The Gustavus Experience

Academic Catalog: 2013–2014


The Student Body, Retention, and Graduation Rates

Gustavus Adolphus College enrolls approximately 2,500 students from more than 40 states and 20 foreign countries. These students represent a wide spectrum of economic and sociological backgrounds, as well as a variety of church affiliations— the majority being Lutheran. Gustavus is proud of its extraordinary rate of retention from year to year, which averages 92 percent. Also noteworthy is the four-year graduation rate, which in the last four years has ranged from 79 to 81 percent. After graduation, approximately one-third of Gustavus students enroll directly in graduate or professional schools.

Student Development Philosophy

The student development philosophy at Gustavus is perhaps best described this way: A student’s education is more than the sum of classroom experiences. Gustavus is concerned with the development of the whole student, including intellectual, social, spiritual, cultural, and physical dimensions.

This concern is supported in the Student Life Division, which is headed by the Dean of Students and comprises the following areas: Residential Life; Counseling, Health, and Wellness; Student Activities; Multicultural Programs; and Campus Safety.

Residential Life

Gustavus is a residential college, committed to residence hall living as a vital complement to its academic program. Living within a community of peers, interacting with a wide array of individuals, learning from one another, assuming individual and corporate living responsibilities, and developing interpersonal skills and lifelong friendships are all aspects of residence hall living that support personal education, growth, and development.

This being the case, all full-time students—first-year through senior—are required to live in College-operated residences throughout their enrollment. In recent years, the number of students has exceeded the number of on-campus beds. Thus, a small number of senior students are granted permission by the Director of Residential Life to reside off-campus. First-year students are housed in three of the 14 coed residence halls.

Each residence hall is equipped with lounges, study areas, and laundry facilities. Most residence halls have kitchenettes and recreation equipment. All students housed in residence halls eat their meals in the College’s Market Place Dining Service. The standard meal plan option provides a declining balance and the cost is included in the tuition, room, and meal plan fee. Students housed in on-campus apartments and houses may choose whether or not to participate in a meal plan. Other meal plan options for on- and off-campus students are available. Please contact the student accounts staff in the Finance Office for information.

Each floor or section of a residence hall is assigned a Collegiate Fellow (CF). CFs are upper-class students selected on the basis of scholarship, leadership, experience, and their desire to help other students. They are responsible for informal counseling, assisting their residents in planning activities and programs, monitoring compliance with campus policies, and serving as resource persons in academic advising. Their responsibilities extend to all students in their living unit, as well as the building and campus in general. Faculty or staff members trained in community building and programming also live within the residence halls.

Students who do not comply with the College’s residency requirement will be liable for the full room and meal plan fee as if they were living in College housing. The additional costs will not be considered for financial assistance purposes.

Health Service, Counseling, and Wellness

Physical and emotional well-being is fundamental to intellectual development and social maturity, and Gustavus students are encouraged to make healthy lifestyle choices for themselves. However, the College recognizes that some health problems are to be expected.

To meet these needs, Gustavus provides an on-campus health service. The Student Health Service provides care and/or referral for acute medical needs, including illness and injury, physical exams, sexual health, mental health, minor procedures, prescription medications, immunizations, etc. Board-certified mid-level providers, nurses and office staff are available Monday through Friday at the Student Health Service. A registered dietitian is also available for consultation.

Services rendered by a provider will be billed to the student’s health insurance. Any remaining balance will be billed to the student account. Visits with a nurse or the dietitian are free of charge. Limited pre-packaged mediations are available on campus, all other prescriptions written by providers may be filled locally. Evening, weekend, and emergency health care is provided at the community hospital, River’s Edge Hospital and Clinic, in St. Peter.

Gustavus also offers a Counseling Center on campus staffed by licensed mental health professionals who provide both individual and group counseling. Students can receive support and treatment for a variety of concerns including grief and loss, identity development, adjustment to transitions, depression, anxiety, sexuality, family of origin, alcohol or drug use, relationships, body image, and mental health concerns.

The Counseling Center provides consultation services to students, parents, faculty, administrators, and staff. Counseling Center staff also join others on campus in periodically offering preventive and educational programming and workshops for students.

Additional support, education, and counseling for students are also available for alcohol and drug use problems or concerns from the Peer Education and Chemical Health Office. The Peer Assistants, peer health educators, also staff the Peer Assistance Center during evenings to provide information and make referrals to on- and off-campus resources.

The Advising Center

The Advising Center coordinates the faculty-based academic advising program, is a resource and support to faculty in their roles as advisors and teachers, and provides a number of academic support services to help students make the most of their academic experience at Gustavus. Staff members are available to discuss a wide range of academic questions, concerns, and issues and refer students to faculty and other resources on campus.

In collaboration with faculty advisors, Advising Center staff furnish information on academic opportunities, course selection, possible majors, and four-year plans. Students use the Center to investigate supplemental opportunities in and out of the classroom and on and off campus, determine what can fit into four years, reexamine major and career decisions, and plan for semester course registrations. Central to the effort is showing students how to be ultimately responsible for pursuing information and making wise decisions.

In addition, because the curriculum at Gustavus is designed to develop a student’s ability to think critically, write and speak clearly, and evaluate as well as analyze values and attitudes, the Advising Center offers academic support services that assist students in this intellectual and personal growth.

Services are provided through individual meetings that assess a student’s needs and concerns. An individualized plan is then developed to strengthen specific academic and study skills in such areas as effective note taking, meaningful textbook reading, exam preparation, time management, and a variety of other skills necessary for college success.

Outreach programs on topics such as academic organizational skills, test anxiety, time management, and study skills necessary for college success are presented to classes, residence hall groups, athletic teams, and other interested organizations.

Disability Services, in cooperation with other individuals and departments, provides access to ensure equality of opportunity and maximal participation in the College’s educational programs. Students may receive reasonable accommodations after they have registered with Disability Services, have interviewed with the Disability Services staff, and have provided documentation.

Support for English language learners (ELL) and multilingual students is available via the College’s ELL Support staff person, who can meet individually with students to consult about academic tasks and to help students seek other means of support. The ELL Support person can also consult with faculty members who have ELL and multilingual students enrolled in their classes. The College’s ELL staff person can provide students with a letter to professors that explains and supports academic accommodations (i.e. additional time on tests, additional revisions for papers). Professors make decisions based on those recommendations at their own discretion. In addition, ELL and multilingual students can seek help from peer tutors In the Writing Center.

Center for Servant Leadership

The college years—and student’s whole lives—are not about just going through the motions, faster and faster, scrambling after “more.” They are about living deeply into a life of meaning, passion, and purpose, a life of courageous integrity and authentic connection, a life that makes a positive difference for those around students and for the communities and the planet we share. Weaving together four areas of emphasis—vocational reflection, community-based service and learning, career development, and engagement with church and community partners–the Center’s many programs and resources help students to explore their calling to learn, live, and lead “from within” in ways that serve others and help to address the world’s deep needs. Centrally located on the main level of the Johnson Student Union, the Center is the “campus living room,” the place to gather for great conver- sation about things that matter and where students can turn as they discover how to make their lives count.

Career Development

Career Development, an integral function of the Center for Servant Leadership, promotes the College mission by helping students develop to their full potential. To that end, Career Development focuses on individual assistance, self-discovery, experiential education, and the transition from college to work and graduate/professional programs. Career Development provides information on majors, careers, health professions, employers, internships, and graduate schools; self-assessment activities, credit-bearing internships, and employer/professional school contact; and support through the career development, graduate/professional school, and job search processes.

Career Counseling is available for students seeking to identify their interests, skills, and values. This information is then used as a basis to discuss career options and possible majors. Career Development provides opportunities for students to learn about career choices. For example, Career Development staff assist students to sort out the amazing array of health professions options and their varying methods for preparation. They are offered information on graduate and professional school choices and a means to assess their fit.

Internships and career explorations are available to investigate career ideas and for skill development. Students may spend an interim, semester, or summer applying theoretical knowledge to a work environment. Internships are available throughout the country and are appropriate for nearly every academic major at Gustavus.

Health Professions Advising provides students with information and support to pursue health careers, particularly those that require education beyond Gustavus. While Career Development assists students with all health careers. the Health Professions Coordinator focuses on students pursuing entry into medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry. Other advisors on campus assist with nursing, health fitness, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

As students near graduation, they work with Career Management to seek employment, admission to graduate and professional schools, and other opportunities, including volunteer service. In addition to bringing employers to campus, participating in regional job fairs, posting job opportunities, and making referrals, Career Management helps students develop their job search skills.

Vocation and Integrative Learning

One of only a few dozen programs like it in the nation, and a leader in a growing movement in higher education, Vocation and Integrative Learning, a function of the Center for Servant Leadership, invites and equips everyone in the Gustavus community to consider their lives as a vocation—a calling to live out their gifts, passions, and senses of faith and meaning in ways that benefit the community and help to address the world’s deep needs. Vocation includes but is broader than work or profession. It is a full life of ongoing, active commitment to the welfare of the communities in which one lives.

Through a range of programs, services, and collaborations that weave exploration of vocation into the fabric of the College, including the Servant-Leadership Program, retreats, workshops, academic faculty/staff developments, reading groups, scholars- and artists-in-residence, a resource center, special-project funding, and opportunities for individual and small-group conversation and discernment, the Center helps to educate the whole person for a lifelong exploration of calling, leadership, and service in a global community. The Center works with many other programs and offices across campus to support and coordinate existing programs and to develop new initiatives in three main areas: 1) One set of programs encourages students to think of their lives in terms of vocation and challenges them to lead full lives of commitment, service, and “leadership from within, for the common good”; 2) a second set of programs equips faculty and staff to explore their own sense of calling and nourishes their ability to challenge, guide, and support the life-journeys of students; and 3) a third set of programs builds on Gustavus’ commitment to lifelong learning and community engagement by offering opportunities for alumni, congregations, and other friends of the College to more intentionally live out their vocations in and for the world.

Student Activities and Campus Life

Rounding out the development of the whole student at Gustavus is the opportunity for involvement, service, and leadership through campus activities. With the help of the Student Activities Office, students develop planning, organization, teamwork, and leadership skills as well as make valuable contributions to the campus community through programs and activities.
There are more than 100 different clubs and organizations representing academic, cultural, and religious awareness, as well as service, recreational, social, and special interests. A complete list of recognized student organizations is available from the Student Activities Office. A partial list includes:

  • Asian Cultures Club
  • Big Partners/Little Partners
  • Pan Afrikan Student Organization (PASO)
  • Campus Activities Board
  • Gustavus Greens
  • Gustavian Weekly, campus newspaper
  • College Democrats and Republicans
  • Gustavus Youth Outreach
  • International Cultures Club
  • Proclaim
  • Ultimate Frisbee Club
  • Gustavus Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority
  • Womyn’s Awareness Center

Not every organization on campus is coordinated through the Student Activities Office. The more than two dozen musical ensembles, for example, are organized by the Department of Music and are considered academic experiences (a listing of musical ensembles may be found under “Ensemble Performance Studies’’ in the course descriptions of the Department of Music). The Department of Theatre and Dance plans and directs theatrical productions. The fine arts programs director brings numerous professional ensembles, such as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, to campus. Varsity athletics, intramurals, and club sports receive direction from the Department of Athletics. Many honorary organizations, such as Sigma Xi (scientific research) and Pi Kappa Delta (forensics), are under the direction of academic departments.

Community-Based Service and Learning

Community-Based Service and Learning, a function of the Center for Servant Leadership, serves as an active link between Gustavus students and service opportunities in St. Peter and surrounding communities. A recipient of multiple Governor’s Student Service Awards, Community-Based Service and Learning focuses on fostering student leadership in its programs; reflecting with students on the connections between service, values, and civic responsibility; and linking classroom knowledge with service experience when applicable.

Service opportunities are available in a variety of time commitments, activities, and age groups. In addition to its ongoing programs, Community-Based Service and Learning coordinates one-time events each semester, works with professors on service-learning classes, and maintains social justice and service resources for student research.

Religious Life at Gustavus

Part of the College’s mission is to encourage a mature understanding of the Christian faith among its students. This encouragement takes several forms, including daily chapel (where attendance is voluntary), a required class substantially within the Christian tradition, and a number of Christian organizations, that exercise faith through worship, service, and outreach. Central to encouraging this under- standing is a tolerance for religious diversity and cultural pluralism. Thus, students see the religious life at Gustavus differently according to the emphases they have established for themselves.

Gustavus is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This affiliation is historical and traditional, as well as a source of financial support. Approximately 50 percent of the College’s students come from Lutheran backgrounds. However, all denominations are represented and all faiths are welcome.

Campus Safety

Campus Safety officers are on duty twenty-four hours a day patrolling the campus, enforcing College rules and regulations and rendering appropriate emergency assistance to all members of the campus community. They have direct communication with the St. Peter Police Department and may also contact responding St. Peter Ambulance personnel. The Office of Campus Safety may be reached by dialing 8888 on campus or by calling the St. Peter Police Department at 931-1550.

Policies and Regulations

Student life policies of the College, including the “Student Conduct Code” and “Campus Judicial Procedures,” are contained in the Gustavus Guide. A reference guide noting the location of the policies and overview of the conduct code is printed and distributed to students at the beginning of the academic year. By accepting admission to Gustavus Adolphus College, each student agrees to live by the standards of this community. Gustavus depends on its students to act with integrity, self-discipline, and mature judgment and to respect the rights and property of all members of the College community. The College also expects that students will know and observe federal, state, and local laws.