Campus News

Intentional diversity on Bethel’s campus

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Staff and faculty from different departments are making an effort to promote diversity on the campus. This freshmen class has been estimated by some students to be the most diverse group to enter the college. “In the process of admissions it’s really important to think culturally,” Admissions Counselor Jenna Early said. “Cultural barriers can be something that can make or break a relationship.” Diversity has been described as a passion for Early, and she stated that she was excited others were catching the vision. “I really think we’re going in that direction,” Early said. “I feel like that’s where God is taking us.” The Admissions Office isn’t the only department focusing on intentional diversity, however. many others have been working to encourage and cultivate diversity on campus. A program is being set up to help tutor students at Washington High School in language arts, the sciences, and mathematics. These tutoring programs will be spearheaded by Dr. Robby Prenkert, Dr. Ralph Bruce, Dr. Katie Weakland and professor Adam Hammet. Washington High School, according to the Indiana Department of Education, was 48 percent black, 30 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, 5 percent multiracial, 0 percent Native American, and 0 percent Asian in the 2009-2010 school year. “My objective is to get Bethel students involved in this club,” Dr. Bruce said, referring to the after-school tutoring program at Washington High. “Get them interested, show them they can do it, and ultimately to recruit them.” The program, which is a club project, not mentoring, would teach students from the high school different subjects after school. Bruce stated that the project is still in the planning and implementation stages at this point. Hammet said that the math portion of the after school tutoring program at Washington High School would be held Mondays through Thursdays from three to five in the afternoon, and would include a meal and transportation. The students in the tutoring program would visit campus to get a fresh perspective on what college life is like, and to see if Bethel College could be a good match for them. “We’re certainly pretty excited about this,” Hammet said. One other step that the college is taking to promote diversity on campus is a revamping of the Billy Kirk Scholarship. This scholarship is part of the college’s endeavor to recruit minority leadership. The program has always sought to promote diversity on campus, but this year some changes have been made. “We interviewed every candidate,” Senior Vice-President Dr. Dennis Engbrecht said. “The intention is that every year we add six to eight Billy Kirk scholars.” The scholarship was given to minority students who excelled in a variety of arenas, and showed characteristics of good leadership skills. Students were interviewed with their parents present, and came from a variety of backgrounds. They will continue to meet throughout the year to continue their leadership development. “Our community, our whole country is changing demographically,” Engbrecht said. “We want to be able to reach that community.”    
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