From the Suburbs, to the Suburbs
Through Bethel’s education program, Joe Held gets ready to teach suburban middle schoolers. More »
Professor Duke Fuehrer, expert career changer, eases the challenges his business students face adjusting to the classroom.
BEGIN . BELONG . BECOME
If there’s anything to be expected from life, it’s this: frequent change.
Duke Fuehrer knows all about this process of self-discovery and changing circumstances—it happened throughout his many careers. Teacher, administrator, entrepreneur, traveling executive, early retiree—he morphed through all these roles before coming to Bethel to co-direct the MBA program and the B.A. in Human Resource Management for mid-career adults. So he relates well to older students making opportunity out of change.
"These are rigorous programs at Bethel,” he says, “so we do a little coaching at the beginning—making sure students have a support system. And, for instance, if you haven't had to write much for the past 20 or 30 years, we recommend a course where you can brush up those skills."
It would be hard to find someone more qualified than Duke to usher business people back to school. With degrees in engineering and education, he taught at a technical college, earned an MBA, and then was made president of that institution. "I was really wet behind the ears, but it was a great learning experience," he says.
Then came a successful career in the private sector, building a company and selling it. Soon, though, in another hard-driving job, he found himself commuting so much to the East Coast that airport employees knew him by name. "I was missing my teenaged daughter's tennis matches,” he says. So he semi-retired, looking for work closer to home in the Twin Cities.
What started as volunteer teaching in Bethel’s new business programs for adults soon became a part-time job, and eventually full-time leadership.
As a Christian, Duke appreciates Bethel’s emphasis on values-based leadership, ethics, and faith/work integration. "We don't wear it on our sleeves or beat you over the head with it,” he says, “but Christian faith is integral to our program.”
And so are top-notch faculty, recruited from premier Twin Cities companies.
“They’ve been in the trenches, so the practical knowledge taught by these experienced professionals pays immediate dividends,” he says. "We hear all the time from students, 'You know, I was able to take what I learned last week and put it to work this week.'"