Groundbreaking celebration to be held May 18

Bud Pearson Swedish Chapel and Mabee Welcome Center

Bud Pearson Swedish Chapel and Mabee Welcome Center

Bethany College will host a public groundbreaking celebration for the Bud Pearson Swedish Chapel and Mabee Welcome Center on May 18 at 3 p.m. on the Amphitheatre lawn.

President Edward F. Leonard III and key donors to the project will break the ground where the new Chapel and Welcome Center will be built. The $3.5 million building will provide hospitality for all who worship, visit, learn, and work in the Bethany community. It will be the first fully fundraised building in over 30 years. The dedication for the Chapel and Welcome Center is targeted for Homecoming 2014.

Leonard will also discuss another area where Bethany is breaking ground, its new approach to the first two years of college called Bethany Pathway. This includes new curricular and co-curricular programming and will launch this fall.

“Bethany is making bold and innovative steps, and we are confident in a bright future because God’s hand is guiding us,” said Leonard. “Our work is not done, but let’s celebrate these milestone achievements.”

In 2011, Bethany conceptualized this bold and innovative approach that unites the objectives of curricular courses and co-curricular activities to create a meaningful, challenging, and valuable educational experience. Students are guided by the four Missional Directions of Excellence: discovery, reflection, and vocation; servant leadership; global citizenship; and sustainable living.

Last fall, a group of freshmen were part of the pilot program and took a revised orientation class called Bethany Quest and two interdisciplinary courses. The e-portfolio system was also launched in which students tracked their progress, documented exploration and self-discovery, and collected examples of their work.

The overwhelming success of the pilot program and the unanimous approval by the Bethany College Faculty Senatemotivated the college to scale the program to a full launch a year earlier than originally planned. The full Bethany Pathway program will launch this fall.

Complementing the curricular programming is Bethany’s renewed first-year experience. In 2010, Bethany applied for and was accepted to participate in a national higher education project known as “Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year.” The project, sponsored by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, utilizes a model of excellence for the first-year student experience. This project is designed to help campuses evaluate and improve the overall experience and academic success of first-year students.

Over the last three years, Bethany has assessed its freshmen experience and enhanced its orientation programming. Workshops at the beginning of the semester and the one-credit-hour course Bethany Quest have been redesigned to engage students and prepare them for successful college careers.

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