There have been several changes at both governance and leadership levels at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) in early 2022, including a new academic dean and board members.
Dr Stephen Haar, pictured above left, who has served as the college’s academic dean for 14 years, has relinquished the full-time role to begin a transition toward retirement. Lecturer in Education Dr Merryn Ruwoldt (above right), also ALC’s former Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, succeeds Stephen. He will continue to serve ALC as a part-time lecturer and will remain as its vice-principal.
Merryn, who has a teaching background, completed her secondary teacher training in Adelaide at Lutheran Teachers College, one of the three training institutions which merged to form ALC in 2004. Her interest in the history of the relationship between the LCA and its schools and the impact of Lutheran theology on Lutheran schools, led to postgraduate study exploring the dialogue between theology and education. She joined ALC as a lecturer in education in 2011.
In more recent years, Merryn has become more fully and formally involved in broader learning and teaching discussions at the University of Divinity, of which ALC is a member college. This focus on adult learning has led to an increased interest in and passion for creating ways ALC can provide theological education to those pursuing it for interest’s sake. ALC’s Festival of Learning, which offers accessible and affordable learning to members and friends of the church, is just one example of Merryn’s ideas coming to fruition.
At the governance level, a new ALC Board was recently constituted for the current synodical term until 2024. Following appointments made by the LCANZ’s General Church Board (GCB), the new members are human resources and business support leader Sharryn Cook from Queensland, health services manager and former aged-care services CEO Philip Schmaal from South Australia and LCANZ Bishop Paul Smith, the latter of whom holds an ex-officio position on the board.
Continuing their service are GCB-appointed chair Kristine Gebbie, Cheryl Bartel (vice-chair), Pastor Peter Miller (secretary), Pastor Greg Pietsch and Andrew Long. The service of retiring directors Glenine Hamlyn and David Prenzler and ex-officio member LCANZ Emeritus Bishop John Henderson ended when the new board was constituted.
Board members, who are also directors of Australian Lutheran College Ltd, serve voluntarily and are responsible for governance oversight of ALC, which includes closely monitoring the progress of the college in the achievement of its strategic goals. The college has recently launched a new strategic direction, Towards 2028, and the next few years promise to be both challenging and exciting for the new ALC Board, says Principal James Winderlich.