"From the standpoint of an individual instructor, the controllable variable (at least to some degree) is the quality of instruction. That's also what you care the most about, what you pride yourself on, and at a really basic level, why you're there.
From the standpoint of trying to make payroll, though, the opposite is true. A thrilled student doesn't pay any more than does a barely-contented student. (There's presumably a minimal level at which attrition becomes an issue, but I'm assuming at least basic competence.) Students pay by the credit, the course, or the year; they don't pay by the breakthrough. The 'extras' that a great class can generate don't show up in the budget. Worse, some students actually prefer classes that don't ask very much of them. (If you doubt the truth of this, spend a day at in-person registration, just listening.) The mutual non-aggression pact between an instructor who doesn't ask very much and students who'd rather not be bothered is one of the open secrets of American higher ed, and it fits short-term institutional needs disturbingly well. There's a reason that Rocks for Jocks and Physics for Poets still exist."
While Dean Dad is certainly speaking about the interplay of these forces in a secular environment, the pressures he describes impact contemporary manifestations of Lutheran higher education. Of course, our ethos should inspire us to provide students with a rigorous synthesis of the best that our Lutheran faith and the Western tradition has to offer. But that's the supply side. I think one of the great challenges Lutheran higher education faces today is working with various constituencies, the demand side: students, obviously. Their families, of course. But, we also know we must never tire of taking every available opportunity to educate the synodical officials, the pastors, the lay leadership, in short the good people of various Lutheran stripes that this kind of instruction enriches young people's lives and prepares them to live faithfully here, in time, and hereafter, in eternity. So, I'll ask our sage readers: How can we best work to influence and educate our fellow Lutherans about the benefits of this kind of education?