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Searching for Bethel's 6th President

Bethel University is looking for a leader to serve as its 6th president as we prepare to celebrate 150 years of equipping adventurous Christ-followers to serve for God's glory and our neighbors' good.
 
A leader in Christ-centered higher education, Bethel University has more than 5,500 students from 48 states and 42 countries enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, seminary, and adult education programs. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Bethel offers bachelor’s and advanced degrees in nearly 100 fields. Educationally excellent classroom-based and online programs equip graduates to make exceptional contributions in lifelong service to God and the world.

Opportunity Profile

The Bethel presidential search committee held more than 150 different listening sessions with members of the Bethel community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, trustees, parents, and friends—to hear what they love about Bethel, what they see as challenges, and what they see as opportunities for our university.


Using this feedback, the committee worked with the external search firm CarterBaldwin to put together an opportunity profile. This document presents who we are along with the qualifications and characteristics we’re looking for in our next leader. Read the opportunity profile to learn more about Bethel, how to apply, and how to nominate a candidate to be Bethel’s next president.

More information

Opportunity Profile

Anticipated Timeline

The timeline associated with the search for Bethel University’s 6th president is broadly outlined below and is subject to change.

  • February 28, 2019—President Jay Barnes’s retirement announcement in Board of Trustees-sponsored Chapel
  • March 5–15, 2019—Nomination process for search committee members
  • March 22, 2019—Finalize search committee membership including community members
  • March 27, 2019—Announce search committee to community
  • April 2019—Search committee interviews search firm finalists and finalizes search firm selection
  • April–June 2019—Develop presidential profile, engaging community members in the process
  • June 2019—Finalize presidential profile and go to market for candidates
  • January 2020—Present finalist for recommendation to the Board of Trustees
  • February 2020—Introduce finalist to community
  • February 2020—Board votes to approve new president
  • April–June 2020—New president begins first term at Bethel
  • June 2020—Bethel Corporation votes to approve new president
Student at Royal Grounds

Boldly informed and motivated by the Christian faith, Bethel University educates and energizes men and women for excellence in leadership, scholarship, and service. We prepare graduates to serve in strategic capacities to renew minds, live out biblical truth, transform culture, and advance the gospel.

Bethel University Mission Statement

Presidential Search Committee

Selecting the university president is the most important responsibility of the Bethel University Board of Trustees. To this end, the committee will be comprised of nine members, including six members from the Board of Trustees, two members from the faculty, and one other Bethel community member. Of the six Board members, one will be the present Chair of the Board and one will be the Search Committee Chair.

Presidential Search Committee Role Description

The search committee is charged with the identification and recruitment of exceptional candidates for the Office of President of Bethel University. A final candidate will be recommended to the Board of Trustees and presented to the Bethel University community. It is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to vote for approval and ultimately hire the final candidate; however, the Bethel Corporation must also vote to approve the new president.

Search chair and Board of Trustees member Jim Green is committed to leading the process in such a way that engages the diverse perspectives and expertise of the Bethel University community in search of the next president.

Presidential Search Committee Members

Search committee criteria were used to select the following members:

  • Jim Green, Search Chair; Retired CEO, Kemps; Board of Trustee member
  • Collin Barr, President Central US, Ryan Companies; Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Leslie Chapman, Retired SVP, Chief Actuary & Chief Risk Officer, Securian Financial Group; Board of Trustee member
  • Jessica Daniels, Program Director for the Ed.D. Leadership in Higher Education Program; Associate Professor of Education, Graduate School
  • Joel Johnson, Senior Pastor, Westwood Community Church; Board of Trustee member
  • Bruce Olsen, Associate Professor of Business and Economics, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Scott Ridout, President, Converge Worldwide; Board of Trustee member
  • Ruben Rivera, Chief Diversity Officer 
  • Julie White, Retired EVP of Human Resources, Wells Fargo; Chair of the Board of Trustees

Questions or Presidential Candidate Nominations?

All questions regarding the process or nominations for the next president should be emailed directly to search@bethel.edu until a search firm is hired.

Please join us in praying!

Thank you for committing to pray with us for the presidential search. December is a critical month, as the search committee will be in the middle of the interview process. We ask that you specifically pray:

  • that the search committee will have clear and objective insight into each candidate, and God makes clear to the committee the candidate He has specially prepared for this leadership role.
  • that each candidate would have clarity and discernment to know whether this is the next step to which God has called them.
  • for a true person of God and a great leader to emerge.
  • for unity of thought within the search committee.

As a community, we claim these truths from Scripture as we commit the presidential search process to God:

  • “Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” –Jeremiah 33:3
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” –Proverbs 3:5-6
  • “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” –Isaiah 40:31
  • “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” –Romans 8:28
  • “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” –Philippians 4:6

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About Us

Bethel University has been a leader in Christ-centered higher education since 1871. For generations, our combination of evangelical faith with top-ranked academics has prepared women and men for excellence in leadership, scholarship, and service.

With more than 100 academic programs serving undergraduate, graduate, and seminary students, we’re one of the most comprehensive interdenominational Christian universities in the nation. Our committed faculty are passionate about integrating faith and learning—equipping students to tackle the world’s most challenging problems, for God’s glory and our neighbors’ good.

Brushaber Commons Lawn
Covenant Community

Our Faith

Rooted in faith, committed to excellence, Bethel’s vision is to become the Christ-centered university of choice for this century. In order to fulfill this vision, we’ll build on our long-standing strengths and draw on our historic roots in the Pietist tradition. We remain true to the vision of our founder, John Alexis Edgren, to develop broadly educated, critically thinking Christians—changing the world through service and leadership.

We believe in the integration of faith, learning, and life. We challenge ourselves to think critically about our convictions and consider some of life’s most difficult questions from a broadly Christian perspective, all within a supportive, faith-based community. Everything we do at Bethel is guided by our core values, rooted in Scripture. We are:

  • Christ-followers
  • Character-builders
  • Truth-seekers
  • Learners
  • Salt and light
  • Reconcilers
  • World-changers