October 2012 Trustee Meeting Summary

November 5, 2012 | 4 a.m.

The Bethel University Board of Trustees concluded their autumn meeting at noon on Thursday, November 1. The meeting agenda focused on strategic priorities such as implementing the findings of the Seminary Trustee Task Force, next steps in diversity mapping and implementation of the shalom paradigm, the role of intercollegiate athletics, and the sequence of capital priorities in the Campus Master Plan. The trustees spent considerable time discussing their role as individual trustees in advancing Bethel’s mission and building financial resources. The two-day meeting resulted in approval of several important action items, as well as updates to the trustees of campus initiatives.

Appointment of David Clark

The Seminary Advisory Committee, concurring with a seminary search advisory committee, recommended the appointment of David Clark, currently serving as provost, to become vice president and dean of Bethel Seminary. The trustees greeted this with resounding acclaim. David will step away from the provost position during the next several months, with a transition complete by the end of December.

Biblically-based Investment Principles

The Advancement Committee presented a request from the Bethel Foundation Board of Governors to appoint a task force to study and recommend action regarding the feasibility of mandating biblically-based investment principles for assets managed by the Bethel Foundation. The trustees adopted this recommendation.

New Trustees

The Board of Trustees welcomed 4 new members at this meeting. These individuals were confirmed at the biennial meeting of the Bethel Corporation in June 2012:

  • Trina Maduro, alumna, of Phoenix, Ariz., who has served on the university’s National Alumni Board
  • Rollie Anderson, president of Anderson Trucking Service, St. Cloud, Minn.
  • Pamela Olson, alumna, North Oaks, Minn.
  • Michael Henderson, pastor of New Beginnings Community Church, Matthews, N. C

Board Member Strategic Perspectives

Since 2008, at every meeting several board members have been invited to share perspectives from their business context and discuss their implications for the university. At this meeting, Deanna Conrad (alumna and occasional adjunct in the Biblical and Theological Studies Department), Tom Evans (President, Iowa Healthcare Collaborative), and Tom Addington (CEO, The Wellspring Group) shared.

Reporting

Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Kathleen Nelson reported on current financial issues, as well as reviewed the completed audit of university finances for 2011-2012. Current enrollment trends and other financial performance suggest the need for caution in expenditures this year. She and her staff are continuing to monitor overall financial performance as budget planning for 2013-14 begins this month.

Bethel's legal counsel Tom Hutchinson discussed three legal topics rising in significance for higher education in the last several years, and indicated how the university might prepare to respond. They included how the university might respond to the change in healthcare (the Affordable Care Act), how definitions of discrimination on the basis of gender are shifting, and how admissions policies involving race and ethnicity are under review nationally.

The board also heard several progress reports. Leon Rodrigues, chief diversity officer, reported on the “diversity mapping” project under way, designed to give a comprehensive picture of diversity efforts across the campus. Joel Johnson, pastor of Westwood Community Church, described the next steps in implementing the seminary task force recommendations, and described the formation of the Seminary Advisory Committee.

Engagement with Faculty

At a reception before dinner on Wednesday, invited faculty members and students presented current research or projects with trustees. They included:

  • Seminary professor Chris Armstrong, holder of a Kern Family Foundation Grant on “Work with Purpose”
  • Nursing faculty members Diane Dahl (Pine City Technical nursing partnership), Karen Drake (Uganda Christian University partnership), and Pamela Friesen (online nursing graduate program
  • Business faculty member Chuck Hannema and students preparing for the CFA Institute Challenge
  • Physics professor Nathan Lindquist on nanotechnology
  • Biblical and theological studies professor Stina Busman on human trafficking in Cambodia

Emphasis on the Health & Wellness Center, and Athletics

During the meeting, Edee Schulze, vice president for student life, provided a summary of findings from the task force study of the status and role of intercollegiate athletics at Bethel. Several initiatives from this study are under way. At dinner on Wednesday, four Bethel presenters spoke on the role of intercollegiate athletics in the Christian university: Gretchen Hunt, head women's volleyball coach and senior women’s administrator; Steve Johnson, head football coach; Bob Bjorklund, athletic director; and Bruce Olsen, faculty athletic representative and associate professor of business.

In the concluding plenary session of the board on Thursday morning, presenters provided the case for the Health & Wellness Center project, which includes classrooms, offices, and a fitness space to the north and west sides of the Robertson Center. Board members heard reports on the design process and the current state of construction documents, the cost estimates, and the fundraising goals and progress.