☰ In This Section

Cabinet Update - June 2018

As we begin the summer months at Bethel we want to update you on the Working Groups, enrollment, giving, and budget along with a report from the Board of Trustees meeting and highlights from our community.

We appreciate your patience with the traffic around campus. With multiple projects happening near our campus as well as the closure of Bethel Drive this summer, we recognize how challenging it can be just to get to and from campus. The section of Old Snelling Road closed near the west entrance is scheduled to last until June 29. You can still access the west entrance, but only from the north side of the road.

Bethel Drive will remain closed until August. The much-needed maintenance includes complete re-construction of the road, replacing the retaining wall, adding a boulevard, and improving the sidewalk. Funding for the work came from a bond refinancing and not out of Bethel’s operating budget.

Finally, we are excited to have the College of Arts & Sciences Department of Business and Economics move into their new space in the Robertson Center (RC) this week. The completed renovations include faculty offices, financial markets lab space, a classroom, and student space. In addition, the RC conference room is back and available for all members of the community to reserve.

Working Groups Update

Now that the working group charters and membership have been finalized, teams have rolled up their sleeves to begin work. Cabinet also has posted the criteria that will be used to review the recommendations from the working groups. Provost Deb Harless has scheduled regular meetings for the chairs of each working group to receive updates from each group and to discuss any overlap in our work that might surface. Below is the status of each group:

Staff and Administration Structures Working Group
Nearly 30 meetings have been scheduled in June with more than 50 staff and administrators to discuss their office structure. The goal is to brainstorm about how structural changes could not only create efficiencies, but also improve workflow and communication between and across departments. Each office is participating in the same core process developed by the University of Minnesota that focuses on the functions of offices and roles to ensure the work is thorough and objective.

Academic Program Enrollment and Costs Analysis Working Groups

There is one group that focuses on College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) programs and one group for College of Adult & Professional Studies (CAPS), Bethel Seminary, and Graduate School (GS) programs. These working groups are currently identifying and gathering the data and information that will inform their process and recommendations.

Innovations in Academics and Across the University Working Groups

With newly appointed chairs at the helm, a meeting has been set between the chairs of these two groups to review the innovation ideas submitted by employees and discuss how the groups might coordinate their work.

Board of Trustees Report

The Bethel University Board of Trustees met on May 31 and June 1. The main plenary session topic was a campaign update that focused on the capital projects of the campaign—the newly renovated business and economics space, Bethel Seminary moving to the Anderson Center, and the new and renovated science space at 3900. Board members were given a tour of the new business and economics space in the Robertson Center (RC) and walked to the Academic Center (AC), Clausen Center (CC), and outside to the president’s parking lot to pray for the upcoming renovations and expansion for the science space.

Regular portions of the board meeting included a president’s report, finance report from Chief Financial Officer Pat Brooke, Converge report from President of Converge Scott Ridout, and committee meetings.

Staff and faculty who had received the Core Value Mark of Distinction joined board members for dinner on May 31. In addition, two faculty-student research teams presented their projects. Assistant Professor of Biology Melissa Cordes and students Abner Arias-Olson ’18 and Abby Ludens ’18 discussed their research with starlings and Assistant Professor of Journalism Scott Winter and student Josh Towner ’20 talked about their work with Maxfield Elementary School in St. Paul to create the Maxfield Times newspaper. Faculty-student research teams kicked off the board meeting by joining board members for lunch on May 31. The teams included:

  • Assistant Professor of Human Kinetics and Applied Health Sciences Kelly Gibas with Dawson Brown ’18 and Kaitlyn Dahlgren ’18
  • Professor of Business Chuck Hannema with Xiaoshuo (Louis) Liu ’18
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry Trey Maddox with Katie Rynders ’18
  • Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Brian Turnquist with Elise Courtemanche ’18
  • Associate Professor of Political Science Chris Moore with Mariah Marr ’19
  • Associate Professor of Psychology Sherryse Corrow with Rachel Nordberg ’19
  • University Professor of Psychology Gretchen Wrobel with Madeline Ruff ’18

Trustees also recognized four out-going trustees and their years of service: Rollie Anderson (17 years), Rev. Michael Henderson Sr. (six years), Wayland Jensen (22 years), and John Wories (12 years). In addition, trustee Robert Bjork completed his term as board chair and he shared his reflections with the group. The incoming class of 2024 trustees joined the meeting as observers and they include: Linda Goodwin, Rod Hairston, David Horsager, Dawn Marcus, and Sheri Guimont. Their terms officially begin in the fall.

Motions approved by the board during the meeting included:

  • From the Academic Programs Committee: faculty promotions from Instructor to Assistant Professor
  • From the Academic Programs Committee: faculty promotions from assistant professor to associate professor
  • From the Academic Programs Committee: faculty promotions from associate professor to professor
  • New Board of Trustees officers: Julie White, chair; Collin Barr, vice-chair; Joel Johnson, secretary; Dan Dye, assistant secretary; and Randy Dorn, treasurer
  • All of the motions passed by Executive Committee since last board meeting were affirmed by the full board, including new faculty appointments; re-election of three Board of Governors members; approval of May graduates; minor issues connected to the Converge Biennial; and appointment of some faculty to emeritus status
  • From the Finance and Administration Committee: FY19 budget
  • From the Finance and Administration Committee: Auditors for FY18
  • From the Advancement, Finance and Administration, and the Strategic Planning Committees: for senior administration to engage a construction contractor and execute necessary and proper contracts to commence design and construction of a Bethel science project, pending funding from the campaign

Enrollment update

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

FY18 was a fantastic recruiting year in CAPS, seminary, and GS. New student enrollment reached 115% of budget goal (944 new students enrolled versus a budget goal of 824). Great teamwork spanning admissions, marketing, academics, student success, and other administrative areas produced these high results. We are grateful for their work and hopeful that this positive momentum will continue through the 2018-19 academic year.

College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)

Fall 2018 (FY19) enrollment: 

In CAS, we continue to be encouraged by our fall 2018 enrollment funnel. As of June 1, our new freshman number is ahead of fall 2017 by 30 net deposits, and our transfer number is ahead by 27 net deposits. Bethel is ahead of the Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC) average in a year-over-year comparison of freshman net deposits. Also, fall course registrations are presently on pace with expectations for continuing students. In sum, we feel optimistic about hitting our CAS enrollment budget target for fall 2018.

Giving update


Bethel has received $93.8 million in campaign gifts and commitments as of May 31. This total equals 62.5% of our $150 million campaign goal. We have an additional $7.2 million in deferred gifts written by donors who are younger than the age we recognize for campaign counting purposes.

Fiscal Year 18 Giving

During FY18, we recorded $22.8 million in donor support, including $10.9 million in current gifts and $370,000 in current pledges. We received new or increased planned gift commitments totaling $14.3 million this year, compared with $4 million one year ago. The planned gifts will come to Bethel in future years. During this fiscal year, Bethel also received $1,637,422 from matured planned gifts (cash from estates) compared with $668,202 a year ago.

Bethel Foundation 

In FY18, the Bethel University Foundation received gifts totaling $855,115 from 33 corporations and foundations, as well as $468,000 in pending grants from three foundations. We are pursuing $2 million in prospective donations, have received $122,000 in faculty grants, and have identified another $133,000 in potential faculty grants.

This summer the Bethel University Foundation will award $200,700 in four new Strategic Growth Awards. The four recipients are: Student Leadership Summer (CAS Student Life), Zero Cost Course Resources Initiative (Bethel University Library and CAS/GS Dean’s offices), Hmong College Prep Academy Shuttle (CAS Admissions), and Athletics Graduate Assistants (CAS Athletics). Read more about the four projects online.

Budget update – FY19

At the recent board meeting, the trustees approved a balanced budget for FY19. The Cabinet along with other administrators were successful in identifying $2 million in temporary reductions along with $4.1 million in cost reductions and revenue enhancements to address the projected $6.1 million shortfall. The Cabinet and trustees would like to express their great appreciation to all the managers and departments for the difficult work and sacrifices that went into the budget development. Total revenues for FY19 are budgeted at $135.6 million.

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.

  • An incoming freshman baseball recruit Ty Koehn proves some things are more important than wins and losses. The high school pitcher struck out his childhood friend to advance to the state championships. Instead of celebrating with his teammates, watch what he did.
  • The Bethel Child Development Center was named the 2018 Readers’ Choice Award winner for “Best Child Daycare” by the Lillie Suburban Newspapers.
  • The Bethel men’s and women’s track and field team came away from the NCAA Division III National Championships with nine All-American awards. Congratulations to Erin Alpers ’18, AddieKay Johnson ’19, Delia Labatt ’20, Isaac Erickson ’20, Evan Hatton ’19, Carl Klamm ’19, Karl Olsen ’19, and Hannah Sankey ’21 along with Coach Andrew Rock.
  • The new space for business and economics on RC level 3 was completed on time and under budget. Thank you to the facilities employees who helped make the project a success. The extra funds will now be used to renovate the RC3 hallway and DeVries Lounge.
  • Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) interviewed Assistant Professor of Philosophy Carrie Peffley about Professor of Psychology Adam Johnson, who died this April. Read and listen to the report.

Why We Do What We Do

Associate Vice President for Planned Giving Dan Wiersum has worked at Bethel for more than 30 years, and 22 of those years have been in planned giving. 

When Dan returned to Bethel in 1996 after an 8-year span working elsewhere, he was excited for the opportunity to work in planned giving. “Bethel was my alma mater where I learned to honor and love God’s Word, and I loved the mission and values Bethel advanced,” says Dan. “In that transition, I asked God for a goal He would be pleased with in my new role.”

Dan set the goal of $100 million in planned giving gifts. “Since that date, I’ve been tracking the progress of planned giving at Bethel,” he says. “I want to be clear; I did not raise all of that money myself. It is the team in development and in the Bethel Foundation with whom I have been privileged to work over the years, with God’s help, that has made that possible.”

Congratulations, Dan, and colleagues in Advancement for reaching the $100 million goal this spring.

Serving together,

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