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Cabinet Update - April 2018

In response to requests for more regular updates on budget, enrollment, giving, strategic initiatives, and other university projects, the President’s Cabinet is introducing a new bi-monthly email communication that will go to all faculty and staff. It is our hope that more frequent and consistent communication from us will help our community be better informed and more engaged in order to lean into challenges and celebrate successes together.

We will continue to update Cabinet Information on MyBethel, which you can find by clicking the Human Resources tab. You will see the Cabinet Information channel in the top, center that includes links to President’s Cabinet Announcements, Financial and Enrollment Reporting, Working Groups, Ideas for Innovation, and Additional Resources. These Cabinet Updates will be included among the President’s Cabinet Announcements if you would like to refer back to them.

We will also continue to hold Community Gatherings to share important updates face-to-face and answer questions. Please plan to join us on May 10 at 11:15 a.m. (CT) in the Underground or online for the last Community Gathering of the academic year. We plan to have a longer time for Q&A this time as well as an update on construction and space planning on campus.

Enrollment update

College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)

Fall 2018 (FY19) enrollment: 

This past year, the marketing and CAS admissions teams have worked together to put extra focus on encouraging prospective students to visit campus and improving the campus visit experience. Laura Gilleland, assistant director of admissions, even received funding from a Bethel Foundation Strategic Growth Award to enhance prospective students’ visit experience with things like a campus visit app, a golf cart for campus tours, and personalized parking spots.

The extra efforts seem to be working. Our fall 2017 individual visit numbers were up by 15-45 students each month, compared to Fall 2016. Admitted Student Overnight events in November, February, March, and April saw record numbers of admitted students this year. We had 349 students participate compared to 330 last year and 270 the year before. A promotional video for the events also helped to generate interest.

As of April 15, numbers at all stages of the enrollment funnel are up over last year. Net deposits for fall 2018 are tracking ahead for new freshmen, transfer students, current PSEO students planning to enroll as a degree-seeking student, and new PSEO students for fall. This is good news and should be celebrated. At the same time, our CAS admissions team remains cautiously optimistic because we all know there are five months between now and the 10th day of class when our enrollment numbers become official.

College of Adult & Professional Studies (CAPS), Bethel Seminary, Graduate School (GS)

2017-18 Enrollment: 

New student enrollment is up in each of our post-traditional schools. The combination of a pricing reset for many of our programs to make them more competitive and our dynamic enrollment capabilities are contributing to improved enrollment performance in the College of Adult & Professional Studies (CAPS).

New student enrollment in Bethel Seminary surpassed our annual goal by 17%. This is in response to the launch of several high-demand, fully online and flexible hybrid offerings.

Giving update

Campaign Update: Campaign-to-date income stands at $92.5 million, as of March. We hope to reach the $100 million mark by the end of the calendar year.

During this past year, Bethel received its largest gift from a single donor in university history—a commitment of $13.5 million in current and deferred gifts.

Fiscal 18 Giving Update: For the current fiscal year, we have received $21.5 million in gift income. This exceeds last year’s record income of $20.4 million and we have a few more months of fundraising left in the fiscal year. Bethel Fund has raised $1.6 million so far this fiscal year compared to $2.3 million for all of last year. Development officers continue to pursue year-end support, and the fiscal-year-end direct mail appeal is going out now to try to close the gap.

Planned Giving Update: During the first seven months of FY18, we have received new or increased planned gift commitments totaling $3.8 million, compared with $1.8 million for the same period last year.

Science Update: To stay on track for the renovations and addition to the science spaces, we need to raise $10 million by November. We have identified 30 prospective donors with high giving capacity whom we will begin meeting with in May to try to achieve our goal.

Budget update

FY18 and FY19

FY18 – Early projections to the end of this current fiscal year (FY18) indicate the operating budget will show an operating deficit. As we announced earlier, we eliminated $1 million of general expenses and $1.6 million of deferred maintenance projects from the facilities and management budget to help balance this year’s budget, but the enrollment goals were more aggressive than we have been able to realize and that shortfall is preventing us from hitting our revenue targets.

FY19 – The proposed budget changes for next fiscal year (FY19) announced earlier continue to look effective in helping us balance our budget. The proposed changes we are implementing in that year include: a salary freeze for faculty, staff, and administrators for FY19; the voluntary separation incentive plan for employees who are nearing retirement age; reductions in a small number of staff positions; and the elimination of the $1 million budget savings from the 2017 bond re-funding.

Addressing budget challenges beyond FY19 and developing a more sustainable financial model are the goals of the working groups that will launch by the end of the academic year.

Update on Working Groups

Volunteers Wanted: Innovations Across the University Working Group

The working group charter for Innovations Across the University has been drafted and shared with the Bethel Care Committee for feedback. The purpose of the innovations group is to identify new initiatives across the university that will increase productivity, reduce non-payroll expenses, and/or provide new non-academic revenue.

We need your help to accomplish our work. Staff and administration are invited to volunteer to serve on this working group, which will meet 3-4 times per month beginning mid-May through October. If your gifts include idea generation, researching, writing, finance, or just a desire to see Bethel thrive in creative ways, your presence is welcomed on either the core team of 8-10 members or subcommittees tasked with working on specific recommendations.

Contact Cara Wald at c-wald@bethel.edu by May 10 if you would like to volunteer.

Academic-focused Working Groups

The Program Enrollment and Cost Analysis Working Group for the College of Adult & Professional Studies (CAPS), Bethel Seminary and Graduate School is launching this month with Associate Provost Randy Bergen as its chair. Members include Katie Bonowitz, Jessica Daniels, Nikki Daniels, Justin Irving, Ross Jahnke, and Jennifer Nelson. We are currently contacting members for the Program Enrollment and Cost Analysis Working Group for the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS), which will be chaired by Vice President and Dean Deb Sullivan-Trainor. 

Deb Harless and the faculty leaders, including Jessica Daniels (GS), Chris Gehrz (CAS), Laura Gilbertson (CAPS), Mark McCloskey (BSSP), Wade Neiwert (CAS), and Glen Scorgie (BSSD), are working on the charters and membership for the Innovations in Academics group and the Faculty Load and Structures group. We anticipate that all of the groups will launch before the end of the spring semester.  

We have also received a number of Ideas for Innovation through the online form. All the suggestions we have received and continue to receive are read and forwarded to the appropriate working group. We are grateful for the suggestions we have received to date and encourage you to continue to send us your ideas.

Community Highlights

A number of Bethel students, faculty, and staff have recently been recognized for various reasons and we want to highlight some of those individuals here. For more stories, visit Bethel News and sign up for articles to be delivered right to your inbox, or follow Bethel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo.

  • Chief Diversity Officer Ruben Rivera was a guest on Kerri Miller’s show on Minnesota Public Radio. On the February 23 Friday Roundtable episode, Ruben spoke about the fate of the Dreamers as well as the ethics and economics of immigration.
  • Joy Doan, professor of biological sciences, and Claudia May, associate professor of reconciliation studies, have been selected for Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities II.  This program is an opportunity for faculty members from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and across the globe to experience an enhanced summer program aimed at developing interdisciplinary skills in Science and Religion. 
  • The fourth cadre of Act Six students was announced in March, bringing our total number of Act Six students to 40 with three graduating this fall.
  • In Bethel Athletics, Bethel Baseball (17-4) has had an outstanding start to their season and defending their conference title. Men’s and women’s track and field went five for five in the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships in March, breaking four school records in the process. Men’s hockey announced Chris McKelvie as the next head coach. McKelvie was an NCAA Division I assistant for the last two seasons and a seven-year professional hockey player.
  • During the April blizzard, Professor of Biblical Studies Juan Hernandez led a seminar specifically for Spanish-speaking pastors and ministry leaders. The seminar focused on "The Poor and Marginalized in Luke's Gospel,” and 110 attended, despite the snow.

Why We Do What We Do

At the end of each Cabinet Update, we plan to include an inspirational story demonstrating why all of us across our community do what we do at Bethel. For this issue, we share with you the work Chief Diversity Officer Ruben Rivera is doing through intergroup dialogue, which is facilitated face-to-face conversations to help different groups of people better understand each other. For the past few months, Ruben and Director of Wellbeing Christine Osgood have led an intergroup dialogue for faculty, including Peggy McCormick, associate professor of special education at the Graduate School. She recently had this to say about the experience:

“I have grown in trust, knowledge of myself and others, and in my confidence that God is at work in me, in us, and in the future of Bethel. This small gathering of eight committed people accomplished more than books, extravagant seminars, and costly conferences. The care and pure intentions of your hearts toward us as people and as members of the Bethel community ministered to me during every session of our Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) training. …Thank you so very much for giving us the tools to carry IGD forward in our work at Bethel and in our community ministries. ... This was one of the greatest investments in my professional development afforded to me by Bethel.

“In every way, I believe IGD training equips us to listen well, dialogue across differences, acknowledge the power of context, and honor the sanctity of each person's story. This is where we begin as world changers and reconcilers."

Serving together,

Jay, John, Pat, Deb, Joe, Mark, Ruben, and Cara