Student Affairs

Mission Statement

The President’s Social Justice Task Force will engage the campus and surrounding community in the critical work of education, dialogue, and advocacy so that we might better love our neighbor, and transform our community towards justice and equity for all.

About the Task Force

As an ELCA Lutheran institution of higher education, Finlandia University seeks to build a community that nurtures students who are called and empowered to serve their neighbor, so that all might flourish . We acknowledge that systemic injustice is a reality and a sickness, not only in our society as a whole, but also in our campus community. Systemic inequalities and oppression, in economics, the environment, and opportunity, affect all aspects of a whole life, from race and ethnicity to class and privilege to sexuality and gender to identity and actualization, and can prevent people from truly flourishing. With this, President Johnson has called for the formation of a task force to lead the wider campus community in addressing these challenges. The task force will be comprised of students, faculty and staff.


The community will address issues such as privilege, bias, systemic racism, prejudice, cultural competency, and social justice. In seeking to do so, the taskforce will:

  • Engage the Finlandia community in critical education and conversation. The work of the task force will be multi-faceted and interdisciplinary, taking place via events, workshops, book studies, etc.
  • Saturate the community space with dialogue and action. The purpose is to raise individual and collective consciousness surrounding
    issues of justice.
  • Advocate for transformational change in our community. Calling groups and individuals to action in order to transform policy and build
    a campus culture with a continuing commitment to equity and inclusion.

social justice task force, cindy cowell, trio, safe open, covid,

Cindy Cowell and Ronnie Keener, members of the Social Justice Task Force

Faculty and Staff

Lindsey Heiden

Visiting Assistant Professor, International School of Art & Design


Cassandra Hill, Ph.D.

Dean & Associate Professor of Communication


Terri Olsen

Director of TRIO Student Support Services


Sarah Semmler Smith

Campus Pastor; Adjunct Instructor of Religion


Laura Sieders

Assistant Professor of Accounting


Hilary-Joy Virtanen

Associate Professor, Finnish & Nordic Studies; Chair, Institutional Review Board

FinnU will not enroll students for 2023-2024Learn More
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