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Bethel Foundation Funds Innovative Initiatives to Increase Enrollment and Affordability

Bethel Foundation Funds Innovative Initiatives to Increase Enrollment and Affordability

Laura Gilleland, assistant director of undergraduate admissions, and Christina Kaiser, associate professor of business, receive their checks as the first recipients of the Bethel Foundation’s Strategic Growth Awards.

Prospective students visiting campus recently may have been pleasantly surprised when they noticed their name on parking spots reserved specifically for them in Bethel’s West Parking Lot.

Or they may have taken a tour of campus on a new eight-person golf cart.

Or maybe their admissions counselor had an iPad at the ready to help them navigate a step in the enrollment or financial aid process. If so, those students—and their families—have the Bethel Foundation to thank for their enhanced campus visit experience.

Last year the Bethel University Foundation announced a new opportunity for faculty and staff members to receive funding for strategic initiatives that enhance the effective and sustainable growth of Bethel’s enrollment and/or the affordability of a Bethel education. In the first year, the foundation awarded two Strategic Growth Awards in the amount of about $40,000-50,000 each.

Laura Gilleland, assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Bethel, received a grant to enhance the Campus Visit Experience with new touches like personalized, reserved parking signs and travel money for students who might want to visit Bethel from farther away. She says she’s already receiving positive feedback from visitors. “They are commenting on how the personalized touches made them feel at home and welcomed at Bethel,” she says. “We are creating an environment of belonging and recognition, which is sure to lead to increased matriculation for Fall 2018 and beyond because the quality of a student's visit directly correlates with their likelihood of enrolling.”

Department Chair and Associate Professor of Business Joyce LeMay and Associate Professor of Business Christina Kaiser received the second Strategic Growth Award to help fund the inaugural year of the Bethel Business Academy and to help continue the Bethel Business Catalyst Summer Institute. Both programs are geared toward high school students who are interested in business. “By developing relationships with high school business teachers and engaging high school students, we hope to see an increase in enrollment at Bethel and in our department,” says Kaiser. “We have seen promising results from the first two years of the Catalyst program, and this grant has allowed us to continue to develop our initiatives.”

This summer, high school students will have the opportunity to participate in the first Bethel Business Academy. It’s a three-day residential camp—June 19-21—aimed at exposing students to the variety of business careers out there as they chart a path to college and beyond. “We feel very honored to have the support of the Foundation through this grant, and we’re excited to see how it can continue to help grow Bethel through other award recipients,” says Kaiser.

The Bethel Foundation is accepting applications from faculty and staff through March 1 for the second round of Strategic Growth Awards. In its pilot year, the program received 19 applications, and the Board of Governors’ Philanthropy Committee selected the two recipients. For the second year, the Foundation will fund up to four awards for a total of $160,000. Submissions must again focus on initiatives that will enhance the effective and sustainable growth of Bethel’s enrollment and/or the affordability of a Bethel education. Recipients for 2018 will be announced in May.

Learn more online about the Strategic Growth Awards, Bethel’s business and economics department, or how to schedule an on-campus visit.

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