Student Testimonials

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Excerpts from Dr. Luedke’s nomination for the McClellan Endowed Teacher of Distinction Award:

“Dr. Luedke is the epitome of an effective educator. Perhaps more than anything else, she emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and co-learning – the concept that not only will students learn from her, but that she learns from us, and that classmates should learn from each other as well. Dr. Luedke demonstrates the values of critical thinking and co-learning by encouraging students to challenge the status quo and engage content with an open-mind through reflection and critical discussions. She encourages this sort of thinking and dialoguing through both large and small group discussions and activities, carefully selecting literature to incorporate into her courses, taking classes on mini field trips around campus, and offering several different options for students to meet learning outcomes – for example, in the Diversity & Equity in Higher Education course, she allowed students to complete an action project, traditional research essay, personal journey experiment, or proposal for policy change. In general, the assignments she mandates vary in helping students build different skills. For example, I enjoy writing assignments; however, I had to leave my comfort zone to complete several oral presentations and incorporate the use of technology into a few projects. Dr. Luedke’s commitment to excellence, flexibility, intentionality, and respect for students’ various learning styles helps break down educational barriers in the classroom, which makes students feel safe and empowered.

In addition to making students feel comfortable and confident, Dr. Luedke regularly provides a healthy level of challenge. It is evident that she is knowledgeable in her field, and she holds students to high standards, all while doing the best she can to ensure that students meet these standards. Dr. Luedke frequently questions students’ thoughts, reactions to assigned literature, and asks students to think critically about the role they play in creating solutions to issues within higher education. Additionally, she prompts students to think about what informs these thoughts, reactions, and ideas – not so secretly hoping that it is a mixture of empirical research, literature, and our personal experiences. Dr. Luedke does not shy away from difficult discussions, and I believe she does not waver in order to ultimately aide her students in becoming the best future scholars and practitioners of higher education that they can be. Another way that Dr. Luedke demonstrates her concern for the success of her students is the great detail of feedback she provides on assignments; the level of guidance she provides – whether this be through extensive comments on essays or in person-meetings – is a testament to the fact that she never misses an opportunity to help students learn and grow. Finally, it is rare that Dr. Luedke facilitates a class period without exposing her students to opportunities for academic and/or professional development outside of the classroom, whether this is a workshop being hosted on campus or potential employment opportunities. It is apparent that Dr. Luedke values students, holistically, and is constantly examining the role she plays in aiding in our success in the HELEAD program and beyond.”


“An aspect I really came to appreciate in Dr. Luedke’s classes was that we as a class could have difficult conversations regarding race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc. During my undergraduate years, I never took a course where the professor pushed their students to think critically about these identities and to discuss oppression, power structures, and intersectionality. As most of us in the Professional Development program will be future student affairs professionals, Dr. Luedke has been very adamant about us being aware of individuals’ salient and non-salient identities, as well as privileged and marginalized identities, as by being aware, we can utilize the necessary tools to best serve our future students as Dr. Luedke has done with us.”


“Dr. Luedke’s teaching style is innovative and focused on learning through immersion. This is one of the aspects that distinguishes her from other professors that I have had in my undergraduate and graduate careers. One of my favorite immersion activities she developed was in HELEAD 700: Introduction to Higher Education when she had us create a job search account on We researched job requirements for positions we would be interested in and had to list things we could do in graduate school to prepare for the job market. As someone already working in higher education, I thought this activity was brilliant. Most of my peers had not thought to look up job descriptions before so this activity was their first exposure to really learning about employer expectations and how early they need to apply to positions in higher education. In the same course, students learn about higher education institution types. Fortunately, the learning did not stop with an online search about tribal or women’s colleges. Instead, conducted site visits at different institution types in small groups including visiting a two-year college, women’s college, tribal college, and predominantly black institution. Dr. Luedke had us incorporate technology into our final presentations which meant students were intentional about looking beyond official messaging and marketing to take in how the campus looks and feels. We were able to teach each other about the institutions using images and videos of student success centers, cultural artifact libraries, and interviews with higher education professionals.”


Photo credit: Dr. Mia-Ching Liu