New “Bethany Pathway” student experience and curriculum launched

LINDSBORG, KAN., October 31, 2011—Bethany College has taken the first steps toward a new system of curriculum and student experiences, Bethany Pathway, that will unite the objectives of curricular courses and co-curricular activities to create a meaningful, challenging, and valuable education. Bethany Pathway will launch in fall 2012, beginning with new curriculum for first-year students.

“We’re taking the best of Bethany—things like student engagement, experience-based education, and passionate co-curricular involvement—and making it integral to every part of the Bethany experience,” said President Edward F. Leonard III. “Higher education truly is an investment, and we believe Bethany Pathway will give students with lifelong skills and experiences that prepare them for life after graduation.”

The plan for Bethany Pathway was announced on October 7, when Leonard revealed Bethany’s 20-year vision and first comprehensive campaign, Engage the Future. The campaign sets the stretch goal of $25 million by the end of 2014 to support new initiatives identified over two years of work from the campus-wide group “Imagineering the Bethany College of the 21st Century.”

The Imagineering work group was charged to envision Bethany for the 21st century. Fusing imagination and creative problem solving with engineering and analytical problem solving, the group focused on value innovation. Concurrently, Bethany assessed its first-year student experience with the Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year© project by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education and received feedback from the Higher Learning Commission through the accreditation process.

The result is Bethany Pathway, an educational system that will lead the marketplace with an exceptional student experience of seamless curricular and co-curricular experiences that are guided by four Directions of Excellence:

  • Discovery, reflection, and vocation drives learning in critical thinking, effective communication, information literacy, and intellectual curiosity. Success in this direction is shown by employment or graduate school entry within six months of graduation.
  • Servant leadership follows the example of Jesus of Nazareth, who led and served, spanning boundaries in service of a larger vision. Bethany graduates will create new visions as leaders in education, business, and ministry to others.
  • Global citizenship prepares graduates for a flattening world, enabling them to appreciate a worldview and desire to become engaged in global issues.
  • Sustainable livingprepares students to lead a sustainable lives and organizations by actively integrating social responsibility, economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and spiritual renewal – people, profit, planet and prayer.“The Directions of Excellence guide students through their paths at Bethany, giving them a context to their education,” said Mark McDonald, associate professor of biology who was a member the Imagineering group and has worked extensively on Bethany Pathway. “Bethany graduates will be confronted with issues dealing with sustainability, the global community, and a necessity to invent new solutions, and they’ll have to do so as servant leaders in their professions and in their communities. They will have incorporated all of those aspects through Bethany Pathway so they will be prepared to handle life’s multi-faceted challenges.”Student learning outcomes of both curricular and co-curricular activities will be based on the Directions of Excellence to create a truly holistic education. Critical thinking, effective communication, data-driven decisions, and curiosity will be emphasized so that students actively learn and co-create Bethany Pathway. Instructors will be “discovery partners,” who engage students in their classes instead of merely relaying information.Bethany Pathway will be tracked via student portfolios, which document exploration and self-discovery in the education process. Portfolios will be reviewed annually, allowing individual students’ progress, as well as the overall program’s success, to be assessed.“We are excited about helping students see how the parts of their lives—curricular and co-curricular—intersect. Bethany Pathway connects learning inside the classroom and activities outside of it to the college’s core values,” said Kristin Van Tassel, associate professor of English and Curriculum Committee chair, who worked in the Imagineering group.

    The launch of Bethany Pathway in fall 2012 will include changes to freshmen curriculum and an introduction to the Directions of Excellence. More courses and activities will be progressively added until all curricular and co-curricular activities are incorporated.

    Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning and service. Bethany College is on the Web at www.bethanylb.edu/.

    Contact:
    President Edward Leonard
    (785) 227-3380, ext. 8102
    president@bethanylb.edu

    Bethany College
    335 East Swensson Street
    Lindsborg, KS 67456