Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Years of Service Recognition Dinner

Hosted a dinner tonight at Christman Manor in honor of faculty and staff who have worked at Bethany College 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. Donna Lovato of the Housekeeping Staff was recognized for 25 years of stellar service to the College. Others recognized: Dr. Wilfrid W. Csaplar, Jr (Chair of the Dept. of Economics & Business, and the John F. and Evelyn Casey Steen Professor of Economics), 10 years; Luke Hardt (Chair of the Dept. of Visual and Performing Arts, Associate Professor of Theatre & Director of the Bethany College Theatre), 10 years; Dr. J. Walton Turner, Jr. (Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Across the Curriculum), 10 years; Bobbie Jo Puskarich (Housekeeping), 10 years; Thomas Furbee (Director of Media Services), 10 years; Mickey Ulrich (Secretary, Office of Student Life), 10 years; Kay Rowland (Assistant Manager, Mountainside Conference Center), 10 years; Dr. Joseph B. Lovano (Chair of the Dept. of Humanities and Professor of World Languages and Cultures), 15 years; Chuckie Taylor (Buildings and Grounds), 15 years; Linda Crow (Housekeeping), 15 years, and Donna Lovator (Housekeeping), 25 years.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bethany Trivia

How many acres of land does Bethany College have?

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Bethany Trivia

Steward's Inn burned down in what year?

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Residence Hall Assistants Lunch

At lunch today, welcomed back our talented group of Residence Hall Assistants.  That's Amber Ridings at the far end of the table trying to block Dean of Students, Jerry Stebbins. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Luncheon at Christman Manor for Dr. Gary Kappel

Hosted a luncheon today at Christman Manor to say "thanks" to Dr. Gary Kappel for serving 6 years as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Kappel will be teaching at Harlaxton College in England this fall and then will return to Bethany in the spring as the Perry E. and Aleece C. Gresham Chair in Humanities and Professor of History. Joining us for the photo are: Bill Kiefer, Executive Vice President; Sven de Jong, Vice President for Institutional Advancement; and Darin Fields, Vice President for Academic Affairs. Gary was presented a custom gold plate engraved with the Bethany crest on one side and an appreciation inscription on the other. He has served Bethany College since 1983.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bethany College Alumni and Friends event in NYC

Great turnout for a Bethany College alumni and friends event at the New York City home of Bethany trustee Asa Johnson (left). Also pictured is his father, Thomas P. Johnson, Jr., trustee emeritus.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Penn State's Sanctions Are Disingenuous

(The Huffington Post, August 13, 2012)
For months I've been asked my opinion on the tragedy that occurred at Penn State. Growing up in Pennsylvania, first in suburban Philadelphia and then, as a teenager, in the western part of the state, I was steeped in the Penn State culture. Although cross-country and baseball were my sports, all of us who came of age in that time and place admired Penn State as a world-class university and athletic dynamo. Growing up, I came to respect the institution for the positive impact it made on people's lives, and for the national reputation its renowned football program, widely known as "the Penn State machine," gained season after season.
The Nittany Lions were led by an iconic football coach who produced countless college sports heroes who, in turn, advanced to amazing NFL careers. Jack Ham and Franco Harris are among the stars who excelled in "Happy Valley" and returned for stellar careers with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Late-season games against Pitt and West Virginia were always "can't miss" contests. What Pennsylvania sports fan can forget the 1982 and 1986 national championships?
My many friends from grade school through high school, as well as professional colleagues, who attended Penn State are exemplary people. Two years ago, had I been asked to name the five most effective college presidents in America, Penn State President Graham Spanier would have been at the top of the list, as would Joe Paterno on any list of football coaching greats. So it is personally shocking to me to witness the collapse of the institution's reputation, as I try to come to grips with the enormity of the tragedy.
Penn State's name joins the list of other sports-related scandals that raise larger questions about some of our society's values and priorities -- and about our will to rein in forces that led to these failings in the first place. Barry Bonds and Pete Rose, the respective career home run and hits leaders of Major League Baseball, may never enter baseball's Hall of Fame because of tainted records. Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy recently spent time in prison for gambling on games. Reggie Bush forfeited his Heisman Trophy as college football's best player, forcing sanctions on the University of Southern California for excessive benefits. Ohio State received extensive sanctions for a series of violations covered up by its highly respected head football coach.
Yet the incalculable human tragedy at Penn State places the scandal well beyond familiar failings inspired by a winning-at-all-cost attitude or simple greed. Can any sanction imposed by anyone truly address the human cost of Penn State's failures? Clearly the answer is no. What, then, of the sanctions themselves within the corporate culture of big-time collegiate athletics?
Without debating the sanctions themselves or the grievous mistakes leading to them, from a strictly athletic viewpoint, I believe the penalties assessed against Penn State missed the mark; at best they are disingenuous. As far as I know, none of the current coaches or players had any role in the Sandusky scandal. Yet they will pay the price for disastrous decisions by their University's leadership. Even more disturbing, however, NCAA Division I seems to have learned little from the entire Penn State debacle. Writing on the August 3, 2012, NewJerseyNewsroom site, Evan Weiner noted the "laughable quote" by NCAA President Mark Emmert while announcing the sanctions against Penn State: "Football will never again be placed ahead of educating."

Yet, as Weiner continues, "While Emmert was uttering his remarks, other big-time college football programs were laying low until they got clearance to raid the Penn State football team... (Emmert) then gave them the green light to pick the Penn State football carcass" with a ruling that Penn State's players could leave the school immediately without having to sit out a season and lose a year of football playing eligibility. USC Head Football Coach Lane Kiffin, fresh off a controversial departure at the University of Tennessee, was among those hovering, waiting for the go-signal to begin recruiting players.
"Eight players have bolted for other programs, including star running back Silas Redd," Weiner notes.
"The vultures flew over the campus and took away players. You see, for big-time college football schools, it is not about education. It is all about putting yourself in the position to win games and get to tax-exempt bowl games and collect big dollars to support what are money-losing sports programs," he concludes.
I am not questioning that Penn State had to be penalized for its institutional failings. What I question is whether these or any sanctions will effectively and sincerely correct the athletic culture that the NCAA claims is unacceptable -- especially in view of the Association's permission to hand off Penn State players to other big-time collegiate sports corporations.
For another tragic and demoralizing example of this all-encompassing emphasis on winning at the Division I level, look no further than the late Bill Stewart, a West Virginia native, who was pushed out as head football coach at West Virginia University after a 29-12 record. He was chastised by boosters and major donors for not winning "big enough" and agonized for months after the employment of a "coach in waiting." Stewart eventually resigned. Just two weeks before his death in May 2012, Stewart delivered a moving address on life, values, ethics and family to our annual student-athlete banquet at Bethany College. Many walked away convinced that Bill Stewart represented the best in college sports.
For nearly 22 years I've served as a college president at the NCAA Division II and III levels, observing the inner workings of the NCAA at all levels during that time. In those two decades plus, I've come to appreciate the value of the great student-athlete tradition embodied in Division III. Division III is ideal for what it represents. Athletes are recruited as students first, then for their ability to excel on and off the fields and courts, and to be campus leaders in other ways; no athletic scholarships are given. In the words of the Division III website, "The Division III experience provides for passionate participation in a competitive athletics environment, where student-athletes push themselves to excellence, build upon their academic success with new challenges and life skills, and are encouraged to pursue the full spectrum of opportunities available during their time in college." Division III schools are not better because they are not Penn State and the rest; my point is that Division III promotes an athletic tradition that all institutions of higher education can and should be proud of.
I recently promised some of our women's volleyball players at Bethany that I'd stop by to watch their pre-season practice. They were 31-6 last year, ECAC Champions, and had three Academic All-Americans in their starting lineup. Six players on the team earned perfect 4.0 grade point averages. At Bethany, that's what a college sport is about.
I am sorry that at Penn State, it was about much more -- and, tragically, a whole lot less.
Dr. Scott D. Miller is president of Bethany College and M.M. Cochran Professor of Leadership Studies. Now in his 22nd year as a college president, he serves as a consultant to college presidents and boards.

Bethany Trivia

What languages are currently offered at Bethany College?

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bethany at the Pirates

Enjoyed hosting the Bethany College “Enrollment Management Team” last night in the PNC Luxury Suite (thanks to a special Bethany friend for use of his suite!). Good friends and loyal Bethany supporters Ogden and Snookie Nutting came by for a visit. The Nutting Family owns the Pirates. Ogden is a long time member of the Bethany Board of Trustees at PNC Park.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bethany Trivia

What former Bethany College coach won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1972 Summer Olypmics?

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Late Summer Brings New Beginnings

 (The President's Letter, August 2012)

Friends and colleagues know that I’m a big fan of Major League Baseball.  Part of my summer reading this year included books by two former college presidents, Gene A. Budig and the late A. Bartlett Giamatti.  Dr. Budig, former president of Illinois State University, West Virginia University and the University of Kansas, also served for six years as president of MLB’s American League.  Dr. Giamatti was president of Yale University for eight years and MLB’s National League before being named baseball commissioner.  Both men make some insightful comparisons between baseball and higher education. 

In baseball lingo, August constitutes the “Dog Days”—the hottest and sultriest days of the summer—when contenders are separated from pretenders, and the best teams rise to the top of their respective divisions.  Likewise, higher education begins its “stretch run” before the start of another academic year.  Thus, Bethany is preparing for the arrival of students in late August.

Ted Williams (the Director of Physical Plant, not the late baseball great of the Boston Red Sox) and his staff are putting the finishing touches on our scenic, historic campus after a full summer of camps and conferences.

Coaches are talking enthusiastically about the talent in their recruiting classes and looking to the new season.  Fall sports teams are just weeks away from reporting for pre-season conditioning. 

Faculty are returning to their offices abuzz with stories of fascinating summer travels and research and writing projects, eager to greet another talented new class of Bethanians; this year’s incoming student class is among the largest and best-prepared in Bethany’s history.

The coming academic year also represents a time of change.  As classes open, we will miss two long-time Bethanians who retired last spring—Dr. Robert Paysen, The Goulding-Woolery Professor of Chemistry, and Registrar Susan Doty.

After several years as associate vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Gary Kappel, the self-professed “utility infielder and jack of all trades,” is transitioning back to the faculty as professor of history and the Perry E. and Aleece C. Gresham Chair in Humanities.  Gary will realize what he terms “the dream of a lifetime” when he returns to the United Kingdom at the end of this month to teach at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, during the fall semester. Harlaxton, the British campus of the University of Evansville, welcomes visiting professors from affiliated institutions, including Bethany College.  In the spring semester, Dr. Kappel returns to Bethany as a full-time faculty member in history.  Bethany College is grateful for Dr. Kappel’s devoted service over the past five years as interim vice president for academic affairs, and as associate vice president for academic affairs. 

Succeeding Gary in this post will be Dr. Katrina Cooper, associate professor of psychology and director of the First Year Program.  A campus leader on assessment, advising, and assimilating first-year students, Dr. Cooper will facilitate and lead several academic initiatives during the coming year.

I am pleased to share also that Dr. Joseph Lovano, longtime professor of world languages and cultures, has become chair of the Department of Humanities, while Dr. Lisa Reilly, assistant professor of chemistry, will chair the Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics.  Dr. Reilly was the recipient of this year’s President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Performance.

We also congratulate Professor Kenneth L. Morgan on his appointment as Jennie Steindorf Renner Chair of Fine Arts, and Dr. Brooke L. Deal, Thomas W. Phillips Chair of Religious Studies.

Aaron Anslow and Jesse Janeshek join the full-time faculty after serving the past year as visiting professors in fine arts and English respectively.
In addition, we welcome new members of the Bethany College faculty:
  • Scott M. Brothers, assistant professor of chemistry, holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Texas A&M University.
  • Angela Icard, assistant professor of education, holds a Master of Sciences in reading and literacy, and is an expert in 21st-century learning strategies and assessment. 
  • Holly Hillgardner, Renner Visiting Scholar in Religious Studies, will receive her Ph.D. in philosophical and theological studies from Drew University in the coming days.  She holds a master's in theological studies from the Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University and has received the Micah Courage Award and the Micah Fellowship from the New York Theological Seminary. 
  • Brandon Lamson, assistant professor of English, holds a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston and an MFA from Indiana University. He recently was awarded the Juniper Prize, which includes publication of his book Starship Tahiti by the University of Massachusetts Press.
  • Ted Langan, assistant professor of chemistry, holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from West Virginia University.  He specializes in organic chemistry. 
  • Jason K. Smith, assistant professor of communications and media arts, holds a Ph.D. in communications and research theory from Florida State University and a master’s in mass communication from the University of Hartford. 
  • Joseph Walsh, assistant professor of mathematics, is expected to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from SUNY Stony Brook by August 2012. His specialties include mathematical physics and quantum field theory.

In the final weeks of the regular baseball season, there may yet be surprises, upsets and late-season comebacks. At Bethany, too, we strive to win, and in the volatile world of higher education today, we also expect our share of surprises. Yet our historic commitment to the liberal arts, outstanding faculty and academic programs, national rankings, and devoted alumni and friends—among our many strengths—always sustain us. 
As the so-called leisurely days of summer slowly transition to autumn, we feel the renewed excitement that arrives with each fall semester at Bethany. Soon our freshman students will stroll through the Oglebay Gates to their first convocation as Bethanians, taking their places as students have for 172 years.

Far from being a fading season, the late summer is a time of possibility and new beginnings on a college campus. We wish you the very best from everyone within the Bethany College community, and invite you to visit us and follow our progress throughout the coming academic year.

To see Dr. Miller's biography: