Professor Katherine Shelek-Furbee has been named Chair of the Department of Social Work and Professor Keely Camden has been named Chair of the Department of Education.
The programs had been operating jointly as the Department of Teaching and Social Services since the 1990-91 school year, but have been split into separate entities to better serve the growing number of students in each area.
“These appointments speak well for the College's future,” President G.T. “Buck” Smith said. “We are pleased these two faculty leaders have agreed to take on added responsibilities as we continue to build on Bethany's history of leadership and service to the greater community."
Shelek-Furbee received the James A. Allison Award for Teaching Excellence at Bethany’s 2006 Alumni Awards Luncheon. She currently chairs the Faculty Personnel Committee and serves as advisor for both the Kalon Leaders Program and the Freshman Class Council. Shelek-Furbee is also co-advisor for the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.
“This is a big step forward for both programs,” Shelek-Furbee said. “There has been an upsurge of employment nationwide for social workers as well as educators. These are two of the fastest-growing fields in the service professions.
“We are looking at growing the social work program significantly. We already attract a greater number of non-traditional students than any other program on campus. Bethany is well-positioned to be the Northern Region’s leading education center for human service professionals.
“We want to find out what their educational needs are and fill them. We have the faculty. We have the contacts. We want to become known as the place people come to when they have professional development needs.”
The state of West Virginia requires every person with a social work license to earn 50 hours of continuing education credit every two years in order to keep his or her license. As the only private college in West Virginia accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, Bethany College is interested in developing contractual arrangements and agreements with local public welfare agencies.
“This new structure enables both departments to continue to flourish under the able leadership of Professors Shelek-Furbee and Camden,” said Dr. Wallace B. Neel, Dean of Professional Studies. “Each is well respected by colleagues and professionals in her field. They are attuned to the ever-changing state, regional, and national landscapes in their respective fields as well as being driving forces in the growth and development of these two programs on campus.”
The department of education is moving from Steinman Hall to the newly-christened Judith R. Hurl Education Center, located in the former Bethany Primary School.
A year-round child care center, a parents’ resource autism center and a renovated children’s library are among the community-based activities Camden has planned for the department.
“Teacher preparation is now the largest program on campus,” Camden said. “We have worked very well together but this is an opportunity for us to continue our growth separately and to offer other community-based activities at the same time.”
During her time at Bethany, Camden has worked to start a multi-categorical special education certification program, a reading endorsement and the autism endorsement. Bethany College is the only institution in West Virginia with a state-approved undergraduate autism endorsement.
Camden also secured and started Bethany’s chapter of the international Education honor society, Kappa Delta Pi. As chapter advisor, she established a partnership with Kidznet, an after-school tutoring center in Wheeling. The 50 members of Kappa Delta Pi recently created a reading corner complete with new bookcases and 96 new books for Kidznet.
Camden also advises the Student National Education Association (SNEA), an organization that sponsors various on-campus conferences and workshops for Education majors. In summer 2007, she was featured in the Wheeling News-Register as one of the “40 Leaders of the Future Under 40” in the Ohio Valley.
She served as a faculty representative on Bethany’s Presidential Succession and Search Committee and is also a member of the Bethany Alumni Council.
"Our programs in Education and Social Work have excelled over the past few years,” Bethany Provost and Dean of Faculty Michael Mihalyo said. “This was clearly demonstrated in our recent National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and Council of Social Work re-accreditations. Both Camden and Shelek-Furbee played significant roles in each.”
Shelek-Furbee earned her bachelor’s degree from Alderson-Broaddus College and completed her graduate degree in Social Work at West Virginia University. She has been teaching at Bethany since 1984 and resides in Bethany with her husband, Thom, who is director of media services for the Mary Cutlip Center for Library and Information Technology Services.
Camden, who has been teaching at Bethany since 2001, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Bethany in 1996. She completed a master’s degree in Special Education at Old Dominion University and will graduate in December with her doctorate in Special Education from West Virginia University. Camden and her husband, Michael, also a Bethany graduate, reside in Wheeling with their daughter, Torey.