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Bethel begins work toward new strategic plan

February 5th, 2021

Ad Building, fall

President Jon Gering announced Feb. 1 that the college is starting the process toward developing a new strategic plan.

In an e-mail sent to faculty and staff, Gering asked for nominations and expressions of interest for a new Strategic Planning Committee, and briefly recalled the history of the previous plan.

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.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #26 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, and earned its third-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Gold Award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2020-21; is’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to; and is #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities named by as “Best for Financial Aid,” as well as #23 “Safest College Towns in the U.S.,” ranked by for 2020-21. For more information, see


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.