GREENVILLE, S.C. (October 5, 2023) – Updates on the progress of the University’s 2021 – 2024 Strategic Plan, changes in recruitment strategy, and approval of the FY24 budget highlighted the Fall 2023 meeting of the Bob Jones University Board of Trustees held on campus Oct. 4 – 5.
During the two-day meeting, the Board heard testimonies from faculty and had dinner with members of the Faculty Advisory Committee, academic deans, and the executive team and their spouses.
Chairman of the Board Dr. Sam Dawson expressed appreciation to the transition team —Dr. Alan Benson, Dr. Gary Weier and Dr. Bruce McAllister — for their leadership in carrying the University’s mission forward while the Board is conducting a search for the next university president.
Regarding the next step in the presidential search process, the Board approved the updated Presidential Profile to be placed on the presidential nomination website which will go live by Oct. 20.
Dr. Benson, acting CEO, began the discussions of the 2021 – 2024 Strategic Plan with an overview of what the University has accomplished to date on 15 of the 17 plan initiatives. “While keeping the plan true to the founder’s purpose and mission, we wanted this plan to facilitate forward thinking and momentum and continually enable us to increase the positive impact we have on students,” said Benson.
The Strategic Plan consists of three goals: Focus on Student Success, Pursue Strategic Growth and Invest at Home.
Key to accomplishing Goal One has been the development of the Center for Biblical Worldview to deepen the comprehensiveness of biblical worldview in the total student experience and the development of experiential learning courses (EXPs) which provide students practical, real-world career preparation. Beginning in 2027, every student who earns a bachelor’s degree will complete two EXPs—one for an associate degree. Goal Two involves increasing enrollment in both on-campus resident and non-traditional programs and strengthening our focus on prospects close to home. Goal Three has focused on compensation and benefits, employee training and development and the campus culture.
In follow-on discussions, the Trustees endorsed changes in key enrollment strategies including aligning admission counselors by types of academic programs, better coordinating Admission and Financial Aid and making campus visits more strategic. Plans also call for temporarily bringing in an external marketing partner to supplement the efforts of our in-house marketing team.
The Board unanimously approved the FY24 budget which demonstrates BJU’s strengthened financial position of increased revenue and is focused on cost management. The Board also reviewed the first quarter financial reports which indicate we are trending positively.
Regarding academic programs, the Board approved two new degree programs—an Executive Doctorate in Professional Leadership, DPL and a bachelor’s level degree in Strategic Communication.
The Executive Doctorate in Professional Leadership, DPL prepares working professionals to lead organizations and individuals to higher levels of performance and effectiveness. It is aimed at individuals with a master’s degree and at least five years of leadership experience. The program requires 60 credits from 14 four-credit courses and four credits of dissertation research. The program will initially target BJU’s graduates in business, education, healthcare, and ministry.
The BS degree in Strategic Communications is designed to meet the increasing need for individuals with strong strategic communication skills who can design, implement, and evaluate research-informed communication strategies. It focuses on statistics, research and writing, as well as creative storytelling.
Trustees received reports from other administrative areas such as BJU Seminary; the School for Continuing, Online and Professional Education; and Advancement and Alumni Relations.
BJU Seminary is pushing hard toward its goal of 500 pastors on their way to the pulpit in five years. Biblical counseling programs are growing and BJU Seminary is on its way to becoming an Association of Certified Biblical Counselors Training Center. We have had several exploratory meetings with overseas schools regarding establishing training hubs to extend the reach of the Seminary.
The School of Continuing, Online and Professional Education is seeking to continue to grow the adult learner segment of its market. SCOPE is also looking to expand course opportunities with Answers in Genesis and multiple faith-based organizations.
Advancement is continually gaining success in applying for and obtaining grants to support academic-related research projects. Alumni Relations is implementing a number of initiatives to strengthen relationships with donors, cultivate new donors, and communicate with alumni to keep them engaged.
“God has richly blessed Bob Jones University for which the Board is grateful,” said Dr. Dawson.