Dr. Chuck Kunert, master of stirring up debate both inside and outside the classroom, has been an integral member of the Concordia University faculty since 1969. Known for his ability to discuss, explore and challenge values lead to deeper understanding in the classroom. His methods have been honed and refined through years of his own personal questioning as he provokes all for an on-going search for truth.
Positioning his students to benefit from a unique perspective, they assume the responsibility of leadership by liberating pre-conceived notions while inviting full inspection of their beliefs, up close and personal — dissecting them under Chuck's advanced educational spotlight.
Of course, none of his efforts to instill these leadership qualities would be successful, let alone credible, without his long standing dedication to teaching at Concordia University. It may be just a matter of coincidence, but Dr. Kunert has played a significant role in Concordia's very own rendition in the evolution of origin over the last 40 years.
In 1977, he experienced the move of the resident high school off campus, which spurred a transition from a two-year junior college to a four-year program -- introducing coursework that extended beyond preparing pastors and teachers for the church. In the '90s, Concordia University's graduate programming took shape, increasing our community profile in the Pacific Northwest. Most recently, two graduate programs -- the Master of Arts in International Development and Service and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) -- have launched successfully and involve students traveling overseas. The development of a new MA in Community Psychology has high hopes for a fall 2014 launch. Chuck recently announced Concordia University is moving to a new set of General Education requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree including demonstrating foreign language competency and participation in a meaningful intercultural experience.
Furthermore, Chuck has witnessed the Concordia campus' recent facility additions such as the George R. White Library and the athletic complex. These additions, "Have really altered the community members' view of Concordia University. They were linked to an increase in intentional community outreach by our faculty and students…a wonderful emphasis for a Christian school," Chuck adds.
Concordia University students and faculty members alike can continue to be inspired by these milestones as the Concordia Community continues to grow and change. Chuck maintains, "The emphasis on servant leadership has come to dominate our conversation when we describe ourselves and it is a powerful motivator for students to aspire to something very worthy." It's no wonder, then, that our university has been properly calculated with precise planning and forethought, positioned to evolve students into leaders in our community, while challenging them to reach beyond themselves and their current values to pilot the future of society.
Even though Rachel Asburry graduated from Concordia College in 1986 and lives 2,000 miles away from campus, she maintains her strong ties to the school, serving as the project coordinator for the office of the president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. "Professors like Hans Spalteholz, Dale Fisk, Dr. Reinisch and Rhonda Miller were more than just teachers and mentors. They were so encouraging and empowering that they became true friends. To this day, Hans Spalteholz is a part of my extended family and I am thankful to see Dale Fisk and his wife occasionally," Rachel says.
Although the business program was new when Rachel was applying for colleges, she chose Concordia because she saw great opportunity in the Christian study atmosphere. While in attendance, she took advantage of the internship program that landed her a career in marketing research at real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield.
Rachel also believes her character was shaped through her four year dedication to choir at Concordia University. "Many of my closest friends that I still have today are friends from my time in choir," Rachel affirms. "The choir tours created wonderful bonding opportunities with friends and fellow students." During her freshman year, the choir toured Alaska. "The whole trip was fantastic -- from the beautiful scenery, to the warm reception of the small churches, to the challenges of traveling in the cold (our bus broke down several times)."
Rachel stays in touch with Concordia University through the newsletter and visits campus whenever she's in Portland. "Last summer, my husband, Randy, and I visited Portland and we enjoyed seeing the new library and all of the changes around campus. Concordia has come a long way since 1986!"
Tori Talbutt, Concordia University women's soccer goalie and senior biology major has set her eyes on a target that extends beyond the athletic field and classrooms. Tori's recent trip to Tanzania has empowered her with a larger-than-life opportunity to lead her community in the fight against malaria. This deadly disease affects children every 60 seconds in Africa, yet it is entirely preventable and curable.
Selected to serve in a national fellowship of student representatives, Tori engages others to band together to eliminate malaria deaths by 2015. She joins other students with the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) to raise awareness and support for the effort. The LMI – a collaboration between Lutheran World Relief and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod -- has partnered with the UN Foundation to prevent millions of malaria-related deaths.
Tori's personal initiative is to raise $25,000 towards ending this disease that is killing millions. So far, Tori has raised $5,000. For as little as $1, a child suffering from malaria will receive medicine. $10 will provide an entire family with a treated bed net and proper malaria prevention education. A $50 contribution will offset the costs associated with educational radio messages, helping spread the word about prevention. Donations of $100 will help train health care professionals to diagnose and treat malaria, and $1,000 or more will provide microscopes and other medical equipment to rural health clinics.
"If our community and campus can band together to raise awareness about this terrible disease, we can provide hope to many other communities in need and help the national fight to end malaria deaths," Talbutt expresses. Visit the Lutheran Malaria Initiative site to make a pledge. By working together, we can save a child, protect a family, and educate an entire community.
Since 1905, Concordia University has prepared teachers who make a positive difference in the lives of the children and families they serve. It is in this spirit that the Governor Victor Atiyeh Leadership In Education Award is presented each year. This award honors leaders who have made significant contributions to improving education in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. This year, our event will honor Mr. Ken Thrasher and the late Mr. Richard C. Alexander for their life-long passion and leadership for eduaction. This year, we are pleased to welcome Sal Khan, founder and executive director of the Khan Academy, as our keynote speaker.
Prior to joining Compli, Mr. Thrasher served 19 years in executive positions with Fred Meyer Stores including CFO and executive vice president with oversight of HR, finance, and administration. He later became president and CEO of Fred Meyer Stores division after Fred Meyer merged with The Kroger Company (at $50 billion, the nation's largest grocery store chain). In addition to being the longest serving board chair of the Children's Institute (which worked in conjunction with Mr. Alexander's Ready for School Initiative), Mr. Thrasher also serves on the boards of Northwest Natural, The Jensen Fund, GSL Inc, Friends of the Children, Oregon Mentors, Oregon Business Council, and PSU's Foundation board. He was also appointed by Governor Kulongoski as chairperson of the Quality Education Commission for Oregon in 2001 and served through 2004 as its chairperson, and chaired Portland State University's Capital/Endowment Campaign through its completion in 2006. Mr. Thrasher and his wife, Marta, were early investors in Concordia's community engagement strategy that lead to the development of the Concordia Teacher Corp and the Faubion School partnership. He is a graduate of Oregon State University, where he serves on the College of Business' Dean's Circle of Excellence.
Mr. Alexander was one of Oregon's leading business, civic, and philanthropic leaders and focused resources where he knew they could make the greatest difference: early childhood education. He led two campaigns in Oregon where the goal was to increase funding for early childhood education. Mr. Alexander was a driving force on the board of The Children's Institute, and he was the architect and leader of The Ready for School campaign to galvanize business and civic leaders to secure an additional $39 million in state funding for Oregon Head Start Pre-kindergarten. This additional funding makes it possible for 3,000 more of Oregon's most vulnerable children to enroll in Head Start each year. In 2009 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree from Concordia University. He and his wife Carilyn were early philanthropic investors in Concordia's community engagement strategy that helped launch the nationally recognized Concordia Teacher Corps.
Sal Khan, selected as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world this year, is the founder of the Khan Academy (khanacademy.org), a nonprofit with the mission of providing free, high-quality education to "anyone, anywhere" in the world. A former hedge fund analyst with degrees from M.I.T. and Harvard University, Khan was helping a young cousin with math in 2004, communicating by phone and using an interactive notepad. When others expressed interest, he began posting videos of his hand-scribbled tutorials on YouTube. Demand took off, and in 2009 he quit his day job.
The Khan Academy website now provides self-pacing software and unlimited access to over 3,000 instructional videos on its YouTube channel covering everything from basic arithmetic to college level science and economics. It's the most-used library of educational videos on the web, with 4.2 million unique students per month, over 118 million lessons delivered, and over 260 million exercises completed. A growing number of classrooms around the world are using Khan Academy to help build student mastery of topics and to free up class time for dynamic project based learning.
For more information on the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds from the event provide scholarship support to Concordia University students.
Check out the University calendar for a complete list of all that is happening at Concordia.