What’s New in 2014-2015? Our Faculty

Now that we’re past the busyness of Welcome Week and the start of classes, it’s high time we get back to blogging here at AC 2nd. We’ll start with three posts sharing what’s new in the department. First, comings and goings on our faculty:

Ruben RiveraRuben Rivera is continuing in a new role that he started last spring, as the university’s interim Chief Diversity Officer. Here’s how he described that position for us:

My tasks are numerous, but my overarching responsibility has to do with the articulation of vision, strategy, initiatives and support for Christ-centered unity in diversity across the university’s schools. What excites me most about my role is that I have an opportunity to help lead our community closer toward that goal that Christians the world over have for centuries prayed to God to fulfill: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4). Jesus himself taught us that prayer. What does the kingdom of heaven look like? In the book of Revelation we catch a glimpse of heaven where people from every language, culture and nation are worshipping Christ in beautiful unbroken unity (Revelation 7:9-10). Further in the book we see that time when God’s cosmic purposes are finally accomplished, and the kingdom of heaven, the new Jerusalem, coming down to earth and God dwelling among all his diverse people (Revelation 21:1-3). I see my role as nothing less than the promotion of the enjoyment of that coming kingdom.

In between all the work that that job entails, Ruben will continue to teach undergraduates: HIS210U Minorities in America this fall, and HIS209L Christianity in America and HIS217UZ Hispanic Christianity in the spring.

• Diana Magnuson will be on sabbatical next spring, continuing her research at the Minnesota Population Center (MPC). Look for more on those plans in December or January…

• Last year we were thrilled to have one of our former students, Katie (Thostenson) Dunker (’05), come back to Bethel to teach. Over the summer Katie returned to the UK, where she’s completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Edinburgh. But she will be teaching for us again next spring, when she offers HIS311 Roman Civilization online.

• Another of our distinguished alumnae, Emily Osborne (’06), will be on campus Wednesday nights this fall teaching GEO120 Introduction to Geography, one of the required courses in our Social Studies Education 5-12 major. Emily is a social studies teacher at Mahtomedi High School, holds a master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Minnesota, and spends her summers in Oxford, England, directing a unique pre-college program for high school students.

Read the next post in this series of updates>>

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History Majors Featured on Bethel Website: Hilary Ritchie and Michael Bumann

If you’ve visited Bethel’s website recently, you’ve probably seen one of our students!

The homepage of our website is featuring the stories of a series of Bethel students and alumni. There are several such stories that take turns in the spotlight throughout the day. Two of the four in the current rotation are current or former Bethel History students:

Hilary Ritchie (’13)

Hilary Ritchie

Hilary is a double-major in History and Biblical and Theological Studies, a not-uncommon combination at Bethel (in a day or two we’ll be publishing an interview with an alum who had the same double-major) that Hilary finds very satisfying:

I love theology and I love history, and seeing the way the two interconnect. I think it’s important to understand that our theology doesn’t just come out of nowhere, that it was developed in a context. The reality is that we’re part of a tradition and part of this big story that God’s been working on for a long time.

In the rest of the story, Hilary talks about her desire to teach theology, her appreciation for the value of Christian community, and her role as a worship leader at Bethel. She’s currently completing a research project on the 4th century theologian Ephrem the Syrian in our capstone course, Senior Seminar. In a couple weeks that course will dedicate a discussion to Christian vocation, which is the final topic Hilary speaks to in the piece on the website:

God’s given everyone certain passions and gifts. When we live into those passions and live into those gifts, then we’re living full lives as we’re meant to. That’s what God creates us for. Do what you love.

Michael Bumann (’06)Michael Bumann

When he took Senior Sem in the spring of 2006, Michael Bumann chose to write his paper on Jesuit missions in East Asia. Little did he know that he would end up living in China, studying Chinese and teaching English as part of the organization English Language Institute/China. In his web story, Michael explains how studying history helped prepare him for this calling:

Bethel taught me how to pay attention to the world and find a way forward. I gained a lot of cultural research tools in my history major. I learned how to attach one idea to another. In college, that comes out as a paper. Now I’m living life and I can use those same tools to live and learn in a foreign country. It’s critical thinking. That’s been really helpful.

He also emphasizes his appreciation for Bethel professors, the way that they invested in him and how he’s invested in maintaining relationships with many of them over the years. At the beginning of the story, he discussed to the formative role played by one of the faculty members in our department:

I still remember one class I loved – Christianity in America taught by Ruben Rivera. We basically went from the beginning of Anglo settlement in America through the 19th century. The thing I loved the most about it was that we read a lot of original source material – letters, in your own words kind of things, specifically from industrialized America. I hadn’t experienced that in history classes up to that point.

I didn’t know that I wanted to be a teacher until I came to Bethel. That class was an 8 a.m. interim class. So students stumbled in, maybe half awake, maybe not, and by 8:15 we’d be in a full-blown discussion. It takes a pretty special teacher to be able to do that. Dr. Rivera always had people engaged. I remember thinking “I want to be that kind of teacher one day.”