Advancing Renewal

by Department of Strategic Communications and Engagement

In October 2021, Azusa Pacific University published its inaugural Renewal Annual Report, which details the progress of the university’s new seven-year strategic plan. As designed and implemented, Renewal: Strengthening Our Capacity for Cultivating Christ-Centered Scholars and Leaders will advance APU as a university of impactful Christian scholars and leaders characterized by best practices of the highest quality. The strategic plan, which launched in September 2020, provides a blueprint for a university-wide commitment to effectively promote and sustain Christ-centered academic excellence for highly diverse constituencies at all degree levels. The annual report features first-year successes in meeting strategic recommendations, references action items and timelines, and highlights a number of significant milestones and achievements related to these five Grand Initiatives:

A Model Christian University

Become the model Christian university for our culture and times: defining engagement with virtue as leading Christian scholars and citizens.

A Thriving University of Choice

Become a university destination of choice for a diverse body of students, faculty, and staff, reflecting inclusive academic excellence.

A Transformational and Collaborative Organization

Build APU’s leadership structure to promote and sustain a newly unified and collaborative approach to transformational university development and impact.

A Recognized Leader in Technology and Data Management

Advance APU as an academic leader in innovative technology and data management promoting insightful decision making.

A Sustainable Financial Enterprise

Create entrepreneurial funding strategies and practices to resource new initiatives and secure financial sustainability. 

Working Groups

As APU returned to campus for the Fall 2021 semester—and for the first time since the pandemic began—it was clear that Renewal had stimulated a new focus and energy across the institution, alongside a heightened collaboration with the Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and Student Government Association leadership. The APU community has embraced the vision and language of Renewal, engaged in learning around the five Grand Initiatives, evaluated their own contributions, and served on 19 Renewal working groups.

More than 280 faculty, staff, students, and administrators participated in the working groups, led by faculty and staff with oversight from the president, provost, or vice presidents, focused on 36 action items laid out by the plan. Each working group delivered either a final report outlining their recommendations to the President’s Cabinet or an interim report of progress with intent to continue their work in 2021-22.

The breadth of topics addressed in these working groups indicates the comprehensive nature of Renewal, and the complexity and interconnectedness of issues APU faces as it seeks to be the premier Christian university of choice for our culture and times. The annual report highlights and gives more detail to this first year of engagement around topics of institutional identity, spiritual formation and faith integration, student enrollment, financial sustainability, strategic communication, church and government relations, APU’s status as a Minority Serving and Hispanic Serving institution, talent management, campus master planning,principle-driven reorganization and right-sizing strategies, a renewed institutional technology and data collection strategy, and more.  

The Year Ahead

The full Renewal Annual Report (2020-21) can be found on the Renewal website ( The fact that this high level of work was performed largely in a virtual environment is remarkable. Despite these restrictions, meaningful engagement by the APU community around Renewal evolved, with tangible evidence that the community has embraced the purpose and strategies of the plan. The language of Renewal has permeated the activities and dialog of the APU community—evidence of a consensus-based approach to strategic planning and reflective of the ultimate goal of the process.

The 2021-22 academic year represents one of transition in a number of areas, most notably in the Office of the President and the impact of the return to in-person learning across campuses. What remains consistent is the commitment of APU faculty, staff, administrators, and Board of Trustees to deliver on our promise of a Christ-centered mission to develop disciples and scholars who seek to advance the work of God in the world. 

Notable Milestones and Achievements

The annual report noted a number of significant milestones and achievements for Azusa Pacific University in the first year of Renewal:



Renewal, APU’s new strategic plan for 2020-27, launches.


$1 million secured for an Endowed Chair in Citizenship and Civic Virtue for the Honors College from the Fletcher Jones Foundation.


APU ranks among top 25 universities nationwide by alumni as reported in Forbes.


Rally with Us (virtual Dinner Rally) raises $1.3 million for student scholarships, an all-time funding record for this event.

1,145 students graduate from APU with undergraduate and graduate degrees. 



APU celebrates the life, service, and impact of Dr. Jon R. Wallace, Azusa Pacific University’s 16th President, with an endowed student scholarship.


President Paul W. Ferguson announces the new President’s Annual Faculty Scholarship Enhancement Grants Program with $120,000 in funding. 


Faculty secure a $650,000 National Science Foundation STEM Grant to fund a first-generation scholar initiative at APU.


APU recognizes the teaching, scholarship, and service of 34 faculty by awarding extended contracts.


1,782 students graduate from APU with undergraduate and graduate degrees. Women’s Track and Field captures the first NCAA national title for APU.


$6.5 million West Campus Student Commons project receives full donor funding.


Despite the challenges of COVID-19, APU ends the fiscal year fully compliant with debt covenants.