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  •   Bethel University’s Physician Assistant Program was recognized by the Rural Health Research Center (RHRC) as a top 15 PA program that graduated proportionately more PAs who practice in rural settings. Bethel’s PA program was #6 on the list in the report that was published in February 2016.      According to the RHRC, “employing more physician assistants (PAs) is often proposed as an important part of the solution to rural primary care shortages in the United States.”      The same article goes on to say that the PA profession emerged in the early 1970s in part to address health care disparities and predicted primary care workforce shortages, especially in rural and underserved communities.      “To us, this is significant that Bethel University is included in this particular top 15 list,” said Bethel President Dr. Walter Butler. “Stepping into PA positions that specifically meet the health care shortages in rural communities speaks to who we are here at Bethel. Finding ways to serve using our skills and our talents – it’s a lifestyle we encourage with our graduates.”      Statistics provided by the RHRC showed that, as of 2008, only 15 percent of PAs were practicing in rural communities. This was compared to 27 percent in 1981.      The same report shows that almost half (45 percent) of Bethel University PA graduates have taken jobs in rural locations.      “It’s very rewarding to think that our Physician Assistant Program is contributing to the well-being of rural Americans,” said President Butler. “I applaud our PA Program faculty and staff and our students for bringing our program to the place where it is. We are producing quality graduates. It’s something to be very proud of.”      According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, PAs are nationally certified and state licensed medical professionals. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services.      Bethel University’s Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). A Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree is conferred upon completion of the 27-month educational program. The didactic year curriculum follows the NCCPA blueprint in regard to organ systems and task areas. Following the didactic year, students spend 15 months in clinical rotations with qualified preceptors learning “hands-on” medicine.      Bethel University is headquartered in McKenzie, Tenn. For more information about Bethel University, go to www.bethelu.edu.      
  •   Bethel University’s Spring 2016 Commencement will be held Saturday, May 7. Those receiving undergraduate degrees will take part in a 10 a.m., ceremony, and those receiving graduate degrees will take part in a 1 p.m. ceremony. Both events will take place in the Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena at 101 Wildcat Lane on the school’s McKenzie campus.      Dr. Maribeth S. McGuire will be the Commencement Speaker. McGuire retired as Bethel College academic dean in 2005, bringing to a close almost 40 years as a teacher and administrator. McGuire came to Bethel in 1985 as a teacher in the English department, where she remained for 13 years. During that time she served as faculty moderator and as head of her academic division. She became academic dean in 1998.  Upon her retirement, Bethel presented McGuire an honorary doctor of humane letters.      Before coming to Bethel, McGuire served on the faculty of Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn., for nine years. Earlier she taught for 10 years in the Memphis City Schools, first at Tech High School and then at Melrose Junior High School. Her education includes a bachelor of arts from Bethel and a master of arts from Memphis State (now the University of Memphis).      McGuire is an ordained elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and has served congregations in Memphis, Shiloh Church in McKenzie, and Greeneville.  She is currently a member of Greeneville Church and is active in the chancel choir.       Guest seating for commencement will begin one hour prior to each ceremony, and line up of graduates will begin at that time as well.      For questions regarding Bethel Commencement, graduates should contact the registrars within their specific colleges. Anyone else with questions may contact Myra Carlock at 731-352-4090 or at carlockm@bethelu.edu.
  • In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, C.A.R.E., Bethel University and Carl Perkins Center of Huntingdon hosted their first annual SURVIVOR’S CELEBRATION Charity Event for Child Abuse Victims and Survivors at Bethel University in the Vera Low Center located at 101 Wildcat Lane in McKenzie. The event was Thursday, April 21.
  •   Bethel University honored 40 employees recently recognizing years of service worked.      Those completing 5 years of service included: Deza Gilmer, Barbara Grissom, Jan Jackson, Kerri Smith, Randy Callahan, Chris Esch, Regina Simpson, Alan Gooch, Autumn Isbell, Victoria Moeller, Suzanne Seat, Ricky Wofford, Myra Carlock, Karen Saldana, Aubrey Doyle, Dave McCulley, Jamie Coomer, Willie Fells, Janet Peeler, Freddie Duke, and Malang Jarju.      Those completing 10 years of service included: James Harris, Jennifer Glass, Cheri Wharton, Sheila Clement, Starla Cupples, Diana Curtis, Randell Wolff, Carolyn Dotson, Rosa Dabbs, Margie           Morgan, Martha Brou, and Chris Nelson.      Those completing 15 years of service included: John Caterina, Malissa Vaughn, James Stewart, Jeff Britt, and Linda Hearn.      Dr. James Scruton, Professor of English, was honored for 25 years of service, and Dr. Roger Johnson, Professor of Physics/Computer, was honored for 35 years of service.
  •   Bethel’s College of Arts and Sciences recently elected its Student Government Association (SGA) officers for the 2016-17 school year.      Elected as President was Elizabeth Starnes of Munford. Starnes is a senior music business major. Elected as Vice President was Christopher Kelley of Savannah. Kelley is a sophomore history major. Junior Adam Douglas of McKenzie was elected as Greek Council President. Douglas is a music education major. Elected as Secretary of Communications was Shelby Hennis of Gallatin. Hennis is a sophomore music business major. Elected as Secretary of Affairs was Shelby Bowles of Huron. Bowles is a freshman chemistry major. Jake Riggins, a freshman music production major from Williamsport, was elected Secretary of Denominational Affairs. Rounding out the list of new officers was Jessica Russell of Vanleer, a freshman math major elected to serve as Secretary of Finances.      Participation in SGA at Bethel University provides an opportunity for students to influence student life. SGA represents the student body on important matters through its elected representatives. Students' needs and opinions are expressed to the administration and faculty by its elected officers who are also involved in campus projects that help promote the university.      Bethel University will soon celebrate its 175th Anniversary in 2017. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and associate degrees through a variety of learning platforms. For more information about Bethel University, go to www.bethelu.edu.
  •   The Bethel Wildcats Football Purple and Gold Game will be Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Wildcat Stadium on Bethel’s McKenzie campus. Fun begins at 2 p.m. with activities leading up to the kick-off at 5 p.m. Tailgater territory opens at 2 p.m. for individuals wishing to tailgate before the game. Tailgate opens at 3:30 p.m. with BBQ Pitmaster Chris Chadwick of Hawg County Cookers BBQ Competition Team in the Bethel University tent.  All activities are free and open to the public.      There will be prizes for Best Display of Wildcat Pride and Tailgate and Individual Spirit Awards. Bring your young children to dance with the Bethel dance team and to cheer with the Bethel cheerleaders. This is for elementary students, and it begins at 2:30 p.m. Bring your young musicians and their instruments as they get the chance to play with the Wildcat Band in the stands! And for all those little football players, there is a football skills competition beginning at 3:30 p.m. There will also be Knocker Ball, Kiddle Pool Kick Ball live music, and a huge sale in the Bethel Bookstore! There is even a chance for a high schooler to win a Bethel scholarship.  
  •   Seven Bethel University students, their instructor, and a photojournalist traveled March 5 to 10 in Cuba as some of the first Americans to make their way to the communist country since relations have warmed between the two countries. Cuba is a country steeped in history, known for its classic American cars, tobacco, sugar, beautiful vistas, and as a cold war enemy of the United States. After diplomatic relations were restored and the American Embassy reopened in Havana, Stacie Freeman, associate professor of sociology at Bethel University, saw an opportunity for the university’s Global Service Learning Program to travel to Cuba. Bright Light Volunteers, led by Catherine Greenberg, the founder of the Dallas-based organization, played an integral role in bringing the trip to fruition. Andrew Jennings of Bright Light and Yaniel Alvarez, from Viñales, Cuba served as Bright Light guides on the ground. Bright Light worked closely with Ms. Freeman to plan all the in-country travel, stays in casas, transportation, cultural excursions, and entertainment, which included salsa dancers and Cuban music groups. Traveling from Bethel were: Stacie Freeman, Associate Professor of Sociology; Lauren Lay, a senior Theater major from Henderson; Anne Kimbrell, a freshman Sociology/Psychology major from Dresden; Patience Ellington, a sophomore Nursing major from Palmersville; Dylan Nash, a sophomore History major from Gallatin; Jeff Johnson, a junior Human Services major from Union City; Joshua Shaw, a Sociology major from Maury City; and Ryan McCrory, a junior Theatre major from Bartlett. Joel Washburn, publisher of The McKenzie Banner and adjunct professor, traveled with the group. The participants lodged in casas particulares, people’s homes or apartments, under a special licensing provision by Raul Castro’s administration. They lived as Cubans, ate as Cubans, and traveled as Cubans, whether by car, ox-drawn cart, horseback or on foot. In the city of Havana or the rural village of Viñales (population 7,000), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the students woke to the crowing of roosters. The students were definitely pushed beyond their normal comfort zone by being placed in a position of service to others in a foreign land, where there were language barriers, and the daily trappings of technology were not available. They not only survived, but excelled. They hauled dirt in bags, carried rocks by hand, and built beds for vegetable gardens and worked harder than their Cuban hosts had estimated. The American volunteers knew they were some of the first to arrive in this time of renewed relations with the country. They were excellent ambassadors for their fellow Americans. In all, they served a total of 126 hours in Cuba. Students saw Cuba as it was in the 1950s and farming as it was performed in the 1800s. They witnessed the fact the communist government has locked its people into an unchanged past, with few modern conveniences and few computers. In Cuba, cell phones are relatively new and with spotty service, and internet is generally only available on government-owned hotspots, with connectivity sold by the hour. They saw people who depend on each other for daily survival. Despite the step back in time, the Bethel students loved their tour of historic Havana and to the rural community of Viñales – three hours from Havana, where the students volunteered to work on organic vegetable and tobacco farms. They visited an elementary school, an art museum, and walked the streets of Havana and Viñales, with little concern for their personal safety. They especially appreciated the warm, friendly, and hospitable people, who loved their new-found friends as their own family. Viñales is surrounded by limestone cliffs, which provide a bird’s eye view of the tobacco farms below. From the lofty position, one can see riders on horseback moving about the countryside or beasts of burden pulling a plow to create deep furrows in some of the richest dirt found anywhere. As the group hiked a trail on the warm afternoon, they came upon a small farm, where the workers lay asleep in the barn and on the porch of a small farmhouse for a siesta. Bethel students offered their perspective of the trip. “Cuba is absolutely breathtaking and like a step back in time. After going on the trip, it has definitely given me a new outlook about life, people, and traveling. This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has forever changed my life. Who knew that a volunteer project could bring such a diverse group of students together. Some barely knew each other, but now we are all friends. Just an example of how wonderful God is: bringing the universe together for the good of humanity,” said Patience Ellington. “After only a week of serving the communities of Havana and Viñales, my life has been forever blessed! I encourage anyone who gets the opportunity to go! Thank you, Bright Light Volunteers and Bethel University for allowing us to serve as ambassadors for our wonderful school and great nation in an amazing and beautiful country that is filled with love, hope, and awesome salsa dancers,” said Josh Shaw. Ann Kimbrell said, “You really don’t know how much help others need until you live among them.” Lauren Lay said, “I told a friend I want to take every person I love back to Cuba with me; everyone deserves to experience that kind of bliss. A group of Bethel University students who went to serve the Cuban people ended up receiving more than we gave. The Cuban people are the most hospitable, gracious, and friendliest people I have ever encountered. I cannot put into words the joy in my heart or my love for this place and its people.”  Ryan McCrory said the adventure changed his life. Two other students are now considering careers serving in foreign destinations.  
  •   USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode presented awards recently to Bethel University President Walter Butler and National Campus and Community Development Corporation Chairman Greg Eden to commemorate their partnership that will benefit Bethel students. A Community Facilities Direct Loan used to purchase five campus facilities will separate real estate functions from the educational and operational functions of the University. Carroll County, where Bethel University is headquartered, is one of 53 counties in Tennessee designated for support under USDA's StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative. Strikeforce aims to increase investments in rural communities through intensive outreach and strong partnerships with community leaders, businesses, foundations and other groups that are working to combat persistent poverty. USDA Rural Development is moving investments to rural America with housing, business and infrastructure loans and grants to create jobs and strengthen rural economies with an emphasis to assist areas of persistent poverty. Since 2009, the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 230 communities in all 95 counties of Tennessee investing more than $6.6 billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants. For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in Northwest Tennessee contact the Union City Area Office at 731-885-6480 x 4. Visit USDA Rural Development online at www.rd.usda.gov/TN.
  •   Bethel University will hold an Internship and Career Fair for its students and alumni this Thursday, March 31 in the Student Activities Room of the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment on Bethel’s McKenzie campus. The fair will be from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Companies in attendance at the Career Fair include: A Place Called Home, Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC, Asera Care Hospice, Becker Professional Education, Carey Counseling Center, Inc., Centennial Bank (formerly Farmers & Merchants Bank), CCA-Whiteville Correctional Facility, Dot Foods, Edward Jones, Enterprise Holdings, Fastenal, Generations Mental Health; Gaither’s Inc., Green Dot Public Schools, Jackson Police Department, Magnolia Regional Health Center, Memphis Theological Seminary, Northwestern Mutual, Pepsi Mid America, R.E.A.L Hope Youth Center, Regions Financial, Sherwin- Williams, Stanley Black & Decker, Tennessee Dept. of Revenue Audit Division, Transamerica Agency, Union University Master of Social Work Program, United States Probation Office, Women’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program (WRAP), and Youth Villages. Those attending are asked to dress in professional attire and to bring resumes. For more information, contact Heather Stone at stoneh@bethelu.edu.     
  •   Bethel University senior nursing students performed their final simulation for critical care on Thursday, March 17. The simulation consisted of a “car crash” that occurred just outside a hospital. The driver was a manikin, and the passenger was a human victim, his girlfriend.      According to Dayna Edwards, Assistant Professor of Nursing, 13 nursing students are scheduled to graduate during May 2016 Commencement ceremonies.      The Bethel nursing program recently received a 10-year reaccreditation with the next visit scheduled for April of 2025. This is the longest accreditation awarded by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and it indicates the highest confidence in the Bethel nursing program.      In January 2015, the Bethel University Nursing Program was also recognized after its most recent graduates had achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) – the test that gauges the readiness of nursing graduates to perform as nurses.       Bethel University offers undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The program prepares its graduates for entry level Registered Nurse positions in primary, secondary, and tertiary health care settings and for entry into graduate studies which lead to advanced degrees in nursing.      Bethel University also offers an online RN-BSN program that accomplishes the same outcomes as the on-site BSN program.      For more information about Bethel University’s Nursing program contact Kim Hammonds at 731-514-1410 or at hammondsk@bethelu.edu.

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