Better a good journalist than a poor assassin.

And yet another one.  You poor unfortunate souls who read this blog, please don’t leave because I have nothing better to offer you at the moment.

I promise a more tempting morsel for your reading pleasure by Thursday.

Theatre department plays musical chairs

by Sydney Sheltz
In a classic game of musical chairs, players shuffle from chair to chair, but there is never quite enough room for everyone. However, the Bethel College Theatre Department is now dealing with just the opposite. During the theatre department major/minor meeting on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, the department officially announced a replacement for retiring department chair Richard Young. Young’s current role will be filled by Don Hunter, current production manager and adjunct faculty member.

“I was really excited to be appointed,” said Hunter. “I paid close attention my last two years and it just seemed like a job I would enjoy. I have a gift for administration; it’s one of the things that my spiritual gifts are in, so being in charge of things and running things is something I like to do and get a lot of enjoyment, and I feel fulfilled when I can serve other people.”

Hunter has had his sights set on this role since 2005, when he was a junior at Bethel. He and another friend dreamed about someday running the program.

”It took me 10 years,” said Hunter. “But you know, I was ready to wait for a lot longer before having that opportunity, but it presented itself now, so I’m really excited to lead the department, see where we go.”

However, unlike in a game of musical chairs, the Theatre Department will face a shortage of full-time faculty for required acting and theatre courses as a result of this decision to hire from inside the department, leaving one too many “chairs” for the remaining faculty to fill when Young retires at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

According to Dean of Arts and Sciences Janna McLean, there is a possibility that a new professor will be hired, in the case of department growth. If there are 25 declared theatre majors in the next two years, the department will begin looking to add another professor. Hunter has high hopes for the department.

“We would like to be one of the top places you go to a Christian college for theatre,” he said.

In the meantime, the empty seat will be filled by a total of four adjunct professors, who will teach the required theatre courses. Wishart Bell and Jill Hostetler are both adjunct professors of voice and Victoria Garrett is also an adjunct professor of music. Also helping the theatre department make do is Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts Deborah Keller.

Hunter plans to focus on local recruiting in order to increase the number of theatre majors in the department. He also said the department will meet in a couple of weeks to discuss vision and future departmental goals.

The theatre department is not the only department to face faculty changes or additions over the next few months, however. The science department is currently in the process of hiring a new biology professor for the 2015-16 school year. (Read more about the search here.) In addition, the psychology department, which has also faced a shortage of faculty during the present school year, plans to hire an additional professor with experience in social work.

In addition to the faculty changes, the theatre department also plans to add another studio show for the 2015-16 school year. Each semester will feature a main stage show and a studio show. The main stage shows will be larger and will draw more audience members, while the studio shows will only have 60-90 seats available each. The Fall 2015 semester will feature the annual 24 Hour Theatre Festival, which is cast, written, directed and performed within 24 hours. The fall semester will also feature “On the Verge” and “A Christmas Carol” and the spring semester will feature two one-acts of Tennessee Williams as well as the musical “Mary Poppins.” The summer show, “Alice in Wonderland,” will be held in May.

You’re miserable, tired, and edgy — perfect for journalism.

This has been a long time coming.  My apologies, for two things.

First, for the length in the time between posting articles.

And second, because this is only piece of literary art that you get to read from me today.

IT department switches campus to canvas

By Sydney Sheltz

The Information Technology department at Bethel College will be switching learning management systems from Jenzabar to Canvas.  It is important to note that the MyBethel site will not be going away.

This change mostly affects staff members.  The only change that students will see is in the My Courses tab on the MyBethel site. 

There are two ways for students to access their grades electronically.  One way is via the My Courses tab on the MyBethel website.  Another way is to go to the Student tab on the MyBethel site and clicking on the Student Information tab on the left menu.  From there, a student can access their academic record. 

According to Director of Administrative Computing Harold Rodgers, “Students will still be able to access their grades the way they do now but it will look a little different.”

The IT department is also considering other changes to the layout for the MyBethel site without replacing the site itself. 

In addition to the changes in the learning management system, students will no long be able to access the H-drive. 

At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, the campus email was changed to the Microsoft Office365.  Although there were other factors that influenced this decision, the Microsoft Office365 service also includes a file hosting service called OneDrive that allows students to upload and sync files to cloud storage.  In this way, students can access files from any computer or personal device. 

According to Information Systems Manager Todd Lemons, “One of the reasons we switched to Microsoft Office365 so we could have access to OneDrive.  The advantage is that you can upload files to OneDrive and access them on any computer and even personal devices like I-pads or phones.  With the H-drive, you have to be on a campus computer.”

In order to save any documents saved on the student H drive, documents can be uploaded to One Drive or saved externally.  More information will be released closer to the date when the changes will be implemented. 

At that later date, the IT department hopes to have the H drive removed from student access and the learning management system will be switched to Campus. 


This is my museum of forgotten things.

Been awhile for an article, hasn’t it? For those of you who forgot how this works, I post the unedited version of my story on the blog and you can read it without having to be on a campus computer.

Ta da!

Theater students take the stage for KCACTF awards
By Sydney Sheltz

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) awards lasted from Monday, January 5, 2015 to Sunday, January 11, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The KCACTF is a national theater program committed to improving the quality of theater and showcasing student work from various colleges across America. Of the 18,000 college students that participate, 22 were from Bethel College.

The KCACTF awards are given every January or February in order to honor outstanding regional productions. Eight students from Bethel accepted their nomination for Outstanding Performance for the Irene Ryan National Acting Competition.

After each nomination, the students prepared 2 separate scenes and a monologue of their choice. The students were coached for their performances by the director of the traveling theater group, Genesians, and adjunct professor of theater at Bethel, Deb Swerman.

Six additional students presented designs at the KCACTF award such as sophomore April Reed’s scenic design for “Elektra,” senior Tim Becze’s lighting design in “Waiting for Godot” and “39 Steps” and (year?) Hiram Park’s makeup design for “Elektra.”

Other competing students included sophomore Erin Cluckie with stage management for “39 Steps,” senior A.J. Reynolds for dramaturgy with “Elektra” and senior Moa Son’s constume designs for the KCACTF regional contest “A Long Day’s Journey into the Night.”

Both Reynolds and Becze advanced to the final round in their category. Son took first place with her costume design as part of the Design Storm Team competition in the finals also.

Furthermore, 6 other students were awarded certificates of merit for Outstanding Achievement in productions over the past year.

Associate theatre designer at Bethel College, Johan Godwaldt was also selected by the KCACTF for the Lighting Design Intensive for his work. He also received the Faculty Service Award for the state of Indiana.


How many is this now?

Another Beacon article. It’s all I’ve written these days.

Artist showcases the fruit of her labor
by Sydney Sheltz

Bethel College hosted an art gallery on Friday, November 21, 2014 in the Fine Arts Building in the Rotunda featuring the works of local artist Beth Mathes.

The gallery was open from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. during the day and again at night from 5-7 p.m. Entitled “First Fruits,” the show was open to students and to the public.

Mathes showcased two main collections at the show: “Experience the Rescue” and the “RockWater.”

The title of the show was inspired by Mathes’ most recent work, also called “First Fruits.”

The idea for the piece came when Mathes was admiring a vineyard on a sunny day. A cluster of green grapes on a sun-warmed rock, the piece also has the signature Bible verse text etched into the rock.

Over 20 pieces were featured at the show. Although most were part of the three collections, some pieces, like “Reckless Abandon” and “Solitude,” were solitary works.

“Reckless Abandon” was inspired by news that a family member was diagnosed with cancer while “Solitude” is the picture of a woman walking on a beach.

According to the biography provided at the show, Mathes has a passion “to help people connect with one another and with God in real and unpretentious ways through artistic expression.”


Impatience wastes time in repetition and redundancy, in reiteration and repeating ones’ self.

Cranked out this one in one day. Be jealous.

Call me maybe, or maybe not
by Sydney Sheltz

The Bethel College Theatre Department completed one day of auditions for the spring musical, “Seussical.” However, on the final day of auditions, director Richard Young announced that there would be no callbacks.

“It was like a jig-saw puzzle and it just went together,” said Young when asked the reasoning behind the decision. “It went together really well and we just said ‘Yeah, this works! We don’t need to call anybody back.’”

There are 28 roles in the show but the leads include multiple characters from Dr. Suess’s books like Horton, Gertrude McFuzz, The Cat, Jojo, Mayzie LaBird, and the Sour Kangaroo.

When asked about the workload involved Young said, “There were a lot of people and there are a lot of fun roles in the show. Because there are so many roles, we have a crazy rehearsal schedule.”

Since there are so many roles, this musical will require more work and time than the previous shows from 2014 like “The 39 Steps” and “Electra.”

“We looked at it the other day and figured out that we have over 100 hours of rehearsal scheduled,” said Young. “There’s 92 pages of script and it’s a musical so there’s a lot on each page.”

The workload isn’t what is freaking out the students, though.

Amy Liston, a junior majoring in American Sign Language (ASL), auditioned for her first show at Bethel. Liston previously held the role of Gertrude McFuzz in the Suessical performed at Lawrence School in Sagamore Hills, Ohio.

According to Liston, callbacks are a regular part of auditions.

“It definitely threw me off a little bit,” said Liston. “It’s very strange. I mean, usually there are always callbacks. Even on Broadway, there’s always callbacks. I guess they knew what they were looking for and they must’ve found it.”

Liston wasn’t the only one who was surprised by the lack of callbacks.

“Yes, there were no callbacks,” said freshman Joel Lininger, piano performance major. “My only thought about it was that I guess I was a bit surprised, but it must have been pretty decisive. I’m trying not to worry about it too much. I’ll find out tomorrow whether I made it or not.”

The cast list will be released at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The opening night for the show is on Thursday, March 26, 2014.


For lack of creativity, this is a title.

Gotcha another one. I’m sure you were dying from lack of an article.

Do it yourself with online registration
by Sydney Sheltz

Bethel College is entertaining the possibility of allowing students to register for classes online instead of requiring that everyone meet with an advisor in order to select classes for the next semester.

Before introducing the program to the entire campus, a few departments would experiment with this option. This would allow students in majors within those departments to register for classes.

There are mixed feelings about allowing online registration.

“I think it’s a good idea for students to sign up for classes themselves, but at the same time I think professors should be available to help if needed,” said Jennifer Ochstein, assistant professor of writing.

It has been suggested in faculty meetings that this option would be more effective in some departments than in others.

Some courses within the science majors have up to six pre-requisite classes and those pre-requisites are only scheduled one semester, every other year. If the students knew exactly what they needed to take, this type of specific schedule wouldn’t be a problem. Students in other rigorous majors like nursing or American Sign Language (ASL) also have this concern.

“The advisors know best because they’ve been doing it longer but it would be nice for the students have a list of requirements to do it themselves. Of course, then we would need a list of requirements to know what courses we need to take and when. There’s plusses and minuses to both sides,” said Sophie Sexton, sophomore ASL major.

Ryan Bollier, a senior philosophy major, wasn’t sure if he would use the option if it had been available to him.

When asked about the idea of online registration, Bollier said “I mean, yeah it’s convenient but are students responsible enough to know what to take?”

The departments that will experiment with the option of online registration haven’t been selected yet. Although it was suggested that students could sign up for their own classes as early as the spring 2015 semester, this plan has not yet been implemented. It is still up in the air as to whether this option will be available by the 2015-2016 school year.

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