President Letter, Spring 2010 Bridge

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Welcome to the spring 2010 issue of the Finlandia University Bridge! You will notice a different
look: a new cover design, new headers and arrangement, new colors and graphics. The Bridge
may also feel a bit heavier in your hands; it's eight pages longer. We want to say more and we
want to say it well. Because it's not simply what we say that counts, it's how we say it. And what is true
for Finlandia's magazine is true for Finlandia.

Here at Finlandia, our form, our "how" if you will, we describe as "uncommon attention." With this idea
we are committing ourselves-in a very serious way-to a rigorous re-thinking and re-ordering of our lives
together as a learning community. Even as Finlandia presses toward distinctive academic content (including
niche curricula and programs), we must all-the-more embrace a form that sets us apart. In other words,
my conviction is that Finlandia's institutional distinctive is to be found beyond rigorous academic content.
We must distinguish ourselves beyond academically rigorous syllabi, courses, and curricula. These are
essential, but they are just the beginning. They are necessary, but incomplete. There must be more.

Content counts-don't get me wrong. But Finlandia's students will achieve lasting success and personal
growth because of the form of our educational commitments; that is, they will succeed and grow not simply
because of what is taught, but through how we teach, how we accompany, how we mentor and model.
This idea becomes our way of being. It becomes an organizational principle around which we order our
professional lives. It requires imaginative definition, creative but disciplined practice, and continuous
assessment. And, when most fully realized, this idea builds on Finlandia's strengths, meets the needs and
expectations of Finlandia students, and sets us apart.

Finlandia's institutional posture of uncommon attention is grounded in authentic expressions of serving the
student, not simply expanded "student services." As colleges and universities scramble to attract students
with costly and ever-new amenities and services, Finlandia must invest in personnel who believe and
enthusiastically embrace that such a posture has a place in higher education.

In the following pages, Finlandia students and alumni will share with you their successes while at Finlandia
and as Finlandia alumni. I think you will hear an accent on the "how." It is all that they experienced
beyond the content that mattered most to them. It was the form: academic rigor delivered with rigorous
accompaniment. We are committed to both. What will truly set us apart, however, rests with the latter.
This, I believe, is Finlandia's truest self. This is who we are and the posture that will most fully realize our
potential as a distinctive institution of higher learning.

Philip Johnson, Ph.D.
Spring 2010 Bridge