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Feb 16

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Lindenwood University: Innovative, Collaborative Success

Lindenwood University: Innovative, Collaborative Success

By Samia Williams

Since being enacted in 2000, the Colleges of Distinction list has been determined to challenge the standard school rating system and target, what they feel, to be the more reputable aspects of a successful undergraduate experience. By using four main areas of distinction—engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities, and successful outcomes—the Colleges of Distinction list has recognized Lindenwood University as a valuable next step for many students entering undergrad, and seeking an experience that’s determined to support their educational journey every step of the way.

With an intentional, well-deserved nomination, various schools—and departments—within Lindenwood University have successfully been recognized for their dedication to their students, community, and distinguished institution: The Robert W. Plaster School of Business and Entrepreneurship, The School of Education, the Career Development Center, the Veterans Affair Center, and The Office of Student Life & Diversity. 

When prompted with several questions to reflect on this great accomplishment, these departments offered heartfelt, yet professional responses that I personally found to exceptionally reflect the integrity of Lindenwood. To those interviewed, the Colleges of Distinction award is more than an acknowledgement of Lindenwood’s academic success and personal growth, but how that work has provided Lindenwood’s students academic success and personal growth, as well. 

The system set in place at Lindenwood has been designed to produce success by the cultivation of new ideas through collaborative efforts and brave new implementations—this, of course, is encouraged by Lindenwood on both sides, students, and faculty alike. Dr. Jill Hutcheson, Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Education, said it best: “The most rewarding part of the process of cultivating and implementing new ideas comes from seeing all members of our school come together with such a strong commitment to the success for our graduates. When we apply our collaborative efforts, there is so much enthusiasm and synergy around planning, and implementing new ideas, that just being part of the experience is a reward in itself.” 

To Lindenwood, this process isn’t just seen as a process, and this system isn’t just seen as a system: it’s an experience altogether, and this award is a reminder that that’s the way it should be.

Across the board, interviewees felt the same as Dr. Hutcheson, including Career Strategist Shannon Wright, who said, “As the pandemic has illustrated, the world can change overnight creating challenges where none existed prior. We will continue to work to coordinate with our faculty and staff partners to better integrate programming into curriculum. Additionally, we are always looking to expand experiential opportunities for students to better equip them with the skills needed for the workforce of tomorrow;” and Veterans Specialist Nia Spencer, who concluded in her interview, “The VA is constantly making changes and one will have to be able to adapt and be patient. So, with that, I have to ensure that I remain humble and ready to tackle any changes that come along. Therefore, I guess it’s safe to say, that I am just getting started in a way.” 

These responses are indicative of one major thing: the state of the department is dependent on the need of the student.

A relationship is established early on at Lindenwood, and it’s evident from this recognition, and the interviewees, how important that relationship exactly is. Career Strategist Emily Albers corroborates that in her response by saying, “While being recognized by Colleges of Distinction is incredibly rewarding, the reality is that our department works tirelessly to ensure Lindenwood students and alumni are awarded every opportunity possible to start and pursue a valuable career after graduation. As we implement new programming and strategies to connect students with these opportunities, the pay-off is really seeing them excel in their career aspirations. Each member of our team would agree that the best part of the work we do is hearing “I got the job!” from one of our students or alumni;” and Career Strategist Elizabeth Ashcraft does the same: “Our job is never finished. The world of work is constantly changing and evolving, and we are always trying to keep the balance of one foot in higher education and the other foot in the corporate world. This recognition is just the start of what our office can do and offer students. We are excited to continue to evolve and cater to the students we serve while strengthening the relationships with our employer partners.”

As Career Strategist Ericka Hatfield reminds us, “students often enter our office nervous about the future and often lacking confidence in their abilities. One of the most rewarding pieces of working with experiential learning efforts is seeing a student step into their true self. Seeing a student become comfortable networking, learn how to brag about their accomplishments, and understand how to use every aspect of their college experience to succeed, is truly a rewarding experience.”

The recognition of these departments on the Colleges of Distinctions list is more than a reflection of their success, and more-so a reflection of their successful dedication to student’s success over time.

It’s an acknowledgment that at Lindenwood University, our faculty cares about us outside the classroom, just as much as they care about us inside the classroom. To Lindenwood faculty, the value of a Lindenwood degree is as great as those who strive every day within their department to uphold the integrity of it, and those who walk across the stage with in it hand to work diligently everyday within their careers, happily. It’s a community effort.

The old-fashioned saying, “it takes a village,” is true: from Dr. Hutcheson’s quote, that’s clear. It takes a village—an enthusiastic village full of synergy—to produce the most rewarding outcomes of success.

As a senior student at Lindenwood University, I’ve been raised by a stellar village: if it weren’t for Lindenwood’s dedication to real experience, real success, I wouldn’t be writing this today, from my writing position in an internship. 

Congratulations, everyone!

The Linden Gold

The Linden Gold

The Linden Gold is a student operated organization focusing on promoting the academic success and achievements of Lindenwood. Through stories about alumni, current students, and faculty alike, The Linden Gold strives to engage with the St. Charles Community and showcase the unique greatness of Lindenwood.

The Linden Gold

Lindenwood University
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301