NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- A team of natural and mathematical sciences faculty and administrators from Bethel College has been accepted to participate in a new leadership initiative sponsored by Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL). PKAL is a national alliance that encourages strong undergraduate programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (or STEM fields) through several programs. Bethel selected the leadership initiative program, which will work with leadership teams of faculty and administrators.
The Bethel PKAL team includes Christopher M. Earles, assistant professor of mathematics, Gary Histand, associate professor of chemistry, Dwight Krehbiel, professor of psychology, Jon K. Piper, associate professor of biology, and John K. Sheriff, vice president for academic affairs.
Bethel was one of only three colleges in a five-state area, which included Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado, to be accepted into the program. The Bethel team applied under the theme of "creating a research-rich environment."
"The actions for our team will be centered around creating more opportunities for research and independent study," said Krehbiel. "Faculty will also try to give better support to students involved in those pursuits."
Through the PKAL program, Bethel team members will attend workshops to learn from PKAL leaders as well as team members from other participating colleges. In addition, the college team will be assigned a mentor who will advise them in working on issues identified on their application.
The Bethel College PKAL team will also participate in on-line discussions with other PKAL participants. One of the primary issues to be addressed in these communications will be attracting and retaining undergraduate students in STEM fields and encouraging those students to consider future employment in such fields.
"The team on campus will work with our faculty and resource people to shape the curriculum and get the resources needed to fulfill the goals not only of the science programs at Bethel but also goals they share with other departments at the college," said Sheriff.
Krehbiel echoed the interdisciplinary aspect of the PKAL project: "PKAL is an organization concerned with undergraduate instruction in STEM fields," he said. "But we hope that the impact of our efforts may be positive for students in all areas of study."