Gretchen Norland, assistant professor of secondary education, has been named chair of the Bethany College department of education. Dr. Norland, who graduated from Bethany in 1979, has been a professor in the education department since 2012.
“Dr. Norland is an extremely talented and devoted member of the faculty,” President William Jones said. “Bethany’s education department has a strong reputation of preparing students to become successful educators who love God and love people. I am confident the program will continue to flourish under Dr. Norland’s leadership.”
Dr. Norland earned a doctorate of education degree in February 2017 from Northcentral University in Arizona. She received a master of arts in education degree from Baker University and a bachelor of arts degree in English education with a psychology minor from Bethany College. She has 32 years of teaching experience in Smoky Valley, USD 400, in Lindsborg.
Norland has been active in the Lindsborg area since 1979 with her involvements in education, Messiah Lutheran Church, and through partnerships with schools, mentoring programs, and educational opportunities for pre-service teachers at the Lindsborg Senior Center and the Old Mill museum. At Bethany College, Norland serves on the Curriculum Committee, Assessment Committee, Teacher Education Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and is Bethany’s coordinator of secondary education. She has been involved in the Kansas Teacher of the Year State Selection Committee, and is serving on the Lindsborg’s Hospital Board.
“As a member of several committees and coordinator of secondary education, Dr. Norland has been an effective campus leader and instrumental member of the education department,” Robert Carlson, provost of the college, said. “She is an excellent role model and mentor to new faculty members and to her students; and is the obvious choice for her new leadership role.”
As chair of the department, she replaces Gail Konzem, who retired from Bethany in May.
In 2017, there are about 50 education majors admitted to the teaching program, with 25 current freshmen and nearly 40 incoming freshmen who are exploring the teaching field, according to Dr. Norland. This coming year, Bethany will send out 21 student teachers in area and local schools in Kansas, with opportunities to teach in Chicago, as well.
There are more than 600 Bethany alumni serving as educators, coaches, and administrators in Kansas. Recent accreditation reports show that 89 percent of Bethany teaching graduates had remained in the teaching profession in Kansas for five years. Many of these educators have continued to advocate for Bethany, in their roles as cooperating teachers or principals, who frequently request Bethany student teachers in their buildings, according to Norland.
“Our mission is to prepare teaching candidates with the knowledge and skills, and professional attitudes and values necessary to become exceptional, reflective teachers in a diverse culture. We intend to increase the quality of courses and numbers of teachers coming out of Bethany by using our resources and collaborative efforts,” Norland said.
Bethany’s Education Department is located in the lower level of Wallerstedt Learning Center in the Benson Education Center that was dedicated in 2015. Dr. Bud Benson was the Chair of the Education Department at Bethany until 1995, and was instrumental in the development of the Conceptual Framework that remains as the foundation of the education department.