Bethel Faculty and Administrators Granted Emeritus Status

The Bethel University Board of Trustees has voted to honor nine Bethel faculty and administrators for their years of distinguished, Christ-centered service by granting them emeritus status.

By Michelle Westlund '83, senior content specialist

July 30, 2020 | 2:30 p.m.

Brushaber Commons Exterior

Bethel University faculty integrate a Christ-centered perspective into their teaching with the goal of transforming students’ lives.

The Bethel University Board of Trustees recently voted to honor a select group of faculty and administrators for their years of distinguished, Christ-centered service by granting them emeritus status. Read more about their unique contributions and the legacy they leave at Bethel:

Dr. James H. Barnes III
President Emeritus, 1995-2020

Bethel University

Jay Barnes served Bethel with distinction for 25 years. He became Bethel’s provost in 1995, and later, president of Bethel University in 2008. Under his guidance, Bethel strengthened academics through: Edgren Scholarships for collaborative faculty-student research; the University Professor designation recognizing top-flight faculty; investment in science and research, with four new engineering programs launched and six faculty earning National Science Foundation (NSF) grants; expansion in business and economics, including a new business center; dramatic increases in international study, positioning Bethel as a national leader in study abroad. During Barnes’ tenure, Bethel added the Wellness Center, new and remodeled science spaces, and a second campus location at the Anderson Center. Reflecting his passion for Bethel’s core value of reconciliation, Bethel grew significantly more diverse in race, ethnicity, and ability during his presidency, including a 50% increase in students of color between 2008 and 2018, the opening of the Cultural Connection Center on campus, and the launch of the Act Six program for young Christian leaders from urban communities. In addition, in 2015, Bethel launched the BUILD program for students with intellectual disabilities, and in 2019, created the Office of Military and Veteran Services to serve military-affiliated students. 


Dr. Bernita E. Missal
Professor of Nursing Emerita, 1994-2020

College of Adult & Professional Studies

Previous to her work at Bethel, Bernita Missal lived and worked for 26 years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), establishing long-term relationships and bringing knowledge from this lived experience to the classroom. She applied this experience to her research on Support Systems of Somali Immigrant New Mothers and Gulf Arab Woman’s Transition to Motherhood – both in United Arab Emirates and Sultanate of Oman and co-published several articles from this research. She has taught courses in multiple nursing programs with her background in obstetrics, leadership, culture, and research, and traveled to Uganda to assist graduate nursing students with their research as part of Bethel’s partnership with Uganda Christian University. She mentored 34 master’s degree students with their thesis or projects in Bethel’s Master’s of Nursing Education program, and presented extensively on topics related to cultural diversity and needs of specific cultures.

Dr. Diane Dahl, Dean of Nursing and Chief Nursing Administrator, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Adult & Professional Programs, and Graduate School, provided this recommendation.

Dr. Eric J. Gossett
Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Emeritus, 1978-1979; 1983-2020

College of Arts & Sciences

Eric Gossett always pushed his students to excel in mathematics and computer science, but also provided copious amounts of support to see them through. Students had a reverence and holy fear of his Discrete Math course, but they soon came to appreciate how he pushed them to learn, cared deeply about them, and would do anything within his power to help them succeed. Colleagues call him a source of inspiration—spiritually, academically, and relationally. He served as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science for many years and was instrumental in the development of both the curriculum and ethics of the courses and programs. His forward thinking helped create a web presence for Bethel in the early days of the internet, and he acted as Bethel's webmaster for years as a service to the community. He is a man of integrity and humility with a passion for following Christ, a strong interest in missions, and a deep commitment to reconciliation.

Dr. Carole Young, Dean of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences, provided this recommendation.


Dr. Thomas R. Greenlee
Professor of Physics Emeritus, 1979-2020

College of Arts & Sciences

Over the last 40 years, Tom Greenlee has played a huge role in the development and success of what has grown into the Department of Physics and Engineering. His ability to lead upper-level classes through difficult theoretical physics—challenging the best students yet finding ways to reach the struggling ones—has truly been an inspiration to colleagues. He demonstrated a remarkable ability to touch the lives of non-science majors in classes like Astronomy, and was our best theoretical physicist, a “go-to guy” to help with those difficult mathematical and theoretical questions. His willingness to apply his time and effort on problems that we encountered in our research, usually without formal recognition, enabled us to accomplish more than we should have. His integrity and honesty are almost legendary, and his dedication, humble service, and leadership have been an inspiration to all of us. This is his legacy, and we pray that it will endure for many years to come.

Dr. Brian Beecken, Professor of Physics, College of Arts & Sciences, provided this recommendation.


Dr. Karen M. McKinney
Professor of Biblical Studies Emerita, 1996-2020

College of Arts & Sciences

During her 25-year career in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies, Karen McKinney was a consistent (and persistent) advocate for, as well as embodiment of, Bethel’s aspiration to be a reconciled and reconciling anti-racist community. She came to Bethel in 1995 to oversee a major in Youth Ministry that she described as “multicontextual and multicultural,” and she helped students see the world in new ways. One student noted that “her experience and voice are crucial to Bethel being able to call its graduates ‘world changers.’” Another stated that because of her teaching, “I am not only equipped to do ministry well, but I also am equipped to navigate the world's complexities of racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, and know how to handle difficult situations as I seek God and His will.” Students and faculty alike appreciated her fearlessness in helping them face these complexities while offering pastoral support. In recent years, she collaborated with Bethel’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion to serve as a community liaison, extending Bethel’s reach and reputation with churches and schools in communities of color.

Dr. Barrett Fisher, Dean of Arts and Humanities, College of Arts & Sciences, provided this recommendation.


Dr. Patricia C. Paulson
Professor of Science Education Emerita, 1999-2020

College of Arts & Sciences

Patti Paulson came to the Department of Biological Sciences in 2000 following a long and respected career within the Anoka Hennepin school district, bringing her expertise in science education and her passion for students and revitalizing the science education program at Bethel during her tenure. She worked tirelessly to increase the expectations for our teachers in training and to provide them with opportunities to leave Bethel as confident, prepared teachers. Her strong advocacy of women in science, support of the science Olympiad, and development of the STEM endorsement within the education major all remain her lasting legacies. She lived the example of a professional scientist and teacher, starting the GEMS program that inspired generations of young girls to pursue science as a career and advocating for students to develop a strong science background, regardless of what level they would be teaching. No matter the task, she approached it with passion, determination, and integrity.

Dr. Jeff Port, Professor of Biological Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences, provided this recommendation.


Dr. Deborah L. Sullivan-Trainor
Associate Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Emerita, 1999-2020

College of Arts & Sciences

Deb Sullivan-Trainor began her service at Bethel in 1999 as a faculty member and chair in what is now the Department of Languages, Cultures, and Reconciliation Studies, and was an outstanding faculty member. She also brought strong leadership skills, and over time she moved to associate dean, then vice president and dean, then associate provost. The educational experience for students in the College of Arts & Sciences is significantly better because of her work. She was particularly gifted at identifying an area for improvement or development and then assembling the right team to get the work done, always focusing on what was best for students. She was involved in the development of significant academic programs including electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and digital humanities. She also helped lead the successful development of our first joint undergraduate program in the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Adult & Professional Studies with the launching of the B.A. in Special Education, a model for how we can collaborate across our schools for the benefit of our students. Her leadership of our Moving the Needle program was masterful and led to the highest retention rate in the college's history.

Dr. Debra Harless, Executive Vice and Provost, provided this recommendation.


Dr. Carole J. Young
Dean of Natural and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Psychology Emerita, 1990-2020

College of Arts & Sciences

Carole Young is a gifted scholar and teacher who has made significant contributions to her department and the university. Her substantial research in the areas of metacognition, memory, and moral behavior informed much of her teaching of statistics, cognitive psychology, and experimental design. In 2016, she was named Dean of Natural and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences. She was crucial in the planning of the new science building, and her role in the development of the new engineering majors was invaluable. She worked closely with the physics department to develop strong programs that will attract students to Bethel. Similarly, she worked with her departments to attract new faculty to Bethel, hiring faculty in all four of her departments during her tenure as dean. She has generously shared her gifts with the Bethel community, touching the lives of both students and faculty. We are most fortune to have had her among us. 

Dr. Deb Sullivan Trainor, Associate Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences, provided this recommendation.

Dr. David K. Clark
Professor of Theology Emeritus, 1988-2020

Bethel Seminary

David Clark has served at Bethel with distinction since 1988. He is an outstanding classroom teacher, winning the Seminary Faculty Excellence Award in 1997. In addition, he is a leader, serving as the founding dean of the Center for Biblical and Theological Foundations and capably leading that center through faculty searches, curriculum revision, and integration with the other centers in advancement of the seminary's "Three Centers" philosophy (which he helped develop and implement). He served as Bethel University provost, and most recently as vice president and dean of Bethel Seminary. His commitment to the mission and vision of Bethel University were apparent in his leadership at every level. He is also a scholar who has contributed to the disciplines of theology, ethics, and apologetics in significant ways, authoring or editing 10 books and publishing 18 articles. In particular, his work on dialogical apologetics helped equip followers of Jesus to be more effective and comfortable in sharing their faith with others, to the advancement of the kingdom.

Dr. Peter T. Vogt, Dean, Bethel Seminary, provided this recommendation.