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Bethel adds major, certificate program

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College faculty proposals for changes in two departments have been approved and will go into effect with the 2017-18 catalog.

The Department of History and Peace Studies has added a major in history and political science.

Department faculty developed the new major “in order to better recruit and retain students who express an interest in political science,” said Mark Jantzen, professor of history. “Most typically, these students are also interested in pre-law.”

One difference between the new major and a history major is that history and political science will require Principles of Political Science, a new course that will be part of the curriculum starting with the 2017-18 catalog, and the already existing U.S. Government class.

In addition, the new major allows a number of Peace and Conflict Studies courses, as well as related courses from five other departments, to be included as electives.

“Since students with a variety of academic interests and majors successfully go on to law school, the current pre-law program will not be changed,” Jantzen added. “It will continue to function as an advising supplement alongside whatever major the pre-law student selects.”

There has already been a significant amount of interest from prospective students in the new history and political science option, said Kip Wedel, assistant professor of history and peace studies.

Also approved were faculty proposals to change the name of the Department of Literary Studies back to Department of English and to add a writing and publishing certificate.

Changes in course requirements, along with the new certificate, bring four new courses – Introduction to Literature (actually a “restoration” of a former course), Major American Authors, Major British Authors and Special Topics in Creative Writing.

“Upgrading creative writing offerings should help distinguish Bethel’s English department from our ACCK and Kansas private college peers,” said Brad Born, professor of English.

“Most of the private colleges in Kansas are lean on creative writing, so this is one area where we might compare favorably, especially with a certificate program that provides a pre-professional track with an internship component.”

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016–17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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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.