Name: John Back.
Title: Dean of Student Development.
Education: Taylor University, Indiana, BA in Religion, emphasis in Christian Ed; Azusa Pacific, MA in Social Science, emphasis in Student Affairs & Higher Ed.
At Biola since: June 1986.
StrengthsFinder top five? Arranger, Maximizer, Connectedness, Empathy, Belief.
1. What do you do in your job (briefly)?
I represent and educate others across the university spectrum in regards to the co-curricular educational aspects of the university. This is accomplished in part as I serve as an active member of the Council of Instructional Deans, and the Council for Academic and Student Administration. The departments that come under the office of the Dean of Student Development are Leadership Development, Student Communications, and the Associate Dean for Spiritual Development, including the departments of Spiritual Life, Chapel Programs, and Chapel Accountability.
2. The five (or so) most influential books you've read:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Pearl by John Steinbeck
- The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck
- The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
- Experiencing God by Richard and Henry Blackaby
- The Stand by Stephen King
- The Hungering Dark by Frederick Buechner
3. An influential person in your life/hero/best example of love? My Mom.
4. Why are you at Biola? I truly believe Biola is a place that desires first and foremost to bring honor and Glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. I also love working with students and seeing them succeed and I believe Biola has one of the most intentional Student Development staffs that you will find anywhere.
5. A guilty pleasure: An afternoon in thrift shops, a morning of garage sales or a 3 piece KFC original lunch.
6. If God put you completely in charge of creating Heaven, what would it be like? Something on the lines of Frank Gehry.
7. What book have you read in the last year that you wish all your friends could read? The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
8. A book you would insist your children read? The Pearl by John Steinbeck.
9. What is the most difficult choice you've ever had to make? The choice to leave a job, family and friends in order return to college and finish my undergraduate degree. What made it difficult? I was going to have to finance it on my own, and I was the first in my family to go to college...... it was a whole new world for me. What factors helped you make that choice? My belief that God was in the middle of it and that He had made the way possible for me.
10. What is the most risky thing you want to try doing? Answering this question.What is keeping you from doing it? Answering this question.
11. What are five things you are most thankful for in your life right now?
- My wife Jeanne, my son Kenny and my son Kyle
- North Hills Church of Brea
- My colleagues here at Biola
- The guys in the Men's Bible Study that I have been a part of for the last 4 years,
12. In difficult times, who would you most want praying for you? My wife Jeanne
13. What was the greatest peer pressure you felt as a teen/college student? To drink, smoke and have sex..... Hey, I grew up in a small midwestern town!
14. Do you think it is possible to live with no regrets? It's possible, but difficult. I believe God has a purpose for everything that happens in our lives... how we choose to deal with it is our decision... once made, we learn from those decisions and move forward.
15. What is your definition of success? Living out the person you believe God created you to be. Do you consider yourself to be successful? Yes.
16. How much is your self-worth and identity determined by your job and your success at it? My worth is not determined by my job, yet living out my vocation in my work gives self worth and identity. I feel blessed to be immersed in work that allows me that opportunity.
17. What are the most important things you look for when choosing a church? One that seeks to honor God above all else, facilitates spiritual growth in its members, and is welcoming.
18. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? The first sight of my two boys.
19. What are the 3 questions you most want to ask God?
- What was your favorite denomination?
- What would you have rathered me do?
- What has been the best excuse you have heard?
20. In what areas of your life is it most difficult to trust God? Money....... but He has taught me a great deal through our Church's recent Capital Stewardship Campaign.
21. What does contentment mean to you? Living with the confidence that I am living out a life that honors God in my daily life. How close are you to that, now? Closer than yesterday and hopefully not as close as tomorrow.