This is #3 of my brief communications to keep all of us "In the Luther Loop" during this interim year.
In mid-September, I mentioned that faculty teams were helping us prepare for an October workshop with the Regents. The focus was on identifying the leadership we need from our 10th president to advance Luther's distinctive strengths amid five disruptive forces in higher education:
1. The cost and debt spiral for students;
2. The digitization of everything, especially learning;
3. The regrouping of American communities, particularly communities of faith;
4. The changing profile of prospective students; and
5. The measurement of educational excellence by learning results.
The workshop was intense and promising. The challenges are daunting for all of higher education. As a newcomer, I was again impressed by the creativity and engagements which are already underway at Luther College in each of these arenas of change. These "disruptor" conversations are also helping us shape the program review and planning process underway in both the Diversity Center and the Career Center.
The presidential search committee is confidentially exploring a rich list of candidates. This "quiet phase" of the search is designed to protect the candidacy of people who are currently leading in another context. The search is truly a "call process," designed to recruit one or more nominees for review and election by the Board of Regents.
Luther's enrollment has remained strong in a competitive market. The Regents encouraged the whole college to identify and communicate the distinctive benefits of a Luther education in order to increase the yield, enrolling more of those we already selected for admission. In meetings with alumni, we have asked, "When you tell a gifted young person, 'You belong at Luther!' what are you promising?" We would love to hear your answer! How would it compare to what a Luther grad wrote last week?
"Even after over 40 years, my experience at Luther continues to fill my life – in family, church community, business and socially. The foundation for learning was established at Luther and continues today."
I am looking out of the office as winter sweeps over the athletic fields. Congratulations to both cross country teams and to the men's soccer team for making the "big dance" this month! Men's soccer lost a heartbreaker in penalty kicks in the second round of nationals. You had a great run, boys. We're proud of you. Our cross country teams travel to Hanover College to compete in the national tournament tomorrow. Go Norse!
Blessings to each of you as you gather with family and friends at Thanksgiving. And Christmas at Luther is almost here, preparing our hearts for the birth of the Christ child. Soli Deo Gloria!