Inspired by theSkimm, longer than the E-announcements, created with your short attention span in mind.
By Jaimee Hood
Aaand we back.
In a community-wide email on June 12, President-elect Ross Allen announced the university plans to allow Bethel students to return to campus this fall. The academic calendar will continue as scheduled, Allen said, though move-in dates have yet to be announced.
Just before students left campus for spring break this year, the cancellation of school-sponsored athletic and mission trips stirred up rumors of not returning for the remainder of Spring semester– rumors that ended up being true. Like most institutions of higher ed. in the U.S., Bethel made the decision to move all Spring 2020 courses online in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Before a decision about Fall 2020 was announced, several Bethel faculty weighed in on a faculty forum regarding preparations that would need to be made to enhance student learning regardless of whether it continued in an online format.
Dr. Merrin Guice Gill, Director of Choral Activities at Bethel, said that the message she was receiving from her students was “they absolutely hate this.”
Dr. Guice Gill also spent much of her time prior to the pandemic recruiting new students to join Bethel’s music program, and feared the online learning format would be a dealbreaker for them. Even now that students will be allowed to come back on-campus, it is hard to tell whether these students will be willing to risk moving across the country with the still-present risk of COVID-19 in the back of their minds.
Allen said there will be forthcoming communications regarding the safety and wellbeing of the community, including a Q&A session for students with more specific details about what this fall will look like.
“Obviously there is tremendous uncertainty about the coming months,” said Dr. Rollin King, Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at Bethel. “The novel coronavirus reminds us of our mortality and our lack of control.”
“Much may change in science and government regulation between now and September. . . but that’s OK, we don’t need to know everything now,” King said.
“Bethel professors and staff are working hard to plan for a variety of possible restrictions,” King said. “Government guidelines, both rational and arbitrary, keep changing, but our desire is to give students the best possible experience.”
Awaken the Suburbs
June 13, hundreds of people gathered in Shoreview to protest the murder of George Floyd, police brutality and systemic racial injustice in America. The gathering was organized by Awaken the Suburbs, a group of students and recent graduates from Irondale and Moundsview schools. Clarion staff Will Jacott and Jake Van Loh attended the protest– you can view photos and read more about the event here.
A James 3:17 career
It was announced in a June 18 email that after over thirty years at Bethel, Deb Harless will retire from her role as executive vice president and provost, effective February 28, 2021.
“Working with Deb has been one of the greatest blessings during my time at Bethel,” said President Jay Barnes. “She has helped strengthen our infrastructure by linking the College of Adult & Professional Studies, Graduate School, and Seminary for the benefit of our students, played a key role in developing women leaders on campus and made significant contributions to our work to build a more sustainable financial model.”
Barnes said Harless embodies what is described in James 3:17.
“Deb is exceptionally wise, courageous, and trustworthy,” Barnes said. “She willingly has difficult conversations, wades into challenging situations, and makes strong, mission-directed decisions. Deb is a person of integrity, and Bethel is better because she has led and served well over these last three decades.”
Reflecting on her years at Bethel, it’s difficult to say what she treasures most, Harless said.
“My time as a first generation college student at Bethel was profoundly life changing,” said Harless. “That experience is what drew me to return to be part of the faculty.”
“I’ll deeply miss my colleagues and the Bethel community,” said Harless.
More information about the search process and a retirement celebration for Harless are to come.
“I am most looking forward to seeing what God has for me and my husband Mark in this next season of our life and our desire to serve him together,” Harless said.