Faculty approve revisions to General Education curriculum

After more than a year of work by representatives of Bethel’s faculty and administration, the faculty on Oct. 24 voted its initial approval to a revision of the college’s General Education (GE) requirements.

The most significant changes have to do with the addition of two core courses, which does not, however, increase the number of required GE hours.

Core courses will still include College Issues Colloquy in the first freshman semester, Convocation for eight semesters, and Basic Issues of Faith and Life in the senior year. Added to these are a Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies (PJC) course and a Collaborative Inquiry Seminar.

“Once this curriculum is implemented, every Bethel graduate will have a significant Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies component to his or her education,” said assistant professor of history Penelope Adams Moon, a member of the GE Review Committee. “This continues a long-standing institutional interest in this discipline.”

To meet the PJC requirement, students will choose from approved courses that can be found across the major programs. Approved courses must do at least two of the following: explore faith traditions, theological foundations or value orientations that support a PJC perspective; analyze social or natural systems from a PJC perspective; focus on practical skills for peacemaking, communication and/or conflict mediation; study an issue or problem of PJC from a particular discipline’s perspective.

The Collaborative Inquiry Seminar “builds on Bethel’s institutional emphasis on undergraduate research,” said interim academic dean Brad Born. Approved courses will emphasize inquiry-based, collaborative learning in order to develop students’ ability to gather, interpret and evaluate information from a variety of sources, formulate and apply a research methodology, and communicate findings effectively and professionally. As the title indicates, having students work in “an inquiry-based learning community” to complete course requirements will be an important component.

Once the GE revisions have received their final approval, they are scheduled to take effect with the incoming freshmen and transfer students of fall 2008.

Kauffman Museum program to feature historic organ and hymns

The Teschemacher-Deknatel-van der Smissen cabinet organ at Kauffman Museum will be featured at a Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum program at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 12.

The historic organ, dating from 1750, will be played in a recital by Rosie Penner Kaufman ’85, adjunct instructor of organ at Bethel. The program will include music from an 1806 hymnal of the Mennonite Church in Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland). A copy of the hymnal is in the collections of the Mennonite Library and Archives at the college.

The recital is part of the Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum series and is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Rachel Pannabecker at rpannabe@bethelks.edu or (316) 283-1612.

Goerz House and Kauffman Museum to be on Christmas tour

The Bethel College Women’s Association (BCWA) and Kauffman Museum will participate in the fourth annual community Christmas event, “Five Places of Christmas,” from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.

BCWA will host a holiday open house and bake sale at Goerz House. This year visitors will be invited to tour the third floor, recently renovated for Bethel’s new president Barry Bartel ’84 and his family--wife Brenda (Isaak) Bartel ’84; daughter Leah, a sophomore at Newton High School; and son Jordon, currently living on campus as a Bethel freshman. Those touring will also be treated to dulcimer music by David Anderson, Hesston.

Open house at Kauffman Museum will include free admission to the award-winning “K is for Kansas” exhibit and the new permanent display of Mennonite immigrant furniture. Gift merchandise, special sale items and refreshments will be available in the museum store.

For more information, contact BCWA president Jeanne Schmidt at rcjmschmidt@juno.com or (316) 799-2276, and Kauffman Museum director Rachel Pannabecker at rpannabe@bethelks.edu or (316) 283-1612.

Hosts sought for spring class reunions

Mark your calendar now for Alumni Weekend activities, Friday-Saturday, May 18-19, 2007.

As part of the weekend’s events, the Classes of 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967 and 1972 will hold special reunion luncheons at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 19. Class members who are interested in hosting their alumni gatherings are asked to contact Dave Linscheid, director of alumni relations, at (316) 284-5252 or dlin@bethelks.edu.

Bethel staff will host a luncheon for the “Heritage Classes” of 1932, 1937 and 1942. The weekend also features other activities that are open to all alumni, including the annual Alumni Banquet and presentation of alumni awards at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 19. More information will be sent to reunion class members and available to other alumni in spring.

Dates set for Fall Festival 2007

The dates for Fall Festival 2007 have been set. Taste of Newton will be Thursday evening, Oct. 4. Various activities will be held on campus on Friday, Oct. 5. The 37th annual Fall Fest fair on campus will be Saturday, Oct. 6. Activities will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 7.

The dates for Fall Fest weekend are determined by the first home football game in October (or last home game in September, if necessary), as scheduled by the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.