☰ In This Section

Here's a list of past Strategic Growth Award recipients and their projects, which have each impacted Bethel University for the better.


$34,757 PSEO Inquiry Seminar in High Schools

Department: Academic Enrichment & SupportCenter (AESC)

We’re requesting $34,757 over two years to offer research writing and public speaking (Inquiry Seminar) as PSEO courses on a high school campus. Bethel University already has a partnership with Hmong College Prep Academy. Offering PSEO courses on their high school campus will allow more students to enroll, gain the necessary skills, and continue education at Bethel. We anticipate the number of PSEO students from Hmong College Prep increasing from seven to 20 for the first year of enrollment. The grant money will be used to create the program and run the first year at Hmong College Prep. With 20 students enrolled in Inquiry Seminar on the Hmong College Prep campus over the course of one year (2021/22), we will receive $25,584 in state dollars (20 x $213.20/credit x 6 credits). Because the grant will fund the first year at the high school, and because each course will be self-sustaining with 20 students enrolled, we will have funds to expand to other schools and to add more courses. With 50-60% of PSEO students reenrolling at Bethel, we will see increased enrollment immediately following our first year at Hmong College Prep.

$49,600 Youth Crew: Building a Pathway of Enrollment by Engaging the Local Church and Prospective Students

Department: Bethel's Youth Theology Institute, Living the Questions Program

Strategic planning at Bethel has identified the importance of increasing engagement with local churches. Bethel’s Youth Theology Institute piloted Youth Crew, a team of undergraduates that provide an evening of free youth programming for local churches. Funds are needed to continue and expand program implementation. This project will address lack of church engagement by a) Youth Crew serving local churches and interacting with prospective students, b) conducting two on-campus retreats for high school students and c) hosting two Youth Pastor lunches. The yearly budget is $12,400 with a conservative projection of four students enrolling at Bethel per year. Each student’s potential income is $19,000. At the end of four years, it is estimated that 16 students will have enrolled at Bethel resulting in $304,000 revenue plus the ongoing revenue of those students attending all four years. The $49,600 investment will yield $760,000 by the end of the four years. (And have an ongoing potential of $304,000 per year going forward).


$45,000 Women in Philanthropy (The 25)

Department: Office of Development

A Women in Philanthropy initiative at Bethel University is critical to the future of the university. “Women are changing the face of philanthropy. Young, old, married, single, divorced, widowed – it doesn’t matter. Women are shaking things up. The smartest, forward-thinking organizations are recruiting women to lead the way.” Lisa M. Kietln, founder of The Institute of Transformational Philanthropy. This new initiative at Bethel will bring women leaders together, provide connections, learning experiences and opportunities to give back to Bethel. Women are often an overlooked and untapped resource for philanthropy. A concentrated initiative at Bethel will change the way we approach donors to include more women in our fundraising strategies and involve more women that are interested in impacting Bethel through philanthropy and leadership.

Funds granted by the Foundation will be used over the course of 3 years. In the first year, the majority of the funds will be used for marketing and events to promote and build the program. Conservatively, an ROI of $250,000 is expected by the end of year three. This amount includes increased giving only. 

$30,000 Royal Roadshow

Department: Faculty project led by the Department of English and Journalism

Royal Roadshow is an academic high school partnership program in which 10 dynamic CAS faculty members would partner with high-yield high school programs and help them in their content areas with the goal of starting new recruitment pipelines to Bethel. For example, a journalism professor would visit 1–3 strategically targeted high schools two times each to teach relevant lessons and help them with their school newspapers or yearbooks. Then he'd invite those students to Bethel for a day. A business professor would guest lecture in a high school class, then she’d help the DECA club prepare for its state contest and invite the business students to a department event on campus. A neuroscience professor would help out a high school robotics team, then host students in a Bethel lab for a day.

A $30,000 grant from the Bethel University Foundation would cover stipends and training for 10 participating faculty members, who would recruit 14 total students by the 2020-21 school year. By FY23, a successful program of this scope would produce more than $1 million in tuition annually and pay for itself after the first year.

$50,000 Digital Signage

Department: Facilities Management

Facilities Management hopes to install 2 dynamic digital monument signs along Bethel Drive to help with both wayfinding and branding. Our objective is to welcome external guests, prospective students / families, and current members of our community to campus and help them navigate to their destinations as effortlessly as possible. The anticipated impact is a dramatically improved customer experience through accurate wayfinding information, up-to-date guest event information, current Bethel branding, and a more welcoming and inviting introduction to our community. ROI is difficult to measure in dollars, but this project will help ensure our guests’ attention is focused on the things we want them to notice about our community – our amazing people, our robust academic programs, our faith-based community life, and our beautiful surroundings – as they make decisions about investing in a Bethel education or attending a Bethel event. 

$50,000 Military Enrollment Marketing

Department: Office of Marketing and Communications

Bethel had 114 active military or veteran students last year enrolled across our four schools last year. Employees spent that year studying Bethel’s ability to recruit and serve these students well. The research revealed strong potential to recruit a veteran population that, so far, we have largely overlooked. There are 2.9 million veterans nationally between ages 20 and 39, 329,000 in the upper Midwest. We conservatively expect that focused effort will increase veteran enrollment by at least 15 students per year for several years. This should yield an annual increase of $406,000 of net revenue after expenses by FY2022. Bethel has committed more than $100,000 annually to hire a leader for this work. Support from the Foundation will help with additional startup needs to launch marketing efforts. At Bethel, we offer military affiliated students faith-based education, personal attention, and care as they seek their vocations. This initiative, toward which university leadership has already committed significant operational funds, will grow revenue and expand our ability to serve a population that needs more access to Christian higher education.


$29,500 Hmong College Prep Academy Shuttle

Department: Office of Admissions

Hmong College Prep Academy is a rapidly growing K-12 school. Bethel is the executive sponsor for their curriculum to the state, meaning we basically partner with the school in a ton of great ways. We would like to provide a shuttle to run between our campus and Hmong College Prep's campus (across from the state fairgrounds) three times per day. This shuttle will allow for HS Students to attend Bethel's PSEO program and for prospective students the ability to commute without the need for a car or to live in campus housing. We believe the addition of 10 PSEO students will generate about $20,000 per year for Bethel, and for every undergraduate student we enroll we net about the same revenue. Our goal is to have 10 PSEO students on campus for the fall of 2018 and hope that matriculates into 6 full-time students in the fall of 2019. (ROI $20,000 in year one, up to $480,000 over four years. 

$73,200 Athletic Graduate Assistants

Department: University Athletics

From recent experience in Athletics (the last 5 years), we have seen the positive impact Graduate Assistants can have on the roster sizes of our sport teams. This request is for two Graduate Assistants that could be hired at $10,000 each. The $10,000 stipend would be in addition to free tuition to a Bethel Graduate program upon successful admission. I believe that two additional Graduate Assistants would allow us to add 14 additional student athletes to Bethel sports rosters. The ROI would be spending $36,600 per year to bring in $300,000+ in tuition revenue.

My plan would be to assign the GA's to the sports of Men's and Women's Soccer (or possibly Softball) where we could have Junior Varsity squads added to those teams in order to increase Bethel student enrollment. Duties would include recruitment of quality student athletes, organization and planning of practices, game preparation, administrative duties, scouting of opponents and the nurturing the overall physical and spiritual development of Bethel University student athletes.

$44,500 Zero Cost Resources

Department: University Library 

High textbook costs are a barrier to academic success. A survey of over 22,000 college students found that high textbook costs caused 66.6% to not purchase their textbooks; 47.6% to take fewer courses; 45.5% to not register for a course; and 26.1% to drop a course. Of the students who chose not to purchase textbooks, 37.6% earned poor grades and 19.8% failed a course.

CAPS/GS Dean’s office and Bethel Libraries propose a joint Alternative Texts Initiative to eliminate textbook costs in select programs by finding high-quality substitutes for current commercial textbooks. Specifically, we propose a two-year pilot program targeting Bethel’s Associate's Programs, with the goal of eliminating textbook costs from these programs. This program will potentially 1) increase enrollment; 2) foster educational equity; 3) enhance student learning; 4) create a competitive edge; 5) increase ROI on library resources; and 6) strengthen partnerships among multiple departments across Bethel. Once implemented, we project this initiative will immediately impact 182 students and increase course enrollment in the Associate's Programs by 15% over two years, thus increasing revenue by $174,150 per year.

$53,500 Student Leadership Summit

Department: Office of Student Life

We are proposing a one-day leadership summit for prospective high school students and current Bethel University students engaged in leadership positions on campus. The one-day leadership summit is designed to attract prospective students engaged in leadership on their high school campuses. Hosting these high-level students will allow Bethel University to showcase our amazing facilities, expose them to Bethel University through an admissions presentation, and leave a lasting imprint as they are challenged to become better leaders by nationally recognized speakers. 

If our goal is reached through the summit program, we will have contacted a total of 2,500 prospective high school students and 1,200 current Bethel student leaders. The funds from the grant will be used to pay nationally recognized speakers and to help high schools and youth groups attend that are travelling from distance.

NOTE: Project leadership changed as soon as this project was funded. New leadership was unable to implement this program and funds were returned to the Foundation.


$35,451 Business Department High School Catalyst Program

Department: Department of Business

This grant request is to enhance the effective and sustainable growth of Bethel’s enrollment through support and growth of the Bethel Business Catalysts Program – Connecting innovative high school students with Bethel’s Department of Business and Economics. This department strategic initiative was designed in 2015 and continues to grow and develop.  These grant funds would be used for expansion of the Catalyst H.S. Summer Institute to a 3-day overnight camp experience, collegiate DECA program operation funds until fundraising efforts are sustainable, development of a curriculum menu for high school business teachers to facilitate classrooms visits, growth of our Catalyst Advisory Partners program to include 10-15 total high school business teacher members, course release for Chris Kaiser for program development, and funds to pay an adjunct instructor to teach a course for Chris Kaiser during program development.  Each of these efforts are expected to increase enrollment and will assist the business department in their goal to increase enrollment by 20% in five years (95 students).

$50,000 Campus Visit Experience

Department: Office of Admissions

The proposed items included in this application enhance the overall campus visit experience for prospective students interested in the College of Arts and Sciences. Visiting campus is a crucial part of the college decision process for high school students. One of the key goals of our admissions professionals is to encourage students to step foot on campus and experience for themselves why many Bethel students say they just felt something different when they visited Bethel for the first time. 99.8% of our enrolled students visited campus during their college decision process.  The campus visit experience is already alive and well at BU, however, we have so much room to grow. If we are not expanding our campus visit experience, personalizing it to individual students, and thinking in innovative ways, we will not grow the College of Arts and Sciences enrollment. Funds would be used for expanding BU bucks reimbursement program to offer flight reimbursement for out of state prospective students; purchase personalized parking signs for admissions guests; facelift to the CLC lobby and loggia offering a more comforting, hospitable space; a small, portable coffee stand catered by Sodexho,  golf carts for campus visits, and technology improvements.