Jay Rasmussen Retires From Bethel

After 21 years as an educator, Rasmussen is shifting his focus to landscape photography.

By Jason Schoonover ’09, content specialist

July 31, 2018 | 2 p.m.

Professor of Education Jay Rasmussen retires from Bethel University.

Jay Rasmussen has taught for 21 years in Bethel’s Education Department.

Jay Rasmussen, professor emeritus of education, retires after 21 years at Bethel and 39 years in education. He is a former elementary school teacher and principal, and also an accomplished landscape photographer. We talked to Rasmussen about his time at Bethel and his plans for the future.

What led you to Bethel and why have you stayed?

I was initially attracted to Bethel because of the reputation and the liberal arts/faith orientation. The opportunity to teach at a graduate level was very attractive as well. I've stayed at Bethel because of the students, faculty and staff colleagues, and the freedom I've been given in terms of teaching, program development, and leading faculty development efforts.

What have been some of your best memories of your time at Bethel?

Spending seven J-terms [January terms or interims] with groups of students in Guadalajara, Mexico, affirmed my belief in the students we serve and seeing the personal and professional growth in them was rewarding. Additionally, the opportunity to work with some amazingly creative faculty on the Faculty Development Team will always be a positive memory.

What are some of your most memorable accomplishments during your time at Bethel?

On an undergraduate level, I feel quite positive about my contribution to building the Block Two teacher education residency program, serving as the CAS Faculty Development Coordinator, and designing and leading the "The Teaching and Learning in Guadalajara" course. On a graduate level, leading the design process for Bethel's first doctoral program, the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, was a highlight in addition to helping build the International Baccalaureate Graduate Certificate program. Additionally, helping to design and lead the fully online M.A. in Education program, and seeing strong growth in this program has been rewarding.

Has anything surprised you about your role, your students, or liberal arts over that time?

Not really. Higher education is continually evolving and I've tried to stay current with the changes. My belief in the need for Christian teachers grounded in the liberal arts remains unchanged.

What have been some of the most challenging things at Bethel?

One of the most challenging things at Bethel is to serve students of color and other underrepresented populations. This is a growth area for the institution and is essential to our mission and future viability. We need to see all students thrive and more work needs to be done on multiple levels to see this goal accomplished.

What will you miss the most?

Teaching—I still love it and find it just as interesting and rewarding as ever.

What comes next?

I'm a professional landscape photographer and I look forward to growing as an artist and doing more international travel. I'll also expand the number and geographical range of juried art shows I do in a year. I'm also a new grandfather and I look forward to spending time with my first granddaughter and introducing her to the outdoors, adventure, and books.

Do you see yourself staying connected to Bethel down the road?

I plan to maintain some of the strong personal relationships I've developed with faculty and staff colleagues over the years. I'd also like to stay connected with the field of education and students by continuing my role as a graduate level thesis advisor.