The Lumen says farewell to Advisor Jacqueline Herbers and former Editor Mitchell Shaw.


Grace Monk, Editor

The Lumen prepares to say goodbye to Advisor Jacqueline Herbers and former Editor Mitchell Shaw. The pair sat down with the Lumen this week to reflect on their experience.  

Jaqueline Herbers, Assistant Professor of English and Core Curriculum Director, has overseen the Lumen for the past four years. She took over in the fall of 2018 after the publication’s previous advisor left in the spring due to budget cuts. Being one of the only writing professors, eyes turned to Herbers to take over. She likes “to think of it as a happy accident.” 

“My first impressions were that it was disorganized and could use some focus, some goals, and clear job duties,” shared Herbers. She felt overwhelmed by the disorganization but found that “the students were really excited to get back to work.” Herbers worked closely with her team of students that year, including the Lumen’s former Editor, Mitchell Shaw. 

Shaw is a senior Music Theatre major from Bemidji, Minn. Shaw began his journey with the Lumen in spring of 2019 with some encouragement from former SGA president, and assistant editor, Tommy Krob. Shaw “romanticized the idea of being a journalist and having [his] words published for others to read.” He accepted the Arts and Entertainment Editor position in January and began to write. 

In the spring of 2020, Shaw stepped into the role of Editor. “When I took over the Lumen was in dark times,” Shaw shared. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, the Lumen was only available online, which caused a decrease in readership and morale. “When the former editor decided to leave, I felt all eyes turned to me to be a leader,” said Shaw. 

Times were tough, but Herbers and Shaw worked together to keep the Lumen running. Between Herbers’ guidance and Shaw’s ambition, the two created a new website and brought new writers to their team. “I am very proud of the students who stuck with the Lumen in such a hard time,” said Herbers. “We worked together and kept the Lumen afloat, kept going, and kept publishing.” 

The two continued to improve the Lumen over the next two years and encouraged students to use their voice. Herbers shared that she is “most proud of the students and their development [away] from safe topics to ones that empower them.” As advisor, Herbers challenged students to cover difficult topics and “view journalism as service to the community.” Shaw shared this vision and feels that he “built a team with critical minds … that have an inspired look.”  

Shaw entered his final semester feeling like the Lumen “was an oiled machine running seamlessly.” With his focus on graduation, Shaw decided to step down from the editor position. “The exact moment I knew I was ready to step back was when I suggested we do three issues, and the team wanted to do more.” Shaw was proud of his team’s ambition and decided to train his successor. “When I realized it was time to step back, I got this warm feeling in my chest of pride and community,” shared Shaw.  

For Herbers, turning the Lumen over to its new advisor was a hard decision. “It’s hard to walk away from a project with students, but we can’t sustain a paper if only one person in the [English] department knows how to run it.” Herbers took on new responsibilities as core curriculum director and realized it was time to step back from advising the newspaper. “I want the person advising the Lumen, to be able to focus on the Lumen … and I can’t give the Lumen what it needs right now,” said Herbers.  

“I’ve kind of thought of the Lumen as my baby the last four years,” said Herbers. She wants students to continue to “be bold and brave, and to write what needs to be written … not just what people might want to hear.” Shaw shared that he “loved every second of the Lumen” and encourages his peers “to always find ways to love what you are doing.” 

Herbers’ and Shaw’s time with the Lumen nears an end, but their ambition and values will carry on. The Lumen is grateful for their contributions and wishes them well in their future endeavors.