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LUTHERAN HIGHER EDUCATION AT PLU is a distinct form of rigorous higher education that asks students to bring their whole self to their education and clarify their life’s vocation.

Distinct Form of Higher Education

  • Our context: Highly secular and diverse in terms of religion, culture, and race. This context makes us work harder to define and embody Lutheran Higher Education because one cannot fall back on religious or cultural commonality. It is an advantage because it makes us a leader in defining a thriving, widely-accessible form of Lutheran Higher Education today.
  • An Education with Foundational Core Elements/Values
    • This value-based approach to teaching and learning differs from State/Research Universities
    • Uniquely values the importance of critical questioning
    • Values liberal arts as a foundation for free thinking, innovation and service (a liberating education)
      • Luther’s two theses in “The Freedom of a Christian” were that people were free and yet called to serve others
  • We continue to be in relation to one of the most progressive Christian churches in the United States. The ELCA’s policies matter to PLU’s direction but do not dictate our curriculum or University policies.

“The university draws from its cultural and religious roots in the Renaissance and Reformation the belief that education expands possibilities for meaningful life and work and for contributing to a more just and equitable society.” [PLU 2010]

Asks students to bring their whole self to their education and vocation

  • We do not expect conformity of beliefs, agreement with particular doctrines of a particular religious tradition.
  • We do not leave critical inquiry aside when it comes to religion but rather propose that a society educated and able to think well about religion may be a more humane one.
  • Unlike current stereotypes about religion: PLU does not equate religious affiliation with an anti-intellectual/anti-science stance or a lack of the best, contemporary rigorous scholarship.
  • Religious beliefs are treated with respect as valuable to the believer; Many people in our world engage the “holy” or spiritual and these are assets they bring to our educational community. Students are encouraged to bring their religious, cultural, social values and perspectives to their education.
  • Students are encouraged to ask difficult questions of the world in which we live, calling into question dominant social values, wondering if there’s a different way in which we can live together. That kind of hard, intellectual work is the backbone.
  • Lutheran Higher Education supplies lifelong learners with the tools to embrace uncertainty, critically and fearlessly questioning the world around them.
  • PLU pushes people out of their comfort zones, to engage them in tough conversations with each other. Students can come here and be who they are, unapologetically—and they leave more fully who they are, and equipped to apply what they’ve learned.

Looking for other ways to engage?

Check out some of these videos from PLU’s Community Youtube Channel.