Meet the Staff

  • Mark S. Dickerson, JD, Ph.D.
    Senior Vice President

    Mark S. Dickerson was appointed general counsel of APU in January 2002 and served in that role until 2016. He was named vice president for legal and community affairs of the university in 2003. He has been practicing law since 1976 and has served in private practice, as general counsel for a multinational corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and as a member of a crisis management team addressing the legal and financial issues facing a large charitable organization involved in one of the largest charitable bankruptcy proceedings in U.S. history.

    Dickerson received a B.S. in Mathematics from Grand Canyon University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University. He has an appointment as associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology in the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences and teaches a number of graduate classes. He and his wife, Barbara, have two children and reside in Azusa, California.

    Dickerson oversees the following areas:

  • J. Christopher Jennings, JD
    General Counsel

    Chris Jennings was appointed general counsel of Azusa Pacific University in September 2016. He joined Azusa Pacific in 2011 as the associate general counsel. He is also an adjunct professor in APU’s Department of History and Political Science.

    Prior to joining APU, Jennings practiced law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Los Angeles for eight years, representing major multinational corporations and partnerships in a wide variety of industries. While in private practice, he specialized in antitrust, securities, and legal malpractice defense and gained experience at all levels of federal and California courts. He began his legal career clerking for the Honorable Nathaniel M. Gorton in the United States District Court in Massachusetts.

    Jennings received a B.A. in History and Political Science from APU in 1996, and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 2002. He lives in Pasadena with his wife, Sara (Finley ’98), and their three children. He is a member of Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena and serves on the board of directors for several charitable organizations, including Hillsides in Pasadena.

  • Jason Tavarez, JD
    Risk Manager

    Jason Tavarez began serving as risk manager in March 2017. He joined Azusa Pacific University in 2013 as the contracts coordinator for the School of Nursing.

    During his time at the School of Nursing, Tavarez managed clinical affiliation agreements and worked with various healthcare agencies for student clinical placement. He was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the contract process, from identification of new sites and agreement negotiation to review and finalization with Azusa Pacific’s general counsel. He also negotiated placement opportunities for nursing students in various School of Nursing programs.

    Tavarez earned a B.A. in History, with a minor in biology, from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007, and a JD from the University of La Verne College of Law in 2011. He lives in Claremont with his wife, Volney (Youngstrom ’13, M.A. ’16), and son. Along with his duties at APU, he is a board member for Middle Tree, a nonprofit education center in Claremont.

  • Joyce Foster
    Legal Assistant/Paralegal

    Joyce Foster began serving as legal assistant and paralegal for the Office of the General Counsel in 2002. Prior to joining APU, she began working in the legal field as a court transcriber for two Los Angeles-based court reporting firms. She later worked for two firms in Pasadena, most recently with a firm partner specializing in family law. Her experience in two well-known Los Angeles-area Christian law firms includes personal injury, criminal, and family law.

Last Updated: May 15, 2018