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Strategic Plan

Pepperdine 2020: Boundless Horizons

Strategic Goals

While the mission and vision remain constant, the means to fulfill these aspirations may change over time. The goals that will guide the University in the next decade were succinctly articulated by President Andrew K. Benton in his 2010 address entitled "Boundless Horizons." In that message the president outlined five major themes in the University's future: (1) advancing learning, knowledge, and scholarship; (2) developing resources; (3) building community; (4) respecting diversity and promoting global understanding; and (5) honoring God and heritage. Guided by—and building upon—these five central themes, the University community commits itself to five strategic goals articulated in this strategic plan.

In order to determine our progress, these strategic goals will be measured periodically at the university and unit levels (i.e., by school, division, department, and program). The schools and other units of the University will, over time, develop individual strategic plans that support and harmonize with the University Strategic Plan. Every member of the University community is invited to participate in ongoing conversations about the University's goals and to help establish numerous specific short-term and long-term initiatives. The intention, then, is to align the efforts at the school and operational levels as closely as possible with these strategic goals and to measure our progress, employing key performance indicators, at every step.

Goal 1—Advance student learning and superior scholarship.

We are committed to delivering an exceptional educational experience, for there can be no great university where there is no great learning. This goal includes the transmission of the wisdom of the past, as well as the discovery of new knowledge in our day, and the application of that wisdom and knowledge to a world in need. In short, Pepperdine will produce graduates able to meet the challenges of the 21st century. This educational experience will be exemplary, if we:

  • Attract and support educators devoted to student learning, who are recognized leaders in their disciplines and accomplished scholars committed to their own research and that of their students. We will recruit and support scholar teachers who are capable of going beyond disciplinary boundaries in order to increase the understanding of a complex world and who employ effective pedagogies that result in measurable achievement.
  • Attract and support excellent students committed to learning and inspired by our mission.
  • Continue to build a community devoted to strong ethical behavior, ensuring that this value is embedded in the curriculum, the cocurriculum, and all institutional practices.
  • Continue to invest in the University libraries, building collections and improving facilities to ensure that our libraries excel at providing superior resources and offering inviting spaces for collaborative learning.
  • Continue to support an entrepreneurial spirit. Our founder and our benefactors have been entrepreneurs in inclination and in practice. Given the world's hunger for sustainable solutions, Pepperdine must inspire others to lead through discovering new ways of understanding and serving society and the world.

Goal 2—Strengthen our commitment to the faith mission of the University.

Mr. Pepperdine founded the University because he believed that as recipients of God's favor, we must employ our talents in his service. He said, "This gift of human life and the opportunity which is ours to serve others for a short time should be regarded as a sacred trust." As a Christian institution of higher learning, we honor the great traditions of scholarship, research, service, and worship whose roots reach back to the foundations of the first European universities, which were Christian in origin and mission. Through the ages, believing and thinking have been considered two dimensions to a single enterprise. Historically, learning and the love of God and neighbor have been seen as complementary portals leading to knowledge of the creation and the Creator. In the Christian university, then, faith, hope, and love are not seen as impediments to discovery but as complementary to it. In the years ahead the University will:

  • Strengthen its ties to Churches of Christ by reaffirming the University's relationship to the Church, by renewing the commitment to recruit students from Churches of Christ and other Christian communions, and by hiring and mentoring staff and faculty from Churches of Christ and other Christian fellowships.
  • Enhance the University's outreach to churches through a review of the design of the annual Bible Lectures and the Office of Church Relations.
  • Strengthen the various parts of the University concerned with spiritual formation, including the Center for Faith and Learning, the University chaplaincy, campus ministries, the Religion Division, the Office of Student Affairs, the Veritas Forum, graduate student fellowships, and so forth; and encourage greater cooperation among these units.
  • Support and encourage an integrative scholarship that inspires discipleship, and a kind of discipleship that leads to rigorous scholarship.

Goal 3—Build meaningful community and enduring alumni loyalty.

Pepperdine's faculty, staff, and students will be known for the quality of their life together, a life defined by honesty, integrity, civility, and compassion. The calling to love and care for others will inspire members of the community to practice hospitality to a profound degree. This kind of learning environment educates the whole person and inspires lifelong devotion to and deep pride in Alma Mater. In order to fulfill Mr. Pepperdine's mandate "to continue the widening waves of good citizenship and Christian influence," we must:

  • Increase alumni ownership of the Pepperdine vision through involvement in service, connecting graduates with alumni chapters and increasing opportunities for alumni to meet, mentor, and serve current students and fellow alumni.
  • Increase the quality of dialogue and sense of community among faculty, staff, students, alumni, and administration.
  • Offer excellent career development opportunities that will increase alumni connections to and appreciation for Alma Mater.
  • Foster lasting friendships and institutional loyalty through exceptional classroom experiences, collaborative research opportunities, and enriched cocurricular opportunities.
  • Improve residential life through the new Campus Life Project that will include the construction of a new residence hall for juniors.
  • Increase the prominence of athletic programs, construct a new events center, and build a new student recreation facility—with the aims to develop character, provide enjoyment, and inspire lasting memories and alumni loyalty.
  • Increase the prominence of the arts, including performing, visual, and media arts programs, to foster the spirit of creativity and ingenuity among Pepperdine students, artists, alumni, and participants throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

Goal 4—Increase institutional diversity consistent with our mission.

Pepperdine University resides in a culturally diverse metropolis on the Pacific Rim, with study abroad opportunities in many locations, enjoying affiliations with major universities around the globe. Just as the first universities were transnational enterprises, so Pepperdine University intends to be a contemporary expression of such a global, intellectual community. Furthermore, the Gospel calls us to love justice and to treat every person with respect and compassion, to affirm in humility that we are finite beings and therefore limited in knowledge. It is through the inclusion and experience of others from diverse backgrounds and points of view that we are able to see dimensions of truth otherwise unavailable us. Given our geography, our history, and our commitment to the Gospel, we believe that diversity does not simply enrich the educational endeavor; it is central to it. Therefore, because we seek to be—and to be known as—a welcoming community serving local, national, and international communities, we must:

  • Advance the diversity of the student body, faculty, and staff. This includes increasing access and enhancing the quality of the campus climate, providing welcoming spaces and opportunities for building meaningful community.
  • Educate students for service in diverse settings, whether in local or distant communities, and encourage all students to participate in a multicultural and/or international study experience, instilling the conviction that they must be fully engaged citizens of local communities, as well as responsible members of national and international communities.
  • Welcome international students, integrating them into our campus communities, drawing on their unique experiences and talents, and ensuring their contributions to the rich tapestry of Pepperdine's culture.
  • Provide spiritual, intellectual, and material support for students, faculty, and staff who study or serve abroad.
  • Model service and leadership within local communities, congregations, and underserved populations.
  • Maintain our leadership as one of the most successful institutions in the U.S. in terms of the number of students who enjoy a study abroad experience.

Goal 5—Develop resources that support the aspiration to be a premier, global Christian university.

A great vision cannot succeed without the support of talented and committed people and significant financial support to sustain it. If the University is to attain its lofty goals, it follows that it must acquire the human and material resources to give substance to the dream. We must:

  • Recruit and retain talented students who love the mission of Pepperdine.
  • Hire, retain, and mentor talented employees who share a love for Pepperdine, its students, and its mission. 
  • Increase the financial aid available to students and expand loan forgiveness programs.
  • Successfully complete the "Campaign for Pepperdine," which will provide the financial, human, and social capital essential for success.
  • Ensure that each school's enrollment is maintained at sustainable levels, thereby assuring both the academic quality of students and the tuition revenues necessary to the fiscal well-being of the schools and the University.
  • Improve the institution's facilities to match our aspirations. We must build, renovate, and maintain aesthetic, functional, efficient facilities worthy of a preeminent institution of higher education. This includes remodeling regional campus facilities and selected international facilities.
  • Effectively steward existing financial, capital, and human resources in ways that support and sustain the University's aspirations. Increase the endowment to place it among the top 50 university endowments in the U.S.

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