On Sept. 10, Bethany hosted a delegation of administrators and faculty members from Karlstad University in Sweden. Representatives from across campus from both institutions met to learn from one another, discuss ways for programs to interact internationally, and strengthen the partnership and exchange agreement formed in 2011 between Bethany and Karlstad.
Since its formation, there have been exchanges of three professors and one student. Karlstad’s Political Science Professor Thomas A. Wennstam taught “A Swedish Perspective on World Politics” at Bethany in 2011 and Economics Professor Karl-Markus Modén taught “The Swedish Model” of economics, taxation, and social transfer programs in 2012. Bethany’s former Associate Professor of Economics Mark Ahlseen was a visiting lecturer at Karlstad in 2008 to 2009, and alumnus Nickolas Carlson, who graduated in 2013 in organ performance, studied at Karlstad in 2012.
The Karlstad delegates were President Åsa Bergenheim, Deputy Vice President and Library Director Thomas Blom, Vice President Bo Edvardsson, Dean and Arts and Humanities faculty member Patrik Larsson, Dean and member of the Faculty Board for Teacher Education Kenneth Nordgren, University Director Anne-Christine Larsson, Assistant University Director Louise Pålsson, Communication Officer Maria Nilsson, Project Manager for Fundraising Dan Guttke, and Student Government President Johnny Johansson.
They met with Bethany College President Edward F. Leonard III, Provost and Dean of the College Ken Macur, Vice President for Advancement Galen Bunning, Vice President of Recruitment and Marketing Tricia Hartshorn, Vice President for Finance and Operations Dennis Stugelmeyer, Associate Professor of Music Mark Lucas, Associate Professor of Music Dan Masterson, Associate Professor of Music Melody Steed, Associate Professor of Music Claudio Re, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Courtney Long, Professor of Elementary Education Gail Konzem, Professor of Elementary Education Marlysue Holmquist, Assistant Professor of Secondary Education Gretchen Norland, Professor of Art Ed Pogue, Associate Professor of Art Frank Shaw, Assistant Professor of Art Virginia McKinney, and Professor of Biology Mark McDonald.
A valuable resource Karlstad has cultivated is corporate partnerships with IBM, IKEA, and Ericsson. These collaborations offer the institution and its students a unique look into their respective industries, innovation, and international marketplace.
The delegation began their Bethany tour at the home of Bethany’s own business partnership, MindFire Academy in Wichita, to learn about the joint venture of media arts programs. In 2012, Bethany and MindFire teamed up to match Bethany’s strong liberal arts education and accredited programs with MindFire’s cutting-edge technology and industry experience. The partnership, Bethany College @ MindFire Academy, currently offers a bachelor’s in 3D animation and certificates in digital filmmaking, video game design, audio recording arts, and 3D computer animation.
Karlstad’s representatives then came to campus to learn more about Bethany Pathway, the new educational initiative that fully-launched this fall and blends curricular and co-curricular activities into one seamless experience during the first two years of college.
Karlstad University President Åsa Bergenheim said, “The current trend is to get through as quickly as possible. However, liberal arts education builds a better, well-rounded person. Employers and society want these persons and we want to give it to them, so we are very interested in Bethany Pathway.”
Offices and departments, including music, education, and alumni and advancement, from both institutions used this visit to discuss their programs and opportunities for collaboration and exchange. Karlstad’s music program currently focuses on music education, and they would like to expand their performance degrees. They have also recently formed offices of alumni and fundraising.
After a campus tour with Bethany student ambassadors, the group headed to Nelson 116, the student-led sustainable coffee shop. Karlstad University Student Government President Johnny Johannson was especially interested in the location since his organization has considered establishing a sustainable student hangout.
A roundtable discussion was held and ideas were shared. Karlstad University Vice President Bo Edvardsson discussed Karlstad’s measurements of the university’s and students’ service work and how they are redefining education on outcomes rather than outputs.
Bethany College President Leonard said “We are excited to continue to explore and expand the strategic partnership that exists between our two institutions. I think as we continue to get to know each other we will find new ways we can help each other even beyond the faculty and student exchanges.”
The day ended with a tour of Lindsborg by Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director Holly Lofton and dinner at the Swedish Crown Restaurant with City Administrator Greg DuMars, Bethany College Board of Directors member Corey Peterson and his wife, Assistant Professor of Business Denise Peterson, and International Studies Director Charlotte Anderson.