Our Faculty

Phyllis E. Alsdurf

Started at Bethel in 2003

Education: B.A., Evangel College, 1972; M.A., Kansas State University, 1974; M.A., Western Kentucky University, 1977; Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2004.

Areas of expertise: Alsdurf's professional interest is in the area of media and religion and journalism history. She served as editor of Family Life Today magazine for 6 years and was director of publications at Bethel for 5 years prior to joining the English department faculty.

Thomas I. Becknell

Started at Bethel in 1983

Education: B.A., Wheaton College, 1974; Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1983.

Areas of expertise: Becknell teaches introductory and advanced courses on American literature, environmental writing, and modern myth makers. He received the Faculty Excellence Award for teaching in 1995.  He is the author of a book of spiritual lessons from nature, Of Earth and Sky, and articles on American literary history.        

Susan L. Brooks

Started at Bethel in 1998

Education: B.A., Bethel College, 1986; M.S., Mankato State University, 1994; Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2010.

Areas of expertise: Brooks' favorite class is Juvenile Literature because of the fun books she gets to read. Her favorite part of teaching English is “seeing people change from students to teachers and watching them successfully go out and serve God in English classrooms all over the world.”         

Mark P. Bruce

Department Chair
Started at Bethel in 2005

Education: B.A., Bethel College, 1991; M.A., Colorado State University, 1995; Ph.D., University of Iowa, 2005.

Areas of expertise: Bruce has recently published articles in the areas of Medieval English literature and graduate study of English. What he loves most about Medieval British literature is the energy and intensity of the literature; and he loves helping students to experience it with him.

Joey E. Horstman

Started at Bethel in 1998

Education: B.A., Northwestern College (IA), 1987; M.A., DePaul University, 1989; Ph.D., Purdue University, 1997.

Areas of expertise: Horstman's professional interests in English include contemporary/postmodern literature.           

Marion H. Larson

Started at Bethel in 1986

Education: B.A., Wheaton College, 1982; Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1992.

Areas of expertise: Larson's favorite thing about teaching English is getting to read and think about books that are so different from daily life, yet hold so many important connections; and she loves doing this with faculty and students who also enjoy it. Recently she has published articles in areas related to interfaith dialogue and faculty development, and hospitality as a metaphor for teaching. She received the Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching in 2001.

Daniel E. Ritchie

Started at Bethel in 1985

Education: B.A. Cum laude in Greek, Amherst College, 1978; M.A. in English, Rutgers University, 1980; Ph.D. in English, Rutgers University, 1985.

Areas of expertise: Ritchie teaches courses in British literature and specializes in the 18th century. In 2002, he guided Bethel’s efforts to begin a Humanities Program, a team-taught, 4-course introduction to the Western tradition. In 2006, he won Bethel’s faculty excellence award for teaching. He has edited 2 books on Edmund Burke and has written 2 books of literary criticism, Reconstructing Literature in an Ideological Age and The Fullness of Knowing: Modernity and Postmodernity from Defoe to Gadamer. He received the Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching in 2006.

April Schmidt

Started at Bethel in 2004

Education: B.A., Bethel College, 2000; M.F.A., Hamline University, 2005. 

Areas of expertise: Schmidt teaches a full range of writing classes from composition to creative nonfiction. Her primary interests are the lyric essay and creative nonfiction that explores nontraditional forms. Her essays, poetry and creative nonfiction have been published recently in RuminateGeez, get born and Curator, publications that probe the interplay of faith, community and the arts.

Angela W. Shannon

Started at Bethel in 2006

Education: B.A., Florida State University, 1987; M.F.A., Warren Wilson College, 2001. 

Areas of expertise: Shannon is the author of the poetry book Singing the Bones Together. Her poems have been published in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Where One Ends Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry; Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the 21st Century; and the textbook A Multicultural Reader, Collection One: Many Voices Literature Series. Professor Shannon’s choreopoem Root Woman premiered at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theater in Evanston, Ill.