Campus News

Committee searches for new president

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The search for the new Bethel College president is progressing. After current president, Dr. Steven Cramer announced his resignation in August, a committee has been formed to find a replacement. It is the duty of the committee members to find the best qualified individual to fill Cramer’s shoes. Some of the search committee members include Dr. Richard Felix, William Gates, trustee, Dawn Goellner, director of MBA program, Dr. William Hossler, trustee, Randall Lehman, trustee, Dr. Elizabeth McLaughlin, associate professor of communication, Daryl Pannabecker, trustee, Dr. Robby Prenkert, associate professor of English and humanities, Dr. Jerry Thacker, superintendent of Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation, Christopher Scott, Bethel College Student Council president, and Dr. Clyde Root, director of library and associative professor of History.  “Our role is to be part of the search committee, “said McLaughlin. “We’re engaged in a process that has been laid out by the board of trustees to, first of all, kind of profile what kind of person should be our next leader. And then to kind of go through the process with the search firm as they bring forth candidates that were part of the process of interviewing and bringing someone to campus.” The committee is taking special care in making sure the future president has the qualities to lead Bethel. “I want someone who has a shepherd’s heart for people and for the scriptures,” said Root. “He (or she) doesn’t have to be a theologian but he (or she) has to really believe in the Bible and what the Bible says.” Root continued by saying that he would like the future president to have a Ph.D. from a higher educational institution. Root also added that he would like the individual to have been exposed to several institutions of higher education previous to Bethel. “I think the exposure to two or three different schools like I’ve had has helped me to build this library, so I think that would help to build Bethel College,” Root said. “I would also like to have someone who has some practical experience with the regional and specific accreditation organizations we are a part of.” Root also expressed that he would like to find someone with financial knowledge but that this quality is not more important than the ones previously stated. In addition to that, Root said he wants the new president to be here for the long run. Root has had some experience in the past with locating presidents for other academic institutions, thus equipping him with a much needed knowledge of the subject. Although President Cramer is resigning, there are several qualities of his that McLaughlin said people expressed as important qualities. In a meeting last week, the committee discussed the many strengths of Cramer. “One, is how he cares so deeply about the Christian faith and how he loves the Bethel community,” said McLaughlin.  “And several people (on the committee) spoke on multiple levels about his strong ability to forge relationships with people, with community partners and with individuals who contribute to the college.” Root claimed that Dr. Cramer has a strength with the Missionary Church that is a critical quality in a new president. “He (or she) doesn’t have to belong to the Missionary Church but they should at least adhere to the teachings of it. I’ve always believed that wherever I am, I need to support the doctrine of that particular institution,” said Root. “I would also like to see someone who would conform to the Bethel ethos; what we are all about.” McLaughlin said it is very important for students to be interested and involved in the search process for the new president. “Students are the reason we’re here,” said McLaughlin. “Students are the reason why Bethel exists, for student education. So students’ desires and their future is of upmost importance.” There is no official deadline for the presidential position to be filled. Root predicts the decision will be made some time over the summer. “Hopefully throughout the summer things can be finalized and we can bring him (or her) in and have a big inauguration next year when school starts,” said Root. McLaughlin says the committee is waiting until the right person comes along. “My understanding is that this position will remain open until the right person is found,” stated McLaughlin. “I think there may be a time table they’re looking at, but again I don’t think it’s going to be determined by a deadline, but rather by God’s person rising up for the position.”
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