Last week Derek Flynn of our enrollment consultant Ruffalo Noel Levitz gave his annual review of enrollment trends and projections at Concordia University St. Paul. His presentation was inspiring, as the projections for fall 2015 enrollment are very strong, and the strategies and tactics we as a university have put into place continue to look promising.
I was even more inspired, however, as I looked around the room at the tremendous group of professionals gathered for the presentation. Concordia has been blessed with extraordinary leaders, many of whom have been with the University for a long time. Almost our entire Admissions staff was there. Our amazing admissions effort is led by Associate Vice President Kristin Vogel and Associate Vice President Kim Craig, who between the two of them have over two decades of service to Concordia. Kristin told me that we have had a relationship with Ruffalo Noel Levitz (formerly Noel-Levitz) for eight years now and a good number of our admissions counselors have been with us for at least that long.
Members of our Academic Advising team, led by long-time Concordia staff member Gretchen Walther, and Financial Aid Office, led by veteran Jeanne Peck were at the table. Both departments have many professionals who have served Concordia for decades. The Office of Registrar, led by another long-time Concordia leader Toni Squires, also has decades of experience within it. Also present, were Deans David Lumpp, Don Helmstetter, Kevin Hall, and Mike Walcheski, who among the four of them have – dare I say – nearly a century of service to Concordia. Student Life, led by Associate Vice President Jason Rahn, also has a combined century of service among its staff members. The Executive Leadership Team, most of whom also sat in that room, consists of Cheryl Chatman, Michael Dorner, Mark Hill, Eric LaMott, Marilyn Reineck, and yours truly. Not only has this team combined for its own century of service, but four of the six have left and returned to Concordia at one time or another. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s a place worth coming back to!
In addition to the departments gathered to hear the enrollment report that day, there are many, many other departments with long-tenured leadership, including Operations led by Jim Orchard, Human Resources led by Mary Arnold, Athletics led by Tom Rubbelke, Conference and Events Services led by Jen Sila, Information Technology led by Jonathan Breitbarth, and virtually all of our academic departments. At the same time, there has been room for movement, both within the university itself, and onward to other organizations. Within the last year, a number of key individuals have taken on new leadership responsibilities within the university and others have received opportunities at other universities and organizations that they simply could not turn down. While long-tenured leadership is more common than turnover here at Concordia, we get enough fresh input from new faculty and staff to keep us from getting stale.
I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled The Most Innovative Companies Have Long Term Leadership. We have certainly been blessed with that kind of leadership here. In the coming years, I look forward to helping a new generation of leaders prepare to take this great University to its next level of achievement.
Grace and peace to you.