About

The Office of Academic Affairs, under the leadership of the Provost and Chief Academic Officer, oversees the University’s academic programs and supports their work in educating students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The Office of Academic Affairs works with faculty and staff in the University’s fifty-six undergraduate program areas and nine graduate programs to offer an engaging, high-quality educational experience for an intentionally diverse mix of learners.

Jump to: Academic Affairs Office Staff | Academic Affairs Leadership Team (AALT) | Faculty Directors in Academic Affairs

Contact Information

Phone: 612-330-1024

Mailing Address:
2211 Riverside Avenue, CB 136
Minneapolis, MN 55454

Academic Affairs Office Staff

Provost Karen Kaivola
Dr. Karen Kaivola

Karen Kaivola, Ph.D.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

As Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Karen Kaivola is responsible for the academic program at Augsburg University: she oversees undergraduate and graduate, liberal arts, and professional studies. The Provost provides intellectual and administrative leadership of the faculty, supervises the academic deans, serves on the President’s Cabinet, participates in strategic planning, and determines budget priorities for the academic program. She also has administrative responsibility for the Office of Academic Affairs, the Library, the Registrar’s Office, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Sabo Center for Citizenship and Learning, and the Center for Global Education as well as other international initiatives and programs.

Kaivola assumed the the role of Provost at Augsburg University on July 1, 2013. Prior to that appointment, she served as the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and J. Ollie Edmunds Chair at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. During her twenty-two years at Stetson, Kaivola taught courses on 20th-century literature and theory, modernism, and gender studies. Author of All Contraries Confounded, she has also published in a range of scholarly journals. Her most recent article, “Revisiting the Ramsays: Love, Alterity, and the Ethics of Difference in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse,” was published in Literature, Interpretation, Theory in Summer 2013. At Stetson, she also held administrative posts as Senior Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and University Adviser on Gender Equity. Kaivola earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington.


Monica Devers, Ph.D.
Dean of Professional Studies

Dr. Monica Devers became Augsburg’s Dean of Professional Studies in August, 2017. She was a faculty member at St. Cloud State from 1998 to 2017 and served as chair for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the university’s College of Fine Arts and Humanities. Devers most recently served as the inaugural dean of Health and Human Services at St. Cloud State University.

Devers completed her Ph.D. and Master of Arts in communication sciences and disorders at the University of Minnesota. She also holds a Master of Arts in English and politics and a Master of Science in information technology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.


Keith Gilsdorf, Ph.D.
Interim Dean of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Economics

Dr. Keith Gilsdorf serves as the Interim Dean Arts & Sciences during the 2017-18 academic year and served as the Interim Dean of Professional Studies during the 2015-2016 and 2016-17 academic years. He has been a member of economics department since 2001, and currently serves as department chair. Dr. Gilsdorf received his bachelor’s degree from Moorhead State University, his master’s from North Dakota State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Patrick Mulvihill, M.A.
Assistant Provost of Global Education and Experience

Patrick received his bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and his master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Before coming to Augsburg, he served as the Director of Operations at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) for twelve years and as Chief Operating Officer and Director of European & USA Service Programs at Global Volunteers, a service-learning organization in the field of human and economic development, for seven years.

Areas of Responsibility: The Center for Global Education and Experience. Study abroad and study away, including Faculty-led off-campus programs. Internationalization of academic programs and curriculum. Strategic recruitment and retention of international students (in collaboration with other college divisions). Nobel Peace Prize Forum.


Catherine Bishop, J.D.
Chief Student Success Officer; Program Director, Student Success Initiatives

Katie Bishop received her bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and her J.D. from the William Mitchell College of Law.

Areas of Responsibility: Gage Center for Student Success; Strommen Center for Meaningful Work; Student retention and success efforts; AugSem (first-year experience); AU program analysis and transition (adult undergraduate program).


Nathan Hallanger, Ph.D.
Director of Academic Administration

Nate Hallanger is a graduate of Augustana College (SD), Harvard Divinity School, and the Graduate Theological Union.

Areas of Responsibility: Accreditation liaison with the Higher Learning Commission; operations for the academic programs and departments; budgeting and forecasting for academic affairs; data analysis; survey reporting; oversight of faculty contracts and payroll.


Judi Green, M.A.
Executive Assistant to the Provost

Judi Green is a graduate of Bethel University. She received her master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.

Areas of Responsibility: Support for the Provost; scheduling for Provost and Deans. Supports the Committee on Tenure and Promotion. Oversees full-time faculty recruiting. Supports commencement and academic university events.


Natalie Dinki
Academic Affairs Coordinator

Natalie Dinki is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Areas of Responsibility: Faculty contracting and payroll; new faculty on-boarding; changes to courses and faculty workloads; classroom assignments; travel reimbursements for Center for Teaching and Learning.


Mara Kilgore
Administrative Assistant for Academic Affairs

Mara Kilgore is a graduate of Carleton College.

Areas of Responsibility: Support for Faculty Senate; curriculum committees (Academic Affairs Committee and Graduate Academic Affairs Committee); general education; Center for Teaching and Learning; assessment; new faculty orientation. Supports faculty and department chairs in American Indian Studies, Economics, English, History, Languages and Cross-Cultural Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology.


Jacob Walter
Administrative Assistant for Natural Sciences, Math, and Psychology

Jacob Walter is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Areas of Responsibility: Support for faculty and department chairs in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics, & Computer Science, Physics, and Psychology.


Academic Affairs Leadership Team

The Academic Affairs Leadership Team (AALT) includes the Provost, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dean of Professional Studies, Assistant Provost of Global Education and Experience, Chief Student Success Officer, Director of Academic Administration, and the following administrators located elsewhere in the Academic Affairs division:

Rob BlankenshipRon Blankenship, MBA, Director, Adult Undergraduate Program; Coordinator, Strategic Partnerships; Interim Director, Rochester

Ron Blankenship is a graduate from Christian Brothers University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and then continued his studies to earn an MBA. He worked at his alma mater serving as the Director of Academics in Graduate & Professional Studies. After transitioning to Charleston, SC, he worked as an academic advisor at the College of Charleston. He and his family transitioned to the twin cities in 2009, where he worked as the Director of Academic Advising at Walden University.


Crystal ComerCrystal Comer, MS, Registrar

Crystal Comer is a graduate of Bemidji State University and Minnesota State University, Mankato. Prior to joining Augsburg in 2012, she worked at MSU Mankato, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU), and Metropolitan State University.


Mary HollerichMary Hollerich, MS, Library Director

Mary Hollerich is a two-time alumna of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has her AB in Germanic Languages and Literatures and MS in Library and Information Science. She has worked in academic research libraries for 30 years, most recently as Assistant Dean for Scholarly Resources and Research Services at Southern Methodist University. Mary is an active member in the American Library Association (ALA) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and serves on editorial boards for two library science journals.


Elaine EschenbacherElaine Eschenbacher, MA, Director of the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship

Elaine Eschenbacher earned her master’s degree in leadership from Augsburg University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining Augsburg, Elaine served as Associate Director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Elaine now directors the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship here at Augsburg University, a center that integrates rich histories of civic engagement, experiential education, and democracy building in a vibrant center with local, regional, national, and international reach.


Faculty Directors in Academic Affairs

Kristen Chamberlain, Ph.D.
Director of Assessment

Jacqueline deVries, Ph.D.
Director of General Education

Tim Pippert, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning