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In the last four years Bethel College administrators have extensively engaged in an initiative to coordinate various services of the college to its students: academic support and tutorial assistance, career services, service learning, student retention, leadership development, wellness programming and the Freshman Year Experience. This fall a Life Calling and Student Enrichment Center will be established to collaboratively serve students in those areas. The driving force behind this initiative is multi-faceted:

  1. The need to enhance student success
  2. The need to provide the most efficient delivery system possible
  3. The need to coordinate the efforts of academic services and student development
  4. The need to assist students in discovering a life calling


The college has examined existing models at other colleges and universities, and discovered that each college/university customizes this collaborative initiative according to its specific needs and existing structures. After attending conferences, engaging consultants and reviewing similar efforts at other institutions of higher learning, Bethel formed an ad hoc committee this past year to identify the needs of the college, its students and means by which these needs can best be met. The Purpose Statement for the Life Calling and Student Enrichment Center reads as follows:

The purpose of the Life Calling and Student Enrichment Center is to serve students by facilitating academic achievement, individual growth, leadership development, and a personal journey toward a life calling.

Kathy Gribbin, Ph.D. serves as the vice president for life calling and student enrichment. Michelle Yager, currently director of career services, will team with Gribbin as the director of student enrichment. Gribbin and Yager have already begun the process of restructuring, staffing and developing all of the necessary building blocks for implementing the Life Calling and Student Enrichment Center in the Academic Center this fall. This is an initiative that will grow and strengthen with each year.

In connection to the recent emergence of the Life Calling and Student Enrichment Center, Shawn Holtgren, Ph.D., has been appointed vice president for student development. In the last year, Holtgren served as the associate vice president for student development. Holtgren has served in the student development office for 15 years.