With a new approach to admissions recently put in place, Concordia University Wisconsin remains committed to its closest constituents: students and families of the Lutheran Church.

In November, the university announced a change in leadership and reporting structure that would allow Concordia to take a more cohesive approach to the spectrum of student success, from prospective to alumni. As part of the change—which took effect Jan. 1, 2018—longtime leader Dr. William Cario stepped into the newly created position of provost and chief academic officer, and Dr. Michael Uden went from dean of the School of Education to vice provost of student enrollment and engagement.

Shortly thereafter, Concordia’s director of financial aid, Robert Nowak, was announced as the new assistant VP of admissions. As team lead in charge of admissions, Nowak helps oversee efforts in all areas, including on the Ann Arbor campus. Under the new structure, Assistant VP of Academics Elizabeth Polzin and Director of Veteran Services Ed Garza report to Uden as well.

Now, less than two months into their new roles, Uden and Nowak are demonstrating their commitment to Lutheran education. Last week, the pair began an effort to visit several area Lutheran schools’ campuses and affirm, in person, Concordia’s desire to partner with them for the sake of the Kingdom.

Over the course of six weeks, the two will initially visit nine Lutheran schools in the Greater Milwaukee area to meet with the administrators of the schools. They’ll look to fill their schedules with in-person visits into the summer as well.

“People today are questioning the value of a college education, particularly a faith-based one,” Uden says. “We are committed to ensure that Concordia not only survives, but thrives; and the high schools within our Lutheran system are the places we start.”

Concordia has demonstrated its commitment to Lutheran education in various ways over the years. The university continues to offer its Luther Promise initiative, an institutionally funded guarantee that provides qualifying undergraduate students up to $20 thousand annually. All students who attend a Lutheran High School automatically qualify for the financial assistance.

Additionally, through its Concordia Promise initiative, the university partners with more than 35 Lutheran high schools nationwide to offer students reduced-rate dual-credit courses. Student who decide to enroll at CUW or CUAA are then eligible to receive an additional scholarship that could equal the amount they paid for their dual-credit classes.

“We believe strongly in a Lutheran education,” Nowak says. “Our Lutheran K-12 schools have done so much to get the students to the high school graduation stage, and we want to ensure a smooth transition so they can continue that quality Christian education.”

“We are committed to ensure that Concordia not only survives, but thrives; and the high schools within our Lutheran system are the places we start.”—Dr. Michael Uden, vice provost of student enrollment and engagement

As former head of financial aid at Concordia for three years, Nowak is perfectly positioned to improve upon the synergy between the admissions and financial aid processes for parents and students. He also brings to the table previous experience in Concordia’s admissions department. With a background in finance, Nowak accepted the role in CUW’s financial aid department so that he could gain practical experience in a department that is critical to the admissions experience, and now he has come full circle during his tenure at Concordia.

Uden, too, brings his own set of unique strengths to the vice provost position, having served as School of Education dean for nearly 10 years and a professor in the academic school prior to that. A product of a Lutheran education himself, Uden says he’s passionate about Concordia’s mission to equip learners for service in the Church and world, and he’s eager to begin breaking down any barriers that may stand in the way of that.

“Concordia University represents excellence in Christian higher education,” Uden says, “and because of that, it is a dynamic resource for a very broad range of stakeholders we serve within the community, church, and the world as well.”

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, 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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