Colleges and Universities

This page offers information about the colleges and universities of the ELCA and their association, the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU), for both the general public and leaders of NECU institutions.

 

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Resources

The information and the links below are primarily for NECU leaders, though others interested to learn more about the mission of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities are invited to use them as well. Presidents’ offices may update their cabinet/senior leader records by clicking the “Update Senior Leaders and Key Contacts” button.

 
  • NECU VISION FOR LUTHERAN HIGHER EDUCATION
    At ELCA colleges and universities, students will discover through education in body, mind, and spirit that they are called and empowered to serve the neighbor so that all may flourish.

  • VOCATION OF LUTHERAN HIGHER EDUCATION CONFERENCE
    This Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education Conference (VLHE Conference) convenes annually in July at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Conferences typically begin on a Monday at 4 pm and conclude at 1 pm on the following Wednesday. Registration opens each February and is managed by Augsburg University. Institutions are encouraged to send delegations of up to five persons.

  • Publications
    • Rooted and Open: The Common Calling of the Network of ELCA Colleges and UniversitiesRooted and Open
      Rooted and Open is NECU’s statement about the vocation shared by the diverse institutions in the ELCA higher education community. It describes the Lutheran theological roots that anchor and continue to inform their educational mission. The rich and living Lutheran intellectual and educational tradition of these institutions also compels them to be open to a wide variety of insights from people with a wide variety of backgrounds. They welcome all people of good will into their communities of learning and service. Like the tradition that grounds them, the 27 colleges and universities of the NECU are always in the process of being reformed. Their foundational commitments promise to make them flexible, open to change, ready to partner, institutionally curious and intellectually alive. They share a calling that is both rooted and open.

      The statement was endorsed by the Board of Directors, Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities on January 4, 2018.

      Faculty and others at NECU institutions are encouraged to read and discuss the statement. Hardcopies of Rooted and Open are available at no cost to NECU institutions. The statement may be downloaded at: https://www.elca.org/Resources/Colleges-and-Universities#RootedandOpen. The spring 2019 issue of Intersections includes a copy of the statement, and the issue’s articles are devoted to commentary on Rooted and Open. See https://digitalcommons.augustana.edu/intersections/vol2019/iss49/.

    • Intersections: Faith, Learning and the Vocation of Lutheran EducationIntersections: Faith, Learning and the Vocation of Lutheran Education
      Intersections is NECU’s electronic journal. Each issue reflects on the intersection of faith, learning, and teaching within Lutheran higher education. Intersections has its home in the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. Intersections extends and enhances discussions fostered by the annual Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education Conference, exploring the vocation of Lutheran colleges and universities. The journal aims to raise the level of awareness among faculty, staff, and administrators about the Lutheran heritage and church-relatedness of their institutions, especially as these intersect with contemporary challenges and opportunities.

      Current and back issues of Intersections are available at https://digitalcommons.augustana.edu/intersections/. NECU institutions may order hardcopies of a current issue by contacting the editor.

      Editor:
      Jason A. Mahn, Professor of Religion, Director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning and Conrad Bergendoff Professor in the Humanities, Augustana College

      Editorial Board
      Marcia J. Bunge, Professor of Religion and the Rev. Drell and Adeline Bernhardson Distinguished Chair of Lutheran Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College

      Jacqueline A. Bussie, Professor of Religion and Director of the Forum on Faith and Life, Concordia College

      Krista Hughes, Director of the Muller Center, Newberry College

      Mindy Makant, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Living Well Center for Vocation and Purpose, Lenoir-Rhyne University

      Caryn Riswold, Professor of Religion and the Mike and Marge McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission, Wartburg College

      Martha Stortz, Bernhard M. Christensen Professor for Religion and Vocation, Augsburg University

      Deanna Thompson, Director of the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community and Martin E. Marty Regents Chair in Religion and the Academy, St. Olaf College

      Marit Trelstad, Professor of Religion and Endowed Chair in Lutheran Studies, Pacific Lutheran University

      Mark Wilhelm, Executive Director, Network of Colleges and Universities, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    • Vocation of Lutheran Higher EducationVocation of Lutheran Higher Education
      What is the vocation of Lutheran higher education, especially now that it is not only or primarily education for and by Lutherans? Over the past several decades, this question has led to a new concerted effort to retrieve and redefine what it means to be a college of the church.

      The book, The Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education, addresses this question. Edited by Jason A. Mahn, editor of NECU’s journal, Intersections, the book includes significant essays drawn from and celebrating the 25th anniversary of Intersections, as well as essays written for the volume by authors from outside NECU, such as Eboo Patel, the founder of Interfaith Youth Core.

      The book is available from the Augsburg Fortress division of 1517 Media. See https://www.augsburgfortress.org/store/product/9781942304210/The-Vocation-of-Lutheran-Higher-Education.

  • “Introducing Faculty, Administrators and Staff to Lutheran Higher Education”

    Format: Webinar

    Dates: June 14 and 15, 2021

    Time: To be announced

    Organizer/Instructor: Dr. Samuel Torvend, Professor of the History of Christianity, Pacific Lutheran University

    Registration: To be announced

     

  • Vocation of Lutheran Higher Education Conference

    Format: Webinar

    Dates: July 12-15, 2021

    Time: 2-3:30 p.m. Eastern time

    Theme: “Called to Place: Community Responsive Education”

    Registration: To be announced

     

  • Presidents’ Summer Seminar

    Format: In-person or virtual

    Dates: To be announced

    Host: Darrel Colson, President Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa

    Registration: To be announced

NECU GOVERNANCE

The Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU) is an unincorporated, missional collaboration between the ELCA’s churchwide organization and the ELCA’s colleges and universities. The sole college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (Luther College, Regina, Saskatchewan) is also a member of NECU.

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Seven college/university presidents and NECU’s executive director constitute NECU’s executive committee. Members for 2021 are:

  • President and Executive Committee Chair
    • Susan Traverso, Thiel College
  • Vice President
    • Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Augustana University
  • Secretary/Treasurer
    • Maurice Scherrens, Newberry College
  • At-Large Members
    • Jody Horner, Midland University 
    • Paul Pribbenow, Augsburg University
    • John Swallow, Carthage College
    • Frederick Whitt, Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • NECU Executive Director
    • Mark Wilhelm, Program Director, NECU
    • Christian Community and Leadership Home Area, ELCA

PRESIDENTIAL RELIGIOUS REQUIREMENTS SURVEY 

Each NECU institution was asked in December 2020 whether its president was required to be a member of the ELCA or meet other religious requirements. The results follow.

 

AUGSBURG UNIVERSITY

The president must be a member of an ELCA congregation.

 

AUGUSTANA COLLEGE

The president of the college shall demonstrate a firm commitment to advancing the welcoming Lutheran tradition of higher education as expressed in the college’s mission statement and Five Faith Commitments (2015). The president, together with the trustees, shall actively affirm and nurture the college’s relationship with the ELCA, including through active participation and leadership in the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities.

 

AUGUSTANA UNIVERSITY

The president shall be a member of a Lutheran congregation.

 

BETHANY COLLEGE

The college president shall be or become a member of a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

 

CALIFORNIA LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY

The president of the university shall be a person with demonstrated experience in higher education and the work of the church and shall usually be a member of the ELCA or its successors.

 

CAPITAL UNIVERSITY

No requirement.

 

CARTHAGE COLLEGE

The president shall be a member of an ELCA congregation or a congregation or church body in full communion or in bilateral conversations with the ELCA.

 

CONCORDIA COLLEGE

The president of the college shall be a member of the Lutheran Church.

 

FINLANDIA UNIVERSITY

The president is required to be a Lutheran.

 

GETTYSBURG COLLEGE

No requirement.

 

GRAND VIEW UNIVERSITY

The president of the university shall be Lutheran and/or willing and able to understand, appreciate, articulate and preserve the university’s practices and values that are rooted in its Lutheran heritage.

 

GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGE

The president of the college shall be (1) a member of a congregation of the ELCA; (2) a member of a congregation of another Lutheran Church body, the congregations of which are eligible for membership in the Association of Congregations under its bylaws; or (3) a member of a congregation of one of the church bodies in full communion with the ELCA.

 

LENOIR-RHYNE UNIVERSITY

The president shall be a member of the ELCA.

 

LUTHER COLLEGE (Iowa)

The president shall be an active member of a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or another local Christian community of faith.

 

LUTHER COLLEGE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF REGINA (Saskatchewan)

Membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) or a full communion partner is preferred, but this stipulation does not appear to be in the contract, act or bylaws.

 

MIDLAND UNIVERSITY

The president shall be a professing Christian who is in good standing as a member of a Christian church. The president, by virtue of experience, interest and personal commitment, shall recognize the historic relationship between the university and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and shall work to sustain and nurture the university's affiliation with the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA. He or she shall also work to build and nurture relationships with other Christian churches in the region interested in supporting and advancing the mission of Midland. 

 

MUHLENBERG COLLEGE

No requirement.

 

NEWBERRY COLLEGE

No requirement.

 

PACIFIC LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY

The president shall demonstrate a deep understanding of and commitment to the mission, vision and values of the university, Lutheran higher education as articulated in the document “Core Elements in Lutheran Higher Education,” and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It is essential that the president treat the school’s relationship with the ELCA with reverence and care. PLU’s relationship with the ELCA nurtures and supports the values expressed in Lutheran higher education.

 

ROANOKE COLLEGE

The president is required to be supportive of the relationship with the ELCA.  

 

ST. OLAF COLLEGE

The president shall be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

 

SUSQUEHANNA UNIVERSITY

No requirement.

 

TEXAS LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY

No requirement.

 

THIEL COLLEGE

The president shall be a Lutheran or a member of a congregation in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and who has an understanding and strong commitment to apply the principles of Lutheran education on the college campus.

 

WAGNER COLLEGE

No requirement.

 

WARTBURG COLLEGE

The board of regents shall elect the president of the college in a manner consistent with the relevant policies, as revised from time to time, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) or of its successor. The president shall be elected from the membership of an ELCA congregation or another church body that has a relationship of full communion with the ELCA.

 

WITTENBERG UNIVERSITY

No requirement.

 

NOTE: The ELCA is in full communion with The Episcopal Church, the Moravian Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, and The United Methodist Church. In practice, “full communion” means that no “church-dividing” issues exist between the ELCA and the other church but that the churches agree to remain in “reconciled diversity” instead of merging. 

 

 


Find a School

The 26 colleges and universities of the ELCA have a place for you. Explore educational opportunities available at any of these schools by clicking on the list of colleges and universities below.

 


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