The Gustavus Experience

Academic Catalog: 2015–2016

The Student Body, Retention, and Graduation Rates

Gustavus Adolphus College enrolls approximately 2,500 students from more than 42 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; Campus 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 onand off-campus resources.

The Academic Support Center

The Academic Support 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, the staff provide 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 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 4-year planning, 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 is dedicated to providing equal access to the College’s curriculum, programs, services, and facilities. In partnership with faculty and other individuals and departments, staff assist students in identifying barriers and provide accommodations. Any student interested in pursuing services should make an appointment with Disability Services. Each student’s situation is unique and is handled on a case-by-case basis.

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

Career Development

Career Development provides information, opportunity and support to students in the career development process including: self-assessment, career exploration, gaining career related experiences, and transitioning from college to work and graduate/professional programs. Career Development assists students with: identify interests, skills, and values, selecting majors, learning about careers, completing career explorations and internships, graduate and professional school information, and preparation and engagement in search for career opportunities.

Internships and Career Explorations provide opportunities for students to explore and confirm their career interests and couple career experience with their college academic studies. These career-related experiential education opportunities allow students to learn by applying knowledge and skills acquired in their college academic studies to actual projects, responsibilities, and tasks in an employment environment. Students may complete career explorations or internships during Fall or Spring Semesters, Summer Session, or Interim. Eligible students may earn Interim (Career Exploration) or Semester and Summer Session (Internship) academic credit by registering for an Interim Career Exploration or an academic Internship.

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 Director of Health Professions Advising focuses on students pursuing entry into medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, physician assistant, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Other advisors on campus focus on nursing, health fitness, and veterinary medicine.

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.

Campus 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 Campus 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 Campus Activities Office or at

Not every organization on campus is coordinated through the Campus 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.

Mentoring and Peer Education are vital components to some student experiences at Gustavus. The Mentoring Program provides junior and senior students with individual guidance around leadership development, career and vocational discernment. This happens through students being matched in a year-long professional and personal relationship with a Gustavus alum who is focused on their holistic growth and development.

Community-Based Service and Learning

The Office of Community-Based Service and Learning (CBSL) serves as the principle campus entity through which institutional resources are allocated to support the promotion and development of community engagement activities at Gustavus. These include co-curricular community service and outreach activities as well as curricular engagement including community-based learning and engaged scholarship. CBSL staff are dedicated to supporting excellence in service and leadership by enhancing students’ understanding of issues of public interest, supporting their academic, personal, and civic development through meaningful engagement, and fostering a life-long commitment to active citizenship, democratic values, and capacity-building.

To that end, we actively work to meet the needs of students, faculty, and community partners interested community service and community-based learning by providing the information, advising, tools, resources, and coordination in order for them to be successful and reach their highest potential as responsible and contributing engaged citizens.

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 understanding 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. This information is available to the campus community online at deanofstudents/gustavusguide/. 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.