After an extensive nationwide search, Vanguard University President Michael J. Beals announced the appointment of
Dr. Doretha O’Quinn to the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Can you tell the Vanguard community about your college experience?
My college experience began at Life Bible College, Los Angeles, now Life Pacific College, San Dimas. I received a B.A. in Theology and minor in Missions and Christian Education. I did educational coursework at U.C.L.A., Cal State Dominquez Hills and completed the credential program at Biola University. I received my M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Christian School Administration, and my Ph.D. from Biola University in Intercultural Education
After graduation, can you tell us about your post-college experiences?
My post-college experiences have varied widely, bringing some tremendous blessings and opportunities. My path led me oversees before I returned to higher education. I have had the great opportunity to serve at three tremendous universities – Azusa Pacific, Point Loma, and Biola Universities. My academic opportunities also brought a breadth of experiences, including professor, international educator, program director, facility project manager, service learning and cross-cultural engagement development, and also administration roles as an associate dean and as Vice-Provost of Multi-Ethnic and Cross Cultural Engagement.
Our world is incredibly connected, and I have been fortunate to travel to locations all across Africa, China, Indonesia, Israel, Germany, Martinique, London, and Mexico. I even had the great opportunity of serving as a Foursquare missionary assist in Panama. As an author, I have been a chapter contributor in several books and authored Silent Voices, Powerful Messages, the historical influence and contribution of the African American experience to the Foursquare gospel movement. I have served as keynote speaker for educational, church and marriage conferences, been a workshop and seminar leader, and served as a church and school consultant in various areas. Serving on the Foursquare Board of Directors and Board of Trustees have both been highlights of educational experience. There are additional civic leadership organizations in Los Angeles I’ve been involved in.
I most admire my husband’s unconditional love and commitment to God and his word, myself, our children and grandchildren along with everyone he encounters. We recently celebrated our Ruby anniversary of 40 years with a packed house of friends and family joining us and we renewed our covenant to God and one another. He loves serving in ministry leading men, developing small discipleship groups and traveling internationally with me. He is loved and respected throughout the Africa countries we have visited. He was an amazing Basketball coach who taught young men character, Godly principles and built a winning AAU team through their high school years. Several of his players went on to play basketball in college and the NBA, and one of his players is now the head coach of Orlando Magic, Jacque Vaughn. Since we have four children our home was a revolving door because of his commitment to young people.
What has been the biggest surprise being a mother and a grandmother?
One of the biggest surprises being a mother was how totally dependent I needed to be on God for the diversity of my children and their needs. There are no books or counsel that can be given to being a perfect mother, you need the Lord to direct and guide you with his wisdom, patience, love and courage and you still make mistakes. As a grandmother, my biggest surprise was how much I would love this experience and the joy my grandchildren bring. I currently have 7 grandchildren with 1 on the way and they are all different but lots of fun. I believe the biggest surprise overall as a mother and grandmother is how much money you really need because it is hard to say “no.”
One of the most challenging times for my faith was when my granddaughter Zoe, (daughter of my only daughter) was born with Down’s syndrome. She was in the NICU for two weeks and we didn’t know what God would do. We lived in San Diego at the time and came back for a period of time to be of support to my daughter. There were no words we could say, no answers of “why”. What was so hard was I was mom with the answers and I absolutely had none, actually I had my own questions. Using the same experience has been the strengthening of my faith as well. We totally dug deep into the word as our only source and saw God provide several miracles. First, Zoe came out of the NICU and home to her mom. The President of Point Loma Nazarene University asked me to take the leadership of an off site campus back in LA County and we moved to a home unplanned but 5 minutes from my daughter and we could be closer to my daughter within a month after Zoe’s birth. All the markers doctors said Zoe would not make until 3 or 4 she met at 9 months to 2 years. She began school part time at 2 and began catching the school bus at 3 and my husband who is retired is close by all the time and was her first care provider. We have seen a miracle before our eyes which continues to strengthen our faith. Her name Zoe means God-breathe and we see that evidenced daily. She has a younger sister and brother and Zoe is an amazing big sister to both of them.
Who is your biggest role model?
My biggest role model/s was my first pastor’s wife, Dr. Juanita Smith, my grandmother and mother, Dr. Herma Williams, Dr. Gary Railsback, and Harriet Tubman.
What is the best piece of career advice you have received?
Proverbs 18:16 – Your gifts will make room for you… and never seek to open doors for yourself, keep your eyes on Jesus, for men will fail you but He never will. Those you lead and teach will learn by what you say, more by what you do, but mostly by WHO you are…always be a person of integrity.
Let your word be your bond, not a piece of paper!
What do you see are Vanguard’s strengths?
My observation of what I have learned about Vanguard and our strength is the commitment to vision and mission and the impact of the administration, faculty and staff’s lives, compassion and relationships with the students. There is a clear sense that the academic learning environment is one that is integrated with Spirit-filled principles for lifelong learning and influence throughout the world. There is an excitement I’ve observed for the advancement of innovating ways for different academic delivery systems of a Vanguard education. The potential and possibilities of advancing Global and Domestic service learning opportunities for students are exceptional. There are opportunities for new partnerships with the Assemblies of God international institutions and missions to be developed and strengthened.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Christian Higher Education?
Finances are one of the biggest challenges facing Christian Higher Education, and the challenge of families being able to send their students to Christian Universities. With high cost bring enrollment challenges, and federal, state and local aid is decreasing for students in aspiring to attain a degree at a Christina University. The need for both scholarships and endowments is vital for students. Another big challenge is culturally diversifying our administration, faculty, staff and student population to train leaders who advance the kingdom of God for community growth and the development in our culturally diverse communities.
What do you think the next chapter holds for Vanguard?
I believe the next chapter holds great opportunities for Vanguard being an exemplar institution modeling for other Christian and Public Universities how to be influential during difficult times by remaining true to our mission and vision. I also believe a clear strategic plan inclusive of academics, student development, new facilities, finances, etc. that articulates to our stakeholders the direction ahead with benchmarks that are transparent and measured for effectiveness will foster a strong sense of trust and build a closer community. As a recognized Christian University that is a Hispanic Service Institution we will advance our development and outreach for services for all our diverse populations. Throughout the Old Testament God expected the children of Israel to build memorials and celebrate the victories He accomplished. As Vanguard experience new victories, we must allow for a time to remember and celebrate what God is doing on campus. I am excited for our next chapter, and what God has in store for our great university!
To stay updated on the Office of the Provost – http://www.vanguard.edu/provost/