Board of trustees retreat covers upcoming year

The board of trustees met over January at an off-campus retreat to discuss finances, administrative details, and a new theme for 2011.

Michelle Hong, Writer

The board of trustees grappled with multiple university issues and reflected on foundational governance standards during the board retreat Jan. 13-15.

President’s Administrative Council strengthens team

Bolstered by the conviction that a university runs efficiently when overlooked by a collaborative and synced governing board, the President’s Administrative Council (PAC), trustees and a number of faculty members and their spouses spent three days addressing future plans, while strengthening relationships by spending extensive time in prayer and participating in the more buoyant team building activities.

Members of the board of trustees and the PAC administrators separated from spouses to discuss agendas and reports, while spouses met simultaneously to contrive and organize upcoming events. During this time, the governing board deliberated and made decisions on multiple facets regarding the university budget and administrative duties.

Retreat includes important changes

Revisions were made to a preliminary summary of expenses, which included approval for tuition, housing and meal plan rates. The average tuition discount rate will remain the same as last year’s rate at 25.3 percent. The discount rate corresponds to merit-based and need-based aid given to students directly from the universities budget and excludes any aid or grants given to students through federal agencies. Approval for a 3.66 percent increase from last year’s price tag for undergraduate tuition was granted by the board, which translates into an additional $1,056 to last year’s $28,852 for a new sticker price value of $29,908. The trend for increasing rates has also impacted living and meal plan costs, both of which have been increased by over one percent from last year.

Tasks include administrative details

Albeit much focus on finances, there were also deliberations regarding administrative tasks. Douglass Hoffman was commissioned as the department chair of the biblical and theological studies department in the Talbot School of Theology. Retirement plans for all levels of employees were also discussed. Irene Neller was unanimously appointed to the position of Vice President of University Communications and Marketing, and will continue to serve the university alongside other PAC members.

”Building Blocks” theme permeates

Focusing on the theme of “Building Blocks for a Healthy and Missional Board,” the retreat featured Robert Cooley, president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, experienced governance consultant and friend and mentor to Biola president, Barry Corey.
The literal translation of “building blocks” was incorporated into the retreat by an activity that was described as “lively” and “energetic” by Corey.

The close proximity of the attraction theme park, LEGOLAND, to the Grand Pacific Resort where the retreat was hosted, inspired the decoration committee to feature Lego-inspired decorations. Jessica Nelson, staff member of the marketing division, designed three-dimensional Biola landmark figures, which each table of guests had to re-build using Lego blocks, courtesy of Jack Wingard, design studio manager in the marketing division.

Prayer takes priority

Prayer and reflection were considered the most fundamental part of the retreat.
“Precious times of prayer are a priority of this board as we lift up the needs of the Biola community and institution as well as intimate prayer for one another as brothers and sister on the board,” Corey said.

The retreat opened with “a word from the Word,” by Dr. Jonathan Lunde, Talbot professor.
In a released summary of the retreat, President Corey said, “This retreat marked the first occasion in more than two years when [the] board has convened at an off-campus venue.”

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