Research letter shows Bethel graduation rates rank high nationally

Bethel’s high ranking in the “U.S. News & World Report” annual “Best Colleges” issue has earned it another national accolade.

The April 2011 issue of “Postsecondary Education Opportunity,” a research letter that serves U.S. public policy makers in the field of education, ranks Bethel in the top 12 nationally of liberal arts colleges whose actual graduation rates surpass predictions.

In fact, Bethel is the only Kansas college to rank that high.

Using data supplied by the “U.S. News” publication “Best Colleges, 2011 Edition,” “Postsecondary Education Opportunity” looked at the graduation rates that the “U.S. News” formula predicted and at actual graduation rates for “Tier 1” institutions – 197 national universities and 189 national liberal arts colleges, which include Bethel.

The analysis shows that Bethel’s graduation rate is 11 percent higher than the “U.S. News” prediction.

Alumni add expertise to 2011 Summer Science Institute

Bethel’s Summer Science Institute in June had another banner year, with the distinction in 2011 of having three science alumni on the institute faculty.

The institute turned 12 this year with, like last year, a capacity 32 students. The 2011 faculty included Gary Lyndaker, Gravois Mills, Mo. (a 1968 graduate in mathematics), Richard Platt, Avenue, Md. (1985, psychology and philosophy), and Darrell Wiens, Cedar Falls, Iowa (1972, biology).

Lyndaker recently retired as an information technology specialist for the state of Missouri following eight years as IT director of the state Department of Mental Health. Platt is associate professor of psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he has taught for 18 years, and Wiens is professor of biology at the University of Northern Iowa, where he has been for 22 years.

“We’ve had maybe one or two alumni as part of the Summer Science Institute faculty over the years,” says Dwight Krehbiel, Bethel professor of psychology and institute co-director. “This year, for a variety of reasons, many of our own faculty weren’t able to do the institute. So I started thinking of dedicated alumni who would likely be good teachers.”

Lyndaker is a member of the STEM (Science, Technology, pre-Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council, which has given Bethel faculty strong support on the Summer Science Institute. Platt is a former student of Krehbiel’s and a North Newton native. And Wiens’ son, Eric, is married to Krehbiel’s daughter, Stephanie, so the two have kept in touch through their children.

“I contacted them,” says Krehbiel, “and it didn’t take very long at all for them to say yes.”

The teaching experience of the three alumni has been mostly limited to college-age students at the undergraduate (and, for Wiens, graduate) level. All

New solar collectors save energy, enrich student’s experience

Bethel’s latest venture in energy-saving technology will make a small step toward a greener planet -- but may have a more profound impact on at least one student’s future.

Maintenance and technology staff, under the management of Les Goerzen, director of facilities and technology, continue to use their own expertise, willingness to research and ability to improvise to find small, affordable ways to cut energy usage.

The latest, launched at the beginning of this month, was installation of solar collectors on the roof of Voth residence hall.

The installation consists of four vacuum tube-style collectors with 30 tubes per collector.

The collectors are intended to provide enough energy to heat “water for domestic use” to serve the apartment of the resident director in Voth Hall. Previously, Voth’s large boilers would have had to run to heat water for showers, dishwashing or laundry just for the apartment.

Under the supervision of Bethel maintenance worker Roger Reimer, Eric Goering, senior natural sciences major from McPherson, began last January to assemble the frames for the solar collectors. The task was part of his self-designed interterm class, which he describes as “an energy conservation apprenticeship.”

Bethel trail marks birthday with national designation

Bethel’s Sand Creek Trail is a teenager, and its birthday gift is national recognition.

In 1997, the trail was a twinkle in the eye of Jake Goering, North Newton, and the late Larry Voth, longtime director of development at Bethel. It came to be in 1998 as an improvement and extension of an old trail that linked the campus and Sand Creek.

Now, 13 years later, the trail has been designated a National Recreation Trail (NRT) by the U.S. Department of the Interior….

A 1968 federal act authorized creation of a national trail system comprised of National Recreation Trails, National Scenic Trails and National Historic Trails. While the latter two may be named only by an act of Congress, National Recreation Trails may be designated by the Secretary of Interior or Secretary of Agriculture to recognize exemplary trails of local and regional significance.

A National Recreation Trail must have been nominated through application by its managing agency or organization and must meet the requirements of “connecting people to local resources and improving their quality of life.” The NRT Program supports designated trails with benefits that include promotion, technical assistance, networking and access to funding.

Kauffman Museum exhibition work at national archives branch

The entrepreneurial side of Kauffman Museum can be seen in the traveling exhibition “Lee and Grant,” on view through Oct. 22 at the Central Plains branch of the National Archives in Kansas City, Mo.

“Lee and Grant” was developed for travel by NEH On The Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities, from an exhibition by the Virginia Historical Society. The contract for designing and building the touring project went to Chuck Regier, curator of exhibits at Kauffman Museum.

For “Lee and Grant,” Regier created an innovative shipping crate containing artifacts, interpretive materials and lighting that turns inside out to become the display module. The exhibition provides a major reassessment of the two Civil War generals by examining their similarities and differences.

The display – at 400 West Pershing Road in Kansas City – is the last stop on a two-year tour of the United States. For more information go to www.archives.gov/central-plains/kansas-city and click on “Exhibits” under “For the Public” at the left.

For more information about how Kauffman Museum can serve other museums, contact Rachel Pannabecker or Chuck Regier, 316-283-1612 or via e-mail.

Citizen curators finding treasures at Kauffman Museum

There is still time for the Bethel community to select a favorite antique or taxidermy specimen from Kauffman Museum collections in storage for the exhibition “Awesome 150: Museum Friends Share Their Favorites.”

The favorite items and their stories will be featured in the special exhibition, which will open in mid-July and run through Fall Festival in October.

Participants may make appointments to tour the storage areas, or join the project via e-mail.

To volunteer as an “Awesome 150” curator, contact Rachel Pannabecker, 316-283-1612 or via e-mail.

Play golf for Bethel in August

Alumni and friends of Bethel are invited to the 18th annual Summer Thresher Golf Classic and Barbecue Saturday, Aug. 13, at Galaway Creek Golf Course, Henderson, Neb.

For a brochure, contact the alumni office at 316-284-5251 or via e-mail, or print one from the website when available. Players who register by Aug. 4 receive a discount.

The Alumni Association Golf Committee will also host the Fall Thresher Golf Classic Saturday, Sept. 13, at Hesston Golf Park. Look for more information in the September issue of “Thresher E-View” and on the website.