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2023 Lutheran College Conference

August 6 - August 8

Lutheran College Conference, August 6–8, 2023, Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota

“O God, Our Help in Ages past…Our Hope for Years to Come”

Lutheran College Conference – August 6-8, 2023
Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota

Sunday, August 6

  • 4–6 p.m. – Arrival and Registration (Tent on Campus Green)
  • 6 p.m. – Picnic (Campus Green)
  • 7 p.m. – Activities: Cornhole + Lawn Games, Divers Concert (Campus Green)

Monday, August 7

  • 7:30–8:30 a.m. – Breakfast, Registration open for new arrivals (Dining Center)
  • 8:30 a.m. – Opening Worship (Trinity Chapel)
  • 9:30 a.m. – Group Photos (Trinity Chapel)
  • 9:40 a.m. – Welcome and Overview (Trinity Chapel)
  • 9:50 a.m. – Keynote address: “Grace Summoned, Sequenced: What it means to be a Called Worker”–Dr. Joel Pless, WLC (Trinity Chapel)
  • 10:50 a.m. – Break (Honsey Hall)
  • 11 a.m. – Sectional presentations #1 
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:15 p.m. – Sectional presentations #2 
  • 2:15 p.m. – Break (Honsey Hall)
  • 2:30 p.m. – Department Roundtables
  • 3:45 p.m. – Closing Devotion (Trinity Chapel)
  • 4 p.m. – Adjourn
  • 6 p.m. – Dinner (Picklebarn – directions)
  • 7:30 p.m. – Pickleball Tournament (Sign Up Sheet)

Tuesday, August 8

  • 7:30–8:30 a.m. – Breakfast (Dining Center)
  • 8:30 a.m. – Opening Devotion (Trinity Chapel)
  • 8:45–9:30 a.m. – Tri-college President’s message (Trinity Chapel)
  • 9:45 a.m. – Sectional presentations #3
  • 10:45 a.m. – Break (Honsey Hall)
  • 11 a.m. – Town Hall Meeting: “AI and Chat-GPT: Cry the Alarm or Embrace the Opportunity?”– Panel from BLC, MLC, & WLC
  • 11:45 a.m. – Closing Devotion
  • 12 p.m. – Adjourn LCC


Room Legend: HH = Honsey Hall, MH = Meyer Hall, ML = Memorial Library, YFAC = Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, TC = Trinity Chapel

1A - Optimizing Faculty Wellness - HH311

Helena Stevens, Benjamin Kohls, Karina Clennon (BLC)

Faculty work brings with it many pieces; never ending grading and prepping, around the clock emails, meetings upon meetings, and the complexity of what students bring with them. All these pieces can be impactful on the functioning of our wellness. Wellness is not defined as a here and there, once in a while activity. Wellness is the deliberate, intentional, and consistent infusion of activities that promote healthy and thriving wellbeing. In order to optimize with the intentional work, one must be aware of the areas of life that make it harder to promote wellness in our lives. This presentation will guide participants through self-exploration of their values for wellness and increase awareness for how faculty work impacts their capacities to live out their values for wellness. Strategies for optimizing with wellness will be provided.

1B - Supporting vs. Enabling students: Exploring the Limits of Reasonable Accommodations - HH337

Laura Reinke, Jackie Kacmarynski, Karen Sitz (WLC)

In a post-COVID world where educators have navigated an ever-changing landscape of higher education, professors are often left overwhelmed with student concerns and requests for accommodations. The American Disabilities Act provides guidance for reasonable and appropriate accommodations; however, with an increase in mental health concerns among students, educators are often weighing the pros and cons of when and how to best respond to student needs. At times, one’s best attempts to be empathic and accommodate a student’s concerns can border on enabling. Join the Director of Health Services, the Director of Student Support and Disability Services and a professor of Human Social Services from Wisconsin Lutheran College to explore useful guidelines to assist in decision-making when it comes to meeting student needs in a way that is beneficial and appropriate.

1C - Promoting Student Interest and Collaboration with Perusall - HH107

Dan Fenske (MLC)

Instructors have long been frustrated when students interact minimally, if at all, with required course content. A team of investigators at Harvard University researched this issue with the intent of building a platform to engage students with the material and interact with the material and each other simultaneously. That platform is Perusall. “With Perusall, an online social annotation platform, you can increase student engagement, collaboration, and community within your course. Plus, Perusall works with your favorite course content including books, articles, web pages, videos, podcasts, and images.” (Description quoted from Perusall’s website.)

1D - "Yes, But Why is it Ugly?" Understanding the Historical & Philosophical Movements Making Modern Art - HH313

Andrew Overn (BLC)

The study of art, along with the Liberal Arts in general, has been taking it on the chin for years. As the value of a college education has been questioned, especially by conservatives, the study of “less practical” subjects has been singled out as particularly useless. Further, the arts in specific (other than music) are often viewed with skepticism by conservative Lutheran families. Worst of all, even a cursory examination of the contemporary art “scene” is enough to justify this suspicion in the eyes of many. Art has played an important role in the history of Christianity and we should recognize that art, like any other activity undertaken by fallen human beings, can be either sanctified or corrupted. If we truly are God’s hands in the world, as Luther’s doctrine of vocation makes clear, do Christians have a duty to participate in (and thereby influence) the creation of culture? A clearer understanding of what has led us to our current cultural predicament can enable us to identify the worldviews underlying modernist and post-modern art, and equip educated Christians to meaningfully engage in the production of a more God-pleasing culture.

1E - Lessons Learned from the Writings of Paul Boehlke - HH212

Angela Ebeling (WLC)

Dr. Paul Boehlke, esteemed colleague and friend, has unwaveringly upheld Lutheran doctrine throughout his ministry while teaching students of all ages about science (over his career this has included biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science). The way he lives, teaches, conducts research, and writes, have all influenced me as a scientist and as an educator - and these exemplify being a scientist without compromising scientific thought or Christian teaching. I believe Lutheran professors (scientists and non-scientists) can benefit from his outlook, learn from his humility, and enjoy his narrative style of writing. This session will focus on three of his published works: “Speaking for the Earth” (an article about Christian motivation for caring for creation), “How Science Works: Putting Presuppositions on the Table” (an article about the nature of science and the importance of understanding assumptions), and lastly “The Christian as Biologist” (a chapter from Reading God’s World: The Scientific Vocation in which Boehlke maintains that a Lutheran teacher can and should communicate “awe and wonder at the complexity in nature’s design”). Exploring these writings will provide professors with ideas on how to uphold Lutheran teaching while instructing their students to investigate the world God created.

1F - Goals, Objectives, Outcomes: Aligning Programs from Foundation to Completion - HH342

Martin LaGrow (MLC)

As we develop a new program, we are afforded the opportunity to consider the alignment of overarching program goals, learning objectives, and student outcomes. Evaluating and refining alignment ensures that we do what we say we are going to do, and create an avenue to evaluate and assess what we deliver to our students. The start of this exercise begins with defining how the terms "goals," "objectives," and "outcomes" are used both at the course and the institutional level. The consistent and meaningful use of these terms also provides a solid reference point for ensuring that accreditation standards are met. In this presentation, Dr. Martin will share a framework for program structure that begins with defining program goals, articulating program outcomes, and connects them to student learning outcomes through the mapping of effective course objectives or competencies.

1G part I - From Grass Roots Discussions to Classroom Impact - HH215

Daniel Hubert, Grace Hennig (WLC)

Without a detailed survey of every WELS elementary school teacher and student, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that many WELS schools accept singing in church sufficing for a music education. Groups of educators and stakeholders, including: student teachers, full-time teachers in WELS school settings, higher education faculty, and elementary and high school parents have shared missed opportunities in music education, or the lack thereof, for students in our WELS schools. When fellow educators see the problem across federation and state boarders, broader conversations are needed to address an issue. LIME (Lutheran Institute for Music Education) was born out of informal conversations between elementary, high school, and college faculty who understand that a well-rounded Lutheran student has a complete music education to realize Psalm 33:3. Further we recognize that music is a core curricular subject that is included at various levels of effectiveness in our Lutheran elementary and high schools. This session is for anyone who sees a need in a particular area of ministry and wants to effect positive change at the local level. Session participants will walk away with an informal plan to mobilize a small interest group to address specific topics.

1G part II - Research Deconstruction as a Novel Pedagogical Tool to Increase Student Engagement - HH215

Rob Balza (WLC)

Research deconstruction is a novel method in which an expert guest speaker is invited to present a research talk suitable for a professional conference and including original data. In addition to this live presentation, students are provided a copy of a related research paper and a video recording of the presentation. Then over the course of several weeks, the course instructor “deconstructs” this research by defining jargon and explaining the fundamental concepts and techniques that were used by guest speaker to perform his or her research. Students are then asked to identify the hypothesis, experimental controls, and analyze chunks of these data in manageable portions. Finally, the students are brought to the office of the guest speaker for a laboratory tour (if possible) and a question and answer session where students are invited to engage with the speaker once they have gained the confidence to be conversant with the research. This presentation will summarize the history of research deconstruction in higher education and illustrate how this method was used to increase student engagement in a Developmental Biology course at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

2A - Optimizing Faculty Wellness - HH311

Helena Stevens, Benjamin Kohls, Karina Clennon (BLC)

Faculty work brings with it many pieces; never ending grading and prepping, around the clock emails, meetings upon meetings, and the complexity of what students bring with them. All these pieces can be impactful on the functioning of our wellness. Wellness is not defined as a here and there, once in a while activity. Wellness is the deliberate, intentional, and consistent infusion of activities that promote healthy and thriving wellbeing. In order to optimize with the intentional work, one must be aware of the areas of life that make it harder to promote wellness in our lives. This presentation will guide participants through self-exploration of their values for wellness and increase awareness for how faculty work impacts their capacities to live out their values for wellness. Strategies for optimizing with wellness will be provided.

2B - Getting Work Done Together: The Six Types of Working Genius - HH314

Bob Martens (MLC)

No matter what else is going on, the amount work needing to be done along with the complexity of those projects continue to increase. As such, it is important to find a way to work together effectively both inside departments and in collaboration with others. The 6 Types of Working Genius is the Table Group's attempt to help teams organize their work to keep people energized and engaged while moving the work forward.

2C - Interdisciplinary Storytelling: Immersing Audiences in God's Word - HH337

Peter Bloedel, Jason Jaspersen (BLC)

Peter Bloedel (Theatre) and Jason Jaspersen (Studio Art) will discuss collaborating on an original theatrical production that involves sand animated projections and visually artistic elements. Scheduled to be staged in the fall of 2024, this still developing production has the working title: "What Child is This," and will be a dramatic telling of the Nativity account, as well as an anecdotal reflection of the life of Christ.

2D - Cultural Health Immersion and Diversity Awareness: Through the Eyes of Students…and Other Lessons Learned - HH210

Sheryl Scott (WLC)

Junior nursing students at Wisconsin Lutheran College have the opportunity to travel to Zambia for a cultural healthcare immersion experience. During the trip, students spend time in a variety of settings observing and learning about health and life in a resource-poor country. The students have the opportunity to talk to local individuals about their daily living experiences and their interactions with the healthcare system, all while learning about a different culture in a country outside of their own. The trip has been life-changing for students as evidenced by data collected during daily debriefings during the trip and in a final paper. Trip leaders have also learned many lessons over the years of coordinating and leading this trip. During this presentation, students’ insights about the trip will be shared, as well as faculty tips for leading a positive immersion experience. The benefit of a cultural immersion experience on personal diversity awareness will also be explored.

2E - Strategies for Collaborative Learning and Gamification in Classical Language Instruction - HH107

Nicholas Proksch (BLC)

Pedagogical trends, even when giving examples applied to language learning, tend to focus on applications that make the most sense for living languages where conversational goals present obvious opportunities for varied learning strategies. Meanwhile it is hard to connect the dots between current pedagogy and classical languages (like Greek, Latin, and Hebrew) that aim for reading comprehension in texts with complicated inflections and syntax. Consequently, teachers face challenges in how to implement and bring variety to instruction with tools like collaborative learning and gamification. In this presentation, I will outline collaborative learning and gamifying strategies along with their goals, and attendees will learn how they can be implemented in the unique field of classical languages. Even if you do not teach a classical language, I hope these strategies could be adaptable to your field as well.

2F - Standards-Based Grading in the College Classroom - HH214

Kristi Meyer, Tova Brown, Joel Davis (WLC)

Anxiety levels among college students are at an all-time high. For college freshmen, these anxiety levels can be easily exacerbated by a poor performance on a high-stakes assessment in one of their first-semester courses. Standards-based grading (SBG), an assessment technique that allows students to master topics and concepts at their own pace, can minimize the impact of one poor performance and thus encourage student engagement and learning throughout the entire semester. Drs. Brown, Davis, and Meyer have used SBG for a number of semesters in their respective chemistry and calculus courses. This session will give rationale for using SBG in the college classroom; share implementation details, successes, and ongoing revisions; report on student performance and reaction to SBG; and provide encouragement and practical advice for Lutheran college professors considering using SBG in their classrooms.

2G - So how many angels -can- dance on the head of a needle? Immaterial substances in modern science. - HH212

Kerry K. Kuehn (WLC)

One of the best loved myths of modernity is that science began in the 16th or 17th century, at the time of the scientific revolution. Prior to this, the ancients and medievals had been wallowing about in ignorance. If they emerged, blinking, from their dark alchemical lairs, it was only to wrestle over pointless theological questions, such as: how many angels can dance on the head of a needle? The fact is: our ancestors had been carefully observing the world, and trying to grasp the natures of things, for as long ago as there are historical records. Nonetheless, something -did- change around the time of the scientific revolution. What, exactly? In this talk, I will describe how the scientific revolution should not be understood as the beginning of science, but rather as a revolution brought about by certain early modern individuals who sought a radical change in the goals, the methods, and the content of what would henceforth be called “science.” Moreover, I will argue that this radical change was unnecessary—and in fact detrimental—to our understanding of the World.

Administrators - Honsey Hall 239

Admissions - Honsey Hall 237

Business - Honsey Hall 314

Communication - Honsey Hall 214

Education - Memorial Library Education Lab

English and Humanities - Honsey Hall 215

Fine Arts - Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center 103

Health and Human Performance - Meyer Hall 202

Languages - Honsey Hall 107

Legal Studies - Honsey Hall 211

Mathematics - Meyer Hall 300

Natural Sciences - Meyer Hall 301

Nursing - Honsey Hall 310

Online Learning - Meyer Hall 130

Social and Behavioral Sciences - Honsey Hall 344

Technical (Engineering/CS) - Meyer Hall 121

Theology - Trinity Chapel 101

Visual Arts - Honsey Hall 210

3A - WELS-ELS: Why Our Fellowship Has Survived: Why We Are Who We Are, and Where We Are Going Tomorrow - MH101

Donald L. Moldstad (BLC)

Explore the unique history of our church bodies, in fellowship since 1872. Why has it survived longer than any other relationship in Lutheran history? This unity provides a proper understanding for our current work in God’s Kingdom today. Our historical roots speak to the challenges we face today as institutions of higher education? My goal is to make this history understandable and relevant for today’s Lutheran instructor.

3B - Making Use of Debate in the Classroom - HH214

Jon Loging (BLC)

Having students debate in your class has many benefits. Students must engage with the material. Due to the public nature of the event, it forces students to do the work or else. It is also quick and easy to grade, making it that much better for the instructor. In this session, participants will learn how to prepare for a classroom debate, how to run the debate in class, and different ways to evaluate the student performance.

3C - Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in Higher Ed: Making our courses more learner accessible - HH311

Kari A Muente, Rachel Feld (MLC)

Our colleges are engaging more academically, culturally, and linguistically diverse learners. While our goal is to embrace student diversity and enrich the learning environment, our courses are not always appropriately designed or accessible to engage all students and their unique learning needs. This session's objectives center on recognizing how our curriculum and instruction decisions create potential learning barriers for a diverse group of learners and how applying the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to those decisions opens pathways for supporting all learners.

3D - A Catholicon for Teacher Preparation: A Year-Long Residency Program - HH215

Martin Miller, James Holman (WLC)

As a national debate rages on as to how best to improve teacher quality, findings from this case study suggest promise in one undergraduate teacher residency program. In this session, participants will indirectly experience the ebb and flow of the year-long residency process through the lens of cooperating teachers, listen to the voice of cooperating teachers who have had both traditional student teachers and residency students, learn salient characteristics associated with this program, and determine if a catholicon exists for this teacher residency program. Implications for program assessment and curriculum re-design will be addressed through a question and answer format.

3E - Case Studies: Active Learning to Develop Clinical Judgment - HH310

Sara Traylor, Deb Matzke-Lewis, Cheryl Clendenin (BLC)

Clinical judgment is the observed outcome of critical thinking and decision making. A review of literature indicates that 50% of novice nurses are involved in nursing errors, 65% of errors are attributed to poor clinical decision making, and 20% of employers are satisfied with clinical decision-making skills of novice nurses (NCSBN, 2022). Developing clinical judgment is a process requiring deep learning and active learning strategies. Research shows that repetition of active learning strategies such as case studies is necessary to help students develop critical thinking and decision-making skills and consistently demonstrate clinical judgment at a high level. Clinical judgment is not limited to nurses; health professionals in medicine, dentistry, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dietetics, and pharmacy must be skilled in clinical judgment to provide safe, quality patient care. This session will provide an overview of active learning strategies, with a focus on case studies, to engage students in deep learning to develop clinical judgment. Faculty in nursing, biological sciences, chemistry, exercise science, and nutrition will find this session applicable to their courses.

3F - Helping Students Listen in a World That Can't Stop Talking - HH337

Aimee Lau (WLC)

Listening is an important skill, yet one that is rarely taught. We are taught to speak, to read, and to write, but how many of us were taught how to listen? Too often we assume that this is a skill that everyone has in their repertoire and knows how to perform well. How do we teach our students to listen when we live in a world that consistently tells us that the person who makes the most noise and draws the most attention is the one who will be successful? How do we teach our students to listen in a world that is highly polarized, that takes positions on issues while refusing to acknowledge the perspective of others? In WLC's Communication Department, we offer a class dedicated to exploring the barriers to effective listening, providing suggestions on how we can build our skills spiritually, personally, and professionally. The goal of this session is to share some of what this class offers to our students, while reminding each and every one of us how important it is to listen to our students, our colleagues, our families, and our friends.

Event Details

August 6
August 8


700 Luther Dr
Mankato, MN 56001 United States

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