Graduates of Luther College are individuals with disciplined and inquisitive minds, equipped to understand and confront a changing society, and committed to using their talents to serve the common good. As a liberal arts college of the church, Luther seeks to ensure that all students will grow in knowledge and abilities and mature in values during their undergraduate years and be motivated to continue this growth throughout their lives. The college expects students to pursue these goals in both independent and collaborative settings. It provides an environment in which students are active participants in shaping their intellectual and personal development.
As a liberal arts college, we expect our students to demonstrate a breadth of knowledge, including understanding major intellectual, artistic, and social landmarks in human history and also how to use the methodologies from different disciplines. We also expect our students to demonstrate a depth of knowledge in a particular area (i.e., a major).
Luther students should be able to engage in ethical, critical inquiry; demonstrate the ability to reason successfully; and demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively.
Luther students should mature in values during their undergraduate years, engaging critically in the dialogue between faith and learning, better understanding Christianity and other religious traditions, responding to ethical challenges, and developing a sense of vocation.
Luther's goals for student learning are sufficiently broad that they can be realized across fields of study and course content. Progress toward learning goals is measured in a variety of ways—both directly and indirectly—so students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Feedback forms discussions and decisions about academic curricula and student programming.
For example, one of our goals of student learning, the ability to communicate, is "writing with fluency, clarity, and coherence.” One way growth in writing ability has been measured is through a collection and blind review of student papers by faculty readers (direct assessment) coupled with analysis of student responses to new survey questions asking about writing skills and growth (indirect assessment). Based on the results of this study, suggestions to improve student writing at Luther included improved communication of faculty expectations and greater visibility for the Writing Center.
At Luther, we take student learning seriously. Our Assessment and Institutional Research Office is constantly measuring how learning goals are being realized in the day-to-day classroom experiences of our students and how coursework is connected to departmental objectives, all-college learning goals, and ultimately to the mission of the college. We strive to create a culture of improvement.