Friday, December 14, 2012

One University

We recorded our 2012 Christmas card email this morning on video which you will receive in the coming week. Emailing the university's Christmas card saves LETU many thousands of dollars in printing and postage expense. This is one of many ways in which we are trying to be strategic in the way we spend our limited resources.

Sending a digital Christmas card is also a reminder of the many new opportunities being created by technology. When I graduated from college there was no such thing as emailing Christmas cards. In fact, I'm sure I would not have recognized the word "emailing" and certainly not as a verb.

In the same way, most of us would not have understood a decade ago that LETU would enroll more than 1,000 students in online degree programs. Our reputation for online programs has grown to the extent that organizations such as named us among their "Top 25 Best Online" universities and ranked us #1 in their rankings of the "Top Online Christian Colleges." We've been successful. We believe we can be even more successful in recruitment, retention and learning outcomes.

Dr. Coyle is leading a comprehensive effort to prepare our online and other non-traditional programs for the future. We can't anticipate all the changes ahead in technology, but we do understand that operating as "One University" is essential for our future. In his Nov. 8, 2012 email to campus, he said  online delivery combined with high quality faculty engagement can be central to accomplishing our mission. He wants to eliminate our thinking about "GAPS students" and "traditional students" and instead just focus on "LeTourneau students" who are given options to complete their degree programs on ground, online or in some combination of both. I wholeheartedly agree!

Several organizational changes are in motion now to put this into practice. My thanks to all of you who are busy crafting our two programs into one.

As you have creative ideas on how we can make LeTourneau University the best One University, please share them with us by email to  

Technology will change the "classroom" and the way we teach, but our mission remains the same: we are called to claim the workplace for Jesus Christ and we do that one student at a time with an education that transforms each into a competent professional with Christ-like character, one who sees their work as a holy calling with eternal impact.

Friday, December 7, 2012

One Word

If you were to describe the mission of LETU in one word, what would be that word?

The Salvation Army is a ministry I respect very much. We think of them at Christmas time as we see their red kettle bell ringers everywhere (trivia alert: in high school I volunteered as a bell ringer). Beyond Christmas, the Salvation Army quietly serves the neediest among us -- caring both for material needs and eternal destinies. Nearly 30 million in 5,000 communities are served by The Salvation Army annually.

Once when asked to describe the mission of the Salvation Army, founder William Booth walked to the podium, spoke one word, and sat back down. That one word was "others." This focus on "others" motivates Salvation Army staff and focuses their operational decisions. There is no confusion within the organization as to the reason for their existence: an extraordinary commitment to serve others.

Here at LETU, we are moving to combine our traditional and GAPS marketing efforts into one unified communication strategy to advance the LETU "brand." The public relations firm of Lovell-Fairchild have been listening to many of you as they help us to better define the core elements of the LETU brand. Nancy Lovell and Julie Fairchild challenged me Wednesday morning with the above question: "What one word would you use to label the mission of LETU?"

I'm not sure I answered the question well: it is difficult to reduce this institution and our reason for existence to one word. I'd like to know your thoughts. How would you answer that question?