Board of Directors discusses student housing and Engage the Future campaign, grants sabbaticals and early retirement

The Bethany College Board of Directors convened in October for its fall meeting to discuss new student housing, receive updates on the campus and the Engage the Future campaign, discuss strategic plans for the next several years at the college, and approve two sabbaticals and an early retirement.

A main focus of the board meeting was discussing this fall’s unmet student housing demand. Current residence halls are currently at 101%. The overflow has been accommodated by the local Coronado Motel, where about ten students and a professional resident director currently reside. Future recruitment projections indicate growing unmet housing demand each year that must be addressed.

“While our students are comfortable at the Coronado Motel, our student body will grow beyond its capabilities according to our recruitment projections for next fall,” says President Edward F. Leonard III. “We are holding conversations across campus with students, residential staff, campus facilities, faculty members, and more to imagineer the new residential experience.”

The Advancement Office delivered updates on the Engage the Future campaign. In 2011, Bethany launched its 20-year strategic vision, Engage the Future, and the first in a series of comprehensive campaigns of the same name. The goal—to raise at least $20 million by the end of 2014—is the largest one in Bethany’s history.

Mary Kay

Mary Kay

“The Engage the Future campaign has made excellent progress. We eagerly head into the last year of fundraising,” says Leonard. “We are also successfully interacting with more alumni in pursuit of our goal of 15% alumni engagement by 2015.”

The board held strategic discussions and received updates from all areas of campus. Energy Solutions Professionals (ESP), an independent Energy Service Company (ESCO), was hosted to present the findings of its campus energy audit. ESP made recommendations for sustainable facility upgrades and enhancements that save costs on water, lighting, and heating and cooling. The board will continue to explore these recommendations as it considers other capital demands like student housing and technology upgrades.

Dean of Athletics Dane Pavlovich presented the new mission statement of the Athletics Department. Last spring, the board directed a task force to assess the philosophy and purpose of Bethany’s intercollegiate athletics program as an integrated part of the student experience and reflective of Bethany’s mission and values.

Gail Konzem

Gail Konzem

Pavlovich and a group of staff, faculty, coaches, and students explored these aspects and wrote the new mission statement: In accordance with the core values of Bethany College, the mission of the Department of Athletics is to utilize sports as a method to educate, develop and challenge its participants. Bethany Swedes will genuinely engage in the greater Bethany community; develop and evolve key character traits including integrity, humility, commitment, spiritual perspective, compassion and perseverance toward success; maintain healthy mental and physical lifestyles while competing substance-free; and lead lives of faith, learning and service.

Two sabbaticals were granted for interterm and spring 2015. Professor of Art Mary Kay, M.F.A., who teaches drawing, painting, and printmaking in spring semesters, will travel, study, and paint in England. Education Department Chair and Associate Professor Gail Konzem, M.S., will teach at Harlaxton College, one of Bethany’s international exchange partners, in Grantham, England.

Bruce Kahler

Bruce Kahler

The board also approved an early retirement for Professor of History Bruce Kahler, Ph.D. Kahler has taught American history and art history at Bethany since 1988. He has served in numerous administrative positions, including assistant academic dean, faculty representative to the Board of Directors, and co-coordinator of the Higher Learning Commission self-study team.

Kahler is the author of numerous articles, book reviews, and encyclopedia entries. He also has written op-ed columns for the Salina Journal.  His current research is focused on Civil War veterans in Kansas. He holds a doctorate and master’s in history-American studies from Purdue University. His bachelor’s in history is from Kutztown State College. He is professionally affiliated with the Organization of American Historians and the Kansas State Historical Society.

Lastly, the board decided to return to its meeting schedule of three times per year instead of four. They will meet over Homecoming and Commencement weekends and hold a retreat in February.