Ask Westminster's President: Bethami Dobkin, PhD
by Autumn Thatcher (MSC '15)
On September 29, 2018, Westminster College will inaugurate its nineteenth president, Bethami Dobkin, PhD. Dr. Dobkin officially began her term in July of 2018. When she was interviewed for the cover story of the 2018 Fall Westminster Review, she had just barely made the move from Northern California to Salt Lake City, Utah. We followed up with Dr. Dobkin to find out how she is adjusting to Utah so far and asked her to share some of her thoughts regarding higher education. Be sure to read the extensive story on Dr. Dobkin in the upcoming Review—arriving in mailboxes mid-September.
Now that you have been here about a month, how are you liking Westminster and Salt Lake so far?
The Westminster community continues to be warm, supportive, and encouraging. I've enjoyed meeting people both on campus and off. Salt Lake City is beautiful this time of year, and has so much going on, that we've only seen a glimpse of what is has to offer.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to build a foundation of trust with those whom I serve by being open, inclusive, and authentic. Everything I do, and my reasons for acting, should be clear, consistent, congruent with our mission, and coherent. Humility is important, too. If I've helped to create a healthy work environment, people around me will share their expertise, hopes, and concerns. I can use that knowledge to make good decisions on behalf of the college.
What do you enjoy most about a career in higher education and teaching?
I get to work with really smart, engaged, and passionate people who are committed to improving the lives of others.
What do you see in the future of higher education and how does liberal arts fit in to that landscape?
I think higher education will experience a renaissance. We've had years of angst about the relevance of liberal arts—and talk of dismantling higher education into a series of training exercises and job-specific online programs. There's growing awareness that people need more than an app or a high-speed internet connection to acquire lasting knowledge, and that professional and liberal arts programs can be combined in ways that prepare people for success while inspiring them to also make the world a better place.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.