Students present research to city leaders

LINDSBORG, KAN., May 23, 2012 – Most students don’t take their finals in front of their school or city administration, but thirty Bethany College students did just that for their Marketing and Marketing Research classes taught by Associate Professor of Business Paul Gentine.

The students spent the semester conducting market research on Bethany and Lindsborg. “This is a far from traditional type of class,” says Gentine. “We focused on the issues and their projects more than on a textbook. And then I got out of their way. These students have produced very, very good work.”

President Edward F. Leonard III worked with Gentine at the beginning of the semester to choose the topics and introduce them to the students. “It is exceptional for the president of the college to donate his time to helping with classroom activities—and this is not the first time,” said Gentine. “Over the last five years, he and I have met frequently to discuss possible research topics to provide both relevant experiences for the students and useful information to the college.”

Students formed teams to research why students choose to come to Bethany, why students choose to stay or transfer from Bethany, the college’s retention rate and town-gown relationship compared to other similar schools across the U.S., student spending habits, and co-curricular opportunities at Bethany. Students then made recommendations based on their findings.

Leonard attended the rehearsals of the presentations and, because of the quality of the work, he invited Bethany’s President’s Council to attend the presentations and ask questions. He also invited the Lindsborg City Council and Chamber of Commerce board to the sessions on college-town relationships and student spending.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking to have other people besides the class there, but it was really good experience presenting to an audience,” said Sarah Bennett, a graduating senior in the Marketing class. “I liked Professor Gentine’s classes because instead of spending time on a fictitious scenario, our research can help real decision-makers—in our case, at Bethany—right now. It was a neat opportunity to have administrators right there listening and asking questions.”

In addition to real-world research, Gentine’s students also participate in online business simulation games. This gives them the chance to put into practice what they learn in class and compete with other students around the world. Bethany’s students consistently rank in the top 100 international performers.

These classes exemplify Bethany’s new educational model, Bethany Pathway, which will have a pilot launch next fall.

“We’re taking the best of the Bethany—like the real-world learning—and infusing it into everything we do,” says President Edward F. Leonard III. “Bethany Pathway will be guided by four Missional Directions of Excellence, one of which is discovery, reflection, and vocation. Through ‘non-traditional’ teaching like Paul’s, students are more engaged with their education because they practice critical thinking and effective communication while gaining information literacy and emboldening their intellectual curiosity.”

Marketing Research students included Ira Autry, Danielle DuMars, Nicole Felker, John Gandy, Clayton Goggins, Allan Harris, Eric Hawk, Blake Hosey, Tyler Maydew, Jorge Monzon, Sara Norwood, Jaden Perkins, Elizabeth Rose, Jack Schoeman, Dillon Steppe, Megan Xavier, and Caitlyn Zeigler.

Marketing students included Tyrie Allen, Sarah Bennett, Savannah Childs, Jordon Dahlke, Danielle DuMars, Michael DuMars, Brianna Hoffman, Blake Hosey, Tyler Maydew, Julius Russell, James Tisdale, Tasha Wagoner, and Adam Weishaar.

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/.

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