Saint Olaf College: College of Character
St.Olaf College is a four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. St.Olaf strives to be an inclusive community, respecting those of differing backgrounds and beliefs. Through its curriculum, campus life, and off -campus programs, it stimulates students’ critical thinking and heightens their moral sensitivity; it encourages them to be seekers of truth, leading lives of unselfish service to others; and it challenges them to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world.
St. Olaf works to develop and encourage leadership skills across the disciplines in the college. Through leadership development programs that incorporate teaching and learning about diversity and community, the college continues to uphold its mission of challenging students “to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world.” The program works in close collaboration with the Multicultural Affairs and Community Outreach Office to insure that leadership programs are inclusive and address the needs of a diverse community.
Community Service/Civic Education
The Office for Servant Leadership works with students and faculty in support of the learning. The purpose of encouraging students to do student leadership is to assist them in gaining an understanding of what can result from taking the classroom to the world and bringing the world (community) to the classroom. Students at St. Olaf participate in community service initiatives all levels of society from local to international. International community service is also part of the servant leadership opportunities where students are supervised to gain academic experience that could develop strong citizenship skills while meeting pressing community needs and social issues.
In addition, the Office of Servant Leadership offers programs that stress the need for value-based Leadership. Through engagement, reflection and an increased self-awareness, students will shape their own personal leadership style. Ultimately, Servant Leadership encourages students, faculty and staff to become agents of change and transformation within the campus community and in the larger society.
Students at St. Olaf are able to participate in a conference where students can rest mentally at a spiritual retreat or take the weekend following the conference to digest what they have learned. The retreat encourages students to abandon their normal routine and engage in dialogue about spiritual issues. During the retreat, students are asked to participate in group discussions led by pastors, shared meals or worship.
St. Olaf has the R.I.C.H. Statement which states that “In order to nurture and foster the spirit of the St. Olaf Community, I will strive to practice and encourage among my colleagues: Respect for the dignity of others, despite differences in our beliefs; Integrity in actions and intent; Celebration of the gift of community, by becoming engaged in it; Honesty in all aspects of life, in and out of the classroom; and recognizing that community has no boundaries, I will carry these values with me as I travel, work, study and serve.”
International Studies in the Curriculum
More than three-fourths of all St. Olaf students participate in off-campus programs, many of them led by St. Olaf faculty members. More than 65 percent of every graduating class have studied internationally.
St. Olaf ranks sixth among bachelor’s degree colleges in the number of graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees during the period of 1991-2000.
Information was submitted at time of nomination
Northfield, MN 55057