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Bethany President Recognizes Challenges, Opportunities

August 22, 2012
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Bethany College welcomes a new academic year that will continue to position the college to serve the needs of a highly competitive marketplace, President Scott Miller said in his annual State of the College address Tuesday to a crowded Commencement Hall.

In his fifth speech as Bethany's 19th president, Miller credited "strategic planning consistent with Bethany's history and tradition" as the main reason the college has maintained its leadership as a residential, liberal arts college committed to student success. He said Bethany has succeeded as a place where academics and student life complement each other with recognition that learning takes many forms, inside and outside the classroom.

"As we enter our 173rd year, Bethany's plans will enable the college to focus on meeting unprecedented challenges within our marketplace and within higher education itself while we seek new opportunities and possibilities consistent with our core values," he said. "Bethany looks forward to a new academic year in which we continue to position the college to meet the needs of a highly competitive marketplace."

He said this summer 33 students were enrolled in the college's first online summer session. In addition, Miller addressed an agreement with Carnegie Mellon University for six dual-degrees that offer accelerated bachelor's-master's programs.

That is in addition to three other dual-degree programs also in place: two in engineering with Case Western and Columbia universities and one in law with Duquesne University.

At the May 12 commencement, the first seven degrees in the new master of arts in teaching program were awarded, the first accredited graduate degree in the history of the college.

"These initiatives offer Bethany College considerable potential for future growth," Miller said.

The college will enroll 330 new students this fall, including an estimated 280 freshmen, 40 transfers and 10 graduate students. Miller said the incoming class of 2016 is among the strongest in 30 years, the third-largest since 1977. He also mentioned the enrollment team has expanded recruiting to New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States.

Miller went on to recognize a few other recent developments he felt underscored the strength of the college's mission:

In cooperation with four partners from the Independent College Enterprise, Bethany will soon begin an experiment in shared faculty, thanks to a grant of $150,000 from the Teagle Foundation. He noted that Darin Fields, vice president for academic affairs, and his colleagues at three partner colleges have developed several shared faculty classes using new technology.

Miller outlined his priorities for the 2012-13 academic year which include:

- Extending Bethany's visibility and reach, especially in the areas of enrollment management, and further diversifying the student body to include more students from the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and New England states.

- Remaining affordable to a growing student population.

- Upgrading and expanding technology.

- Improving the quality of valued educational experience through enhanced student assessment.

- Reaching important milestones in fundraising efforts.

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