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Board of Regents Strategic Guidance

The Board of Regents Strategic Guidance encapsulates the board’s vision for the top five distinctive pathways Pepperdine must travel to become a preeminent, global Christian university that produces brilliant leaders of faith, character, courage, and creativity.

1. Investing in Building a Leadership Culture of Trust, Unity, and Alignment

The bureaucratic and siloed nature of many universities often leads to ineffective and inefficient communication and execution processes that perpetuate the status quo and constrain mobility, flexibility, creativity, and transformation. Forging a cohesive team of regents, senior leaders, and faculty leaders who lead from a foundation of love and trust in relationships and are aligned on the mission, vision, and strategy for the university is truly distinctive. This pathway is exceptional because institutions of higher education are not commonly cited as leaders in strategic thinking, courageous decision-making, alignment, and accountability. This pathway comes first because the success of all the others flows from success in building a culture of trust, unity, and alignment. Pepperdine will be well-served to consider and incorporate some of the strengths learned from organizations outside of higher education. Some examples of these strengths reflected in the Strategic Objectives are:

  1. Strategic emphasis, clear allocation of responsibility, and appropriate systems of accountability
  2. Each component serving a strategic purpose for the entire enterprise
  3. Board, senior leader, and faculty leader unity, trust, and alignment
  4. Creativity and efficiency in shared services

2. Emphasizing the Relentless Pursuit of Truth in Our Academic Mission

This pathway is distinctive because it aligns the Biblical worldview that truth exists and is life-giving with the conviction that liberal arts, critical thinking, civil discourse, and academic freedom are necessary for an excellent and transformative educational experience. This pathway also challenges worldviews increasingly adopted by many universities that suggest there is no objective or transcendent truth and that “truth” is merely a social construct. Focusing on the relentless pursuit of truth as a key function of the academic enterprise will set us apart from other universities to students and families who are searching for a truly world-class Christian education. This emphasis is Pepperdine’s distinctive lane in higher education and will inform the following critical areas, as discussed in the Strategic Objectives:

  1. Faculty and staff hiring
  2. Academic rigor in the liberal arts, and in graduate and professional education
  3. Commitment to civil discourse, the marketplace of ideas, and to our foundational freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly
  4. Integration of faith and learning through excellent teaching and rigorous scholarship

3. Creating and Sustaining a Vibrant, Life-Giving Culture

Our unwavering and unapologetic commitment to our Biblical foundation of Word and Spirit compels our university campuses to be the most inviting and transformative communities in higher education. Precisely because we are followers of Jesus, who opens his arms to all, we are designed to live in a welcoming and loving community of generosity and belonging. Done well, this objective is distinctive because when a community is empowered by the Word of God and infused with the Holy Spirit, it will overcome the gravitational pull on Christian universities to dilute the power of the gospel. Students are hungry for authentic faith and, if it is present, people will be drawn to us through the commitments in the Strategic Objectives, such as:

  1. A vibrant worship culture
  2. A profoundly welcoming, generous, and diverse community of love and belonging
  3. A commitment to student resilience and wholeness, including arts and athletics
  4. Christian leadership training and discipleship

4. Pursuing Innovative and Transformative Strategic Projects

Imminent disruption does not call for institutional recoil, but an intentional and strategic expansion. We need a serious investment in creative solutions that can be transformative to our operating model while remaining true to our mission and leading the way in the future of higher education. This pathway is distinctive because it will require strategic innovation, courage, planning, and fundraising. Each of the following expansion projects enumerated in the Strategic Objectives can be transformative for the entire university in achieving its strategic goals:

  1. The Mountain village
  2. Innovative new revenue models, including online expansion
  3. Seaver and graduate schools expansion beyond the current Malibu and Southern California campuses
  4. Innovative operating and educational models that best serve our students

5. Expanding our Global Reach

While Pepperdine is currently a leader in study abroad programming, there are significant areas of growth that can distinguish us as the best in the world. The full utilization of the Chateau d’Hauteville as a global center for Pepperdine’s influence in business, law, culture, art, and the global community will be transformative, as will the establishment of a permanent campus in Africa. We also have room to strengthen our missional focus on each of our overseas campuses. This pathway is distinctive because engaging other cultures with a shared cohort experience in a new and challenging environment uniquely and effectively builds resilient leaders of faith, character, courage, and creativity. It also enhances Pepperdine’s global leadership and our broad global engagement ethos that inspires this generation of students. The following global projects enumerated in the Strategic Objectives will further secure Pepperdine as a premier, global Christian university:

  1. Completion of Chateau d’Hauteville construction and launch of programming
  2. Exploration of African campus establishment with University-wide engagement in global justice
  3. Acquisition of new campus in Asia
  4. Renewed emphasis on spiritual life on overseas campuses