By: Bethany Erb
Watching Jennifer Tyner, PUC’s newest Vice President for Student Life, Enrollment and Marketing, breezily walk through the doors of the Grind, it’s not hard to imagine her juggling the dizzying array of responsibilities coming with her promotion. Calm and passionate, she radiates a contagious enthusiasm for revitalizing PUC. Sitting down with her in The Grind, I got the chance to ask her a few questions about her new job (and get the scoop on exciting changes coming to PUC).
Q: What is your offcial title? A: My new title is Vice President for Student Life, Enrollment and Marketing. Basically, I am responsible for recruiting new students and creating an amazing extracurricular environment on campus to retain students. Departments and programs such as admissions, public relations, residential life, campus ministries, and student leadership and engagement are under my guidance.
Q: What are your main goals so far? A: Improving the student experience and boosting enrollment. PUC has so much to offer students. I want to make sure we are supporting students as they develop into the individuals God has called them to be. Student leadership mentoring is a big passion of mine. I think it is one of the benefits of a small liberal arts college—in a tight community, students should have amazing opportunities for mentoring. I also want the PUC community to have thoughtful discussion about student accountability and how we address upholding PUC’s student code of conduct. Enhancing our students’ spiritual experiences (including reviewing the current worship requirements), building our counseling services, and revitalizing our residential life programs are also priorities. Dr. Cushman and I will be working on a new initiative to impact student career exploration and outcomes. At the end of the day, I’m here to help students be successful. Appreciating or creating practical ways to create that success is my highest responsibility.
Q: Your goals are ambitious! Do you anticipate any challenges? A:Of course. People and institutions can be uncomfortable with change and find security in the ‘status quo.’ But it’s easy to overvalue traditions and forget that this generation of students is remarkably unique in its collegiate experience. In many ways, some of PUC’s rules and structures haven’t caught up to this generational shift and its needs. It will be a daunting challenge to sift through the bureaucracy and ‘red-tape’ to ﬁgure out what PUC students need to be successful, not what we may think they should need. Limited resources and a somewhat outdated student handbook are also challenges requiring patience and pragmatism. I’m not against tradition, of course, but our changing world demands an evolving educational system to meet the shifting landscape of a2 world we are preparing our students to go out and impact. It’s my job to help ﬁgure out what that system should look like for PUC.
Q: What do you like about this new job so far? A: I LOVE being more personally involved with PUC students. Cultivating sustainable relationships with such a diverse community of young people gets me up in the morning…it’s why I do what I do. Being able to have a prominent role in meeting their academic, social and spiritual needs is an honor, and it’s not something I do not take lightly. I’m a “ﬁxer” by nature, so when students come with reasonable, thoughtful critiques, it’s an amazing experience to help ﬁnd solutions.
Q:How does being PUC’s Vice President of Student Life, Enrollment and Marketing compare with your previous work at La Sierra University in Student Life? A:The responsibilities are much greater here. Juggling student life programs along with enrollment management and more can get hectic. Working at La Sierra was similar, but it had a different, maybe more streamlined, operational structure. In contrast, PUC has a lot of unique policies and systems. While some of the red tape here is unfamiliar to me, and sometimes it feels like I’m stuck in a tangled ball of yarn just trying to make sense of it all, I find it easier to make changes at PUC! I am really grateful for the support of the faculty with these changes. I love ﬁnding solutions, and PUC has a lot of unexplored potential just waiting to be tapped into.
Q: If there’s one thing you could tell students at PUC, what would it be? A: I just want students to know we are in the middle of an exciting turnaround plan to make PUC thrive. With an expanded vision comes time for appropriate planning and implementation, so your patience and understanding are really appreciated. This is a time for you to feel the administration is here to listen to you. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment, stop me in the Grind, or email suggestions or critiques to me. YOU are part of the solution to make the PUC experience amazing.