Message from the President
At a place like Luther College, where the activity levels at both our High School and University campuses remains high throughout almost the entire year, subsiding only a bit in the middle of the summer, it is hard to know where to begin and end an annual report. However, thankfully, Luther College is blessed with dedicated senior administrators who have written a wonderful historical record here of our College and its activities for the academic year 2017‐2018. I am left with the task of summarizing trends and items that come under my direct purview.
At our High School campus, the continuing drive for excellence dominates the program, even as an emphasis on ensuring a diversified student body continues. Thanks to the great generosity of our donors and the careful stewardship of all our management, we continue to enroll students from over thirty‐five countries and, just as importantly, have ensured that support is available for our Saskatchewan students who show promise but who otherwise would not have the financial means to attend Luther College. With such diversity, we have had to implement measures that ensured there was extra help available for those students whose previous schooling didn’t prepare them for the academic rigor of Luther and others who need a little extra support given their family situations. Our faculty and staff rose to the tasks however, even while management developed budgets that would ensure that dedicated resources would be available in future years.
In part due to our review membership in the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools as well as our intention to live up to the standards of the International Baccalaureate program, our faculty actively considered diversified teaching methods, experimenting, and implementing where such methods were thought helpful. A new faculty member who specialized in the pedagogical use of technology in the classroom and for the learning environment was hired to help faculty consider their options. This continued emphasis on teaching as well as the dedication of our faculty and use of a great variety of methods in our teaching resulted in our IB average being higher than that of the national average.
Luther College is very aware that education is not limited to the classroom. Our faculty and staff continued to support the educational effort of the school by ensuring that co‐curricular activities whether they be sports, cultural, activism or simply recreation were led by faculty. Whether it was the debate club hosting its annual competition or the men of the gridiron grinding it out on the football field, our faculty were there leading, encouraging, and always educating. The students, parents, and alumni are all grateful for this extra effort that ensures an education of excellence at Luther College.
The A Time to Build campaign, established to raise money for the 2014 addition had already raised more than any other campaign in the school’s history with totals over $11.5M. Our donors continued to show their support and desire to complete the last $2M campaign as our ambitious Development and Alumni Relations Office continued to meet with and solicit support from our alumni and friends.
At our University campus, the final touches were put on the refurbished university residence. A whole new heating system, new windows, washrooms with greater privacy, new lighting, fire sprinklers, and of course new carpets and paint all contributed to a massive facelift for the residence. Coupled with the increasingly delectable food offerings of our cafeteria, Luther College was one of the most valued residence options on the campus. However, a slower economy combined with a high vacancy rate for the city of Regina meant that there were challenges in ensuring that our residence was full.
Enrolments at the University campus continued to climb, having risen 45% over the past five years. In part this was due to the innovative advertising campaign of our university communications and recruitment departments but this growth also reflected the strong emphasis on service within our College for all our students. Individual counselling, faculty performance evaluated as much by teaching as by research and staff who genuinely care about their fellow human being were all at the root of this emphasis on serving our neighbour. In May of 2018, the University of Regina together with its federated colleges hosted the Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the first time this has ever been hosted at the University of Regina. Visitors commented on our level of service several times over the course of this two week period as our faculty and staff demonstrated hospitality at every opportunity.
Our relationships with our educational partners continued in other ways also. The College was instrumental in working towards a new memorandum of understanding signed between the Ministry of Advanced Education and the federated colleges, something desired by the Ministry and helpful to us in considering our relationship of responsibility and accountability. Luther College also worked closely with other Lutheran Colleges in the United States as a new organization called the Network of ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Colleges in America) produced a document entitled Rooted and Open. This document was studied by our Board and senior administrations at both campuses and found to be very helpful in considering our status as a college rooted in a strong religious tradition but open to all perspectives including the secular perspectives. In this way, our College is neither sectarian nor secular but somehow a third way. The fall of 2018 will give the faculty and staff of both campuses an opportunity to consider this document for themselves and their vocation as educators in the Lutheran tradition.
Every year this annual report brags about the governance Board, called Regents, who are responsible for the strategic vision of the college and its continued financial sustainability. This year is no exception as our Governance Committee in particular worked exceptionally hard to draft a new Act and prepare supporting by‐laws. With the national convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) meeting every three years starting in 2019, it was impossible for the good governance of the College to continue with corporation meetings occurring so infrequently. So, as Chair of the Board, Dave Solheim noted, the Board sought to ‘bring the constitution home’. A new format for our corporation or general membership meetings would begin under this new Act including having the corporation meeting at Luther College with duly elected local representatives. Extensive consultation has occurred between the College, local churches, the Ministry of Education and of Advanced Education, the University of Regina, and past Board members. It is hoped that the new Act will receive Royal Assent in the Saskatchewan legislature in the fall of 2018. It is the job of the president to report on the great things that happen at one’s College. I am so blessed that the work of our faculty, staff, and administration make this such an easy task, and that the alumni, friends, and donors to our College are so enthusiastic in advancing the vision and mission of the College with their support. But as Bach wrote at the bottom of so many of his pieces, so am I prompted to give thanks by saying Soli Deo gloria for all that is accomplished here at Luther College.
Blessings to all who read this,
President Bryan Hillis, Ph.D.
Luther College, Regina, Saskatchewan