Academic Leadership

Holly M. Irwin Headshot

Holly M. Irwin, Ph.D.

Vice Provost, Academic Administration
(619) 849-2706

Dr. Holly Irwin is the vice provost for academic administration (VPAA). She has been a member of the PLNU community since 1998. She began as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, serving 12 years with the last five years as department chair. Her line of inquiry during this time entailed the impact of learning styles among college students as well as the effect of study abroad experiences on college students. 

April Cordero Headshot

April M. Cordero, Ph.D.

Associate Provost of Educational Effectiveness
(619) 849-2328

Dr. April M. Cordero is the Associate Provost of Educational Effectiveness. She has been a member of the PLNU community since 2007 starting as faculty in the Department of Biology and the Director of the University NOW program. Her research focused on developing more effective approaches for teaching biology that enabled students to develop not only factual knowledge, but biological ways of thinking and reasoning about the living world. 

Jeff Sullivan Headshot

Jeff Sullivan, Ph.D., ATC, CES

Dean, College of Health Sciences
(619) 849-7962

After graduating from PLNU, Dr. Jeff Sullivan became a certified athletic trainer, then taught at San Jose State and Oregon State before returning to his alma mater, where he has taught since 2003. His expertise is in pathology to the shoulder and cervical spine. 

Headshot of G. James Daichendt

G. James Daichendt, Ed.D

Vice Provost for Academic Studies, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities
(619) 849-2412

G. James Daichendt, Ed.D. is an art critic and journalist for KECT's Artbound, the nation's largest public television station. Daichendt holds a doctorate from Columbia University and graduate degrees from Harvard and Boston universities.

Deborah Erickson headshot

Deborah Erickson, Ed.D.

Dean, School of Education
(619) 849-2332

Dr. Deborah Erickson has served as dean of the School of Education at PLNU since 2013. Prior to her current appointment, she was a full professor and the assistant dean of the Graduate School of Education at California Lutheran University, where she also directed the educational leadership program for six years.

Headshot of Michelle Riingen

Michelle Federe Riingen, DNP, RN, CNS-BC

Dean, School of Nursing
(619) 849-7908

Through the privilege of being part of the faculty at PLNU, Michelle Federe Riingen has the opportunity to teach courses at the pre-nursing, sophomore, senior, RN-BSN, and graduate levels. Her vocation as a nurse is synonymous with her mission field, in which she hopes to be a witness to new and experienced nurses alike as they partner to learn and serve others. To whom much is given, much will be required. (Luke 12:48)

Rebecca Laird headshot

Rebecca Laird, M.A., D.Min.

Interim Dean, School of Theology & Christian Ministry
(619) 849-2993

Dr. Rebecca Laird teaches Christian formation and pastoral ministry courses. She had a first career in publishing while she was actively involved in urban church planting in San Francisco. An ordained minister, she has served churches in New Jersey and California and led more than 40 spiritual retreats. She has written or co-written seven books including Ordained Women in the Church of the Nazarene.

Jamie Ressler Headshot

Jamie Hess, DBA

Dean, Fermanian School of Business
Professor of Marketing
(619) 849-2721

Dr. Jamie Hess joined the Fermanian School of Business (FSB) in 2013 as a full-time professor of marketing. She came to PLNU with more than ten years of experience in academia. Her professional background in marketing and fundraising included serving as the marketing director of the Armory Art Center and the director of corporate and foundation relations at Palm Beach Atlantic University.