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Defensive driving class that funds scholarships affected by online courses
Christina Ulsh / Contributing Writer
After 48 years of coaching and teaching driver’s education and safety for UNT, 82-year-old Kenneth Bahnsen is retiring. He teaches defensive driving classes to fund scholarships for kinesiology students.
Classes are $25 and are held in the Coliseum three to four times a month. The entirety of the proceeds return to the kinesiology department, he said.
“He doesn’t take any of the funds, and I think it’s such a noble thing to do,” said Jean Keller, interim Dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism and student of Bahnsen’s. “He’s a great instructor. He’s enthusiastic and entertaining.”
Keller takes his class periodically to lower the cost of her insurance. She said she is “a little more thoughtful” when she drives now and recommends faculty and students take his class.
But classes are not as well-attended as they once were due to the convenience of online defensive driving classes or even the lack of publicity of his classes, Bahnsen said.
The lack of attendees is limiting the amount of scholarships that can be given, Bahnsen said.
“I was lucky enough to have a scholarship for athletics,” Bahnsen said. “I was raised in Louisiana on a dairy farm. And if I hadn’t had a scholarship, I’d have been milking cows.”
Bahnsen said he typically has five or six people per class.
If more people attended his classes, more money would go to scholarships, he said. He believes if more knew the money went to help students, more people would attend.
Bahnsen said he looked at buying advertising for his classes, but it would have cost more than is available to award student scholarship.
Last year, five kinesiology students received the Kenneth Bahnsen Scholarship.
However, an online course was created by Bahnsen, even though he said he would personally “hate to take it.”
The online course requires 20-30 minutes on a segment before moving on to the next. Bahnsen said he touches on all the required subjects in his class.
“We don’t have to spend 30 minutes saying, ‘this is bad,’ you know?” he said.
However, fashion design senior Rosemary Susat recently took defensive driving online and said she liked it because she can go her own pace and multitask.
Bahnsen’s live courses are not limited to UNT students. Any driving citizen can take them to lower insurance costs or to cover portions of ticket citations.
Students who received the Kenneth Bahnsen Scholarship for the 2012-2013 school year were Ogachi Agada, kinesiology graduate students Mitch Barton, Gene Farren, Gregory Knell and kinesiology senior Elizabeth Vaughan, according to the KPHR department.
These students received a portion of the $3,000 raised through UNT defensive driving, kinesiology department chair Dr. Allen Jackson said.