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Bethel Community Update

Colleagues:

The past few months have been busy and before the semester ends, I wanted to share a few items for which we should give thanks. I appreciate the hard work you do, day after day for Bethel, and I thank God for the many accomplishments from this fall and the past year:

  • We have made remarkable progress in becoming more reflective of the diversity of the body of Christ. This year’s entering class of College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) students is 21% diverse, which continues a pattern of steady increases over the past several years.
  • We have created a student-managed investment fund, called the Royals Investment Fund, that will officially launch in January 2018. The Royals Investment Fund will give 19 students an opportunity to get experience working with more than $1 million invested for real clients.
  • We continue to make progress on the numerous projects connected with the current campaign. Most recently we opened up the new Physics and Engineering space and will soon begin construction on the new Business and Economics space across from the Robertson Center (RC) Gym.
  • We are pleased to note that we have raised more than $77 million toward our goal of $150 million. It is exciting to continue to plan for the growth that God has in store for Bethel in the coming years.
  • The Strategic Coalition from 2014-2015 created five options with 15 specific initiatives flowing from the options. We have made significant progress on a number of these initiatives and have added others. Here are just a few:

Strategic Plan Updates

 Options 1 & 2: Pathways, Partnerships, and Structures

- Developed and began many new programs across campus in order to meet marketplace needs
- Launched the Center for Healthcare Excellence to establish partnerships with faith-based long-term care and other organizations
- Started the R.E.A.L. Experience and moved the Office of Career Development and Calling to report to the Office of Academic Affairs to more effectively integrate it with advising and the R.E.A.L. Experience.

Option 3: Improve and Expand our Service to Underrepresented and Underserved Student Groups

- Grew the Act Six and BUILD programs
- Developed transfer agreements for students to join Bethel after beginning their programs elsewhere
- Sponsored Hmong College Prep Academy as a charter school

Option 4: Expand Online Education

- Enhanced staffing in the Teaching and Learning Technology (TLT) group and built and staffed a TLT Media Studio
- Moved five seminary programs fully online
- Created flexible start dates, also known as dynamic enrollment
- Grew direct contribution from summer enrollment in CAS

Option 5: Create a Sustainable Financial Model

- Increased endowment by 27% with a bigger goal ahead
- Restructured bond financing
- Created and launched a phased retirement plan for faculty

Board of Trustee Update

I also wanted to include a number of highlights from the Fall 2017 Board of Trustees (BOT) meetings:

  • The Board had the opportunity to visit a number of different spaces on campus that are either completed in their construction (Physics and Engineering space, Media Lab, and PA space) or will be completed in the near future (Business and Economics space). The proposed Business and Economics space will include a new finance lab and space specifically focused on increasing faculty and student interaction.
  • The BOT as a whole reaffirmed their support for the Covenant for Life Together. 
  • Board members thoroughly enjoyed sharing lunch with a number of students from the Business and Economics department.
  • The Finance Committee noted the importance of the Bond reissue that was approved in January and finalized this summer. They also noted the excellent audit Bethel received and they applauded the work that has gone into balancing the budget.

Serving together,

Jay