Servant Leaders Build the Bethel Community

Laura Gilleland, Miriam Hill, and Miranda Powers received Bethel's 2021 Core Value Mark of Distinction awards for serving the Bethel community and living Bethel's core values.

By Carolynne Telford '21

July 22, 2021 | 10:57 a.m.

Bethel University's 2021 Core Value Award Recipients

Students and employees at Bethel work hard to practice Bethel's core values as they promote and grow the Bethel community. While Royals work to become whole and holy persons, they are guided by seven core values: Christ-followers, character-builders, truth-seekers, learners, reconcilers, salt and light, and world-changers.

Bethel University is proud to recognize three staff members with the 2021 Core Value Mark of Distinction—an award given to employees who exemplify Bethel values, according to their colleagues. Because of their work, and the work of all faculty and staff at Bethel, students are equipped in leadership, scholarship, and service to advance the gospel.

Laura Gilleland, Project Manager, Office of Marketing and Communications

Character- Builder

Through her work in the Office of Marketing and Communications, Project Manager Laura Gilleland GS’18 has inspired and served the Bethel community in various areas. Gilleland creates meaningful relationships with clients, colleagues, students, and departments at Bethel as she strives to maintain a positive culture in the office.

"She's one of the first people on our team to sign on in the morning, and one of the last to sign off at night—creating a culture of service day-by-day," says Katie Johnson ’19, a content specialist in the Office of Marketing and Communications. "She consistently gives us just enough information to spark our creative energy and then offers the safe space to test new ideas and reach new goals."

Gilleland's jobs vary daily, but she is often found implementing new strategies on social media and other communication outlets with admissions teams across Bethel’s four colleges. Because of her large workload, she is driven and disciplined. She cares deeply for her colleagues and strives to maintain relationships across departments while continuously creating and finishing projects.

Gilleland not only lives out Bethel's core values but leads with Bethel's mission and vision as she engages with people across campus. Her conversations are intentional, inclusive, and inviting, whether she is working with clients or interacting with colleagues in her office.

Director of Marketing Timothy Hammer ’08, GS’12, says that "[Bethel's] mission is to equip women and men for excellence in leadership, scholarship, and service and our vision is to be the university of choice—Laura's work has most definitely moved both of those forward.”

Miriam Hill, Director, Counseling Services

Salt and Light

"[To be] salt signifies permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification. To 'be light' is to bring awareness, knowledge, and understanding to a situation that makes life feel dark. These statements about salt and light describe Miriam Hill," says Sue Gazich, a registered nurse with Bethel's Health Services.

When Bethel University adapted to a virtual instruction learning environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Counseling Services connected with students via telehealth appointments, which continued therapy support for Bethel students. Director of Counseling Services Miriam Hill headed the initiative with dedication and perseverance. She mobilized a team and developed various protocols, so students still received the care they needed, even on a virtual platform.

Her efforts, before and during the pandemic, made counseling more accessible and known to Bethel students and faculty. A wide range of students is still being served and continue to develop their wellbeing at Bethel.

Hill also oversees the Counseling Services internship program, which allows masters' and doctoral degree candidates from local universities to work with Bethel students in exchange for mentorship and development. Her work has allowed Bethel students to receive the care they need, and interns have found jobs that enhance the wellbeing of their communities.

"As a result of her leadership, students can access mental health care, sometimes for the very first time,” says Lisa Wold, a licensed mental health counselor with Counseling Services. “Students have a safe place to learn about themselves, overcome challenges, and develop into the people God has created them to be.”

Miranda Powers, Associate Vice President, Office of Student Life

Character- Builder 

The Office of Student Life serves a large role at Bethel in supporting students directly, especially in the past year dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While all individuals in the office have worked to continue life at Bethel while adhering to pandemic regulations, Associate Vice President of Student Life Miranda Powers GS’09 oversaw many of the decisions made this past year.

"Miranda has constructively served the Bethel community in the past year through giving leadership and guidance from a student life perspective throughout the pandemic," says Caitlyn Beyer, associate dean for campus engagement in student life. "She understands the student experience well, and her years of working in different departments at Bethel gave her an ability in the past year to help keep students safe and healthy while still enjoying community on-campus."

Her work to keep the Bethel community thriving while during a pandemic not only impacted the student body but the university as a whole. She was able to answer questions, direct discussion, advice, and create relationships that allowed students to enjoy the Bethel experience in new ways. Powers lead her team with determination and grit, acting as a model of Christian leadership during a difficult season. Her care for her team, the student body, and Bethel is prevalent in her daily tasks, and continues to encourage her team in every decision made.

"Miranda strongly contributed to the opening of our on-campus efforts and made decisions to continue to keep the campus open for students,” says Jim Benjamin, dean of student life. “This helped provide an in-person education in the classrooms, residence halls, and general on-campus community."

Learn more about Bethel's Core Values.

At Bethel University, we share a common goal: to become whole and holy persons. Our community strives to live out the core values so that students can thrive and grow in Christ. We rely on these core values to guide us spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually throughout this transformational journey.

Learn More