Ashley Benson fills the Dean of Student Engagement position


Dean of Student Engagement Ashley Benson poses with the Luther College cheerleading team after joining in on one of their practices. Photo courtesy of Luther College Cheer.

Luther College has filled the Dean of Student Engagement position with Dean Ashley Benson, following her appointment by President Jenifer K. Ward last spring. This position was created following a larger reorganization of the administration.


Benson served as the director of TRIO student support services at North Central State College for almost seven years and afterwards served as the Associate Dean of Students at the College of Wooster in Ohio starting in 2017, until she accepted her current position at Luther in July of 2021. At Wooster, Benson worked in crisis management, enrollment processes, and ran the Campus Assessment, Referral, and Education (CARE) Team. Benson described her role at the College of Wooster as being a source of support for students and a facilitator of celebration when their time on campus came to an end. 


Benson’s mission while serving as the Dean of Student Engagement at Luther is to be present and connected with students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni. Benson emphasized how important it is for students to feel encouraged by their institution, to thrive in all areas and foster a connection to their school so that they may feel empowered to continue through to graduation.


“It’s our job to help encourage [students] so they’re feeling comfortable, so they’re feeling safe, so they’re feeling encouraged,” Benson said. “So whatever that might mean to enhance their experience within reason, to me, that is what the Dean of Student Engagement is going to do.”


Despite only having been here for a few months, Benson has been involved in many different aspects of campus life. She participated in the Sophomore Strides Kickoff Dinner, has worked with the Student Senate, and attended COVID-19 Response Team meetings.


Benson has also been active in Resident Assistant training. Lily Cressy (‘23) was a first-time RA this year, and was delighted to see that Benson was helping out with her training.


“It was just so fun to have an excited face from the administration there,” Cressy said. “I think Dean Benson will be a really great addition to the administration at Luther. I am eager to see the changes she makes while in this position.”


Katherine McKeown (‘22), a member of the Luther Cheerleading Team, got to experience Benson’s enthusiasm first-hand, when she demonstrated some new moves for the Luther cheerleaders at one of their practices.


“While she was leading our practice, we tried many new things,” McKeown said. “One of the skills she had us try we even put into our warm up routine. Having her lead a practice was very beneficial and helpful.”


If students are not involved in many activities at Luther, they can still find Benson eating lunch in the cafeteria most days. She is open and excited to chat with students on campus about whatever they may need.