NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s new vice president of enrollment says he’s excited about the challenges that small private colleges face in recruiting students in a tough economy.
Todd Moore began Sept. 14 in the position, replacing Lori Livengood, who stepped into the admissions office in an interim role from March to September while continuing to serve as vice president of marketing and communications.
Bethel’s overall enrollment for fall 2009 is 437, which represents a decrease in 100 students over the past two years. Ninety-two new students on campus this fall are first-time freshmen and 49 are transfers.
“While the overall numbers are disappointing,” Moore says, “the quality of the class academically is as strong as any at Bethel in the last decade, maybe ever.
“The 25 average ACT [score] has to be one of the highest in the state,” Moore adds. “More than a third were in the top 10 percent of their high school class. I doubt there’s another school that could say that.”
Bethel’s class of 2013 includes 15 valedictorians and two salutatorians. “We’re excited to inherit a strong class,” Moore says. “We’re getting quality students [academically] – we just need more of them.”
Moore comes with more previous experience in enrollment and admissions than other recent appointments to the post. He has a bachelor’s degree from Phillips University, Enid, Okla., where, immediately after graduation, he served three years as admissions counselor and associate dean of admissions before going on to Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, for his master’s degree.
Since then, Moore has worked in the admissions offices at Benedictine College, Atchison (1991-94); Saint Mary College, Leavenworth (1994-96 and 2000-02); Avila College, Kansas City, Mo. (1996-2000) and Southwestern College, Winfield (2002-08). He was director of admissions at Saint Mary, Avila and Southwestern.
Immediately before coming to Bethel, Moore was a gift officer in the Office of Advancement at Southwestern.
One of Moore’s first responsibilities at Bethel has been to hire two new admissions counselors. He recently announced the appointment of Kristin Larson-Jantzi of Newton, a former Bethel student who is married to assistant men’s soccer coach Adam Jantzi. Moore expects to announce the second appointment soon.
He also plans to “go back and review the basics” in the Office of Admissions, he says – for example, “how we do campus visits and financial aid, among other things.
“There’s an upside to having done this at other colleges,” he notes. “I can bring a fresh perspective.”
In addition, he will be looking at staff reorganization, he says. He would like to have one of the admissions counselors focus exclusively on digital resources, working on using social networking and e-mail most effectively.
“It’s great to go out on the road to do visits at high schools [and community colleges],” Moore says, “but it’s not as effective as it used to be.”
With his extensive experience recruiting students in the Great Plains states, Moore says his learning curve will be in “the Mennonite church market.” “A new opportunity is always exciting,” he continues. “I wouldn’t work just anywhere. Bethel has a great academic reputation.
“I’m not coming to a school that’s broken down. Bethel has good students. It’s [ranked] in Forbes.com, U.S. News & World Report and Colleges of Distinction – I’ve never been at a college that’s in all three. Rankings aren’t everything, but they don’t hurt.
“I still get fired up,” he says, “about meeting parents and prospective students, and helping them find a good fit for college.”
Other characteristics of Bethel’s fall 2009 student body include: first-time freshmen come from 13 states (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas, plus Kansas) and four countries in addition to the United States (Canada, China, Denmark and Nepal); first-time freshmen represent 34 different Kansas high schools; and 50 first-time freshmen are legacy students, meaning a parent, grandparent or sibling has previously attended Bethel.
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.