Editor's note: This story first appeared in the spring 2020 issue of the Concordian, the official magazine of Concordia University Wisconsin.


Whether they’re in pursuit of enrichment, advancement, or self-improvement, these bright CUW students have an even brighter future ahead of them thanks to Concordia’s newest doctorate program. They’re among the first students to enroll in Concordia’s Doctorate of Education in Leadership in Innovation and Continuous Improvement (EdD LICI), which launched in fall 2018.

The group demonstrates the broad appeal and usefulness of the program. Built for growth-minded individuals and inspired by a Christian worldview, the EdD LICI is providing a deep dive into leadership, research, continuous improvement, and innovation for a total of four cohorts of learners from across the nation.

On the importance of a doctorate…

VANESSA VANDE HEI

Environmental Public Health, Sanitarian, Oneida Nation

In my indigenous language, we have a saying: Yukwatsistay^, which means, “Our fire, our spirit, within each one of us.” Throughout my life, I’ve been surrounded by incredible indigenous scholars, community advocates, program administrators, and family members who have truly championed, modeled, and instilled this core value in me. I strongly believe I have a responsibility to use this fire so that I may apply the knowledge and experiences I gain to the programs within my community.

 

 


MATTHEW THIEL

Music Director, Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School

I simply love learning and enjoy being in an academic setting. If getting a doctorate opens new career opportunities for me, great! If not, that’s fine too. I’m just excited to put to use what I learn in this program—in my current vocation or wherever the Lord may lead. That’s the great thing about the LICI program, I’m learning practical, widely applicable content that has already benefited me in my job and I’m only 20 percent done.

 

 


SHAUN LUEHRING

President & CEO, LUMIN Schools

I’ve learned a lot going for my doctorate at CUW, most importantly that the professors want you to be successful. In every class they have been easy to turn to for advice and support, much more than I expected on an online course. In fact, it is the most connected I’ve ever felt to professors in an online course. They take your success very seriously.

 

 

 


NINA STEWART

Lean Customer Value Consultant, American Family Insurance

It’s been 20 years since I obtained my master’s in computer information systems. I had always thought of going back to school, but nothing seemed to grab my interest until I found the LICI program, which feeds my passion for process improvement and becoming a better leader. It’s encouraged me to reflect upon my values, strengths, and limitations. It’s been a joy to learn in this program.

 

 

 


COURTNEY WASHINGTON

Community Engagement Specialist, Selma City Schools

Concordia’s mission of helping students develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and world is not just words on paper. Professors challenge us on a regular basis to consider how our lessons lend themselves to bettering ourselves and others on all fronts—professionally, personally, and spiritually. My faith is paramount for me and it’s a great feeling to be part of an institution for which the same is true.

 

 


REV. BRIAN DOWNS

Senior Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church in Belleville, Illinois

This program has inspired me as a leader in both practical and bigger, philosophical ways. The faith component was certainly a draw, but my decision to enroll was also based on the qualifications of the staff leading this program. I appreciate the creativity in online conferencing and variation in learning modalities. The professors are exceptional. Their personal investment in me was immediately apparent and has made all the difference.

 

 


JENNA ROESKE

Principal, Trinity Lutheran School in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

My amazing husband has picked up extra duties along the way. … It helps to have your whole family and support system on board when you decide to pursue a degree, and, after that, you just simply have to resolve to make it a part of your daily routine. Altogether, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that my husband and I can juggle it all—my coursework along with full-time jobs and raising our 3-year-old son. It is a great testament to the structure and delivery of this program.

 

 


NICOLAS KALE LOS BANOS

Director of Compliance & Quality, Hawai’i Care Choices

I was nearing the end of my EdD at Concordia, Portland when they made their announcement. Then COVID-19 hit the U.S. and my responsibilities with the Incident Command Team were enacted at the hospice where I work. Between the two, it was a hectic period to say the least! However, Concordia Wisconsin has been incredibly responsive and accommodating. I look forward to finishing strong at CUW.

CUW has accepted more than 100 EdD transfer students from Portland, some of whom have already begun classes.

 

The spring 2020 Concordian hit mailboxes the end of April. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu

— Kali Thiel is director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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