Childhood dream turned reality

in Culture Arts & Lifestyle by

Bethel history professor Sam Mulberry creates a documentary about why educators teach.

By Ally O’Neil and Bri Shaw

Becoming a Bethel University professor wasn’t on Sam Mulberry’s radar when he started his journey at BU in 1995. Neither was making a 90 minute film about why teaching is important.  

He came in as a freshman computer science major, but discovered his passion for history while taking Bethel’s required class, Christianity and Western Culture (CWC).

“What I wanted to do was be a history teacher, and what I really wanted to do was be a CWC teacher,” Mulberry said.

By his sophomore year, he decided to switch his major to History, and tack on a minor in painting since he had an abundance of electives.

Finally, in the fall of 2001, Mulberry started teaching his dream job as a CWC professor in CC313. His dreams didn’t stop there. Ever since he was a kid, Mulberry has always been infatuated with the idea of making films or cartoons.

“In the 80s, you couldn’t really do that. If I was 10 or 11 years old right now, this would be perfect because, for almost nothing, you can get your hands on media production stuff,” he said.

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CWC Professor Sam Mulberry | Photo by Bri Shaw 

Mulberry has dabbled with small video projects here and there. But one day, Mulberry decided to see if he could actually make a documentary.

To determine who to feature in this film, Mulberry contacted all the faculty still at Bethel who has received Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching.

“These are people who the faculty have acknowledged as great teachers over the years,” he pointed out. One of those professors happened to be Sara Shady, a Bethel philosophy professor.

Shady and Mulberry have been friends for 16 years, and she also happened to be one of the few people that previewed the film to make sure of any other edits that needed to made.

“It’s amazing how much Sam’s talent and how much Sam’s personality comes through,” Shady said. “So it was really fun for me to watch that as a friend.”

Once the movie is released, Mulberry hopes that some student in a history senior seminar in the the next 50 years will want write a paper on institutional history and find this stash of interview and say, “Wow, this is a great resource,” and think about what Bethel was like in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The premiere of “Why We Teach” will be on Wednesday, May 23rd in CC313 at 7:00pm.

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