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2018 Public Summary

2018 Public Summary


Our current senior majors are assessed through formal analysis art writing, an oral presentation, and the senior exhibit. Students earlier in the program are evaluated through a sophomore-level assessment rubric, based on work in the foundations courses. Our recent students have been more successful presenting ideas orally than in writing. To help our students improve their art writing skills, we now incorporate multiple writing assignments into all of the lower- and upper-level art history and design history courses. To help our students more adequately prepare for their senior exhibits and presentations, since Fall 2017 we now offer Art Seminar in the fall, rather than in the spring.

Athletic Training

The athletic training program collects a variety of assessment data annually aimed at both student performance goals and program quality goals. The Board of Certification (BOC) for the Athletic Trainer Exam is one method of measuring program quality through student (graduate) performance. Over the course of the past 10 years, this data is very favorable to the quality of the Bethel College program for an extended period of time. Due to lower numbers of students enrolled, these have varied and tapered over the past 3 years for a variety of reasons. With a pending change in degree level for the athletic training profession; transitioning from undergraduate to masters, many programs of our size are facing a similar dip in pass rate performance. In addition to collecting BOC pass rate data, Commission on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education (CAATE) requires programs to collect and post graduate employment data and retention data to the public. These numbers are located on the Bethel College AT program website. The program also collects data related to student performance with frequent preceptor evaluations of student field experience progression, student evaluation of preceptors and clinical/field experience sites, graduate surveys of quality of the program and education, along with student performance on a variety of course assignments to measure achievement of program goals. This data is used to monitor quality and, in the past, has led to changes in curriculum and pedagogy.

Bible and Religion

One student graduated in 2017-18 with a double major in Bible and Religion as well as Social work. A new half-time instructor joined the department, bringing increased visibility and stability to the curriculum. Most of the teaching done in the BRL department continues to be focused on students taking our courses to meet requirements in the common core of our General Education program.


The great majority (over 90%) of Bethel graduates with biology majors, or natural sciences majors with considerable coursework in biology, enjoy success in graduate school admissions, entry into medical and other health science programs, and employment related to their academic discipline. We continue to make changes in the department to help more students to succeed (e.g., working closely with the Center for Academic Development to provide assistance for specific courses, an advising program that addresses the varied needs of a diverse student body, the RICHE program to support summer internships and job shadowing). We have implemented steps to improve the senior research and the resultant thesis by intervening more frequently as projects are developing and the capstone paper is being written.


Bethel College’s bachelor of science degree in business administration is designed to expose students to skill sets in high demand not only for business but also for nonprofits and civic organizations. Combined with a commitment to experiential learning, Bethel business students have opportunities to engage with outside speakers, work on real-world problems with local businesses and gain valuable experience in teamwork. While the primary mission of Bethel’s business faculty is teaching, faculty recognize the importance of keeping abreast of current developments in their fields through research, consulting, speaking, and service activities.

The Business department is eager to integrate and leverage the strengths of our new management hire. We believe this to be a positive addition to our department. Bethel continues to offer more Accounting courses than any other ACCK school, thus better preparing students interested in this career area for the CPA exam. Business faculty engage in ongoing continuing education, and some are sought after for national speaking engagements. Currently, the Business department at Bethel College is led by three women. Recent AAUW reports suggest that across the nation, females account for 20-30% of full time faculty in business programs. It is our pleasure to be outliers in this group.

It is noted that a growing number of students entering Bethel College who identify business as their major continues to steadily increase. At the same time, a growing divide is evident between well prepared, academically gifted students and those students who enter the program less prepared and less able to successfully complete college level academic tasks. The department is encouraged to see additional support services for underprepared students, and the hire of athletic coaches who value the whole person.

The majority of business majors enroll in an external internship during the senior year. During the 2017-2018 academic year, 10 students successfully completed experiential learning opportunities at for profit and not for profit businesses in Newton and surrounding area. Internship foci included accounting, marketing, graphic design, and small business management. Bethel College business majors who participated in an internship experience continued to score in the “excellent” range on the following personal competencies: professional attitude, enthusiasm, teamwork, initiative, and dependability. Bethel College business majors who participated in an internship experience continued to score in the “excellent” range on the following professional competencies: academic preparation, communication, critical thinking and leadership.


Students taking chemistry courses at Bethel College generally perform better than the 50th percentile on the American Chemical Society exam, meaning that their knowledge and conceptual understanding is better than that obtained by students in equivalent classes across the nation. For those areas that we failed to meet this objective, we will revise our assignments, lecture materials, and class activities to help students gain a better mastery of the material. Chemistry students are also actively engaged in research projects. Many of our chemistry students present their research findings at the annual URICA Symposium and at local and national chemical conferences, such as National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Finally, we have placed all of graduates of the past 5 years into the workforce, a profession school (medical, dental, veterinarian), or graduate school within the first year (often sooner) following graduation from Bethel College. This success has been achieved by ensuring that our students graduate knowing how to use most scientific instrumentation and the skills to be critical thinkers.

Communication Arts

Departmental assessment reveals an uptick in student achievement in comparison to previous years. Students approached, met or exceeded assessment benchmarks. Their confidence and competence in public presentations/performances and academic writing has improved (Goal II), as well as their ability to articulate meaningful connections among historical, theoretical, and practical implications of communication processes (Goal III). In Fall 2018, the department will offer COA 337 - Communication Theory and Research Methods for the first time, a required course designed to prepare students to understand concepts, methods, tools, and theories by which communication research is designed, conducted, interpreted, and critically evaluated. We anticipate seminar papers and presentations by students in the coming years (who meet the revised requirements in the 2017-18 Catalog) to improve in their knowledge of a variety of communication theories that explain messages across various media platforms (Goal III).

Elementary Education

The new Kansas Elementary K-6 standards are broken into the functions of content, assessment, and instruction including instructional strategies. Most of us in this department have always taught our content while at the same time modeling and embedding teaching strategies and methods of assessment. The new standards will lead us to reflect on how well we are combining all of these attributes and with the use of the new Praxis Elementary Content Knowledge for Teaching (7801) Exam, we will soon be able to see how successful our teaching has been in combining the functions of content, assessment, and instruction including instructional strategies.


The theme for the English Department’s assessment this year is three-fold: 1) Our second year of using a new mid-stream writing evaluation assessment tool continues to be an important step in tracking our majors’ learning prior to that ultimate senior assessment; 2) We successfully identified an area for improvement in last year’s assessment results (Integrative Abilities), and those scores did improve on average when assessed for this report; 3) Having lived through our first year of a major curricular revision, we look forward to assessing our students’ learning in the upcoming years.

Graphic Design

We are excited to see growing interest in the Graphic Design major among younger students, and we are eager for stability in staffing of those courses. Our current senior majors are assessed through formal analysis art writing, an oral presentation, and the senior exhibit. Students earlier in the program are evaluated through a sophomore-level assessment rubric, based on work in the foundations courses. To help our students improve their art writing skills, we are now incorporating writing assignments into all of the lower- and upper-level art history and design history courses. To help our students more adequately prepare for their senior exhibits and presentations, since Fall 2017 we now offer Art Seminar in the fall, rather than in the spring. In 2018-19 we will also revise our assessment of the internship required of Graphic Design majors, in alignment with a newly identified goal related to initiative and creative problem-solving in a professional internship setting.

Health and Physical Education

The Health and Physical Education Department is in the process of moving away from the longstanding comprehensive exam as the primary data collection tool and instead working toward utilizing coursework with well-established grading tools to better assess whether students are meeting department objectives. The trend of a very high transfer population has made it difficult to collect reliable data, knowing that most students have not received the same instruction in all HPE coursework.


History majors are assessed on three goals: to demonstrate comprehensive basic knowledge of key themes, events, ideas, and persons across a broad expanse of history; to develop and demonstrate clear written analysis of historical narrative, effective speaking about and explanation of historical events, as well as library and manuscript research skills; and to identify and analyze the interrelationship of complex factors (for example, social, cultural, religious, economic factors) involved in the development of historical events. A strong cohort of students in the 2017-18 History seminar class exceeded all three areas of goal 2. One student failed to meet goal three and one student who was an individualized major following a non-traditional curriculum did not do well on the standardized test used to assess student learning on goal 1.


We assess our students based on our objectives related to computation skills and conceptual understandings in a variety of fundamental and advanced areas; effective oral presentation of mathematical concepts; ability to write mathematical documents using LATEX; ability to successfully integrate and apply their mathematical knowledge in an area of research for their senior seminar project; and knowledge of significant persons, events, and developments in the history of mathematics, including knowledge of non- western mathematics. Our assessment instruments range from proof-writing and course-specific exams to senior seminar research and presentation, along with the ETS Major Field Test in Mathematics.

After several years of staffing turnover, the majority of 2017-18 majors did not meet our goal related to the ETS Major Field Test in Mathematics. We are hopeful that our new hire in mathematics and an improvement in matriculation rates in courses beyond our entry-level courses are the start of a recovery for the number of students in our upper-level courses and the number of mathematics majors.


On the Major Field Tests in Music, the majority of our graduating seniors continue to score above the 65% designation with some of our students scoring 90% or above. These scores are compared to all schools of music taking the Major Field Tests in Music. The formal evaluations of the Senior Recital Preview performance and the Senior Recital Preview program notes appear to give guidance to seniors in preparation for their senior recital. The implementation of the Sophomore Jury Review form is providing more extensive feedback for all sophomores interested in becoming music majors.


The Department of Nursing continues to monitor student performance on the NCLEX-RN exam as well as program identified student outcomes to ensure the program continues to meet approval requirements by KSBN and accreditation requirements by CCNE. In addition the program, continued the work on the refinement of the evaluation tool used during the holistic admission process. Holistic admissions consider a broad range of elements along with traditional admission criteria that can reflect an applicant’s academic readiness, potential academic success and success on the licensing exam. In admitting high quality students, student retention is improved as well as student first-time success on the NCLEX-RN exam. The Department of Nursing worked at several testing and evaluation procedures in preparation for changes to the NCLEX-RN exam that are expected to be initiated in April 2019.


Psychology majors are assessed on three goals: to display professional skills, e.g., basic communication and analytic skills related to work with colleagues both within and outside the profession of psychology and with clients and the public; to demonstrate psychology-based understandings, e.g., a basic knowledge of psychology, both of its methods and of its theoretical and empirical content; and to manifest a diverse set of integrative abilities, e.g., being able to think critically and ethically as well as integrate information both within the discipline of psychology and in society at large. The five graduates in the 2017-18 year met all senior-level goals and objectives.

Social Work

The Social Work Program, fully accredited for more than forty years, continues to monitor student success on each of nine competencies required by the Council on Social Work Education. Achievement of each competency is assessed using two measures, one course-embedded measure (such as a paper, exam, or lab assignment) and one in the field placement. Each competency is also assessed in regard to four components: affective and critical processing, relevant values and ethics, skills, and knowledge. In the most recent assessment, the Social Work Program met all its benchmarks for student outcomes. Some of the continuous strengths shown in the assessment come in the areas of diversity, ethics and professionalism, relationship building and engagement, and social work assessment. Each year, faculty examine ratings that are the lowest (although may still be above the benchmark) and have made changes in assignments, teaching, or field instructor training in order to raise those scores. For instance, we changed the instructor in the Policy Analysis course and revised an assignment concerning policy in the Pre-practice Seminar/field instruction course to address the policy-related competency.

In addition to assessing the explicit curriculum, the Program also assesses the implicit curriculum with a yearly survey and focus group of senior students. Examples of topics examined include opportunities for student involvement and leadership, satisfactory progress and termination policies, and advising.

The Program has recently completed a self-study and site visit and is awaiting the final decision of the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education concerning the reaffirmation of accreditation. Initial feedback has been positive.

Teacher Education

The Department of Teacher Education continues to monitor student performance at three checkpoints in a student’s educational program, including both internal (Grade point average, recommendations, and portfolio) and external (Core Academic Skills for Educators – Reading, Writing, Mathematics; Kansas Performance Teaching Portfolio; Principals of Learning and Teaching Test; and an Educational Testing Service content assessment) measures aligned with student outcomes to ensure the program continues to meet approval requirements for teacher licensure in Kansas. In addition to these assessments, the program continued the pilot of a clinical assessment tool, Kansas Clinical Assessment Tool (K-CAT) used to assess student progress in their student teaching experience. Reliability studies of this tool are being conducted in coordination with KSDE and REL Central. As demonstrated on the Teacher Education webpage under “Title II Information,” the program has had a 100% licensure rate over the past two years, which indicates that each program completer successfully achieved a passing score on the internal and external measures listed above. The program has worked, over the past year, to ensure that each of the assessments used for candidate assessment and program improvement are reliable and valid. The Bethel College Teacher Education Program is accredited by the Kansas State Board of Education (KSBE) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). During the Spring 2019 semester, the program will host an accreditation visit by KSDE and the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which replaced NCATE.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.