Campus News

Bethel introduces new majors

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Bethel College introduced three new majors this school year, and more may be on the way.  One of those three is an applied politics major. “If this had been available in 2012 when I came to school, it would have been my major,” said A.J. Reynolds, an active member of Student Council with political ambitions. Andrew Cary, another student who dreams of a career in politics, agrees that if this major had become available when he was an underclassman he would have switched majors.  “I’m a little frustrated that it wasn’t here when I first came because I probably would have chosen that,” said Cary.  “But I’m glad that at least it’s happening some time.” According to Barb Bellefeuille, vice president for academic services, the applied politics major is unique to Bethel and unlike most political science majors.  It incorporates at least three internships with individuals running for office and is more hands-on than a regular political science major. The other new majors are international health and teaching English to speakers of other languages, said Bellefeuille.  The international health major will be for students interested in promoting better health practices and health education in other cultures and in urban areas, while not necessarily aspiring to be doctors, nurses or missionaries.  Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) was previously a minor, but is now being offered as a full-fledged major. These particular majors were added because they are in-demand fields, in line with the school’s mission, and were championed by faculty members who possessed a vision for them and proposed them, passionately pushing for these majors in faculty meetings, said Bellefeuille.  Applied politics was headed up by David Schmidt, TESOL by Eric Oglesbee and international health by Vicki DeBolt. A Biotechnology certificate program aimed at adult students was also headed up by Lynne Cary, an associate professor of biochemistry. According to Bellefeuille, no new professors have been hired yet for these majors.  The addition of new faculty will be contingent on the growth of the programs and current professors’ ability to handle the added workload. The elimination of several other programs include Spanish, pre-law, pre-medicine, social science, international business, an interior design major that was part of a partnership with Ivy Tech and a pre-art therapy concentration.  According to Bellefeuille, these programs were eliminated mainly due to low enrollment. Bellefeuille said the new majors have been in the works for a long time.  Applied politics has been talked about in faculty meetings for about five years.  When describing the process of introducing the idea of new majors, Bellefeuille said that, after the initial suggestion by a faculty member, the suggestions are presented to her, then to the academic policies and curriculum committee.  They are then examined and voted on by the entire faculty, and then finally presented to the Board of Trustees to receive their blessing.  Bellefeuille said the majors often return to the drawing board several times before reaching the final steps. In addition to these, a computer science minor is being re-introduced, and a worship arts major for aspiring worship pastors is being discussed. Students gave their opinions of majors Bethel might want to consider.  Rachel DeBoer, a senior psychology major and theatre minor, suggested a pre-counseling major such as the one offered at Moody Bible Institute.  Kolee New, a junior theatre major who at one point considered transferring to a school with a major more specialized to his interests, suggested recording arts. While most students interviewed had not heard of all the new majors, they seemed enthusiastic about the effect they might have on Bethel’s community and reputation. “I hope that it will help make Bethel’s community grow, help make it more diverse,” said Cary. Reynolds said, “I think if we take those areas, if we are a leading institute for Christian political science … Anytime you do that you’re going to bring people from farther and farther away to Bethel, and when they go back to their homes, they’re bringing the word of Bethel back with them.”
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