By: Emily Jan and Jasmine Johnson
Bethel University faculty gathered in Benson Great Hall for the annual faculty retreat Aug. 21, where awards are handed out and faculty prepare for the upcoming year. The afternoon lineup of speakers included Provost Deb Harless, faculty senate president Chris Gehrz, and President Jay Barnes. The president and provost presented numbers regarding the budget and enrollment.
Despite the College of Adult and Professional Studies, Seminary, and General Studies enrollment numbers being 4 percent short of reaching this year’s goal, Bethel expects to exceed its College of Arts and Sciences goal of 2,370 students by welcoming 2,383 undergrad students for the upcoming academic year.
In addition, 120 Post Secondary Education Option and 30 Bethel University Inclusive Learning and Development students will be attending this fall. Harless emphasized the positive impact the increase in PSEO students returning to complete undergraduate degrees has had on enrollment numbers. She also mentioned Bethel’s partnership with the Hmong College Prep Academy in St. Paul has drawn an additional 12 PSEO students for this academic year.
Harless explained enrollment helps Bethel exist. Although, as enrollment numbers have increased, so have scholarship awards. This will make it a challenge to balance the CAS budget this fall.
Other noteworthy announcements included the start of President Barnes’ search for a Chief Enrollment Officer and Chief Marketing Officer and the introduction of eight new faculty members that will begin teaching next week.
Regardless of the changes and challenges the university will face this year, President Barnes reminded the faculty to smell like Jesus, as their theme verse 2 Corinthians 2:15 declares, “for we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ.”
“Rejoice in the fact that Jesus has…encouraged us to smell like him,” Barnes said.