Prof. Sam Mulberry is the latest member of our department to be featured in Bethel’s Meet the Faculty video series. In his interview, Prof. Mulberry explains the connection between empathy and historical study in courses like GES130 Christianity and Western Culture: “History, when it’s taught well, can help us approach events, ideas, controversies from multiple perspectives. It challenges us to think about things from different points of view.”
Last night Bethel hosted the premiere of Prof. Sam Mulberry’s documentary film, Why We Teach, featuring interviews with fifteen recipients of Bethel’s Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching (including Prof. Chris Gehrz). If you couldn’t be there, the full film is now available to stream:
Filmed and edited over the course of Prof. Mulberry’s spring sabbatical, Why We Teach is available at his CWC Radio Filmswebsite. In addition, there you’ll find the original faculty interviews and a searchable database of topical clips. For example, here’s Prof. Gehrz trying out some metaphors for teaching the liberal arts, including a moving story from HIS231L World War II that made the cut for the final draft of the film.
While he’s technically on sabbatical from Bethel, Prof. Sam Mulberry has actually spent most of his spring thinking and talking about Bethel.
For his primary sabbatical project, Sam has been filming interviews with fifteen winners of the Bethel Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching — including 2009 recepient Chris Gehrz. (Sam won the excellence award for service this past August.)
Eventually, those interviews will be available in an online archive, but Sam has also edited them into a documentary film, Why We Teach. If you’d like to see the film’s premiere, come to CC 313 at 7pm on Wednesday, May 23rd. (Earlier that day, Sam will talk about the larger sabbatical project as part of our annual West by Midwest forum on innovation in teaching — 1:30pm in the Bethel Maker Space.)
Meanwhile, enjoy the trailer for Why We Teach, featuring Sara Shady (Philosophy), Dan Ritchie and Joey Horstman (English), Carole Young (Psychology), Ken Steinbach (Art), Leta Frazier (Communication Studies), and Dick Peterson (Physics).
It is the first day of the Minnesota State Fair, so clearly the end of summer is in sight. Fall semester classes begin Monday. That means that this week faculty have been busy putting the final touches on course syllabi, preparing to meet new students, arranging calendars to accommodate a full slate of meetings and other obligations, and attending faculty retreat. Phew.
Faculty retreat isn’t necessarily everyone’s summer highlight, but it is the event where we have a chance to honor a trio of outstanding colleagues in the areas of scholarship, teaching, and service. This year, Sam Mulberry received the Faculty Excellence Award for Service.
Ruth Nelson, who serves as Co-Director of the Academic Enrichment and Support Center with Sam, led the nomination effort. Because Sam’s service to Bethel is so multifaceted, however, a variety of folks including Christianity and Western Culture colleagues, Patrice Conrath (advising), and Kent Gerber (library) joined Ruth to help provide a glimpse of all that Sam does for this university. Together, these colleagues spoke of how Sam “produces innovative media that enhance student learning,” “builds community and mentors students,” “provides presence, voice and actions to support multiple committees and task forces,” and “pursues programs and practices that support student success.”
Former students, too, spoke of Sam’s impact on their lives:
“Sam Mulberry’s support and encouragement for his T.A.’s was never in question. From my first weekly planning meeting as a teacher’s assistant for Christianity and Western Culture, I was already caught up in the infectious laughs and sincere discussion of fellow T.A.’s and Professor Mulberry. Opening up his home to T.A.’s for team development and bonding, providing himself as a main contact we could access for academic concerns – all the while insisting we call him “Sam” – Professor Mulberry’s personal devotion to creating a unique and cohesive community for teacher’s assistants proved to be a great success. In an unsure time of all undergraduate students’ lives, when we easily felt weighed down by concerns of the future and insecurities of the present, Sam drew out and uplifted our skills and characters.
…Oftentimes there is a distinction between teachers who have a passion for their content and teachers who love their students. Professor Mulberry fits the mold of both, displaying his deep dedication to the discipline of history while continuing to enrich the lives of students through authentic relationship-building.”
Sam is extraordinary. He is truly ecumenical in his service—willing to help all: students, staff, professors, administration. Sam’s colleagues have noted that “Sam recognizes that his gifts . . . are all from the Lord and he generously gives back to see students succeed. A number of us are extremely thankful that Sam serves and works alongside us at Bethel University.”
Part two of our brief series sharing summer plans from Bethel’s history professors. (Read part one here.)
This summer, Sam Mulberry be working at Bethel on three major projects. First, he’ll help build academic schedules for incoming students who will be new to Bethel in the Fall. This includes both building their initial schedules as well as meeting with students throughout the summer to make changes and adjustments to their schedules. Secondly, Prof. Mulberry will be teaching Christianity and Western Culture (CWC) online with Chris Gehrz and Amy Poppinga — his fifth straight summer teaching this class. Finally, Prof. Mulberry will be working on several major video production projects: a series of digital study skills workshops; a new online Tutor Training for Bethel’s Academic Enrichment and Support Center; a video archive of exit interviews with students of color who have recently graduated from Bethel; and a short interview film with faculty who were on Sabbatical during the 2016-17 academic year.
Amy Poppinga is off to Montana in early June with her family for ten days of touring, horseback riding, fishing, and white water rafting in Glacier National Park. Upon her return she will be working to implement a grant she and colleagues Marion Larson and Sara Shady received along with faculty from the University of St. Thomas and Augsburg. The campuses will be working together to host an interfaith leadership conference for students in February 2018 at St. Thomas. In the meantime, Poppinga, Larson, and Shady are waiting to hear news regarding another grant for interfaith competency training for faculty and staff at Bethel. They are also working to submit a proposal for the CCCU International Forum in 2018. She will also be resuming edits on her dissertation, and teaching online Summer CWC with her colleagues, Sam Mulberry and Chris Gehrz. When she’s not working on any of the following, she can be found watching her sons play baseball or spending time on her paddleboard at the family cabin in Alexandria, Minnesota.
In addition to co-teaching online CWC with Profs. Mulberry and Poppinga, Chris Gehrz will be developing a fall section of Bethel’s new Inquiry Seminar, a first-year gen ed course that introduces students to the Christian liberal arts and helps them develop critical thinking, research, writing, and speaking skills. His section will focus on how Christians strive for unity in the midst of a polarized society. Then he’s also excited to get started on a new research project: a “spiritual but not religious” biography of Charles Lindbergh. (Look for the finished product sometime in 2021, on whatever new platform has taken the place of Amazon.) In his spare time, he’ll chauffeur seven-year old twins kept busy with a schedule full of baseball practices/games and Roseville parks and rec programming. Then there’s an August road trip to Colorado — during which Prof. Gehrz will (finally!) see Mount Rushmore. (Unless his wife decides that they’ll fly. In which case his childhood wish will remain unmet for another year.)
Thanks to the vision and energy of Prof. Sam Mulberry, members of our faculty have been podcasting for a decade — long before the medium really took off. (We even had our own departmental podcast for a couple years.) Now Sam is joined by two of our professors and several of our disciplinary neighbors, for a new podcast network he calls Live from AC2nd.
Its lineup currently includes the following podcasts:
• The Live from AC2nd flagship, a wide-ranging, roundtable discussion featuring a mix of faculty that includes Sam, historians Amy Poppinga and Chris Gehrz, political scientist Chris Moore, and philosopher Sara Shady. On their most recent episode, those five shared books they’re currently reading.
• Moore and Mulberry also occasionally join Poppinga for Amy Makes Us Try Stuff. Which is pretty much exactly what the title says. For example, on the debut episode, Amy “made” Sam and Chris try the TV series Justified.
• Predating the network itself is its most popular pod, Election Shock Therapy, an ongoing conversation about politics and government featuring Chris Moore and fellow political science professors Andy Bramsen and Mitchell Krumm. The most recent episode dissected Pres. Trump’s first address to Congress.
• And the newest member of the Live from AC2nd lineup is Nothing Rhymes with Gehrz, in which that Chris joins Sam to riff on six words that, well, don’t rhyme with Gehrz. Last Friday’s pilot episode featured everything from a rumination on the importance of wondering for teachers to a preview of likely upsets in the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
“The Things They Carried” is not only the title of a short story collection by Tim O’Brien but also series of articles in Foreign Policy Magazine. In these articles, a writer at Foreign Policy profiles a person with a unique job in the world of international relations by creating a photo spread of the items that they carry with them as they perform their duties. This series was pointed out to my by my colleague in the Political Science department Chris Moore. It seemed like an interesting way to use physical objects to tell a a person’s story and to profile who they are and the job they do. He challenged me to create a similar series on our departmental blog to highlight the people in my department and the work that they do. I agreed. As a guinea pig to test how this would work, I started with myself. Among other things, I am one of the people who teach Bethel’s Christianity and Western Culture (CWC) course. These are the things that I carry to when I go to give a lecture.
1. Paper Box Lid – I am often seen walking around campus caring the lid to a paper box filled with the items I need for class or meetings. People who see my at a distance think that I’m carrying a pizza or a box of doughnuts. I end up disappointing them with the in-edibility of the items that are actually in the box. In my office I have a stack of eight extra boxes for when my current box begins to break down.
2. Class Announcements – One of my jobs in CWC is to coordinate the team of Teaching Assistants(TAs) for the class. At the beginning of each lecture one of the TAs reads the announcements to the class. This is both to let students know about upcoming events and to get the TAs comfortable speaking in front of 130 students.
3. Lecture Notes – When I first started lecturing in CWC, I would write out the text of my whole lecture. Now I’ve moved to starting my lectures by building my PowerPoint and then writing out my lecture talking points on a printout of my slides. My goal is to not have to make reference to my notes while I’m giving a lecture, but it is always helpful to have them with me when my mind inevitably goes blank.
4. Zoom Audio Recorder – For about a decade I have been audio recording CWC lectures – both the lectures give and those given by my colleagues. We use these lecture recordings to help orient new faculty to the course as they are writing new lectures. I also listen to a recording of my lecture from the previous semester in morning before class to help me review the content that I need to cover.
5. Printouts of PowerPoint Slides – It is part of my job to manage disability accommodations for the students in CWC. I bring printouts of the PowerPoints to give to the students who require this as part of their accommodations.
6. Dry Erase Makers – When CC313 – the lecture hall where CWC is taught – was remodeled in the summer of 2015, the chalkboards were removed and replaced with whiteboards. I am not a huge fan of whiteboards largely because I have anxiety about the markers dying on my in the middle of class. For this reason I bring a box of black dry erase markers for specific CWC use in CC313. I put blue tape on the ends of the markers to label them as CWC markers. The ones that are bundled in the rubber band and brand new, while the un-bundled markers have been used. Once a marker starts to fade, it needs to be recycled.
7. Diet Mountain Dew – I am both addicted to caffeine and not a fan of coffee. So Diet Mountain Dew is pretty ever-present as my caffeine deliver system.
8. iPod Touch – I don’t own a cell phone, but my iPod Touch is a necessary piece of my daily routine. I rely on in for e-mail, texting, and as my timepiece. I don’t listen to music much, but I do listen to lots of podcasts. I also use by iPod to listen to recordings of my old lectures in order to prepare for future classes.
9. Keys – My keys are actually an important item to have in class, because inevitably I will forget to bring something to class and will need to run back to my office at the last minute. There are more keys on this key ring than are necessary. I actually only know what four of these keys are for. I’m not even sure where the others came from, but I’ve carried them around for over a decade.
10. “To Do” List – Every morning I start my day by writing a “To Do” list. It includes all of my daily appointments and all of the tasks that I need to complete. I carry it with me throughout the day and check off tasks as they are accomplished. I’m pretty certain I’d me unable to do my job without this regular routine.
11. Pens – I am never without a number of pens, and most of them are green. I do all of my grading in green pen and ask the my TAs do so as well. This was something that I inherited from my mentor and predecessor Virginia Lettinga.
12. Clicker – I move around quite a bit when I teach and I use a significant number of timings and animations in my PowerPoints. Having a clicker keeps me from being tethered to my laptop. I got my first clicker as a gift from Mike Holmes. Although that clicker eventually broke, I still carry keep it in my computer bag because a gift from Mike Holmes is pretty cool.
13. Laptop Computer – I typically bring my computer to class and hook it up to the classroom projector. I do this because I’m kind of picky about my PowerPoints and I like to use specific not standard fonts at times. If I run the slideshow off my my computer, then I feel more confident that everything will work. I also use my computer as a portable podcast and movie studio for other aspects of my job.
Check out the second episode of our new department webisode series, Past & Presence, now available on YouTube:
After last week saw us wrestling with huge questions about the entire discipline of history, today we start to explore some narrower fields within history; Amy Poppinga (religious, environmental) and Diana Magnuson (women’s, social) are our special conversation guests for that topic.
Elsewhere in the episode, we hear Sam Mulberry’s “conversion story”: from arriving at Bethel as an budding Computer Science major to his present position as a history professor and director of Bethel’s Academic Enrichment and Support Center. (Not to mention co-creator of Past & Presence!) And he’s just one of the many Bethel History alumni featured; Emily (Katzenmaier) Busta, Ralph Gustafson, Scott Kirchoff, and Mike Vedders have all returned to their alma mater at some point to work in fields as diverse as coaching, church relations, graduate advising, and web services. Plus an introduction to the Oregon Extension as an off-campus semester opportunity, and an ad for our fall 2015 course HIS302 History of Sexuality in the United States.
Among Sam’s first interview subjects are History Department colleagues Amy Poppinga and Chris Gehrz, who share their stories of becoming historians and teachers.
Why record long-form interviews with fellow Bethel professors about their intellectual autobiographies? Sam roots his interest in such stories in his early days teaching Christianity and Western Culture with our now-retired colleague Kevin Cragg:
When I attended my first CWC summer planning meeting in June of 2001, I was initiated into yet another aspect of Kevin’s focus and interest in stories. As a new faculty member, I was asked to tell my intellectual autobiography to the other nine members of my teaching team. Kevin wanted me to tell everyone else about who I was and how the sources and trajectories of my life led me to teaching this course at this school at this moment. Who was I? What was I interested in and why? What questions shaped or drove my life? When I was finished telling my story, he asked everyone else on the team to tell their intellectual autobiographies too. His idea was simple: “How can we teach as a team if we don’t know each other? And how can we know each other if we don’t know each other’s stories?”…
That is the purpose of this podcast. I want to sit down and talk with the people I know. To collect their stories and their wisdom. I want to be open to what I can learn about teaching, and God, and life.
(These podcasts might have particular interest for students and alumni considering graduate school, as the interviews often explore that experience.)
In January 2015 our own Sam Mulberry and Chris Gehrz will again take Bethel students to Europe for a three-week travel course, HIS230L World War I. It’s a perfect time, as Europe is about to start an ongoing 100th anniversary commemoration of the war (fought between 1914 and 1918), so we’ll no doubt encounter lots of special exhibits and events during our time abroad.
Our tentative schedule, a photo gallery from the 2013 trip, and links to posts from that first iteration of the course are below. But if you’re a current student and would like to learn more, we have two events coming up in early April:
We’ll have a table at the 2015 Interim Abroad Fair — Wednesday, April 2nd, 11am-2pm in the Brushaber Commons Atrium. Sam and Chris will be there, along with some of the students from the 2013 trip.
Then we’ll have an information session about the class on Thursday, April 10, 10:20-11:00am in CLC 109, also featuring the two instructors and some student-veterans from the first iteration of the course.
And, of course, you can always e-mail Chris or Sam with questions!
January 5: depart MSP for London
January 6-13: London — including visits to the Imperial War Museum (completely renovated for the WWI Centenary), St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Britain, and the Museum of London, a walking tour of war memorials in Central London, a night at the theatre to see War Horse, and a day trip to Oxford to learn about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s experiences of the war. You’ll also have plenty of time to see other sites in and around London, like Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, the Churchill War Rooms, the Tower of London, and the Tate Modern. (Note that you’re responsible for any additional sightseeing and travel costs not included in the cost of the travel course itself.)
January 14-16: Western Front — our local guide, Carl Ooghe, will take us to battlefields, memorials, and cemeteries near Ypres, Belgium and The Somme, France. While we’re in Ypres, we’ll attend Last Post, a nightly ritual going back over ninety years, when Belgian firefighters play bugles at Menin Gate in honor of fallen British and Commonwealth soldiers.
January 17-20: Paris — with stops at the Invalides (home to Napoleon’s tomb and France’s military history museum), the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, and the Armenian cathedral that served as a gathering place for refugees from the 20th century’s first genocide. You’ll also have a day off to use your Paris pass to visit any other site in France’s capital (e.g., the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay) or you can join your instructors on a day trip to the great Gothic cathedral of Chartres.
January 21-25: Munich — we’ll consider the aftermath of the war from headquarters in Munich, the southern German city where Adolf Hitler returned after Armistice. We’ll take a walking tour of Hitler’s Munich, learn about the war’s impact on modern art at the Pinakotheke der Moderne, and close with a visit to the concentration camp memorial at Dachau. (You’ll also have a day to yourself to visit nearby sites like Nuremberg, Salzburg, or Neuschwanstein.)
January 26: fly from Munich to MSP
Photos from our January 2013 WWI Trip
Links from 2013 Posts
Watch Our WWI Presentation(linking to video of a presentation by Profs. Gehrz and Mulberry and students Sarah Ouverson and Annie Berglund, reflecting on their experiences on the WWI trip)