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Licensed by Creative Commons (Matt Wetzler)

Some of you may recall that last spring we began a search for the newest member of our faculty. While we did end up bringing highly qualified finalists to campus for interviews and teaching observations, we were ultimately unable to conclude the search in May.

But we’re happy to announce that Bethel’s administration has reapproved the position, giving us the potential to conduct a fuller, less hurried search. Here’s the position, in case you or someone you know may be interested in applying:

We’re seeking a gifted, innovative, collaborative scholar committed to the mission of Bethel and possessing both teaching ability in the fields of ancient and medieval history and the “Expertise, vision, and leadership necessary to develop a proposal for a new undergraduate major in digital humanities.”

First, our new colleague will teach upper-division courses in ancient and medieval history (HIS310 Near Eastern and Greek Civilizations, HIS311 Roman Civilization, HIS312 Medieval Europe), and as a member of the team for GES130 Christianity and Western Culture, a multidisciplinary course that is foundational to Bethel’s gen ed curriculum. We’re committed to a curriculum that spans the breadth of human experience, including premodern history. And we think that’s all the more important for a Christian liberal arts college, where we want our students to understand the development and context of a faith whose roots stretch back into the ancient world. Moreover, ancient history comes up as often as any other field when we ask prospective and new students about their historical interests.

But second — and this is what makes the position especially distinctive — whomever we hire will have the opportunity to coordinate a new major in Digital Humanities (DH) from proposal to implementation. If the major goes ahead, this new hire will teach introductory and capstone courses in digital humanities and mentor students from a variety of disciplines as they build digital portfolios through coursework, research projects, and internships.

Thus far, an early version of the DH proposal has been shepherded by History professors Chris Gehrz and Sam Mulberry alongside digital library manager Kent Gerber. Gerber described the field for a story in the Bethel Clarion last year:

Regardless of how digital humanities is defined, it is characterized by collaboration, creativity and multiple disciplines… You will see people who know a lot about computers working with people who know a lot about humanities research in archaeology, English literature, history, linguistics, art, communication studies or library and information science.

In that story, Gehrz added that the potential major should appeal strongly to students who have a passion for fields like history but are concerned about finding a career path:

I think there are a lot of students who really do love things like literature and languages and philosophy and history and theology… Yet they have a voice in themselves saying, “What are you going to do with that?” And part of what this [program] does is suggest, “Well, I can study all of these things that I love, and at the same time I’m getting skills that are very useful for any employer.”

Our faculty, students, and alumni have already been experimenting with digital approaches to research and communication:

  • Gehrz and Mulberry have been prolific podcasters and digital filmmakers, and at Homecoming next weekend Gehrz and recent History graduate Fletcher Warren ’15 will debut their digital history of Bethel in an age of modern warfare.
  • Prof. Diana Magnuson has worked closely with Gerber and students like Warren in digitizing the holdings of Bethel and the Baptist General Conference, helping to earn our archives an award for excellence in preserving Baptist history.
  • And The American Yawp, “a free and online, collaboratively built, open American history textbook” co-edited by History/Social Studies Ed alum Ben Wright ’06, was voted Best Use of Digital Humanities for Public Engagement.

For further details about our ancient-digital position and instructions on how to apply, please see Bethel’s faculty employment page. Tentatively, our hope would be to bring finalists to campus in February.

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