Friday, May 1, 2009

Faculty Lane Kid Jenny Mueller is Provost

The Spring 2008 issue of the Broadcaster includes an article about Jenny Mueller Roebke, who grew up in Faculty Lane House 7 and who now is Concordia College's Provost. The article includes several photographs. The complete article and all the photographs are below:

Jenny Mueller Roebke. The image is from The Broadcaster magazine,

Growing up just across the street from Concordia ...

Home of the family of Walter Mueller on Faculty Lane in Seward, Nebraska. The image is from The Broadcaster magazine,

... campus life was the backdrop for Jenny Mueller-Roebke’s childhood. By the time she was a teenager, however, she had convinced herself she really didn’t want to stay in Seward, Nebraska.

It might be seen as evidence of God’s sense of humor that she has now spent most of her life in the town. What’s more, Provost Jenny Mueller-Roebke is now sitting in an office under the tower she used to look at from her childhood home. [The picture below shows young Jenny's brother Michael Mueller using his bicyle to pull her on a sled in front of Weller Hall.]

Jenny Mueller and her brother Michael Mueller sledding as children. Weller Hall is in the background. The image is from The Broadcaster magazine,

And, to top things off, her new role as chief academic officer is her dad’s old job. “Hah and double-hah,” saith the Lord. [The picture below shows Walter Mueller and his young daughter Jenny sitting in their front yard on Faculty Lane.]

Walter Mueller and Jenny Mueller. The image is from The Broadcaster magazine,

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Concordia, Mueller-Roebke taught in Milwaukee before returning to Seward to teach at the junior high school. She joined the faculty of Concordia in 1980, teaching English and then, eventually, freshman seminar and general studies courses as well.

Mueller-Roebke earned a master’s degree from Concordia in 1982 and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1990. By the mid-90s she was serving as chair of the Department of English, Communication and Theatre Arts.

“Some might say ‘what a narrow perspective you have since you have been in one place for provost so long, but being able to live the academic life in this place has been a wonderful experience for me,” said Mueller-Roebke. “I have been so blessed by the opportunities here.”

As she takes on the responsibilities of provost, Mueller-Roebke can look to her parents as role models. Her mother, Laura Mueller, was the first dean of women at the school, and it was her employment that brought the family to Seward. Her father, Dr. Walter E. Mueller, taught English in some of the same classrooms Jenny taught in recently. He also served as the academic dean, the position which is now titled "provost."

There are some things that are very, very different from when my father was sitting in this chair,” Mueller-Roebke said. “But one thing he did that I will strive to accomplish is to nurture people and enable them to do their jobs to the best of their ability. There was also a period where he did quite a bit of hiring of faculty as the university grew; those faculty members have been a part of educating students for 30-plus years now. As we face many retirements, I am aware of how the hiring of each professor shapes the future of an institution.”

Mueller-Roebke expects to rely on her experience as a faculty member to guide her decisions. “I can’t imagine attempting to be provost unless you had experienced the classroom and the nature of what faculty do. If there is anything that I can do to further opportunities for my colleagues here, I think it’s my time to give back.”

[Jenny Mueller Roebke's childhood memories are in a previous post in this blog. And here is a YouTube video of Provost Mueller Roebke giving a speech about how to be a college student.]

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