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Chief Enrollment Officer Announcement


As we prepare to head into the spring semester, I wanted to provide an update on the search for a Chief Enrollment Officer.

This past summer, I announced Cabinet-level restructuring that would bring more of a focus on enrollment and marketing. We announced two positions—Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Enrollment Officer—that would sit on Cabinet and report directly to me. In September, we announced that Michael Vedders was named Chief Marketing Officer and we hired an outside firm to lead the search for Bethel’s new Chief Enrollment Officer. Provost Deb Harless continued to serve as the temporary leader of enrollment, but when her sabbatical began in November, Michael stepped in to lead enrollment.

At the same time as our search continued for the Chief Enrollment Officer, I was able to watch as Michael led both marketing and enrollment. I observed someone who is a quick learner and able to effectively work with different teams across Bethel. I began to see a synergy develop with our admissions directors, Kate Gunderson and Bret Hyder, as well as between marketing and admissions. That synergy led to better analysis of our enrollment situation, suggestions to adjust quickly, and changes that—in the early days—are leading to better numbers. As I compared Michael to the candidates we were reviewing from the search firm, I began to see that we had a very strong internal candidate for the role.

Michael’s past experience at Bethel in ITS and marketing as well as his role leading the branding project and as a member of the Post-traditional Project has given him knowledge and relationships that have served him well in this dual role. In just a few months, Michael has worked collaboratively to set pricing, marketing budgets, and enrollment goals across our post-traditional schools. For the College of Arts & Sciences, he has partnered with others to implement a process to more accurately predict the health of our undergraduate enrollment funnel, allowing for more effective mid-year adjustments to marketing and enrollment plans. Already I have seen new ideas emerge from the enrollment and marketing areas that others at the university have embraced.

This month I presented an alternate path to the search committee, which includes Kate and Bret, along with Lisa Carlson, Deb Harless, Penny Foore, Ryan Gunderson, Ray VanArragon, Cara Wald, and Board Chair Julie White. I suggested we combine the enrollment and marketing positions into one and hire Michael as the new Chief Enrollment and Marketing Officer at Bethel. The group unanimously endorsed this plan and Michael has humbly, but with enthusiasm, accepted his appointment in this new role.

There are more details to be worked out. We currently plan to maintain all the allocated budget dollars for these two areas as reporting lines are reviewed and finalized. For now, I encourage you to please join me in congratulating Michael on this new role. 

Serving together,