Learning New Ways to Stay Focused on Student Success

March 26, 2020
aerial photo of CTX campus


Many words come to mind when one takes the time to stop and think about the current crisis we are experiencing. Dr. Trovall and Dr. Christian reflected on connection. Dr. Utzinger reflected on hope. And you will get to hear from several of our other faculty and staff over the next few weeks about their thoughts as we attempt to make meaning of the changes we are currently experiencing.

As I sit here early this morning, in my new home office set-up, reflecting about the work that needs to be done this day, this week, this month — the word that comes to mind for me is FOCUS.

There is an image that we have used for some time in talking about how we do our work together here at Concordia University Texas. We use it to talk about how all of our operations at CTX work in concentric circles, bounded by our mission, vision, values and strategic plan, all focused on helping our students succeed.

CTX mission, vision, strategic plan graphicThis image has never seemed as apt as it does now. In this time of fear and uncertainty, I am proud of the way that Concordia has focused on what matters — student success.

Here are some ways that I have seen that happen over the last few weeks:

  • Faculty are working hard to get their classes into different delivery modes and continue to deliver a high-quality Christian education – while being flexible and understanding of the realities of today’s crisis. At their first virtual meeting this week, faculty asked very few questions about their own changing workload, instead only focusing on how they can best serve our students.
  • Academic support staff are working hard to understand the learning needs of many of our students as they transition to the new way of learning and are continually asking questions about the needs of different types of students.
  • Student Affairs and other staff are focused on the holistic needs of students, including housing, food insecurity, mental health and emergency financial aid for those who are adversely affected by this pandemic.
  • Our donors have graciously given funding to help us with the emergency needs of our students. To support CTX students in this crisis, please donate to the emergency fund.
  • Our leadership team members have had to make hundreds of decisions in the last few weeks and have always done so by starting with the question, “What is best for students?”

Times like this cause individuals to stop and focus on what is important — our health, our families and our communities. And it causes organizations to stop and focus on what is important for them. Over and over again these past few weeks, I have been reminded that student success is at the center of what we do. Our mission of “developing the mind, heart, body, and soul, preparing leaders for lives of service” and our values of being Christ-centered, caring for people, living in our vocations, being lifelong learners, and exhibiting trust and courage continue to drive what we do, ensuring that we are focused on our students and helping them succeed during this time of rapid change.