Servant Leadership Program at Finlandia University

Students at Finlandia University have the opportunity to develop servant leadership values and skills through specially designated religion courses.

Servant Leadership - Service and Learning in TanzaniaStudents participate in service activities, both locally and globally, with accompanying reflection activities; grow in their academic understanding of servant leadership; and engage in self-exploration.

Many students will place these larger questions of identity, passion and purpose within the framework of faith. The servant leadership courses are rooted in Christian teachings and practices, with openness and respect for religious differences. Interfaith dialogue that involves open and honest questions of faith is supported as together students develop the practice of vocational discernment.

Vocation at heart of Servant Leadership

At the center of the Servant Leadership Program is vocation (which comes from a Latin word that means “to call”).

Vocation is a calling to all people, whether we are teachers, health care professionals, artists, or business executives, to be just, compassionate, and humble people who are committed to responsible actions that serve the common good. Therefore, vocational exploration deals with questions of identity, passion and purpose.

Fostering growth

Authentic service is the outward expression of our vocational understanding and spiritual growth.

Servant leadership courses offer opportunities for students to engage in and reflect on service to communities in need. The aim is to set students on a course of understanding and experiencing service, not just in terms of what one does, but rather, as who one is.

A spring service and learning trip to Tanzania is the primary learning experience of “Service and Learning in Tanzania” (REL/SOC/NUR 236), a Finlandia Servant Leadership Program course.

In several pre-trip seminars, students explore the culture, history and language of Tanzania, and examine their own cultural identity in preparation for this intense cross-cultural experience. In a post-trip seminar, the participants gather to reflect on their experiences in East Africa.

“Service and learning in Tanzania made me realize that while I can’t save the world, I can make a difference in one person’s life. Most importantly, my eyes have finally been opened. I am thankful for the little things, such as a comfortable bed or ice cream on a hot day. I am thankful that I got to taste the best pineapple in the world. But most of all, I learned to appreciate my relationships with others. Did I get what I signed up for? That, and so much more.”
– Lauren Roell


Rene Johnson
Assistant Professor, Religion and Philosophy and Director, Servant Leadership Director
Office: Mannerheim Hall, Room 310
(906) 487-7558

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