Final Summary of Main Themes

May 2009

The following summary represents the common themes and “big ideas” discussed at the 16 National Summit meetings regarding Gustavus Adolphus College’s five core values excellence, community, justice, service and faith. The framing questions below guided the conversations.

This summary is being shared with all participants in the Summit meetings and members of the Gustavus community. These common issues have helped shape the recommendations made by the Task Forces to the Gustavus Board of Trustees.


What do you understand the core value of excellence at Gustavus to mean?

  • Build on the College’s current academic excellence by recruiting and retaining quality faculty, staff and students (curriculum, student/faculty research, small class sizes, student/faculty ratio, mentoring of students, etc.)
  • Integrate curricular and co-curricular activities to provide an overall excellent educational experience for students
  • Educate the whole person (intellectual, personal, social, physical, emotional, wellness)
  • Hold up alumni who exemplify and live out the core values of the College in their lives
  • Market areas of excellence, including Phi Beta Kappa designation, Nobel Conference, and many and varied study abroad and J-Term opportunities


How can community be lived out appropriately and effectively on the Gustavus campus?

  • Remain a residential college
  • Engage campus community in dialogue on diversity
  • Encourage students to participate in many and diverse academic and co-curricular activities
  • Continue to be a welcoming, supportive, and accepting community that fosters lifelong relationships
  • Celebrate the Gustie Spirit and a sense of belonging to a family
  • Continue strong connections with the City of St. Peter
  • Encourage students to participate in activities outside of their “comfort” zones and develop as leaders
  • Promote civil discourse and a global perspective


How might the commitment to justice as a core value express itself in the life of the Gustavus campus?

  • Be conscious of and knowledgeable about local, national, and global social justice issues
  • Teach ethics across the disciplines
  • Integrate justice into the curriculum
  • Articulate a code of ethics, rules and consequences of actions for students
  • Ensure that a Gustavus education is accessible to all qualified students, facilitating diversity among the student body
  • Ensure that the campus environment is safe and secure
  • Be committed to environmental justice
  • Respect and encourage diversity and civil discourse
  • Facilitate and offer programs related to social justice issues, including the MAYDAY! Conference and other conferences/panels involving outside speakers


What service opportunities and experiences should be a part of a liberal arts education at Gustavus?

  • Determine if participation in community service activities should be a graduation requirement
  • Offer many and varied service opportunities that incorporate self-reflection
  • Promote strong modeling of community service for students
  • Offer service opportunities that develop leadership skills
  • Strengthen alumni connections through community service experiences
  • Integrate service into the curriculum
  • Explore ways to motivate students to participate in service activities (preferential housing, scholarships, forgivable loans, funding for student organizations)


What should be Gustavus’s responsibility regarding the personal faith of students, faculty and staff?

  • Celebrate and articulate the Lutheran tradition while supporting personal faith journeys and a diverse community
  • Continue requiring a religion course focused on Christian teachings
  • Continue daily Chapel service on a voluntary basis
  • Plant seeds and provide building blocks for students’ faith/spirituality to grow and be nourished
  • Respect, be open and welcoming to all faiths/religions
  • Encourage interfaith dialogue
  • Provide alternative space for various types of worship services
  • Encourage students to study world religion