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Correspondence from Town Hall on Presidential Transition and OnePLNU

Screenshot of Mary Paul, vice president for Student Life and Formation, presenting priority one on Zoom.

Point Loma Nazarene University students and faculty were invited via email to a Zoom town hall meeting on Jan. 30 intended to inform the campus community about the presidential transition process and provide updates on the OnePLNU priorities.

University President Bob Brower began with preliminary enrollment information about undergrad (2,577), adult (419) and graduate school (1,244) students. Brower will leave in the late summer of 2024 following an almost 30-year stint as PLNU’s president. However, his imminent departure has been met with questions due to leaving before his contract has concluded.

PLNU is accredited by the Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission and Brower said he wanted to leave early so the next president had time to get settled before the next evaluation. Brower said if he stayed until his contract’s completion he would leave between the spring and fall WASC visit and, “that didn’t seem to be the best, or wisest, or most helpful.”

Brower said he thought a new president in place for those visits would be the strongest way to propel PLNU into its future. Brower stated his immense trust in Board of Trustee Chair Reverend Doug Pierce during the transition.

Pierce explained some of the technicalities and behind-the-scenes work the Board does when looking for and electing a new president. The presidential election is a two-thirds vote from the Board via ballot for a term of three years. As soon as the vacancy of president is known, it is the Chair’s responsibility to appoint a search committee and search chair. A firm will be brought in to help with filling the position and Nell Becker Sweeden will head the search committee. 

Sweeden is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene as well as a PLNU alum.

Pierce said that the 16-member search committee was larger than normal, but felt needed for the task. No election was needed for the search committee members as mandated by the Board policy manual. The chosen firm will be on campus in February to develop a profile; however, they will also be “seeking additional input from the broader Point Loma community.” 

Brower introduced OnePLNU, a document for bettering and clarifying campus goals. The OnePLNU document is attached below and can also be found at https://www.pointloma.edu/about/university-overview/oneplnu

Mary Paul, vice president for Student Life and Formation, presented priority one, “Mission Fidelity – Faithfully Attending to Mission Vitality and Expression. Walter Augustine, associate vice president for diversity and belonging, introduced priority two, “Diversity and Belonging – Intentionally Fostering a Flourishing Christian Community.”

Augustine said they have spent the last year finding key strategies to implement these ideals on campus and are currently developing a document explaining why priority two is important to the community. 

Vice Provost of Academic Administration Holly Irwin announced priority three, “Tomorrow’s Academy – Educating students for a dynamic future.” Irwin shared they are working on an initiative that would see a general education revision proposal from the allotted task force by the end of this semester. She also mentioned increased emphasis on the study of biotechnology. Joe LaLuzerne, CFO, ushered in priority four, “Financial Stewardship – Intentionally securing our future.” LaLuzerne said there are plans to aggressively reinvest in PLNU’s endowment.

Jeff Bolster, vice president for university services, said the campus master plan is now public on the school’s website with additional parking, increased food options and constructing a fitness center as a few points of contention. However, Bolster said nothing has been approved or funded yet.

Brower concluded the meeting with, “I hope you get a sense that this is a place that is moving forward with great direction and a great future.”

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