Conrad Grebel’s new dean returns to his roots

Dr. Trevor Bechtel to become dean in July

April 16, 2014 | Web First
Conrad Grebel University College
Waterloo, Ont.
Dr. Trevor Bechtel

Conrad Grebel University College (CGUC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Trevor Bechtel to the role of dean, effective July 1, 2014. He succeeds Jim Pankratz who has served as dean for nine years and will be retiring in June.

“Dr. Bechtel comes to us with extensive experience in Mennonite institutions and in the comprehensive research university. His success in these places will prepare him well for the unique, rigorous academic model of Conrad Grebel University College,” noted President Susan Schultz Huxman.

Bechtel is currently associate professor of religion at Bluffton University in Ohio, where he has spent the past 10 years. Bluffton is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. He has also taught at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (Evanston, Illinois) and Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, Illinois) where he received his Ph.D. in constructive theology. Bechtel also attended Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, University of Manitoba, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, Conrad Grebel University College, and Rockway Mennonite Collegiate.

Marlene Epp, professor of history and former dean of CGUC reflected on this hire. “As a faculty member at Grebel, I am excited by the leadership attitudes of ‘beauty, laughter, and relationality’ that Trevor Bechtel will bring to the college. His collaborative and conversational approach to administration is well matched by his engagement with new technologies and the creative arts in his own teaching and research.”

“Trevor brings strong leadership gifts in mentoring faculty, modeling teaching excellence, relating to students, and has a track record of reinvigorating the humanities as relevant fields of study for young people today. This is an extraordinary combination of gifts,” said Huxman.

Bechtel's research program is in the cutting edge area of theology and creation care. His forthcoming publications include How to eat your Bible: Performance for Mennonite bodies (Herald Press); The Gift of Ethics: Receiving the promise of Jesus in the Beatitudes (Cascade Books); and an edited book with Gerald Mast, Anabaptist Convictions after Marpeck (Wipf & Stock). He has also produced several compact discs, including Of every creature, by the Anabaptist Bestiary Project. 

As the CGUC’s first dean who is also an alumnus, Bechtel remarked, “I have always thought that Grebel truly offers students the best of both worlds and I couldn’t be more excited to return to Kitchener-Waterloo to work alongside Grebel's faculty, staff and students as we imagine together this next 50 years of faithful scholarship in the Mennonite tradition. I am humbled by the opportunity to encourage the next generation of faithful and cutting edge scholarship.”

Professor Bechtel is also an ordained minister in Mennonite Church USA and preaches regularly in the congregations that form Bluffton's constituency. “As an ordained theologian, he is deeply committed to the church and the academy,” explained CGUC board chair Fred Redekop. “This is important to the college as it nurtures leadership for the church and its future. With his inquisitive mind, Dr. Bechtel will continue in a long line of deans of the college who have been committed to faith and learning.”

—Posted April 16, 2014

Dr. Trevor Bechtel

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