Alumni Awards

A list of awards that recognize outstanding achievements by alumni or friends of Bethel University.

Alumna or Alumnus of the Year Award In recognition of an outstanding alumna or alumnus of Bethel University who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.  
Timothy Award for Outstanding Service In recognition of an alumnus or alumna for exemplary work done behind the scenes, in an attitude of quiet humility.
Young Alumnus or Alumna of the Year Award In recognition of an outstanding young alumnus or alumna of Bethel University, who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.

2022 Award Winners

Alumna of the Year: Kristie Cerling ’96, Ph.D.

Kristie Cerling '96, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and a Professor of Education at Houston Baptist University, where her primary teaching focus is executive educational leadership and secondary literacy and teaching strategies. She has studied Holocaust Education through the National Writing Project and The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights. She has had a tremendous impact over her career in Education – spanning more than 25 years. She has consulted and presented on a range of topics in the United States and abroad, including effective teaching strategies, leadership development, women in leadership, and Holocaust education.  Dr. Cerling has published in The Journal of Liberal Arts and Sciences and presented at numerous conferences on Teaching Generation Z, authentic assessment, student engagement, and the use of rubrics in college classrooms.

She began as an English and Theatre teacher in Elkhart Community Schools, eventually advancing to administration as an Assistant Principal in the Concord District. She then spent eight years with the Crossing Educational Center as principal, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and eventually the Superintendent. From there, she came to Bethel to serve as the Department Chair of the Education Department. During her time here, she was instrumental in bringing the Kindergarten Lab to campus – a collaboration with School City of Mishawaka that allows a Kindergarten class to meet on our campus, giving Bethel education majors the opportunity for hands-on interaction with students. Cerling left Bethel to move closer to family in Texas, where she now serves at Houston Baptist University.

Her upcoming book Authentic Assessment in Action: An Everyday Guide for Bringing Learning to Life through Meaningful Assessment co-authored with Dr. Katie Alaniz and published by Rowman & Littlefield will be out early next year. In addition to her professional successes, Cerling has invested heavily in her colleagues, students, and friends. Her servant, others-centered attitude does not go unnoticed.

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service: Jim & Shirley Tuckey ‘72

Shirley is a retired, beloved elementary school teacher and retired Children’s Ministry Director at Cass City Missionary Church, where she is now focusing on serving the women of the church. Jim is a retired mail carrier and farmed with his family. Jim is a handyman, served for many years on the Church board, and was a song leader. Jim and Shirley volunteer at a local community mission called Revive Ministries Common Grounds Café, which was started by the church and provides a café where anyone can come in and eat. They have also been delegates to the Missionary Church Conference and are the backbone of the Cass City Missionary Church, where they have served for 50 years. They also serve on the church prayer team to encourage more intentional prayer in their church, homes and community.

Young Alumna of the Year: Allison (Beachy) Baylis ’16

During her time at Bethel, Allison (Beachy) Baylis ’16 (Sociology & Intercultural Studies) was a part of the first study abroad group to travel to South Africa. After graduating from Bethel, she returned and spent one year serving at a children’s home near Johannesburg. She then came back, married her husband, fellow Bethel graduate Jacob Baylis ’18, and worked at an autism center and earned her master’s degree in applied Behavior Analysis in 2019. She is now a Senior Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in Salt Lake City, supporting children with Autism and their families by providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. She also supervises and facilitates the fieldwork experience of master level students in the field pursuing their BCBA certification as they accumulate their practicum hours.

Nominate the Next Bethel Alumni Winner

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