From STEM to Stern
LeTourneau University occupies a unique space within Christian higher education. It was founded not by a church or pastor or educator, but by a Christian industrialist and businessman, R.G. LeTourneau. The same spirit of innovation, Christian conviction, and leadership that drove Mr. LeTourneau to become one of the world's greatest inventors of earthmoving equipment and heavy machinery has been infused into the very being of the university that has become his namesake. As a result, LeTourneau is known nationwide as a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs.
In fact, LeTourneau University’s STEM programs practically sell themselves. But LETU is more than a technical college, offering degrees in liberal arts, business, education, and nursing among others. So how does a school so well-respected within the STEM community continue to attract top-notch STEM students while targeting traditional non-STEM students without watering down its core message and losing its edge?
In a word—innovation. The kind of innovation that graduates teachers who have won 3 Texas State Student Teacher of the Year awards in the last 4 years.
The kind of innovation that put LETU into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most 3D printers operating simultaneously—a layup for a school where all freshman entering Engineering must build and operate their own 3D printer.
The kind of innovation that operates a fleet of over 12 aircraft on a regional airport for the purposes of training future pilots, air traffic controllers, and mission aviators.
And the kind of innovation that results in preparing students for the real world to the tune of 89% grads being hired in their chosen field of study and a ranking of third among all Texas colleges and universities for graduate salaries. (according to Payscale.com)
Creatively telling those kinds of stories about innovation raises the expectation and reputation of excellence of the entire University, and recruiting students has everything to do with reputation. It becomes easier to attract students who understand making a successful graduate requires a combination of “hard skills”—job-readiness, hands-on experience, academic preparedness + “soft skills”—a strong work ethic, the ability to communicate, great dedication and desire. The world doesn't need another well-eduated widget maker. It’s in need of innovative, imaginative thinkers and leaders who will serve God in every walk of life. That’s LeTourneau’s edge. What’s yours?