Campus News

Dr. Dennis Crocker accepts new position

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After three years as vice president for academic services, Dr. Dennis Crocker will be leaving Bethel at the end of the 2010-11 school year. Crocker was approached in January by his alma mater, Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. They offered the position of dean of the School of Professional Studies. After much deliberation and prayer, Crocker and his wife decided to accept Olivet’s offer. Crocker will start at Olivet during the summer, after finishing the school year at Bethel. “I wanted to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading,” said Crocker, continuing, “It was not a matter of being upset or dissatisfied with Bethel.” Far from being upset, Crocker wanted to stress the good experiences he has had at Bethel since his arrival in 2008. He remembered some of his first impressions with fondness. “There was, and still is, a tremendously warm sense of community, a desire to be a Christian college, not just in name, but in ethos,” said Crocker, leaning forward in his seat in earnestness. Now, with his departure looming closer, Crocker said he knows what he will miss the most. “I will miss the relationships,” he said, “I am a very relational person.” Crocker explains that most of his relationships at Bethel have been with the staff and faculty—he did not have much opportunity to get to know students. “Most of the time when I see students, it’s because they are in some kind of trouble, or they want an exception,” said Crocker, swiveling in his chair thoughtfully. “I miss developing relationships with the students.” Before coming to Bethel, Crocker had been the chair of the division of Fine Arts at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. Pictures of his music students are displayed lovingly around his office. Crocker said that teaching music gave him skills that he carries over into his administrative work. “In conducting, I was working with experts in their field,” explained Crocker. “My job is to help them recreate music in the way that the composer intended. In administration, I am also working with people who are experts at what they do—my job is just to get them to work together.” Crocker’s assistant, Barb Rogers, said that Crocker’s positive attitude brought life to their corner of the Administration building. “Often in the mornings Dr. Crocker comes into the office and greets those of us that work at the north end of our hallway with, ‘Good morning young people!’ which always elicits a smile,” said Rogers. Although he will leave friends and colleagues behind, Crocker is excited about his new opportunity at Olivet. He explained why he feels so strongly about his life’s work. “One of the real needs in Christian higher education…is to pass on our heritage and our faith,” said Crocker. “There is a greater need now for Christian higher education than ever before.”
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