Six Professors Receive Faculty Excellence Awards

Faculty members spanning all four schools are recognized for their exceptional dedication to the Bethel community.

By Katie Johnson '19

December 14, 2018 | 1:30 p.m.

Professor of Political Science Christopher Moore (center) was one of six Bethel faculty members across all four schools to be recognized for their excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

Professor of Political Science Christopher Moore (center) was one of six Bethel faculty members across all four schools to be recognized for their excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

To recognize faculty members’ dedication to teaching, scholarship, and the Bethel community, professors nominate their peers for Faculty Excellence Awards. For the past 30 years, Bethel has given these awards to faculty members who continue to embody what it looks like to be not only a life-long learner, but life-long teacher as well. We congratulate the six recipients in our four schools for their exceptional service.

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching: Christopher Moore, department chair and professor of political science

Professor of Political Science Christopher Moore has been at Bethel since 2008. His academic specialty involves interstate violence—specifically, terrorism, insurgency, political coups, and weapons of mass destruction. The award, however, acknowledges his teaching style, which has been described as creative, practical, thought-provoking, and challenging. He urges students to form their own opinions and emphasizes the value of their faith-based perspective regarding current events and political relations. No one can question the holistic investment he places in students.

“One of the benefits of teaching at Bethel is that I get to advise, teach, and work with the same students over the course of their college careers,” Moore says. “I love the conversations that start in introductory classes and continue through upper level classes, study abroad experiences, internships, and ultimately as alumni of our school.  Students might never remember every book we read or every lecture, but I hope they'll remember those relationships and why we care about being truth-seeking Christ-followers.”

CAS Faculty Excellence Award for Scholarship: Juan Hernandez, professor of biblical and theological studies

Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies Juan Hernandez has been at Bethel since 2006. His research focuses mainly on the New Testament, and he’s made incredible contributions to the interpretation of the book of Revelation. He is known for his influential work regarding the study of scribal culture behind the textual variants of the Apocalypse. Hernandez is currently working with Garrick V. Allen and Darius Muller to publish the first English translation of Studies in the History of the Greek Text of the Apocalypse: The Ancient Stems by Josef Schmid. Otherwise, he has published many materialsconcerning his work in Apocalypse research. His time at Bethel has greatly influenced his research, especially his interaction with undergraduate students who force him to convey his abundance of scholarship in manageable, understandable terms.  

“There’s something about teaching undergrads because they don’t have the same starting assumptions that I may have as a scholar,” Hernandez says. “I am required to explain things at a level where people who are not specialists can understand. Actually, that’s been one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching at Bethel. Working with undergrads forces me to be clearer, more succinct, and repeat myself, but to see them get it—and not only get it, but become interested in some of the things I’m interested in—is a joy. Also, teaching at a liberal arts institution keeps me from being parochial, because we can’t get away with making theological statements that make no sense in the real world. Being here as opposed to being at a seminary is a constant reminder of the interdisciplinary nature of what we do.”

CAS Faculty Excellence Award for Service: Bethany Opsata ‘93, professor of business and economics

Professor of Business and Economics Bethany Opsata has been at Bethel since 2001. Her specialty focuses largely on staffing, compensation, and employment law, but her work in the business and economics department extends beyond the classes she teaches. She advises 40 business and economics students and serves as the faculty advisor for the Bethel Business and Economics Association. She is on the Advising Committee and also acts as faculty liaison for business and economics department internships and the Bethel Early Alert Connection intervention system (BEACON), the director of the Business and Economics department’s Social Media accounts, and the organizer for the Women in Business event.

“One of my themes from the Clifton StrengthFinder is Maximizer,” Opsata explains. “The Maximizer likes to take something good and transform it into something great and my time at Bethel has enabled me to fully live out this strength. I really enjoy watching the personal, professional, and spiritual transformation that happens in students' lives while at Bethel. I am honored to be a small part in their transformation journey, sometimes pushing them to think of greater goals, greater dreams, and greater visions then they previously had of and for themselves.  And then the icing on the cake is hearing their stories two, five, 10, and 20 years later about how they are making a difference for the kingdom of God, changing the world one organization at a time.” 

College of Adult Professional Studies (CAPS) Faculty Excellence Award: Gregg Lindberg ’04, GS ’06, adjunct instructor in business and economics

CAPS Adjunct Instructor Gregg Lindberg has taught business and economics classes at Bethel since 2006. His area of expertise focuses on human resource management, business administration, organizational development, leadership, technology, and public administration. He hopes that the students in his classes—either in person or online—have the opportunity to grow in their strengths and become competent leaders in their fields.

“At Bethel, I get to be part of something special,” Lindberg says. “When I walk into a classroom in the evening, or log on to an online forum—I have the opportunity to not only provide an academically meaningful experience, I have the chance to care for the unique needs of each student. I get to be a small part of helping students to be better—in their profession, in their community, and beyond.  I am energized by being a part of a community that is committed to maximizing the talents of people to make the world a better place.”

Graduate School Faculty Excellence Award: Tracy Reimer ’96, program director and professor of K-12 administration

GS Program Director and Professor of Ed.D. in K-12 Administration Tracy Reimer has been at Bethel since 2011. Her research involves the effective leadership practices of principals and how they can create a vibrant, influential learning community in their schools. She loves that she has the opportunity to work with students called to academic leadership, and she is thrilled that Bethel emphasizes faith-integration. She’s able to convey what matters most to her in the classroom as well as encourage students to “reflect, analyze, and articulate how their faith and values are lived out in school leadership,” Reimer says.

“I am humbled and honored to receive the award,” she continues. “The emphasis on teaching reinforces my commitment to quality instruction, continued learning, and being student-centered with the goal to provide transformational learning experiences. There has been a renewed energy in the doctoral program for students and faculty to conduct research, publish, and/or present. Alongside this scholarship movement is the need to stay grounded, current, and relevant in the field. I pray that I balance both initiatives in a manner that supports Bethel’s continued growth and reputation as a high-quality university.”

Bethel Seminary Faculty Excellence Award: Mark Strauss, university professor of New Testament

University Professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary’s San Diego campus Mark Strauss has been at Bethel since 1993. His research focuses primarily on New Testament, Greek, Bible translation, and hermeneutics. He has written a number of books on the life of Jesus and how different Gospels portray his nature as well as translation and gender accuracy in the Bible. He has also written many articles and has served in various editing and film production roles. He is honored to be part of the Seminary in San Diego and especially loves working with students.

“By far the most fulfilling part of my time at Bethel has been the opportunity to mentor students and to equip them to fulfill their calling for the kingdom of God,” Strauss says. “This happens through dynamic classroom experiences as well as one-on-one relational ministry. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the lightbulbs go on as students comprehend a difficult topic or suddenly see the relevance of a biblical truth to real life ministry. Although online education has a critically important part to play in the seminary curriculum, you can never fully replace the dynamic, real life, face-to-face, relational ministry that is at the heart of making disciples.”