During the 2016–2017 academic year, the Luther College community engaged in a comprehensive process to reflect on the current state of the college and to discern together the priorities and vision that will drive our next strategic plan. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators, regents, alumni, parents, and friends of the college participated in an iterative series of forums, interviews, and surveys. The process provided an assessment of the strengths of the college and an affirmation of the relevance and power of Luther’s high-quality, residential liberal arts education. It also revealed challenges to our business model, as well as the ways in which we have fallen short of our ideals.
We heard affirmation of our historical strengths, tempered by the acknowledgment that we can neither rest on them nor reject questions about how students may experience them today and in the future. We received fervent calls for our community to reflect more fully the growing diversity in society and to ensure that our policies and practices promote welcome, equity, and justice. We heard a variety of perspectives on both our location and the relevance and meaning of our identity as a college of the church. We saw many challenges, but we also saw exciting, inspiring opportunities to build on Luther’s strengths through initiatives that foster innovation and stimulate us to develop in new and compelling ways. Academic excellence across our programs, a vibrant sense of community, the depth and quality of faculty-student engagement and student support, and the ways academic, co-curricular, and residential life intersect to prepare students for rewarding lives and careers — these are essential qualities of the Luther community that we seek to enhance and strengthen in the challenging environment we are experiencing for liberal arts education.
Our new strategic plan — “Inspired. Empowered. Engaged.” builds upon principles that have been fundamental to Luther College since our founding in 1861. It also propels us to build on these principles to create, articulate, and deliver an educational experience for the 21st century. The goals and objectives of the strategic plan intersect and interrelate, creating a synergy of efforts by programs and offices across the college to build on our strengths and equip us to achieve our strategic priorities.