Derrick Lindstrom Receives Innovative Leadership Award

Photo of Derrick Lindstrom

Derrick Lindstrom, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Cultures at Minneapolis College, has been recognized by St. Cloud State University with the Christine M. Imbra Innovative Leadership Award. The award recognizes dedicated professionals who demonstrate leadership and innovation in the field of higher education.

The Auggie Plan's Defined Pathway

Lindstrom was selected for the award on the strength and replication of the Auggie Plan. “The Auggie Plan allows students to follow a defined pathway to earn their two-year associate degree from Minneapolis College and seamlessly transfer to Augsburg University to finish their bachelor’s degree," said Lindstrom. "Unlike traditional articulation agreements, the Auggie Plan is one pathway that satisfies all of the pre-major requirements for more than 50 different bachelor’s degrees." He credits the collaborative efforts of numerous faculty and staff at Minneapolis College and Augsburg for the plan's success.

“Through the Auggie Plan, if students complete 60 credits at Minneapolis College with a 2.75 GPA or better, they are guaranteed admission to Augsburg University. The Auggie Plan provides opportunities for students least likely served by higher education. Since students who complete the Auggie Plan enter Augsburg at the junior level, many will qualify for scholarships. This makes it possible to earn a four-year private college degree with needs-based grants, manageable student loans and no out of pocket costs for tuition, effectively reducing the price of a four-year Augsburg degree from $140,000 to $15,000, a savings of 89%.”

Inspired and Pushed to Grow

Lindstrom finds inspiration for his work at Minneapolis College in many places. “Historically, I draw inspiration from my father. He literally broke his back working for the railroad so that his kids could go to college and get a good job,” said Lindstrom. “And from my mom, who found a way to balance the family budget so we did get to college.” Lindstrom also credits his wife Christina, a middle school teacher, who continuously “demonstrates what student-centered inclusive teaching looks like.”  Every day, Lindstrom also draws from the students, faculty and staff at Minneapolis College. “I am continuously influenced, inspired and pushed to grow by this community of learners and educators,” he said. "All of these people and many more are motivation for me to remain student-focused first as an instructor and now as a dean.”

Award Honors Exemplar of Innovative Leadership

The Innovative Leadership Award honors the work of Christine M. Imbra, professor emerita of Higher Education Administration at St. Cloud State University. Nominees for the award must demonstrate evidence of developing and implementing an innovative program, practice or service that improves the institution and supports students as leaders, scholars, researchers and/or community members. Their work must also show a strong commitment to excellence in the field of higher education through leadership, scholarship and/or practice.

Fellow College staff members Tom Williamson, Gail O’Kane and Tina Langseth nominated Lindstrom for the award. All higher education professionals in the state of Minnesota are eligible for nomination regardless of department, unit or division. Nominees must be full-time employees with a minimum of two years of professional experience in higher education. Lindstrom is the second person to receive this award.