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Faculty Gather for Discussion and Service

Faculty Gather for Discussion and Service

Bethel faculty participated in a service project during this year's faculty retreat.

Bethel faculty met for their annual two-day faculty retreat, which included a service project for the first time this year. The theme for the event was “Engaged Community: Living, Working, Playing Together.”

In the afternoon on the first day of the retreat, faculty divided into two groups to volunteer to pack meals for Feed My Starving Children in Coon Rapids, Minn., and to pack school supplies for Family of Hope to send to Liberia. Joel Frederickson, professor and chair of the psychology department, sits on the committee that organized the faculty retreat. He joined 104 other faculty members who packed 146 boxes for Feed My Starving Children. He received positive feedback about the service project and he said it fulfilled the goal of building community among faculty members at Bethel.

The first day also included morning discussions on what makes an undergraduate education at Bethel distinct, followed by questions on what is important for the long-term health of the school. Deb Harless, vice president and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the questions prompted a lively and thoughtful conversation among the faculty. “In our current educational landscape, it is critical that we are thinking together about the distinctives that we value in the College of Arts and Sciences and how those inform our future,” she said.

A task force will be formed this fall to focus more strategically on the long-term sustainability of the undergraduate college, and one of the key issues will be to address the affordability of the Bethel educational experience, she added.  Frederickson said faculty appreciated the discussion portion of the retreat and were especially glad to be asked to be part of the larger conversation at the university.

On the second day of the retreat, Faculty Excellence Awards were presented to Jim Beilby, professor of biblical and theological studies, for scholarship; Dave Muhovich, assistant professor, for service; and Ken Steinbach, professor of art, for teaching.

New faculty members were also introduced during the retreat:

  • Amber Brown, assistant professor of human kinetics and applied health science
  • Dan Halvorsen, professor of human kinetics and applied health science
  • William B. McVaugh, associate professor of biology
  • Nicole Miller, assistant professor of English at New York Center for Art & Media Studies
  • Jolene Pearson, associate professor of education and director of early childhood services
  • Amy Poppinga, instructor in history
  • Geri Von Grey, education department
  • Joel Ward, instructor in communication studies