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Two faculty awards given for 2020-21 school year

June 2nd, 2021

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Geri Tyrell, nursing, and David Long, visual arts and design, were honored with awards for service and teaching at the end of the school year.

The first Franz Community Service Award since 2012 was presented to Tyrell, director of nursing and associate professor of nursing.

This award, named in honor of Julius and Agatha Dyck Franz, recognizes a faculty member judged to have made an especially important contribution to the college community through achievements and service beyond classroom teaching and scholarship.

In his citation, Robert Milliman, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, said, “With this award, the college recognizes Geri’s leadership in guiding the Bethel community through a year of living and working on a college campus during a pandemic.

“Daily, Geri donned protective gear to check on our students even as she taught and led in the nursing department. She has cared for isolated and quarantined students, given hundreds of COVID tests, arranged for vaccinations and attended countless meetings with the Harvey County Health Department and the Bethel College Emergency Response Team.

“Geri has been involved in every aspect of providing care for the Bethel College community, [ranging] from consistent communication with administration and employees to personally disinfecting all the door knobs in the campus office buildings one day.”

Tyrell joined the Bethel nursing faculty in January 2008.

In addition to her B.S.N. from Bethel, Tyrell earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Tulsa, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in educational leadership from American Sentinel University.

During the 128th commencement ceremonies on May 16, Milliman announced the Robert P. Schrag Distinguished Teaching Award, presented to David Long, professor of visual arts and design, in absentia because he was attending his son’s graduate school commencement ceremony.

This award recognizes a Bethel faculty member who has made an outstanding contribution to teaching.

“In presenting this award at commencement,” Milliman said, “we affirm the importance that Bethel College places on excellent teaching by our faculty and meaningful learning by our students.”

Observations and comments from teaching colleagues are one factor in determining the Schrag Award recipient.

“For example,” Milliman noted, “one of his colleagues stated, ‘I’ve been impressed both by his hands-on teaching style and with his patience with students in helping them learn difficult creative processes.

“‘Most of his courses contain a mix of art majors and students looking for arts and humanities [general education] credit, which are sometimes quite different populations. David has learned well how to teach to different levels of students, helping each of them achieve their best work.’”

Another factor is student evaluations.

“Comments [from these evaluations] reveal how valued [David’s] teaching is,” Milliman said.

“One student wrote, ‘Professor Long was a very patient and welcoming teacher. The arts are not my strong suit but he made me feel that step-by-step I could make some pretty cool projects.’

“Professor Long is committed to his profession, often working late into the evening,” Milliman continued. “He is interested in building the Department of Visual Arts and Design. He is an easy person with whom to work – soft-spoken and thoughtful, likeable and never pushy or arrogant.

“Bethel College is fortunate to have such a gifted instructor, artist and colleague in our midst.”

Long began teaching at Bethel in 2001 and is currently the chair of the department.

He has an M.A. in ceramics from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in art history from Arizona State University and an MFA in ceramics from Wichita State University.

He frequently exhibits both ceramics and photography locally.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #26 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, and earned its third-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Gold Award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2020-21; is’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to; and is #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities named by as “Best for Financial Aid,” as well as #23 “Safest College Towns in the U.S.,” ranked by for 2020-21. For more information, see 

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Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.