Luther College Chips

Saying goodbye to Johns, Moeller

Mark Johns.

Mark Johns.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Mark Johns.

Shannon Baker, Staff Writer

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After 18 years of teaching at Luther College, Professor of Communication Studies Mark Johns will retire after the 2017 spring semester.

Johns began his Luther teaching career in 1999 as a part of the communication and linguistics department but is now soley involved with communication studies. According to Johns, he is the “media studies guy,” and he has primarily taught classes such as Intro to Mass Media, Public Relations, Persuasion Theory, Electronic Newsgathering, and Media Production Concepts. Johns also spent time abroad leading both the Nottingham program and the Malta program with his wife Mary.

“I have always loved Intro to Mass Media because it is constantly changing, so it is fun,” Johns said. “I teach the same basic approach each year, but the details change.”

Communication Studies major Kristen Carlson (‘18) is currently enrolled in Johns’ Internet in the American Life course, but she has also taken Intro to Mass Media with him. According to Carlson, Johns’ teaching techniques are engaging, practical, and encourage her to improve her writing.

“He has really stretched me as a writer and has made me view my writing as something that I publish for the world to critique as a representation of who I am,” Carlson said. “He is setting the bar really high, and I’ve wanted to meet that bar.”

Though Johns said he will miss his colleagues and the energy of Luther campus, he is excited to have time to work with amateur radio and electronics as well as spend time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.

“We have a daughter in the Twin Cities and will eventually relocate there to be closer to her,” Johns said.

Photo courtesy of
John Moeller.

Professor of Political Science John Moeller will be retiring after the 2017 spring semester after teaching at Luther since 1981.

Initially Moeller taught law, political theory, and political science. He has not taught political science since 2016, but instead has taught philosophy and off-campus Paideia 450 study-abroad courses. According to Moeller, he should have a business card that says  “Paideia 450: will travel” because since 2008 he has traveled to London, Western Europe, Tanzania, Vietnam, and New Zealand.

Throughout his years at Luther, Moeller gained great respect and  noteriety among his students. Political science major Libby Morton (‘19) referred to Moeller as the “Weston Noble of the political science department,” and she said she was greatly influenced by Moeller’s classroom discussions and teaching techniques.

“He is one of those great minds that puts little questions and thoughts in your mind that you would not have thought of before,” Morton said. “He plays Devil’s Advocate a lot and challenges you to think outside of your ‘normal.’”

Morton also acknowledged the great relationship Moeller has with his students outside of the classroom. In addition to his good-natured response after first years in Brandt Hall named the first-floor bathroom “Moeller’s John” after him. Moeller’s attitude towards students is one of openness, according to Morton.

“I just want to sit and have a conversation with him,” Morton said. “He doesn’t chide people, he asks for opinions, and he strengthens your beliefs.”

After his career at Luther College, Moeller is not sure what he will do during retirement.

“I haven’t given it a second of thought,” Moeller said. “But I will miss the students a lot. That is the most valuable and most exciting part [of Luther].”

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