Winter meeting


Bethny Ricks '06

New Trustee Bethny Ricks '06

Trustees welcome new member; approve sabbaticals

At their winter meeting, the Bluffton University Board of Trustees discussed current business, welcomed a new member and granted three sabbaticals for the 2021-22 academic year.  

Trustees heard reports on enrollment and retention, reviewed progress of strategic plan launching initiatives, and discussed new COVID-19 policies and protocols on campus.

Bethny Ricks, West Liberty, Ohio, joined the board as an at-large member. The 2006 sociology and criminal justice graduate is an executive business leader, most recently holding the position of senior vice president of global human resources. Throughout her career she has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named to Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential African American Women in the U.S., Ohio’s Most Influential and Powerful Women and Top 100 African Americans in Business. Ricks is a sought after conference speaker, advisor, coach and published author.

Three professors were granted sabbatical leaves for the next academic year.

Dr. Martina Cucchiara, associate professor of history, will spend fall 2021 and spring 2022 working on a new book-length research project on women in Nazi Germany. She will also co-organize and co-host an academic conference in Berlin titled “Women, Religion, and Emotions” in June 2022.

Dr. J. Walter Paquin, professor of social work, will take a half-time sabbatical spread over the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters to explore ways to strengthen community engagement in the Learning in Community course and in the social work program.

Andi Baumgartner, associate professor of art, will spend spring 2022 creating a body of artwork and exploring the Camino de Santiago as a possible cross-cultural site.