderson said, helping the students make a connection between refugee resettlement throughout history all the way up to the Syrian refugees of today.

“What we’re wanting to do is also grasp a historical perspective,” Gunderson said.

St. Scholastica to host conference on emerging management philosophy

The College of St. Scholastica will host a two-day conference focusing on an emerging management style that helps organizations maximize efficiency by putting their employees first.

The fifth-annual U.S. Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM) Conference takes place on Thursday, May 18 and Friday, May 19 on the St. Scholastica campus.

Developed in the 1970s in Lyon, France, SEAM calculates the human resource-related hidden costs to an organization, from high turnover to low morale. The goal of SEAM is to fully develop the human potential in an organization. Widely recognized in Europe, it is still in its early stages in the U.S. St. Scholastica is one of just a handful of colleges that offers courses about the SEAM management approach.

The conference will include presentations from SEAM founder Henri Savall and other experts, including John Conbere and Alla Heorhiadi. Faculty members from St. Scholastica will discuss SEAM theory, and in particular, the School of Business and Technology’s own experience undergoing a SEAM intervention. Sessions will take place in Burns Wellness Commons room 249.

The conference is being presented by the SEAM Institute in collaboration with St. Scholastica and Institut de socio-economié des enterprises et des organisations (ISEOR), Lyon, France.

Registration is $130 per person and includes lunch both days and conference materials. For more information or to register, visit

The College of St. Scholastica is nationally recognized for quality. Rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and Money magazine classify it as one of the Midwest’s top regional universities. Learn more at

Youth Theology Institute at St. Scholastica returns for second year

Only a few seats remain for the second year of The College of St. Scholastica’s Sacred Word, Sacred World, Sacred Call Youth Theology Institute, which will be held July 7-16 on the College’s Duluth campus.

The Youth Theology Institute is a 10-day retreat at St. Scholastica for rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who have an interest in faith, show a promise for leadership, and love adventures in nature. Participants will study theologies and scriptures of call with theology faculty; engage in service projects with Churches United in Ministry, Community Action Duluth’s Seeds for Success, and Hartley Nature Center; be mentored by current St. Scholastica students; pray and reflect in an ecumenical setting, and explore the shores of Lake Superior. The institute wraps up with a two-and-a-half day wilderness retreat at Cascade River State Park.

Full and partial scholarships are available. More information is available at

The College’s Theology and Religious Studies Department was awarded a $600,000 grant to create and develop the institute. The grant is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

The College of St. Scholastica is nationally recognized for quality. Rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and Money magazine classify it as one of the Midwest’s top regional universities. Learn more at

St. Scholastica partners with Google on computer science education

The College of St. Scholastica is one of only three programs in the nation partnering with Google to address a critical shortage of computer science teachers.

Faculty members at St. Scholastica will use grant funding from Google to integrate CS education into the entire curriculum for students in the college’s teacher education programs. Faculty will be trained to incorporate computational thinking and computer science.

“The lack of qualified CS teachers consistently ranks as a top reason why schools do not offer CS classes,” said Hai Hong of Google’s CS Education Team. “Working with pre-service preparation programs to support the next generation of CS teachers is a critical step to addressing the growing demand for CS education.”

The project will be implemented by a team of St. Scholastica faculty members who are experienced in seeking innovative solutions to the issue of CS teacher shortages.

“Computational thinking is a new literacy,” said Chery Takkunen Lucarelli, professor of education and grant principal investigator. “We want it embedded in the teacher candidate experience. Every teacher will have a foundation in computational thinking.

“Our students are going to have a unique set of skills. Minnesota is not teaching computer science very well, but with this new knowledge, our students can go out into the schools and become change agents.”

She added that the program aligns well with St. Scholastica’s mission of inclusivity.

“We’re learning about how we can broaden participation, encourage and retain underrepresented students in the field,” Lucarelli said. “That’s really important to us and to Google.”

Lucarelli and Jen Rosato, assistant professor of computer information systems, are leaders in this field, having previously received highly competitive grants through a funding program at Google called CS4HS – Computer Science for High Schools. The funding was used to show educators how to teach computer science principles through mobile app development. That program was also awarded grant funds from the National Science Foundation.

The other participating colleges are the University of California at Irvine, the University of Texas at Austin, and Huston-Tillotson University. UTA and HTU are collaborating on the effort.

About St. Scholastica
The College of St. Scholastica is nationally recognized for quality. Rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and Money magazine classify it as one of the Midwest’s top regional universities. Learn more at

About Google
Google creates products to increase access to opportunities for every student, break down barriers and empower people through technology. To help reach these goals, Google works to inspire young people around the world not just to use technology but to create it. More information on Google’s computer science education efforts is available at