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Earlier this month, Jen Olsen Krengel joined Luther Seminary as the interim director of admissions. The Luther community is excited to have her here. Below are her answers to some of the questions we're all asking now that she's joined us.
Q: What does your job entail?
A: My job is to lead the Office of Admissions in the process of working with students. I view my job as providing some vision and leadership for the direction we're heading. As we understand what our goals are in terms of enrolling students, my job is to ensure we can tactically get that done by making decisions about things like on-campus events and recruitment from undergraduate schools. The other piece is interacting with students who have indicated interest, making sure they know we're interested in them coming to Luther, answering their questions, and helping them with the discernment process.
Q: What is your background? Have you previously been part of an Admissions team?
A: I worked at St. Olaf in undergrad admissions for 11 years. After that, I served as director of admissions at Pacific Lutheran University. My background is primarily undergraduate admissions, but when I worked at PLU, I had some interaction with the graduate programs there. This is my first entrचe into full time graduate admissions, but my experience and affiliation with Lutheran institutions helps. It's really exciting to still be working in a Lutheran institution, just with a little bit more focused group.
Q: How are you approaching admissions in a time when the prevalent understanding of "church" and its leadership is changing?
A: I think certainly with open eyes to the concept of change, and I think open arms. Recruitment in admissions is changing as well, so we need to look much more broadly at our constituencies and the students that might come to us. Versus looking at traditional colleges and universities, we know that our students are coming from very diverse backgrounds at very different points in their lives. We need to recognize that our population is changing, and be more purposeful with how we work with students and who we reach out to. We have to be at the forefront of this change in the church and prepare our students to be leaders in Christian communities and to be ready for the change because that's our mission and call--to help the church through transition and change. It's interesting to be in a place of change ourselves--the institution is going through quite a bit of transition, but that can be exciting as well, in terms of what that means to our students and what the faculty brings to our students. I think that whole concept of being able to lead through change is what my hope is for our students when they're here.
Q: What are you looking forward to? Is there anything you're particularly excited about?
A: I'm very excited to be here and to be working with the students, faculty and staff at Luther. My experience so far is that it is a wonderful community and it has great focus on its mission. I'm excited about the direction the seminary is heading in terms of understanding to the changing nature of seminary education. I'm also really excited about the new curriculum and the adventure that I think we'll all have over the next year as we work through implementation. It's always fun to talk about new happenings when you're in admissions, because it gives new energy to the recruitment process. The new curriculum will be a big part of what we do. It will be really fun over the next year to keep sharing updates with our prospective students as they happen and to really see the current students, faculty and staff move through the implementation process.
The other great part of my job is that we talk to new people almost every day who either know very little about Luther and/or have heard great things about Luther, so to be able to build on that and maybe tell the story to someone who knows very little--there's a lot of excitement and energy in the ability to tell that story again and again. Sometimes in admissions you feel like you're saying the same things over and over again, but really, with seminary admissions, because students come from many different backgrounds and perspectives and are at different stages in their discernment process, it never gets old.
Luther has a great community and I know there's been a lot of change and there's a lot of transition to come, but I have great hope for what is next here. When you're able to focus back on your mission--that's something that's everyone can get behind and get excited about.
For more information about the Luther Seminary admissions team, visit luthersem.edu/admissions
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Your support ensures that future church leaders can pursue their call in ministry.