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Strategic Plan

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President Jon Gering announced Feb. 1 that the college is starting the process toward developing a new strategic plan, with members of the Strategic Planning Committee now named.

In an e-mail sent to faculty and staff, Gering asked for nominations and expressions of interest for the committee, and briefly recalled the history of the previous plan. On March 8, Gering sent another e-mail naming a 14-member committee of 10 employees and four students. They are: Adam Akers, director of facilities; Grant Bellar, associate web developer; Joel Boettger, assistant professor of music and director of band; Annie Carlson, junior biology major from Hurley, S.D.; Tricia Clark, director of Institutional Communications and Marketing; Reagan Cowden, senior nursing major from Derby, Kan.; Elissa Harris, program manager for social work and education; Ashleigh Hollis, director of annual giving; Megan Kershner, director of career and leadership development; Zachary Kennell, junior biology and business major from Newton; Thomas Kucera, junior history major from Wichita and vice president of the Student Government Association; Clark Oswald, director of financial aid; Jeremy Reed, assistant athletic director and assistant football coach; and Lisa Janzen Scott, associate professor of education and mathematics.

The committee will work with Gering and the Bethel Board of Directors from March through September of this year to articulate the strategic plan for 2021-26.

At their fall 2015 meeting, the Bethel Board of Directors approved a strategic plan entitled “Extending our Heritage, Expanding our Impact.”

Then President Perry White and a Strategic Planning Committee comprising members of the college community (including representatives of the faculty, staff, student body and alumni) had developed the plan with assistance from the higher education consulting firm Credo.

This strategic plan identified four primary themes – which covered areas such as a thriving and high-impact college, a vibrant and vital campus and a dynamic student experience. Several objectives with corresponding initiatives fell under the heading of each theme.

“Many of these initiatives have been successful,” Gering said.

For example, he noted, Bethel has now: established a Human Resources office; rolled out a new branding and marketing campaign; exceeded the objectives for annual fund giving and grown the endowment; launched a comprehensive capital campaign that includes a Wellness Center; and created the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“We have also revitalized our summer camp program, made wiser use of technology and expanded our scholarship pipelines for undergraduate enrollment,” he continued.

“And this is not a comprehensive list of our successes.”

Gering hopes to have the Strategic Planning Committee in place by the end of February. In addition to campus representation, there will be opportunities for public engagement with the process, including alumni groups and community stakeholders.

“The 2015 strategic plan has come to its natural conclusion,” Gering said, “and it is now time to begin charting the direction of the college into the near future.

“I’m grateful for the thought that past President White and the Board of Directors gave to the future of the college when they went through this process several years ago.”

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.