At Pepperdine, the spirit of inquiry is the spark that sets alight our vision each year.

That same spirit also guides our every opportunity, which we fervently use to help the less fortunate, to improve civilization, and to advance knowledge. Our mission—in its bold, auspicious promise—equips and empowers students to serve the needs of our society and the world as part of a collaborative community of learning.

As a university, we are not only charged to train scholars to think about these needs but to confront them head-on to actually try to solve the world's most critical problems and effect incredible change. As the University looks to the years ahead and examines the evolving ways to fulfill its mission and strategic plan, it must consider new guiding principles that will support and set forth our vision to be a 21st-century Christian university.

Resist Becoming an Adaptive Organization

The future of Pepperdine will not be reactive. It will not simply be adaptive. Nor will it need to be competitive. It will be generative and pioneering, harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit and the unique qualities that have characterized the Pepperdine identity since its founding.

A generative organization is one in which mission matters most. Where the mission is not only understood, but revered. Where it is the driving force behind a community committed to contributing to the success of the group. Beyond all, it acknowledges the needs of both the individual and the community and creates value for them as they grow.

To prosper, an organization and its members must anticipate inevitable change and deploy every resource needed to inspire creativity, innovation, and novel strategies that set new standards of excellence. While Pepperdine must always respond to the changing needs of its community, as a generative university we will never merely adapt to the evolving nature of higher education. Instead, we will be a powerful learning environment with original approaches to problem solving, driven by a core mission whose focus will always demonstrate a deep commitment to its growing academic community.

Become Leaders in Integrative Scholarship

Traditional research, though central to the advancement of scholarship, has become limiting, perhaps even incomplete. As we endeavor to prepare students for the world they will encounter after graduation—and the developing social and environmental challenges with which they will be confronted daily—we must consider a cross-disciplinary approach that combines the core principles from various, even disparate, fields to illuminate new questions and generate discoveries unrestrained.

Integrative scholarship draws together data and insights from several fields to inspire new interpretations of established thought and fresh pedagogical perspectives in order to purposefully engage both educators and scholars in the act of learning. Fusing new connections and bringing new insight to bear, this extraordinary process of discovery expressly calls on Christian education to promote responsible action and demands values-focused convictions to address real challenges. As our faculty examines new academic frontiers, we will embrace education that moves away from the practice of simply transferring knowledge and focus on engaging students in active questioning while promoting both independent learning and thinking.

Refuse to Choose

In our pursuit of casting a vision and imagining long-term goals, we often search for grand, sweeping statements while clinging to buzzwords and big ideas. We attempt to define our identities by determining the qualities and characteristics that make us unique. Faith "or" reason. Mind "or" soul. But what if we considered them all? "Or" requires a choice. "Or" intersects and bifurcates two valid considerations and insists on settling between two paradoxes. What if we built a bridge between concepts rather than divided them?

As Pepperdine asserts its role as a 21st-century Christian university, we will consider the "and." Historically, Christian higher education has been a bastion of the interplay between spirit and scholarship. Pepperdine, especially, has for decades been a place where questions of faith live alongside ones of science and statistics. This integration is encouraged and demanded of every member of our community. The "and" is consistent with the academy whose pupils refuse to choose—between wonder and belief, individuality and diversity, tradition and progress. The "and" is the ultimate symbol of unity and builds connections between seemingly divergent disciplines and schools of thought.

Our students are the heroes of this duality in their ambitious pursuit of becoming a whole person who is both competitive and collaborative, flexible and focused, independent and aligned. A commitment to considering all sides and perspectives is also evidence of the Pepperdine culture of inclusivity, as it stimulates the coming together of different backgrounds and beliefs: scholars and athletes, skeptics and spiritual warriors, artists and architects.

In the quest for our vision, this conversation will always continue. There is no end with "and." The very definition of the word will inspire our progress and our openness to exploring the infinite possibilities that will always be limited if we are forced to choose.