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Strategic Planning at Bethel

In 2010, Bethel University adopted a Strategic Plan that included four foundational goals to accomplish by 2021. Every year, progress was made toward each goal as specific objectives and priorities were established. But during the 2013-14 academic year, administrators’ attention shifted from planning for the future to focusing on the present.

The Bethel community faced the challenge of increasing financial aid and decreasing enrollment, which made balancing the budget difficult. Higher education was changing. University leaders needed to address affordability, changing demographics for traditional high school students, and a national downward trend in seminary enrollment, as well as the fact that most of Bethel’s revenue came from tuition, room and board, and fees. Bethel leaders quickly realized that the four foundational goals of the Strategic Plan needed to be revised to account for a new reality, or the community would have more challenging years ahead.

In 2014, Bethel University embarked on a board-initiated project to develop a vision and set of strategic goals to guide the university as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2021. A 16-member Strategic Coalition was appointed that included trustees, senior administrators, and faculty representing all schools. After meetings and feedback sessions with the community, the group settled on five bold and compelling strategic goals that were endorsed by the Board of Trustees in October 2014.

Afterwards, subgroups were appointed to determine initiatives for Bethel to accomplish each of the five goals. The sub-groups presented their recommendations to the Strategic Coalition, who then determined the 15 initiatives currently included in the university’s Strategic Plan.

To read more about the Strategic Coalition process and to see who was involved, visit the Strategic Coalition project page