The Institute for Leadership and Service at Valparaiso University has named 20 Valpo students and recent graduates CAPS Fellows for summer 2015.

Recipients are selected from a competitive pool of applicants and will complete internships with organizations dedicated to service and leadership for eight to 10 weeks during the summer. The CAPS Fellows Program helps Valpo students develop their sense of Calling And Purpose in Society through intensive experiential-learning opportunities accompanied by significant reflection.

Teagle-funded project examines holistic departments; updated faculty evaluation process

Faculty from Valparaiso University contributed to “Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning” — a monograph that encourages colleges and universities to more effectively structure departments to address changes in higher education and better support student learning.

During the past two years, Joseph A. Bognar, chair and associate professor of music, Elizabeth A. Burow-Flak, chair and associate professor of English, Richard A. Gillman, associate provost for faculty affairs and professor of mathematics and statistics, Peter E. Johnson, chair and associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Aaron M. Preston, chair and associate professor of philosophy, worked with colleagues throughout the New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U) consortium on this Teagle Foundation-funded project to study and make recommendations on holistic departments and faculty evaluation methods.

“Colleges and universities haven’t really changed the way departments are structured and the way faculty are evaluated despite major shifts in pedagogy and faculty responsibilities over the past few decades,” said the monograph’s co-editor David Salomon, professor of English and director of undergraduate research at The Sage Colleges. “We need to move away from viewing professors as the ‘sage on the stage’ and instead focus on the various activities — inside and outside of the classroom — that they do to foster student learning and advance the institutional mission.”

Valparaiso University has named Stacey A. Miller, Ed.D., as assistant provost for inclusion. In this role, Miller will work closely with students, faculty, staff and community members to advance diversity and equity as core values of the University and as central to its educational mission.

“I am so pleased that Stacey Miller will be joining us as the inaugural assistant provost for inclusion,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Stacey will play a key role in helping us to develop and implement a model for diversity and inclusion that is robust and firmly rooted in our Lutheran, Christian ethos and identity. I look forward to working with Stacey as we seek to ensure that Valpo is a community that genuinely welcomes and includes people of all backgrounds.”

As Valpo seeks to grow its total enrollment as part of its Strategic Plan, University leadership continues to identify opportunities to promote dialogue across cultures in a richly diverse community. Miller will provide crucial oversight as the University further promotes efforts to deeply embed diversity and inclusion across campus and to strengthen ties to the Northwest Indiana community that enrich the educational experience.

“Words cannot express how happy and excited I am to become the new assistant provost for inclusion at Valparaiso University,” Miller said. “I look forward to upholding the values and ethos of the Lutheran faith tradition, which supports the tenets of social justice and inclusive communities.”

Opening Reception is June 19

Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art welcomes “Homeless Jesus,” an installation by renowned Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz. An opening reception will be held June 19 at 11:15 a.m. on Chapel Drive, west of the Harre Union.

After installations in Toronto; London; Perth, Australia; and various cities throughout the United States, “Homeless Jesus” comes to Valparaiso University to spark conversation among campus and community viewers and inspire society to be more compassionate and charitable.

“The ‘Homeless Jesus’ sculpture is a wonderful addition to Valpo,” said Gregg Hertzlieb, MFA, director and curator of the Brauer Museum of Art. “It is a complex work that reminds the campus community of spirituality and moving themes that lie at the heart of the University’s mission.”

Valparaiso University is ranked No. 1 overall in the 2015 Fifty Best Christian Colleges and Universities list and No. 2 overall in the 2015 Rankings of Midwestern Regional Universities, published by the independent college search and rankings website College Choice.

“This recognition is a testament to the extraordinary quality and value of a Valpo education,” said Michael A. Joseph, M.A., vice president for enrollment management. “As a University grounded in the Lutheran tradition, we intentionally bring together students of all faith backgrounds who thrive in our intellectually rigorous learning environment.”

College Choice rankings methodology focuses on factors college freshmen say are most important to their college decision, which, according to a survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, include academic reputation, net cost, and post-graduation success.

Valpo students represent a variety of faith traditions, with 26 percent Lutheran, 26 percent Catholic, 32 percent other Christian faiths, and 16 percent other. Valpo offers 11 religious services each week in its Chapel, and many students are involved with ministries at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Student Center, located adjacent to campus. Additionally, Valpo’s more than 130 student organizations include the faith-based Social Action Leadership Team, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and the Muslim Students Association.

Valparaiso University is consistently recognized for outstanding academics and in 2014 was named the No. 2 Best Regional University for Undergraduate Teaching by U.S. News and World Report. Through a commitment to academic excellence and a proven career services strategy, Valpo alumni attain job and graduate school placement throughout the country and the world. Recently, Valpo announced its overall placement rate for 2013–2014 graduates is 94.5 percent, marking the 22nd consecutive year of graduate placement above 90 percent.

Tiffany Luehrs ’18 has been selected from a group of finalists for the incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program. The program has been sponsored by the James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago since 1948.

Luehrs, a first year international business and Mandarin Chinese major at Valparaiso University, is the daughter of Ron and Anne Luehrs of McLean, Va.

The Kemper Scholars Program’s mission is to prepare students for professional leadership positions through experiential workplace learning that applies what they learn in their academic programs. The Foundation believes undergraduate study of the liberal arts represents the best preparation for life and career. The program aims to promote education in the liberal arts while providing students opportunities for career exploration and practical experience.

More than 1,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students will participate in Valparaiso University’s Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17. The 2014–2015 academic year concludes yet another chapter of the University’s proven excellence in education, leadership, faith, and service.

“As we celebrate the end of another academic season, I am reminded of all the explorations, achievements, and discoveries that have occurred this year,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president. “I am grateful for all that our students, faculty, and staff do to support the mission of Valparaiso University and contribute to this exceptional place where passion meets purpose.”

Here’s a look back at highlights for Valparaiso University’s 2014–2015 academic year:

More than 90 percent of recent Valpo graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school for the 22nd straight year.


graph_bThe overall placement rate for 2013-2014 alumni is 94.5 percent, marking a 2.2 percent increase from last year. Each year, Valparaiso University’s Career Center sponsors nearly 100 career preparation opportunities including networking events, mock interviews, panel discussions and job fairs.


“Our alumni consistently achieve career and graduate school placement at extraordinary locations throughout the world and continue to exemplify the high standards of excellence we hold at Valparaiso University,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president. “Their success is a testament to Valpo’s intellectually rigorous and innovative education, as well as our gifted faculty and dedicated staff who provide the resources and mentoring necessary for graduates to thrive in work and life.”


graph_dHighlights of the 2015 Graduate Report include:

  • Graduates are working or studying in 37 states and 10 countries. Nearly 37 percent of 2013-2014 alumni work or attend graduate school in Indiana.
  • Ten respondents are involved in full-time service: three in AmeriCorps, one each in Amate House, City Year, Hayes Leonard Elementary School, Holden Village, Peace Corps, Soccer Without Borders, and a Field Hospital in Syria.
  • Three respondents are in the Armed Forces: two with the Air Force and one with the National Guard.
  • One respondent was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and is in Austria.




Valparaiso University has secured $149,109 from the Indiana Commission on Higher Education to fund a program to help more low-income students graduate from college.

Valpo’s Persistence and Success Program is open to 21st Century Scholars and Frank O’Bannon Scholars, many of whom are first-generation students. The program focuses on transition-to-college, academic and social support, career preparation, and financial literacy.

After successfully completing the program as freshmen, Valpo Persistence Scholars will be eligible for a $500 scholarship during their sophomore year. Each participant will benefit from personalized attention including:

  • One-on-one monthly meetings with a faculty or staff mentor
  • One-on-one appointment each semester with a Financial Aid advisor
  • Participation in SMART Connections – a peer mentoring program
  • Participation in Career Center activities and Strengths Quest Assessment
  • Enrollment in Strategies for Academic Success course
  • Opportunities to meet new friends and establish long-term relationships with faculty, staff, deans, advisors, and fellow students

The funding is part of a $1.8 million commitment from the Indiana Commission on Higher Education to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.

Visit to learn about Valpo’s Persistence and Success Program.

IHE Founder Recognized for Commitment to Humane Education

Zoe Weil, president and co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) based in Surry, Maine, will be awarded an honorary doctorate by Valparaiso University on May 16 for her commitment to creating a better world through humane education. IHE has trained and supported educators and advocates worldwide for the past 19 years to incorporate real-world sustainability and social justice issues into classrooms and communities.

As part of a three-day visit to the university, Weil will address Valpo graduates at a commencement awards banquet and gather with current humane education students and alumni. She will also lead a MOGO (Most Good Least Harm) hands-on workshop on May 15 at 3:30 p.m. for faculty. The workshop is open to the public, but seats are limited. Spaces may be reserved at the workshop by emailing

“It is an honor to be recognized by Valparaiso University,” Weil said. “I look forward to strengthening our partnership and growing the humane education program in a way that provides many more graduate students the opportunity to see the challenges of our time through a solutionary lens and gain the skills necessary to create a more humane and compassionate world.”

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