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Ada Schmidt-Tieszen Lecture

This lectureship was established in 2020 in honor of Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, Ph.D., who taught social work at Bethel College for 35 years, 1985-2020.

Each March, a scholar or community practitioner will speak in convocation on a topic related to the core values of social work: service; social justice; dignity; integrity; competence; human relationships. These speakers are invited to Bethel College to remind our community of the significance of social work and the ways in which social workers join with others to change the world.

Speakers for this lectureship will be chosen based on the following criteria:

• Connection to one or more of the social work core values;

• Connection to the social work profession;

• A topic that promotes social change.

The speaker selection committee comprises a representative or representatives from Schmidt-Tieszen’s family; a Bethel College social work faculty member; and a current social work student. The speaker will be scheduled to present during convocation in March (Social Work Month) and be given a certificate and honorarium. 

Ada Schmidt-Tieszen received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Bethel College in 1974. She graduated with her master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver in 1981. Her third degree in social work came from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare in 2004. Her dissertation was entitled “Walking the tightrope: The role of resource parents in concurrent planning.”

Ada’s academic interests include child welfare, social work in disasters, social policy and practice. Her practice experience was in mental health, programs for elders and impoverished people, and administration. She taught 13 different social work classes during her tenure at Bethel, perhaps most notably Skills for Human Services, where she coached and mentored hundreds of students in the art and science of interviewing, listening and connecting with clients.

Ada Schmidt-Tieszen Lecturers

• March 2021: Je T'aime Taylor ’08, executive director, Front Porch Alliance, Kansas City, Mo.




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.