“Lively, honest and most definitely approachable!” Molly Petersen, Assistant Director of Housing and Resident Director of Finch Hall, said with a glowing smile as she described the new PLNU Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life, Jake Gilbertson, Ed.D.
Gilbertson, a PLNU alum (06’), explained his new roles for the university. But before jumping into policy and administration, Gilbertson first shared his journey with PLNU.
The Philosophy and Theology graduate shared his involvement with the community — reflecting that his time here at PLNU was so much more than just hitting the books. “I was heavily involved in several activities.” Some of these activities included Great Escapes, Residential Life, Class Counsel, Chapel Scanners and a number of Intramural sports.
After graduation, Gilbertson became a youth pastor for several years before he returned to PLNU in 2008 to serve in multiple capacities, including the Resident Director of Young and Goodwin, Assistant Director of Residential Life, and Director of Community Life before taking on his new position in July.
Jumping back from memory lane to our present day, Gilbertson explained his new positions. Starting with the Dean of Students, Gilbertson smiles and says the role “is not a loved position on our campus. Dealing with student conduct, enforcing university policy and upholding Title IX is not a crowd pleaser.” Gilbertson continued by sharing the several advantages to his position, which included being able to listen to student experiences and allowing them to be heard, show intentionality with others, and having hard conversations— conversations like PLNU’s alcohol policy. Gilbertson explained there are “good reasons why the Nazarene’s put this into place, but the issue is complex in our community. This leads to hard conversations, but my hope is that these conversations lead to better decisions.”
Gilbertson also shared some details about his position as the Director of Residential Life and what students should looking forward to this year. Gilbertson explains that there comes a “challenge of living with difference— but we want to reflect the chapel theme of ‘One’ and live that out in doing life together. Overall we want students to know that we care.”
Resident Director of Wiley Hall, Chip Pitkin further pushes this point by telling students to reach out. Being a long-time friend of Gilbertson, Pitkin describes Jake as “joyful, loyal, and seven (you Enneagram nerds will get that one). Underneath the playful humor is a man deeply concerned with the wellbeing of people. I would challenge you students to meet with Jake one-on-one and go deeper, because you’ll be encouraged and maybe even surprised with whom you find yourself across from at the table.”