Category Archives: News and Information

Bethel University makes earning a degree easier for busy police officers

Bethel University is making it possible for police officers to earn a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice – “without missing their beat.” The accelerated, SACSCOC-accredited program accepts up to 30 semester hours of qualified Police Academy credits, which is the equivalent of approximately two semesters of traditional university elective credits. In addition, criminal justice professionals who have served in the military can receive credit for their prior training. Altogether, Bethel University will accept up to 60 total semester hours from these non-traditional sources, making it possible for those in the criminal justice field to finish their degree even faster.

Executive Vice President of the College of Professional Studies, Kelly Sanders-Kelley, said, “We know that every minute matters in the challenging field of criminal justice. Our accelerated, online format — combined with credit for prior learning — means that adult learners can earn a degree while serving and protecting the citizens in their communities.”

The Criminal Justice curriculum was designed to allow law enforcement professionals, managers and administrators to explore the laws, practices, technologies and skills needed by today’s leaders in the field. Experienced instructors and a cohort structure provide ongoing guidance and support.

Bethel University was established in 1842, and named the #2 Private Christian College in the nation in 2015. The university’s College of Professional Studies offers accelerated undergraduate degrees in Management on-campus and online; online bachelor’s degrees in Emergency Services Management and Criminal Justice; and master’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Business Administration (MBA) in a flexible, online format. To find out more, go to, or call 877-4BETHEL.

11 secrets of top online learners

By Cindy Chambers

Every online class has at least one: a great student who stands out, stays strong week after week, and really soars during the course of a five-week class. As an online instructor for nearly a decade, I’ve noticed that many of these students share the same attributes of success. Today, I’ll share their secrets, and urge you to apply them to your own work. Chances are, they’ll make your academic journey richer and more rewarding than you ever thought possible!

  1. Introduce yourself. Think about it: In every brand-new online class, no one stands out, and no personality really shines. (In fact, during the first week of a new course, it can seem a little like teaching in a classroom with the lights out!) But the best online students shine brighter by sending an email to the instructor before the class begins. It’s always short and sweet; maybe something like this: Dear Ms. Chambers: My name is ________, and I’ll be a student in your upcoming class. I’m looking forward to learning more about the subject of __________ with you. A full name follows, along with the course number (important, since many Bethel instructors teach multiple courses concurrently.) Aha! Now, in a sea of nameless, faceless students, one stands out. Think of it as a lesson in marketing – you can’t sell yourself (or anything else) by being unseen and unheard.
  2. Make your Profile shine. Some online students approach the Profile section as if it were a posting on Facebook – voluntary, casual, and anything but professional. I’ve seen Profile photos that would make your mother blush: from super-revealing outfits, to pictures clearly taken in bars! Your Profile tells your classmates and teachers who you are personally, but the best online students approach it professionally, too. Make sure your photo is one that might get you hired at a business you want to work for (please – no car-selfies!), and that your description of yourself is personal, carefully proofread, and professional. You never know who will see it, or what a difference it might make in your life!
  3. Take the time to take it in. The strongest online students read every word of the Read section, and watch every minute of the Attend video. Teachers can see it in their depth of understanding, and their ability to translate these sometimes complex ideas into content-rich homework. In addition, thanks to a special V-Camp feature, instructors can literally see exactly how long each student spends on the Read and Attend portions of their work! Almost without exception, the strongest students take the most time to “take it all in” before diving into their work.
  4. Start early. Let’s face it: Procrastination hits everybody once in a while. Our lives are so busy that it’s easy to make schoolwork the last thing on your to-do list. Maybe you tell yourself that you “work best under pressure.” (Adrenaline can be a greater motivator – in fact, waiting till the last minute can speed up both your heartbeat and your fingers on the keyboard!) But not only do online instructors know exactly when you submitted your work – often as little as five minutes before the drop-dead deadline – we can see it in the content. Hurried students conduct less research, reveal more learning gaps, and produce more errors. Always.
  5. Write, rest, repeat. Having said that, please try to start your writing early in the week. Let it sit for a day, and then look at it with fresh eyes. Errors in spelling, grammar, APA, and content are much more likely to jump out on second glance. Tweak your work, read it aloud, and then tweak again before you click “submit.”
  6. Dig deep and reach high. The best online students often conduct independent research beyond the e-book – not necessarily because it’s required, but because they are Need to write about Starbucks this week? Feel free to go to their website and update the case-study with current, cited information. Tackling a leadership class? Dive into the Bethel Online Library and see what scholars are saying about the subject. Pushing yourself just a little bit more will result in higher learning opportunities – and higher scores.
  7. Use every tool at your fingertips. Bethel students are fortunate to have a wealth of resources literally close at hand. From the “wonders of Smarthinking,” to our user-friendly online library, there are a number of free services available to help you grow. Use them when you need them. Use them when you don’t! The best students always recognize that their work can be improved, and services like these can only help you grow more competent and confident, week after week.
  8. Follow the instructor’s advice. Your online instructor isn’t there to simply compliment or criticize you — he or she is there to help you grow. So carefully read the written comments you’ve been given, view the advice as professional guidance (rather than personal criticism), and try to apply these suggestions to your next week’s work. If you’re doing something right, keep doing it. If you’re doing something wrong, avoid it. Take every review as one more learning opportunity on your journey to success.
  9. Reach out and touch someone. The best students ask the most questions. They send frequent, courteous emails to their instructors for clarification. They call their academic advisor when they’re confused. They contact members of their cohort group from time to time, seeking additional guidance, consensus, or just plain moral support. Getting to know members of your cohort group, as well as your instructor, will really help the learning come alive. When online learning leaves you lonesome, remember: It will really open up when you reach out!
  10. Evaluate (both yourself, and your teacher). Honest evaluation is a valuable part of the learning process. At the end of each class, please take the opportunity to complete the anonymous Course Evaluation, to include specific comments about the class and the instructor. Believe me – your words will be seen, both by the teacher and Bethel administrators. Everyone needs to know what they do well, and areas in need of improvement, and these course evaluations help Bethel grow even better. Apply the same honest appraisal to yourself at the end of each course. What did you do well? Where can you improve? Start each new class determined to apply what you learned during the last one – about the subject, and about yourself.
  11. Stay focused on your goals – especially when things get tough. Earning a degree isn’t easy, and even the best students will hit a rough patch, or a tough class, from time to time. That’s when you need to remember why you enrolled in the first place. Keep your goals front and center — whether they be a better job, the pride of your family, or the knowledge that your degree will be valued and valuable. When you focus on the finish line, it’s hard to see the obstacles in your path.

The very best online learners grow from student to scholar during their academic journey. Apply these suggestions – and get set to shine!

Cindy Chambers loves to teach — and really reach — her students.  She has been voted “Online Instructor of the Year” by Bethel students for the past three years. Feel free to contact her with comments or questions at

Charlie Warner: The Sweet Sound of Success

8-17-2010 10-58-39 AM“It’s funny,” says MBA student Charlie Warner, “the way God puts us right where we’re supposed to be, even though it may not be for the reasons we originally thought.”

Music originally drew Charlie to Nashville from his native Illinois – specifically, the opportunity to perform country and Christian music at places like the Wildhorse Saloon and the Grand Ole Opry House. But Sgt. Warner, who now heads up the Public Affairs Section for the Franklin Police Department, found success with far more than the local music scene. With an associate degree in Criminal Justice and the promise of a position as a police officer, he headed to Nashville and discovered a fulfilling career, a loving wife-to-be, and Bethel’s College of Professional Studies programs all in one place.

“While the music dream is what brought me here in 1999, my law enforcement career being as blessed as it is got me to stay,” he says. “Falling in love with my wife here in 2002 — this is where we’ve chosen to grow our family. It’s home.”

He found a “school home” in Bethel, too.

After working for several years as a patrolman in uniform, he was promoted to detective, and then took a prestigious three-year assignment with the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force in Nashville. He was soon selected to serve as detective sergeant over the Franklin Police Major Crimes Unit. But Charlie realized that an associate degree wasn’t going to get him where he wanted to be. After talking to an enthusiastic colleague who graduated from the program, he did his research and found that Bethel’s face-to-face business management program fit his busy lifestyle perfectly.

“I didn’t just pick Bethel by happenstance,” he says. “I did a lot of program comparisons, and Bethel came out on top. It’s a respected brick-and-mortar institution, and it has the highest accreditation in the Southeast.” The program lived up to his expectations — and beyond. “I was challenged every week to deliver my best, and it stretched me. I had fun, and enjoyed learning with my cohorts. In the end, when I got to put on my cap and gown and graduate at the age of 38 … well, it was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment,” he says.

But it wasn’t enough for Charlie. As more career opportunities became available, he received more support from colleagues to go even further.

“I had a boss really push me toward my master’s degree,” he explains. “He said, ‘You’ve got all this potential. But a bachelor’s degree isn’t the gold standard anymore.’” Once again, Charlie researched dozens of different master’s degree options – and Bethel came out ahead once again. “There are a lot of schools to choose from — but Bethel is solid, and the staff, administrators and instructors are beyond supportive.”

As a brand-new MBA student, Charlie knows the importance of staying relevant as a leader at work, and as a role model at home.

“My wife has a master’s degree, and our three kids see me tucked away doing my homework, night after night,” he says. Now 11, 8 and 5 years old, they can’t quite understand why Dad is doing homework during summer vacation. “But someday I want them to realize that both of their parents placed a great deal of value on their education.”

To others considering Bethel, he says, “If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, at the finish line, you’ll receive a degree from a notable university.” The chief spokesperson for the 9th largest police department in Tennessee, Charlie is also an enthusiastic spokesperson for his alma mater. “I didn’t choose Bethel once. I chose it twice. And that speaks volumes,” he says

Bethel University ranked second in nation by


Bethel University has been ranked 2nd in the nation in the list of Best Online Christian Liberal Arts Colleges for 2015.

BestColleges noted on its website that, “Bethel University’s Success undergraduate degree program is designed for adults over 23 years of age with a high school diploma or GED and at least three years of work experience. Bethel caters to busy adults in need of flexibility to complete a college degree.”

Selections were based on academic merit, along with the school’s overall strengths, to include acceptance and graduation rates, enrollment and retention.

Bethel University President Walter Butler called the selection, “A big honor.”

“Our faculty and staff work hard to ensure our students receive a quality education. This feedback lets us know our online educational product is meaningful, and that it helps individuals progress toward their personal and professional goals.”

Butler also pointed out that Bethel’s Christian-based philosophy supports an enduring mission established at the school’s inception in 1842.

“Online or in the classroom,” he said, “we continue to allow students to develop to their highest potential as whole persons — intellectually, spiritually, socially and physically—in a supportive environment.”

One of the oldest post-secondary schools In the state, and the largest Christian-affiliated private school in Tennessee, Bethel serves both traditional and non-traditional students, and offers both on-campus and online delivery methods that lead to SACSCOC-accredited associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Bethel was a pioneer in the 1990s as one of the first colleges to offer bachelor’s degree programs catering to adult professionals, and was the first school in Tennessee to provide a laptop computer to each fulltime student. More than 3,500 students currently enjoy Bethel’s online program delivery.

In a prepared statement, Best called choosing the right institution of higher learning “a complex and highly personal decision.” Best attempts to make the decision easier “by giving people easy access to information that matters to their specific needs so they can make objective comparisons among institutions.”

For more information about Bethel University, log on to or call 877-4Bethel.

Shatrina Taylor: Where there’s a will, there really is a way.

Although homework is designed to help Bethel students learn, sometimes a student teaches others along the way. An essay written by Shatrina Taylor, an online student from Mississippi, recently touched – and taught – her teacher.

In fact, Orientation facilitator Elizabeth Park was so moved by Shatrina’s critique of an article titled “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” she asked Bethel’s PR Department to reach out to her. The stay-at-home mother of three agreed to share her essay, and readers will be touched and taught as a result.

“Life is what you make it. A person can choose to get the most out of life by defeating all obstacles that come their way, or they may choose defeat and simply throw in the towel. However, there are obstacles that are a little higher, and those are the ones that may negatively conquer one’s mindset. In the article “Where There’s a will, There’s a way” by Anna Harrington, she touches on resilience, and how people overcome certain life tragedies differently. I have endured many obstacles in my life; however, I have been resilient in overcoming them and in learning how to deal with new obstacles that continue to come my way. 

I have endured numerous obstacles in my 31 years of living. One of those came when I was a 17-year-old high school senior and teen mom.  The first challenge was trying to figure out how I would successfully juggle school, work and a new baby.

Although I had a strong support system that allowed me to work and continue school, I had one more major obstacle that came my way shortly before my child’s first birthday: My son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. At first, I went through the denial stage, refusing to accept his condition.  I refused to accept doctors telling us that my child would never walk, talk, sit up, crawl, feed himself, or be completely independent. I can recall times when my son would cry, and instead of responding right away to him, I would go into the bathroom, close the door and just cry.

Nevertheless, I eventually began to lean more on my family. In the article “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” family is listed as a crucial component of any support system. I learned to communicate with others who were going through similar situations. Author Anna Harrington also suggested the elements of emotions, spirituality and socializing, and each had its place in my life. I began to understand that I was not being punished — I was chosen to be the mother to a child who would eventually teach me about true determination.

My faith was strong, and I refused to allow my son’s condition to become an obstacle in his life, either.  Now I don’t view it as an obstacle, but as a growing blessing. My son is now 13 years old and is an honor student. He can walk, talk, and is determined to be independent. His determination has taught me resilience and to never give up on the obstacles of life. My life would not be the same if I had given up on him, and he would not be the little boy that he is today. I had to be resilient because I had someone depending on me.

My point is that there are many outlets available to assist us in conquering obstacles, but we must allow ourselves to take advantage of them. Everyone experiences challenges, and everyone has a choice in how to deal with them. There is an expiration date to everyone’s struggles, and resilience can help people bounce back stronger than ever.”

When Tadarius was two years old, doctors told his parents he would never walk or talk. Today, he is an honors student who teaches his family how to overcome obstacles every day.

When Tadarius was two years old, doctors told his parents he would never walk or talk. Today, he is an honors student who teaches his family how to overcome obstacles every day.

Bethel University student Shatrina Taylor with children Star, 11; Skylar, 9; and Tadarius, 13.

Bethel University student Shatrina Taylor with children Star, 11; Skylar, 9; and Tadarius, 13.

Paychecks for Patriots

paycheckbannerkj2014 Avery King, lead veteran recruiter and information technology and services recruiter for Hospital Corporation of America, is enthusiastic about his company’s involvement in Paychecks for Patriots, the statewide hiring event for military veterans to take place Thursday, October 9.


HCA has a solid veteran employee population and actively recruits veterans to join the company. Paychecks for Patriots is a chance for veterans to personally talk to HCA and other employers about the kinds of positions they’re seeking.


King said last year HCA brought more than 2,000 veterans on board. The corporation has found veterans learn quickly, have exceptional leadership skills, and are great team members. With their military background they’ve learned the value of following processes.


HCA is the largest private provider of health care in the United States with more than 160 hospitals in 20 states along with more than 100 freestanding surgical clinics. King said veterans typically do not think about health care as being an option for them unless they have clinical experience; however, HCA has additional opportunities in fields such as finance, administrative, and information technology.


Tennessee was the first state to hold Paychecks for Patriots. The event has subsequently been taken to Florida and Georgia on the strength of Tennessee’s accomplishment.


This will make the third year that HCA has taken part in Paychecks for Patriots. HCA has also worked with Paychecks for Patriots in Georgia and Florida, as the company has facilities in both those states. King feels other states’ adopting the Paychecks for Patriots model is a tremendous endorsement for the event’s success.


“We at HCA are again looking forward to meeting veterans face-to-face at this year’s Paychecks for Patriots event,” said King. “We will have the chance to talk to them about the opportunities we have and to also find out what their desires and skill sets are – and we can match those with our openings.” He said he strongly encourages veterans to attend the event along with employers looking for great employees.


To learn more about Paychecks for Patriots, including locations across the state, please visit the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development website for the event at



Are your ears testing words?

Kenny HoltI bet you remember Dustin Hoffman’s role in Rain Man where he plays an autistic savant. Autistic savants are described as having incredibly deep memories that are exceptionally narrow. That is, they may be able to remember volumes of facts, but they are not able to put those facts to use. They can’t do anything with that knowledge. Knowing is not enough. To function as “educated” adults, we must also have the ability to think.

I believe the most important skill I can help to develop in my students is the ability to think. In fact, I prefer to think of my role more as a “facilitator of thinking.” I like to use a couple of verses from the book of Job in my classes to encourage thinking, “For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good” (Job 34: 3-4, NIV). What a great way to express it. Thinking involves testing words with our ears!

Confucius said, “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous” (Frater, 2009). In other words, if we are going through classes and not thinking about what we are doing we are wasting our time. However, if we are trying to think but we haven’t studied the issue we may end up in more trouble! A critical thinker is able to raise vital questions, gather and assess relevant information, draw well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, question assumptions, and communicate this effectively to others. It is not enough to copy something from the internet and paste it onto a discussion board. It is not enough to complete assignments with the minimally required response. “Think left and think right, think low and think high. Oh the thinks you can think up if you only will try!” (Seuss, 2009).

Are your ears testing words as well as your tongue tastes food?


Frater, J. 2009, February 27. Top 20 wise quotes of Confucius (blog post). Retrieved from

Seuss, D. 2009. Oh the thinks you can think. New York: Random House.


Dr. Kenny Holt has been stomping out ignorance and facilitating thinking for almost 30 years. He continues to enjoy tasting food and testing words.

Dr. Vicky Black: My philosophy on online instruction

Vicky BlackGoing back to school can be scary to an adult who has been out of the classroom for many years. That’s why Bethel’s online programs fit so well with working adults. What a great way to get started or finish a degree! Because many students have a fear of the unknown class expectations or computer technology, it is my job as the instructor to put them at ease and guide them through the maze of technology and the learning processes.

My philosophy on online instruction is to put students at ease and always be mindful that they have many responsibilities and a life outside the online classroom. I try to be flexible and work with them, since most are trying to balance jobs, family life and school. As a Christian sister to my students, I feel it is my responsibility to be a friend, mentor and uplifting guide not only in their education, but in their personal life. I find that when I post an inspirational video clip, it seems to be just what was needed for at least one student. When I receive an email telling me, “That is what I needed to hear right now,”’ I know God had a hand in my selection of videos and time of sending. I truly believe that nothing is an accident and the students that I have are in my class for a reason. I need to be aware and open to how I can help them.

Since all facilitators have been on the other side of the desk as a student, we need to find ways to help each student learn and engage. Some may need constant attention, while others are just fine completing their online studies without much interaction with the instructor. Either way, my phone line is always available to students who need a listening ear, even if it is not about education. If I know that a student is dealing with a stressful situation or has lost a family member, I will try to email them several times to see how they are doing. I also may call them on the phone, if it seems the right way to reach out to them.

It is important to meet students on their level, and to truly care. Who knows, someday the table may be turned and I may need their help. :o)