Cal Lutheran cited as higher ed innovator

Report provides guide for enacting change at colleges

Cal Lutheran increased its financial support for veterans through the Yellow Ribbon Program in 2014 so that they don’t pay any tuition or fees.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – March 29, 2018) California Lutheran University is featured in a just-released report on independent colleges that have implemented meaningful change.

In “Innovation and the Independent College: Examples From the Sector,” the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) highlighted selected universities’ responses to challenges facing them. The report, which was released Wednesday, is designed to be a guidebook for leaders who want to push for change on their campuses.

“I am pleased to share some of the ideas that are transforming independent higher education,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. 

The following Cal Lutheran innovations were highlighted in the report:

  • Athletic program expansion: Cal Lutheran launched a junior varsity program with five teams in 2009 and added varsity women’s golf in 2011 and varsity men’s volleyball in 2014 to help attract and retain students.
  • Professional sports team partnership: When the Rams returned to Los Angeles in 2016, Cal Lutheran moved quickly to offer its campus as a site for team offices and training facilities to be used throughout the year. The Rams paid for the installation of two practice fields, a paved parking lot and infrastructure that will remain after the team establishes a permanent base of operations.
  • Help for veterans: Cal Lutheran increased its financial support for veterans through the Yellow Ribbon Program in 2014 so that they don’t pay any tuition or fees.
  • Outreach to the underrepresented: With its Public Price Promise, Cal Lutheran offers any student admitted to one of several top University of California colleges a matching cost of attendance along with all the advantages of a small private college. The university launched the program in 2008, leading to increases in enrollment for underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. The report noted Cal Lutheran’s evolution from its Scandinavian roots to a Hispanic-serving institution.

“When innovation is done right, the rewards can be tremendous,” said Cal Lutheran President Chris Kimball. “Universities enjoy increased enrollments and stronger financial positions, and students get the support and experience they need to graduate and launch successful careers.” 

The report is based on the results of eight CIC workshops held across the country to discuss how colleges can remain relevant and continue to grow. Cal Lutheran hosted a workshop in December 2016, and Kimball was a presenter there and at the workshop held in Texas in 2017.

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