CAPS, SEM, & GS Fall Retreat

CAPS, SEM, & GS Fall Retreat
Date Tuesday, August 23, 2022
1 - 8 p.m.
Location Bethel University Anderson Center Community Room - View maps and directions
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Dr St Paul MN 55112
Instructions for GuestsFull-time faculty attendance is expected. Adjunct faculty and staff are warmly invited, but attendance isn't compulsory. Please register and indicate if you will be participating in person or remotely.
Registration RSVP for university-wide kickoff events as well as school-specific opening events on one form.

Event Description

Theme Verse: Genesis 28:15-19

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz."

Bethel means house or habitation of God. This name, chosen for our university 150 years ago, was inspired by this very story. The historical context is illuminating. There has been a messy estrangement within Jacob’s family, and he was now a vulnerable refugee on the run. In the midst of his experience of rejection and brokenness, however, God shows up in a striking way to affirm his enduring commitment to Jacob, and his abiding presence with him. Unlike mere local, territorial deities, God promises here to remain with him wherever he must go. Prior to this moment, Jacob had been a functional secularist, unaware or neglectful of this divine presence. Ever after this decisive moment, however, he knew that his blessing and wellbeing depended upon continued trusting attunement to his unseen Protector and Redeemer.

- Glen Scorgie, Ph.D., Professor of Theology



1-1:30 p.m. – Welcome and Opening Prayer

Katie Bonawitz, Ed.D., Program Director and Professor of M.A. Special Education

1:30-2:40 p.m. – Plenary Session | Introducing Academic Inclusive Excellence

Session Leader: Sara Shady, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Academic Inclusive Excellence, Professor of Philosophy

Learn more about the launch of a three-year initiative to grow our capacity for academic inclusive excellence across the university. We'll explore how this initiative is an extension of our mission as Beth-El, the House of God, discuss the core features of academic inclusive excellence and the research behind it, and begin to brainstorm together. Time will be provided for discussion and Q&A.

3-4:10 p.m. – Plenary Session | Welcome to Bethel: The House of God -- Now What? What's Next?

Session Leader: Nikki Weber Daniels, M.A., Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership

Bethel - The House of God was a place Jacob named through an interaction between him and God in Genesis 28. This session explores what it looks like when we, as faculty, invite students into Bethel University, the house of God: creating a sense of welcome and belonging for them; co-laboring with God to make Bethel a home; and navigating Beth-el as a place, as a person(s), and/or as an experience. Additionally, this session explores the challenges and mechanisms for students’ connections throughout their academic journey.

4:10-5 p.m. – Free Time/Break/Professional Photos (ANC Level 2 Lobby)

5-5:30 p.m. – Welcome and Introduction of Speakers

Katie Bonawitz, Ed..D., Professor and Program Director of the M.A. Special Education

Leadership Address

Randy Bergen, Ph.D., Associate Provost for CAPS, Sem, & GS

5:30-6 p.m. – Dinner/Professional Photos (ANC Level 2 Lobby)

6-6:30 p.m. – Leadership Address

  • Robin Rylaarsdam, Ph.D., University Provost
  • Ross Allen, B.A., President

6:30-7:30 p.m. – Plenary Session | Social Media: Why it Matters and How to Engage With it

Session Leader: Fiona Tranquillo, M.A., Marketing Project Manager

The power and potential of social media can feel exciting, daunting, and anything in between. Wherever you land on that continuum, this session will equip you with the information and resources you need to be an active participant in Bethel's social media strategy. From engaging with Bethel's institutional content to posting content of your own, you'll learn tangible ways to leverage social media to strengthen and broaden your program's reach and reputation.

7:30-7:40 p.m. – Student Testimonies

  • Amanda Reinerts, B.A. Special Education
  • Narah Larson, M.A. Theological Studies

7:40-7:50 p.m. - Faculty Excellence Award Announcement

  • Lisa Silmser, Ed..D., Program Director and Adjunct Assistant Professor of M.A. Education K-12
  • Peter Vogt, Ph. D., Seminary Dean

7:50-8 p.m. – Devotion and Sending Prayer

Jeannine Brown, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament


Logistics questions:
Mikaela Taylor: or 651.638.6250
Katie Bonawitz at or 651.638.6724

If you're a Seminary employee, you'll receive additional details about the Seminary Faculty and Staff Workshops.
Contact Peter Vogt with questions at