Spotlight: Dr. Sarah Holtan

Dr. Sarah Holtan is the Department Chair of Communication and an Associate Professor of Communication at CUW. She did not expect to be holding either of those positions when she started out.

Dr. Holtan has her PhD from Marquette University in Journalism Education, an M.S. in Education from CUW, and she double majored in Mass Communication and Political Science at Augsburg College.

Since a young age Dr. Holtan had been enthralled by the news. Influenced by her parents who always read the paper and had the news on TV, she would conduct her own newscasts to supplement the newscast already on TV, much to her parent’s annoyance.

“I grew up with seeing that being valued,  knowing what’s going on in your community, being a citizen and being aware,” Dr. Holtan said.

After graduating from high school, she wanted to work in the broadcast news industry. Then graduating from college, she was able to get her start at WISN Channel 12 in Milwaukee as the teleprompter operator.

From humble beginnings at this position, Dr. Holtan advanced to the station producer position. After holding that position at Channel 12 for four years she felt as though it was time for change.

“It came to me in prayer that teaching would be an amazing way to give back and to share what I’ve learned,” said Dr. Holtan.

After receiving her master’s from CUW, she taught as an adjunct professor here. Eventually she became full-time staff at CUW.

In the classroom, Dr. Holtan recognizes that there is a variety of students that attend CUW. She uses different teaching strategies and techniques to reach as many students as possible.

“I have to try my best to meet [students] where they are,” she said.

Dr. Holtan creates interactions in her classes, including lecture, role-playing exercises, or an in-class debate.. She hopes that at least a few of the different strategies work for students.

Working with fellow faculty members, Dr. Holtan is expanding the Communication Department with two new minors and a new major currently developing. Dr. Holtan wants to improve the department’s visibility to get more students interested in the program.

Dr. Holtan said communication students should get involved in experiences and programs that prepare them for the professional world and to build their resumes.

Farewell Deaconess Kim

Former Director of Campus Ministry Deaconess Kim Bueltmann has been called to her next ministry in Germany as a career missionary.

While serving as a missionary in Germany Bueltmann will be coordinating  outreach among refugees. She will be based out of Leipzig, Germany helping the congregation of a partner church there. Bueltmann will also be overseeing missionary groups from the organization Globally Engaged in Outreach (GEO) who will be serving there for two years at a time.

Bueltmann, who speaks German and English, is also learning Farsi, one of the languages used in Iran and Afghanistan. She will be using it to teach refugees from those countries who arrive in Germany the German language, the Christian faith and the Bible said Bueltmann.

“At CUW, I was working with students who left home to study, and in Germany I will work with refugees who had to flee their homes and are starting over from scratch in a new land,” said Bueltmann.

As Director of Campus Ministry, Bueltmann seeked to empower students to take part in the various ministries around campus. Now that she will be in Germany, Bueltmann will be working mostly with new Christians and non-Christians, whereas at CUW most of the student leaders were strong Christians already.

Bueltmann was called to CUW as a deaconess after Pastor Steve Smith and a CUW student convinced her to apply for the position. While serving at CUW.

Bueltmann helped coordinate mission trips for students and other trips to conferences for students to attend. She also oversaw The Haven and helped make it one of the largest student-led ministries.

Bueltmann was also closely connected with CHAT, a ministry that connects international students with american students to create relationships. Working with CHAT, Bueltmann was able to gain a lot of experience interacting with people of other cultures and religious backgrounds. Bueltmann also led missions classes with Dr. Thomas Feiertag to the country of Peru where the class would shadow missionaries in the field said Bueltmann.

Those experiences helped her learn more about missions and gained experience that will help with her new mission in Germany.

I pray that students and others were able to see Christ in me, and that through my ministry at CUW they were drawn closer to Him,” said Bueltmann. 

Introducing: Dr. Ferguson

Dr. Ferguson is the Director of Christian Service and an Associate Professor of Communication. He has been with CUW since 1991 and has had of different positions, Chair of the Communications department and was also elected as the President of Faculty.

As Associate Professor of Communication, Dr. Ferguson teaches interpersonal communication, group dynamics, servant leadership, public speaking, and conflict management.

“Living my faith – displaying the love of Jesus in words and actions” said Dr. Ferguson about serving others as a Christian.

The Director of Christian service was a new position when Dr. Ferguson assumed that role. This position deals with volunteering and campus service activities.

Dr. Ferguson also works with non-profit organizations and connects students with those organizations. If students groups are looking for service projects, Dr. Ferguson is able to help them find one.

Working with faculty, Dr. Ferguson is improving service learning in CUW. A Christian Service Learning & Leadership minor is currently being worked on.

He educates the CUW community about why service is important, tracks service hours during the week, and posts volunteer opportunities online.

The benefits coming from student service include increased awareness of social issues, discovering new opportunities for vocations and non-profit careers, and growth in one’s faith with a better understanding of what it means to serve, said Dr. Ferguson.

Last year 11,000 service hours were reported. Dr. Randall Ferguson can help get students and faculty involved in service in the CMLT Office.

Introducing the Faith Associate

With a new school year starting at CUW, so to has a new position. The Faith Associate is a student-held position within the residence hall of Wittenberg that provides spiritual resources for new students.

“The Faith Associate is a bridge between Campus Ministry and Residence Life”, said Campus Ministry Faculty advisor, Nichole Haas.

Faith Associates in Wittenberg enable new students with a fellow student who they can seek out when they need help with getting acclimated with college or someone to talk to.

In addition, Faith Associates will have monthly critical conversations where they will answer difficult questions students might have for them.

“Faith Associates work closely with RAs. Their main focus is creating and supporting a Christian atmosphere among the hall”, Haas said.

The Faith Associate position is because of combined efforts of both Campus Ministry and Residence Life. During the Fall semester of 2016, a survey asked students  about spiritual life on campus. The surveys showed that most students on campus go to their peers when they have questions regarding faith. This resulted in the Faith Associate position.

The position  is a pilot program on campus and only available in Wittenberg. Placing the first Faith Associates in Wittenberg allows the university to evaluate in an environment that is majority composed of freshman.  Depending on the degree of success, Faith Associates could expand to other campus residence halls, which would allow more students to utilize the resources.

Haas also oversees the hiring process of the Faith Associates and anyone interested in becoming a faith associate can get more information by contacting the CMLT office or stopping by in upper Albrecht in the CMLT office.