Hearts Together in The Holy Land
During an inaugural Winterim trip, CUW and CUAA students walked where Jesus walked.
Service is central to Concordia’s mission. Indeed, our Mission Statement compels us to help students develop in mind, body, and spirit “for service to Christ in the Church and world.” This year’s theme, “Steadfast Service,” is drawn from St. Paul’s encouragement in I Corinthians 15 to “always abound in the work of the Lord.” The fact that His words come at the very end of the “Great Resurrection Chapter” reminds us of our inspiration for service. More to the point, our steadfast service, just like Concordia’s reason for being, is driven by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.“Our steadfast service, just like Concordia’s reason for being, is driven by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The resurrection of Jesus, it must be admitted, has inspired Christians to remarkable examples of steadfast service through the centuries. Since our founding in 1881, scores of Concordians are included in that number. The same is true today. This annual University Report allows a glimpse at examples of Concordia faculty, staff, and students living out the university’s mission steadfastly and in remarkable ways.
One of the advantages of my own service at Concordia extending for 26 years, including the last 20 as president, is the opportunity to observe Concordians in action over time. “Abounding in the work of the Lord,” as the Apostle urges, because Jesus, the Suffering Servant, is raised from the dead. These days the children of those who were students at Concordia when I first arrived in the early 1990s have begun to enroll. From one generation to the next the promise is passed along, and like the Concordians who came before them today’s Concordia University Wisconsin students are eager to serve. May the risen Lord Jesus continue to bless them and use them to His glory!
Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, Ph.D.
When “strategic planning” is central to your work, you come to expect various reactions from people, ranging from dread to guarded interest to those few genuinely jazzed individuals who are as enthusiastic about planning as you are.
I can’t blame folks for this general lack of excitement. After all, at its most expected and least thrilling, strategy is defined as a plan of action to achieve an overall aim. Hold steady, right? At its most interesting, however, strategy takes on more vigor: the art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle. Now that sounds intriguing, yes?
A friend who served many years as a Navy SEAL helped me to appreciate this flavor of strategy, which is guided by an idea known as the “Commander’s Intent.” In this approach, while there is certainly a plan that outlines the operation, what is most critical to the mission’s success is not checking off a locked set of tasks but, rather, accomplishing the goal using a shared set of strategic principles, which guide and direct action even if (when) the “plan” goes awry.
In the end, strategic planning isn’t what triumphs on the field of battle, but strategic thinking and strategic action.
You don’t have to know much about today’s higher education landscape to appreciate the parallels to a battlefield. We know that to meet our mission, in fact to exist into the future, we must consider, measure, assess, and plan carefully. But we must also innovate, imagine, take action, and risk boldly.
This University Report outlines Concordia University’s strategic action, not just our plans, in five core performance areas:
Our action is powered by a passionate pursuit of four core “Mission Vision Themes”—Faith and Learning, Impact Through Service, Purposeful Growth, and Access and Opportunity—and that’s how this report is structured.“As a distinctively Christ-led university, we exist to prepare people for lives of rich and abundant service in the Name of Christ Jesus.”
Our planning is both incredibly complex and incredibly simple.
The work is complex because Concordia University, by God’s goodness, is a multifaceted, multi-state, multi-national organization serving thousands of students; employing hundreds of people; and interacting with dozens and dozens of constituents, corporations, church organizations, and the like. We have complex, often complicated, work to accomplish, and the context in which we work—with increased threats and challenges on every side—is incredibly volatile.
And yet as a distinctively Christ-led university our work is very simple.
We exist to prepare people for lives of rich and abundant service in the Name of Christ Jesus. We educate and mentor. We champion and guide, and, ultimately, we help our students achieve their God-given potentials.
Enjoy this report, and with us rejoice in the great Mission that with you we share: to proclaim Christ throughout the Church and the world.
We Are Concordia,
Senior Vice President
Office of Strategy and University Affairs
Concordia students learn in innovative, Christ-centered environments. Our academic programs are rigorous and diverse, consistent with the needs of the Church and our communities. Our Christian faculty are outstanding teachers and mentors, active in scholarship and service, and successfully connect faith to learning.
This year we pursued three strategic goals to achieve an ever-more excellent faith and learning experience at Concordia University.
This year yielded fresh avenues for teaching lifelong personal spiritual practices on both residential campuses.
In Wisconsin, Campus Ministry launched the first round of training for campus “faith associates.” These five students will be placed in freshmen residence halls (beginning fall 2017) to foster spiritual growth and connections, especially among new students.
In Ann Arbor, a similar plan will be engaged. There, campus ministry coordinators function in many ways, including as part of residence hall life. The Ann Arbor campus has also embraced a campus-wide emphasis on prayer and personal prayer practices. In 2016–17, two unique prayer series were offered as part of regular campus Chapel, while throughout Lent the entire campus participated in a 40-day prayer challenge.
On both campuses, these initiatives were shaped by the input of students as part of the first-ever comprehensive Spiritual Life Survey, which was conducted by the Office of Institutional Research during the 2015–16 and 2016–17 academic years.
To better meet the pressing needs of both the Church and society, the Core Task Force, a special committee of the faculty, plans to approve a newly updated Core curriculum that embraces our distinctive Lutheran theology, while providing a dynamic education that will equip our students to achieve their God-given potential in 21st century career contexts. The Concordia Core is a common set of courses designed to form a distinctive identity in our graduates so they may carry our mission, and their vocation, out into their families, communities, and the world at large.
Common readings in one or more classes will foster a university-wide discussion of important topics and present opportunities for symposia and/or guest speakers, furthering the development of an intellectual community on campus. A number of these courses will be interdisciplinary, utilizing multiple instructors, giving students a broader, integrated learning experience.
The Core curriculum embraces six Core Themes as central to student intellectual inquiry and growth. Within these themes, students will enjoy choice and flexibility to maximize their interests and the needs of their programs by selecting courses that have a direct impact on their educational goals. Taken as a whole, the new Core promises a meaningful integration of faith and learning, and the development of skills necessary for successful vocations.
Ensuring that we remain vigilant to meet an array of vocational goals is of critical concern to Concordia University. Moving swiftly is not generally a strength in higher education nor is quick always best. Still; our academic leadership is focused on propelling forward, redeveloping the process for program development to better meet the needs of 21c students. We are intent on making the right moves into new degree, program, and certificate options for our students, from the traditional undergraduate level to the accelerated adult and graduate levels.
During an inaugural Winterim trip, CUW and CUAA students walked where Jesus walked.
Five CUW professors defend the value of a liberal arts approach to education.
A CUW student is moved to be baptized at her home congregation.
A near-fatal car crash increased Class of 2017 graduate Adam Waggoner’s faith and appreciation for others.
Concordia University Online ranks 2nd in Wisconsin’s “Best Online Schools” –Community for Accredited Online Schools
CUW undergrads who say faculty effectively integrate Christian faith into their classes
The top degree-seeking programs of study
Concordia impacts the Church and world, developing globally minded citizens who transform lives, influence communities, and value their neighbors near and far, through Christ-like service and leadership. This year we focused on strategies close to home and with a global emphasis, as we endeavored to live this unique theme.
Ensuring that Concordians have meaningful global experiences prepares our students for lives of service to Christ in the Church and throughout the world. Creating strategic and intentional interactions between each of our academic schools and international counterparts is a clear focus of that work.
This year brought many opportunities for enhanced connectivity between Concordia University, most spurred by the Concordia International Center housed on the Wisconsin campus, and partner institutions worldwide.
Close to home or across the world, Concordia achieves its mission only when our students and alumni are active in service leadership. Ensuring that our students experience the transformation that often accompanies service learning prepares our students to live and lead lives of promise and purpose.
This year we developed the Guide to Leading Servant Events, an intentional tool that leads students and faculty to delve deeply into their service experiences. For us, service is not simply about volunteerism, though that is certainly of value in our neighborhoods and communities. For Concordia, our service focus embraces an intentional learning approach.
Our mission compels us “for service to Christ in the Church and world.” All service is an outgrowth of our Christian life. The Guide to Leading Servant Events centers around five themes that students experience as they serve others. The specific theme emphasis includes a quote, Bible verse, excerpt from a reading, or a story to illustrate that particular theme. Each theme allows the facilitator to generate deeper reflection by student participants in order to help students see the connection between their actions and their Christian faith.
Concordia demonstrated positive community citizenship by hosting the summit.
Spearheaded by Concordia student-leaders, the heroin symposium tackled one of the state’s most alarming issues.
Students, faculty, staff, and alumni engaged in a variety of community-wide service efforts throughout the week.
Concordia’s global reach in China will soon include a new bachelor’s in rehab science offering.
Concordia’s approach to growth focuses first on the lives of each student and second on how growth enables us to extend our Christ-centered mission. Numbers are important to higher education but are secondary to our core purpose: equipping people for lives of service, across countless vocations, for the sake of Christ and the flourishing of self and society.
Our students grow as they develop in mind, body, and spirit. Concordia grows as we reach more people with our Christ-centered mission. Our campuses, facilities, human and financial resources, and infrastructure expand to support a robust student experience in a welcoming environment that results in the spiritual, academic, and social formation of all Concordians.
This year our growth focus connected more and more students to our mission through better recruitment and stronger program offerings. Take a look:
How does Concordia University attract the best students for the world? How can we ensure that students and families feel that they matter; not for the bottom line but because Concordia will be a blessing for their development in mind, body, and spirit, and because a Concordia education will lead them to achieve their unique career goals and callings?
Part of the answer to those question is how we extend the Concordia experience to prospective students. This year faculty on both campuses worked with Concordia’s Admissions team to deepen their understanding of and connection to our recruitment process. Ensuring that prospective students and parents interact closely with faculty is essential in helping them find their fit at CUW. It’s personal for our prospective families. And it’s personal for Concordia, too.
Perhaps one of the central strategic achievements this year was the unveiling of The Luther Promise. This significant new endeavor of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor is designed to help us achieve the goal of putting lifelong Lutheran education within reach for more and more students in the coming years.
The Luther Promise is an institutionally funded scholarship guarantee that provides qualified undergraduate students between $16,000–$20,000 dollars of tuition aid each year.
In fall 2017, Concordia University will welcome 473 Luther Promise students to our residential campuses, who are receiving more than $9 million in institutional aid!
Concordia University exists as part of the local community and regional fabric in the Greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. Our role as higher education partner with area corporations and organizations is a key element of our sustained success.
This year we increased the number of participating partnership students by 167 percent. Highlights of new partnership organizations include NEWaukee (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Boldt Construction. These organizations join 65 other Concordia enrollment partners.
Mind. Body. Spirit. The Concordia experience is not limited by the walls of the classroom. A key element of our university strategy is our athletic and co-curricular offerings.
Concordia University Wisconsin is an NCAA Division III institution. We currently field 28 varsity sport programs, with participation by more than 500 student-athletes. In addition to adding new programs, our athletics department has teamed with faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences to develop an emerging minor in sports journalism.
Concordia has been named NEWaukee’s exclusive education partner for the second year in a row.
CUW students plug into the multi-billion dollar sporting industry.
Concordia revealed its plans to construct a new academic building.
Concordia is now accepting applicants for its newest master’s program.
Concordia Wisconsin ranks as the safest campus in the state, 2nd in the nation. –ADT
Office of Veteran Affairs enrolls its 400th student, February 2017.
Concordia provides access to the highest-value higher education experience. As a result, our students discover and develop their vocations. We continuously improve the Concordia experience, which enables our students to pursue and persist in their chosen career paths.
More than ever, it is essential that colleges and universities ensure that higher education is accessible. The cost of faith-based private higher education is steep, and we are committed to doing our part to ensure smart fiscal stewardship so that more students, not fewer, benefit from a Christ-centered Lutheran higher education.
Among our peer institutions, Concordia University continues to lead the way in smart fiscal practice. Our fiscal discipline has long ensured that Concordia University achieves operational health year over year. Our commitment to strict cost accounting, for example, enables us to meet operational expenses without running a deficit. Reigning in costs enables us to invest as much institutional aid as possible to support student achievement.
In FY2016, 98 percent of new freshmen received financial aid, and 100 percent of new freshmen determined to have financial need received financial assistance. The average amount awarded to need-based students was $24,318. The average grant for non‐need new students was $12,481.
Still, access and opportunity involve more than numbers. Here are our achievements in this strategic area for this past year:
This spring, the Falcon Academic Support Team (FAST) was created to address the needs of at-risk students in early identification and intervention as part of our early alert system. Similar to the Good Samaritan Team on the Mequon campus, FAST meets to quickly address student needs with a team approach. The group is comprised of a representative from student life, athletics, administration, and all professional advisors. Last semester, FAST discussed 37 students in jeopardy to provide outreach.
Through analytics, we were able to create “at-risk” reports early in the semester to determine which students needed early outreach. Professional advisors spent their first few weeks talking with these students to determine what they need to be successful. We will have definitive data regarding its impact in the fall when we can again review retention rates.
In addition to FAST, the STAR probation program is off to a great start with a 90 percent engagement rate of students on probation. We will have definitive data regarding its impact in the fall when we can again review retention rates.
The Concordia Career and Calling Advantage initiative was launched and piloted on the Ann Arbor campus to develop intentional strategies for equipping students to discern their callings and live out Concordia’s mission.
During this past school year, the priority was for faculty and staff to integrate the Concordia Career and Calling Advantage milestones within the curriculum and extracurricular activities. Progress was made as collaboration and involvement with several departments occurred to implement various aspects of Advantage and milestone integration efforts.
The School of Nursing was among the first to engage the Advantage concept into its orientation, assisting incoming students with career preparedness through workshops and career assessment tools. Family Life students took the newly revised LA103 College, Career & Calling elective course with favorable results.
Advantage leadership also partnered with individual content courses to teach career-related components to students, as well as provide valuable information for participating in local job fairs. Finally, in early spring of this year, 46 percent of faculty were surveyed and 52 percent indicated interest in and/or openness to further discuss possible next steps for developing and incorporating the Advantage initiative into our academic programs.
The Luther Promise puts a Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor education within reach for more students.
Concordia’s Online Student Success Advisors deliver extraordinary Christian care to each online learner.
Impressive growth, high retention rates, and a generous transfer credit policy put Concordia at the top of the list of veteran-friendly universities in the state.
Concordia helped Bethesda College graduate Joe Samuel grow in confidence and find his place in life.
Concordia awards graduate degrees to a record number of candidates.
Our Online MBA ranked among the “Most Affordable” in the nation. –Best Value MBA
Students say their time at Concordia helps them better understand their callings and purpose in life.
Undergraduates who are employed or attending graduate school one year after graduating