When asked about Lindsey Wilson college, many local residents may talk about the unique chapel building, large buffet offered by the dining center or one of many sports teams that compete right here in Columbia. Few will probably mention the office that makes all those things possible – that is Academic Affairs.
For years, LWC has provided a population influx each semester that provides entertainment opportunities and services to the community. However, recently a new interest is coming to the college that will benefit Columbia even more. That is increased student engagement with the community by means of more research programs and work opportunities.
The academic affairs office is seeking to pursue such a goal. To do that, the campus recently hired a new vice president to the office, Ray Lutgring.
Lutgring has nearly 30 years of higher education experience under his belt. The past 10 years were spent at University of Evansville where he was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
He recognizes that field experience and in-classroom learning are key to improving the opportunities the college has to offer.
“Once you have an experience in the field, it allows students to become motivated to get excited about their work,” said Lutgring.
The academic affairs office ensures the integrity of the college by producing all curriculum for its students. The office directs all the degree programs from nursing to engineering for students to choose from. It also ensures the professionalism of faculty that in turn gives students the proper education needed in their degree fields.
Even now the LWC staff has grown to 118 faculty. The school year brings with it two new graduate degrees focusing on computer sciences and one new doctorate program in counseling education and supervision. The academic affairs office is there to help all those faculty and students have a healthy learning experience.
With Lutgring’s passion for field research, the campus can provide new ways for students to interact with the local community. Just this year, nursing students can receive real on-the-job training and experience in the TJ Health Columbia facility. The college offers many practicums for counseling and ministry students to get connected with local resources to receive actual on-site experience. This list continues to grow as new local opportunities for research emerge.
Lutgring said there are two major impacts that the community and the academics of LWC have on one another.
The first is economic. “No place can grow without talented people,” and LWC can provide “people with entrepreneurial spirit that want to open a business,” explained Lutgring. LWC can give them the skills they need to join the workforce or start that business. It helps to put Adair County on the map and draw opportunities that wouldn’t normally be offered.
The second major impact is the cultural experience. Lindsey Wilson is able to host a vast number of experiences and knowledge through its open seminars, plays and sporting events. This allows for community building and interaction between the campus and Columbia, Lutgring said.
Through his office, they provide a bridge between the community and its students by supporting them with creative research and opportunities with local residents that normally would have occurred.
Lutgring is excited to help build upon what Lindsey Wilson has to offer to the residents of Columbia. He encourages everyone to become involved by coming to a sporting event, LWC Singers show and one of many plays they will offer this semester.
By Brandon Roberts
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