Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, students have indicated an overwhelming sense of appreciation for all aspects of their Seminary experience through a comprehensive evaluation program that was conducted by the Seminary over the past two years. The evaluative instrument utilized was developed by Noel-Levitz Centers, Inc., a company specializing in higher education institutional assessment. The evaluation program was administered in each of the past two years to students in their final year of Seminary study. Students were invited to rank individual items in terms of their level of importance (priority) and in terms of how well they felt Concordia Seminary performed in accomplishing the items (performance).
Specific areas measured by the Noel-Levitz evaluation included Academic Advising/Counseling, Academic Services, Admissions and Financial Aid, Campus Climate, Campus Support Services, Concern for the Individual, Instructional Effectiveness, Registration Effectiveness, Safety and Security, Service Excellence and Student Centeredness.
Especially noteworthy in the survey results of the 2002 graduating class was the students’ high regard for the theological education they receive. The students expressed “the ability to preach and teach the Word of God” and the ability to “lead God’s people in worship” as most important. They also rated these areas as the ones with which they had the highest degree of confidence and were well prepared to the greatest extent.
Of almost equal priority to the students was the “knowledge of the faculty in the areas of their teaching responsibility.” Again, students expressed an exceptionally high level of satisfaction with this area. “Students remain confident that God has led to this institution some of the finest theologians and models for pastoral ministry available,” commented Rev. Larry Rockemann, the Seminary’s vice president for student life, whose office administered the evaluation. “They commented specifically about the approachability of the faculty members and their availability outside of the classroom.”
“Formal and intentional assessment of how effectively Concordia Seminary fulfills it mission of preparing future pastors for the church is important,” commented Dr. John F. Johnson, president of Concordia Seminary. “While Noel-Levitz informs every institution it serves that three years of evaluation results are necessary to establish a reliable data baseline, we are obviously delighted with the positive validation of our efforts this survey provides.”
Rockemann was pleased to observe the exceptionally high degree of satisfaction students expressed with all areas pertaining to campus life, including housing, financial aid, the level of concern expressed for students and their families and campus services. “The students expressed a strong sense of agreement that the Seminary is doing whatever it can to help them reach their educational goals and to do so in an environment with a staff described as ‘caring and helpful.'”
“The evaluation process originated two years ago as a portion of our Seminary’s long-range strategic planning process,” commented Rockemann. “Our students have appreciated being involved in this process, and we highly value their input. I am happy to say that this evaluation process will be continued for many years to come and is even being expanded to include our alumni.”
In May, Concordia Seminary will administer a similar evaluative instrument to the 2001 graduates who have been serving in the pastoral ministry for one year. This process will be an extension of the on-campus evaluation process and will serve to evaluate the same factors in the Seminary formation process. However, it will now be from the vantage point of the pastor whose Seminary experience is still fresh in his mind. This process will be repeated each year with alumni who have been in the pastoral ministry one year, four years and eight years. “It will be interesting to see how the thoughts and opinions of those who completed the evaluations last year may change after a year in the pastoral ministry,” commented Rockemann.
The results returned concerning Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, were compared with those of similar institutions by Noel-Levitz. “The evaluation summary indicates an extremely high ranking for Concordia Seminary when compared with similar institutions, and the church can feel very pleased about this,” commented Rev. Glen Thomas, the Seminary’s vice president for seminary relations. “Yet, our goal in undertaking this process is not to impress others or to pat ourselves on the back, but rather to continue to provide the very finest theological education and Seminary experience possible for our students. Ultimately, this results in the very best pastors possible for the church.”
For more information, contact Seminary Relations, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; 314.505.7371; email@example.com.