Craig Mosher

Associate professor of social work and program director

First year teaching at Luther: 2003

Civil action: Helped coordinate volunteer cleanup of the 1971 oil spill in San Francisco Bay--and testified before Congress about how civilians got organized long before federal aid arrived.

Weekend project: Finishing the house he lives in north of Decorah.

January Term trip: Recently led a Paideia course to Germany and Denmark to study the ethics of alternative energy sources and environmentally sustainable community.

"It's one thing to teach social work, and it's quite another to do it," Craig says. That's why he spends most of his days in the field, getting to know the face of homelessness and its attendants--substance abuse and mental illness--wherever he goes.

Before arriving at Luther, Craig coordinated services for homeless Americans from Iowa City to Oakland, Cal. He also spent three years lobbying for consistent funding for affordable housing across Iowa.

"It's not OK for a country as rich as ours to have so many people living on the streets," he says matter-of-factly.

At Luther, Craig creates opportunities for students to discover causes that resonate with their own convictions. In his social policy course, for example, students take carefully researched social issues to the capitol in Des Moines to meet with policy makers.

"It's meaningful that students work on real stuff--such as drug sentencing laws, the death penalty, renewable energy policy, nursing home regulations, and adoption of special-needs children. When they see a bill pass, they know they've had something to do with it."

Turning attention to rural housing issues, Craig also invites students to work with him in Winneshiek County's Habitat for Humanity chapter, which has financed and built 18 homes in 17 years. He's currently helping to replicate the program in neighboring counties.

"As a college of the church, Luther attracts students who know there's a certain spiritual significance to being of help to others," he says. "In our department, we're able to talk about spirituality and its power to affect change--a connection far from natural at other institutions I've taught in. I'm excited that the idea fits really well here."

Craig Mosher