Bethel Restructures Adds Life Calling and Student Enrichment Center

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:

The need to enhance student success The need to provide the most efficient delivery system possible The need to coordinate the efforts of Academic Services and Student Development 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 &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.

Effective June 1, Kathy Gribbin, Ph.D., currently dean of students and residence life, will serve as the vice president for Life Calling and Student Enrichment. Also on June 1, 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 & 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 & 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.

Bethel College is an accredited Christian college offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 70 areas of study. The current enrollment of more than 2,100 includes students from 34 states and Puerto Rico, 19 countries, more than 25 denominations and 16 percent from culturally diverse backgrounds. Scholarships are available based upon a variety of factors including academic achievement, talent in the arts or athletics, ethnicity and church affiliation. In addition to its beautifully wooded 75-acre main campus in Mishawaka, Ind., Bethel also offers specific academic programs at sites in Elkhart, Ind., Fort Wayne, Ind., Dowagiac, Mich., and St. Joseph, Mich. Nursing programs are also offered in cooperation with Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.