John F. Kennedy University

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John F. Kennedy University

John F. Kennedy University has been an innovative education institution in the San Francisco Bay Area since it opened in Martinez, California, in 1965 with just over 50 students.

The University's mission is to provide new opportunities in higher education for working men and women who, despite a full range of life responsibilities, are determined to earn the benefits of advanced education to improve their future.

JFK University pioneered the commitment to lifelong learning for adults in the Bay Area; such opportunities were not available at the time in any other part of the California state education system.

Throughout its existence, JFK University has expanded its programs and services, added and changed locations, maintained its innovative whole-person approach, and increased its enrollment and alumni in the process of fulfilling its mission.

Today, the University serves nearly 2,000 students who study for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. We honor more than 12,000 alumni who apply their education locally and around the world. And each year we touch the lives of more than 30,000 people in Bay Area communities through outreach centers and a variety of public programs.

During its 45 years as an education innovator, JFK University has created programs in new fields such as integral theory, museum studies, sport psychology, and holistic health. In established fields such as management, psychology, and law, JFK University carved special niches for talented, experienced, lifelong learners who value education rooted in practice, taught by seasoned professionals, and offered on schedules that accommodate busy adults.

In 2004, JFK University opened a new permanent campus in Pleasant Hill, easily accessible to the 680 freeway, for programs in Continuing Education and all five JFK University schools: Graduate School of Professional Psychology, School of Education and Liberal Arts, School of Holistic Studies, School of Law, and School of Management. Also, in 2004, the Museum Studies program joined the Arts and Consciousness program at our Berkeley campus.

JFK University continues to grow, extending the breadth and reach of its programs. The Berkeley campus has grown to now offer courses from the School of Law and a fast-track two-year Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology cohort program. And the University has gone online, beginning with the first Master of Arts and Certificate programs in Integral Theory, offered in conjunction with the Integral Institute.

Service to the community also remains a significant component of the mission of JFK University. It continues to provide affordable mental health services through its counseling centers in Pleasant Hill, Sunnyvale, and Oakland, which celebrated its 25 years of service to the Bay Area in 2007. The University now also has law clinics on its Pleasant Hill and Berkeley campuses, providing free legal services to low-income clients in the areas of housing and criminal defense.

Today, JFK University's College of Professional Studies, College of Undergraduate Studies, College of Law, and Continuing Education Department offer more than 20 certificate and degree programs at the University's three Bay Area locations and online.

To be the learning environment of choice for those seeking a transformative and life-enhancing education experience.

To provide access to high-quality, innovative educational opportunities that integrate theory and life experience. We inspire personal, professional, and academic growth and advance the well-being of our diverse local and global communities.

This mission is built upon our core values.


  • Accessibility: We are a vibrant and humane learning community that embraces all forms of diversity. Our locations, schedules, curricula and technology afford students maximum flexibility. Our culture is welcoming, respectful and ethical.
  • Quality and Innovation: Our courses of study are delivered by outstanding scholar-practitioners in a creative and challenging environment. We promote holistic, interdisciplinary, experiential learning that balances breadth and depth. We are responsive to the changing needs of our students and society.
  • Transformative Growth: We are dedicated to students who want to continue their formal education, chart new professional directions and/or derive greater meaning from their lives. Our rigorous academics and whole-person orientation stimulate intellectual inquiry and inspire students to realize their potential and achieve their dreams.
  • Diversity: We are committed to a culture that respects and values all forms of diversity and sparks creativity, collaboration, and leadership.
  • Global World View: We respect individual and cultural differences while forging bonds of common understanding essential to our global interdependence. Our programs encourage active and sustained contributions to our society and environment.

John F. Kennedy University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Accreditation entitles the University to participate in federal student financial aid programs. The University is approved for veterans' training.

The College of Law is accredited by The Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. This accreditation permits graduates from John F. Kennedy University College of Law to take the California Bar Examination upon graduation and, when the graduate passes and complies with all other admission requirements, to practice law anywhere in California, in both state and federal courts.

Study at, or graduation from, this law school may not qualify a student to take the bar examination or be admitted to practice law in jurisdictions other than California. A student who intends to seek admission to practice law outside of California should contact the admitting authority in that jurisdiction for information regarding its education and admission requirements.

The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program is accredited* by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and the Master of Business Administration programs are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).

The Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies and Paralegal Certificate programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

The English Language Program is accredited by the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP).

JFK University Continuing Education (CE) is approved by:

  • The American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to provide continuing education for MFTs and LCSWs (provider #PCE 3555).
  • The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) to provide continuing education for registered nurses (provider #02354).
  • The California Foundation for the Advancement of Addiction Professionals (CFAAP/CAADAC) (provider #4-C-95-322-1109).
  • The State Bar of California to provide minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) for attorneys (provider #9067).

*Accredited, on probation.

Diversity Statement
"A Living Culture of Diversity" Developed by the Diversity Task Force in collaboration with the University community. Approved by President's Leadership Team on June 16, 2009.

Origin: Our diversity statement originates with these excerpts from the JFK University mission statement:

"We are a vibrant and humane learning community that embraces all forms of diversity."

"Our culture is welcoming, respectful, and ethical."

"We are committed to a culture that respects and values all forms of diversity and sparks creativity, collaboration, and leadership."

"We respect individual and cultural differences while forging bonds of common understanding essential to our global interdependence."

Definition of Diversity at John F. Kennedy University
John F. Kennedy University defines diversity across lines of both culture and ideas. Diversity is viewed as differences in multiple dimensions of culture, including the following: race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual/gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, veteran status, linguistic ability, learning differences, age, immigration status, and national origin. John F. Kennedy University recognizes that diversity also includes differences in values, beliefs, ideologies, and political perspectives, all working toward the common goal of a "living culture of diversity." We understand diversity is not a static list of fixed identities but rather is reflective of the changing and interdependent nature of human experience.

Vision of a Living Culture of Diversity
In service to our mission of academic excellence, John F. Kennedy University strives to embody a Living Culture of Diversity. We recognize that a diverse school environment is one that supports the academic community in gaining the awareness, knowledge, and skills to work effectively with all people. We understand that this goal is an ongoing process requiring an active commitment from all levels of our University. John F. Kennedy University is dedicated to developing a supportive, diversity-rich environment. Recognizing the impact of negative attitudes and systemic discrimination at all levels of individual and group interaction at our University, in our local communities, and in the wider social/global milieu, JFK University seeks to establish a Living Culture of Diversity, characterized by these five principles:

  1. An ongoing practice of openness and respect for people with experiences, beliefs, and traditions different from our own;
  2. An understanding that diverse cultural backgrounds, life experiences, challenges, and values of faculty, students, staff, and administrators creates a dynamic learning community vital for academic excellence;
  3. A recognition that, in alignment with our commitment to academic excellence, openness to difference exposes students and faculty to broader perspectives, fosters deeper critical analysis, and opens new vistas for scholarly inquiry;
  4. A commitment to eradicating intolerance, oppression, prejudice, discrimination, and harassment in all interactions within the JFK University community in order to impact, through our example, the local, national, and global communities we inhabit. We appreciate the value of self-reflection in reaching these goals; and
  5. A commitment to supporting and providing accessibility of education and resources to equip the student body, faculty, and administration with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to "work together across our differences to forge the bonds of understanding essential for success in our interdependent global community."

Implementing a Living Culture of Diversity
A multi-step draft plan for implementing this policy has been completed by the Diversity Task Force.

In drafting the implementation plan, the Diversity Task Force was informed by the collective input of the University community, 2008 Diversity Climate Survey results, work of previous Diversity Affairs Councils on JFKU campuses, and a survey of best practices at other institutions. The plan includes consideration of the current campus climates, course curriculum, teaching proficiencies, representation in hiring and student recruitment, connecting with our community, student success, systems of administration, and sustainability.

John F. Kennedy University has three campuses in the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Pleasant Hill Campus
  • San Jose Campus
  • Berkeley Campus

Position Summary
The President of JFK University works in close collaboration with the Chancellor of the National University System and the JFK University Board of Trustees, as well as with a wide range of internal and external constituencies to provide overall leadership and direction for the institution. The President is expected to foster and build upon the existing strengths of the University and to provide the leadership and vision to guide its future course, ensure continued growth and innovation, and extend the breadth, reputation, and reach of its programs.

The agenda of JFK University's next President will include:

  • Promoting teaching across the University both within and across disciplines extending the breadth of and reach of its programs;
  • Engaging and building the faculty and administrative teams providing necessary resources to further JFK's standing and reputation among the constituencies it serves;
  • Evaluating resources and institutional strengths, setting ambitious goals, developing plans for realizing those goals, and consistently communicating progress toward them to key constituents; Building a high-performance, collaborative, service-oriented leadership team; and,
  • Fostering meaningful relationships with constituents, including faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community leaders, thereby engaging them in the life of the school and creating a sense of ownership, camaraderie, and shared destiny.

Key Relationships
Reports to:
Chancellor, National University System
JFK University Board of Trustees

Major Responsibilities
In addition to the broad intellectual perspective, distinguished background, and strong leadership characteristics that are required, the President of JFK University is expected to:

  • Lead the University effectively, building a sense of unity, collaboration, and common purpose.
  • Articulate a clear academic and organizational vision for the University and its various units that defines its place among other institutions of higher learning and distinguishes is as a service provider of choice to the Bay Area community.
  • Demonstrate an inclusive style of leadership and the ability to build bridges among potentially competing interests and differing points of view.
  • Communicate openly with all the University's constituencies -- including, students, faculty, alumni, administration, staff, the Board of Trustees, and colleagues at the National University System -- to clarify issues, lead innovative change, and elaborate decisions.
  • Maintain an appropriate balance of investment in and support for a diverse portfolio of academic, creative, and social programming in keeping with the University's mission and priorities.
  • Exercise fiscal responsibility with University funds.
  • Ensure the continuity of JFK University's reputation in the dynamic growing marketplace for highly effective, cost efficient and quality-driven post-secondary education.


Ideal Experience
JFK University will excel with a President who is excited about leading a non-traditional institution whose mission is to provide access to high-quality, innovative educational opportunities that integrate theory and life experience, and whose vision is to be the learning environment of choice for those seeking a transformative and life-enhancing educational experience. The next President will be a visionary and collegial leader who is excited about and capable of positioning an institution for relevant and innovative growth, expanded community service and engagement across the Bay Area.

The ideal candidate will be an effective communicator who brings energetic, imaginative, and thoughtful leadership. Specifically, she/he will have an experience base that includes the following:

  • Record of professional accomplishment and leadership experience in the field of higher education and/or a combination of academe and other fields of endeavor such as business, government, foundations, or nonprofit enterprise.
  • Demonstrated commitment to nontraditional education and a vision for its role across the academic landscape today.
  • Qualities of intellectual depth, presence, stature, and stamina, as well as skill in communicating with diverse groups of people.
  • Development of high performance organizations through the principles of team development, focused objectives, transparency, accountability, and performance measurement.
  • Record of building financial resources, maintaining and improving infrastructure, and investing resources strategically.

Critical Competencies for Success
Entrepreneurial Leader
Be a leader of change - a persuasive motivator who sets a tone of excellence, stimulates entrepreneurial thinking, and inspires excitement and pride among all of the University constituencies about its potential. Continually assess the University's ongoing needs in relation to current and future educational and societal trends, think ahead of these dynamics and pursue new strategic opportunities that address the needs of the diverse groups comprising our nation and the world.

Institution Builder
Lead the advancement of the institution's capabilities, assets, and reputation in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing higher education environment by:

  • Evaluating resources and institutional strengths, setting ambitious goals, developing plans for realizing those goals, and consistently communicating progress toward them.
  • Providing institutional support through forward-thinking investment in best-in-class technology, infrastructure, and administrative upgrades.
  • Leveraging existing relationships to build and expand partnerships and to enhance the University's reputation and financial strength while providing prudent fiscal management to ensure that the University's resources are effectively maximized.
  • Recruiting, developing, and retaining excellent faculty and administrators, delegating requisite authority to them and providing a climate in which they can function at maximum performance.

Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be submitted electronically in total confidence. Application materials should include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, and full contact information for three references. This search is being assisted by executive search consulting firm SpencerStuart. Applications should be submitted to

John F. Kennedy University is an affiliate of the National University System.