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Faculty Handbook

Pepperdine's Mission

Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

A. Introduction

The mission of Pepperdine University has remained consistent during its history. The statements of mission, direction, and values that the University affirms today are built on the foundation of George Pepperdine's founding address (1937), the Pepperdine University Affirms statement (1970), and The Mission of Pepperdine University (1982).

B. History

A successful businessman, Mr. Pepperdine founded George Pepperdine College to implement his vision of a college based upon Christian values for men and women from all walks of life. To read the original Founders Day Speech, please refer to our News and Events page. He donated the funds to purchase thirty-four acres in Los Angeles. With 167 students, the College was dedicated on September 2, 1937. Mr. Pepperdine was an active leader in the Churches of Christ, with which the University has maintained a vital relationship since its inception.

From 1937 to 1970, Pepperdine University was primarily a small, undergraduate liberal arts college. In 1971, with the addition of professional schools, the College became Pepperdine University. Through the generous support of Mrs. Frank Roger Seaver, the current 830-acre Malibu campus was dedicated in 1972. Seaver College (the undergraduate school), the School of Law, the School of Public Policy, and the University's principal administrative offices are located on the Malibu campus.

The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management (GSBM) and the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) are professional schools headquartered in Los Angeles. Though primarily focused on educating adult professionals, both schools offer residential programs on the Malibu campus.

C. Pepperdine University Today

Today, Pepperdine University is a selective, mid-size, comprehensive university offering bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in a wide range of disciplines. Pepperdine University enrolls approximately 8,000 full-time and part-time students, with a full-time faculty of more than 300 professors and scholars. The University is particularly proud of its role in the greater Los Angeles area, one of the most vibrant and exciting regions of the world, providing students with enriched learning and service opportunities.

Pepperdine operates campuses in England, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, China, and Argentina, for study-abroad programs. It offers regular programs in many other countries, for both graduate and undergraduate students, and has developed strategic alliances with world-class universities throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America to facilitate student and faculty exchanges.

The University's main campus is in Malibu. The University has other graduate campuses throughout Southern California. The newest campus, The Drescher Graduate Campus in Malibu, serves the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, The Graziadio School of Business and Management, and the School of Public Policy.

D. Values

The most distinctive feature of Pepperdine University is its commitment to academic excellence in the context of Christian values. Mr. Pepperdine's original statement of purpose in 1937 continues to resonate with the mission of the University today:

Therefore, as my contribution to the well-being and happiness of this generation and those that follow, I am endowing this institution to help young men and women prepare themselves for a life of usefulness in this competitive world and to help them build a foundation of Christian character and faith which will survive the storms of life.

This dual commitment to academic excellence and Christian values is more fully articulated in the affirmation statement in the University's catalogues and publications:

As a Christian University, Pepperdine Affirms:

That God is

That He is revealed uniquely in Christ

That the educational process may not, with impunity, be divorced from the divine process

That the student, as a person of infinite dignity, is the heart of the educational enterprise

That the quality of student life is a valid concern of the University

That truth, having nothing to fear from investigation, must be pursued relentlessly in every discipline

That spiritual commitment, tolerating no excuse for mediocrity, demands the highest standards for academic excellence

That freedom, whether spiritual, intellectual, or economic, is indivisible

That knowledge calls, ultimately, for a life of service

E. Governance

The University is governed by a forty-member, self-perpetuating Board of Regents. To maintain the University's vital relationship with the Churches of Christ, the majority of regents are members of the Church. Regents are selected to represent a broad diversity of community and professional interests. The authority of the regents and the relationship with the Churches of Christ are defined in the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. This religious affiliation is central to the University and its programs.

F. Educational Programs

The University implements its mission through a variety of educational programs. In each school and program, the University strives for: (1) an excellent and demanding educational experience that focuses on the student as the heart of the learning experience, and (2) a values-centered focus that challenges the student to examine the moral, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of learning and life.

Seaver College, a highly selective undergraduate college of approximately 3,000 students, offers a rigorous core curriculum with majors in a variety of disciplines, such as business communication, fine arts, the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and religion. Selective master's degree programs are also offered by Seaver College.

The University's four professional schools offer graduate programs in management, education, psychology, law, and public policy. While providing a values-centered education within their disciplines, each of the four professional schools emphasizes the University's mission of service to others through societal leadership. Beyond the traditional graduate programs in these fields, the University offers a broad range of programs for adults engaged in lifelong learning.

G. The Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff support the University's mission of academic excellence and Christian values. Faculty serve as role models and mentors, as well as teachers and scholars. The faculty are committed to the primacy of teaching and learning. Virtually all faculty members (96 percent) have earned terminal degrees in their disciplines. Students and alumni consistently cite the quality, accessibility, and caring nature of faculty and staff as among Pepperdine's major strengths.

H. The Students

Pepperdine students come from all fifty states and more than seventy nations. The students represent a wide variety of religious, cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The University embraces this diversity, which enriches the educational process. Students of all ages are enrolled, reflecting the University's commitment to lifelong learning.

I. The Alumni, Parents, Friends, and Advisors

Pepperdine is supported by a strong and vibrant constituent network composed of alumni, parents, friends, donors, volunteers, and advisors. The more than 70,000 alumni of Pepperdine University are highly successful in both graduate study and in a wide variety of professions. Alumni join parents, friends, and donors in serving the University through a variety of volunteer advisory boards, support councils, and committees.

J. Distinctiveness

The University is blessed with many assets to achieve its aspirations — a clear vision and mission, a consistent and guiding spiritual heritage, an intellectually vibrant and caring faculty and staff, excellent students, small student-focused classes, a strong core curriculum combined with leading-edge programs, a unique global perspective, a commitment to diversity, a beautiful campus in one of the world's most exciting regions, and strong alumni and community support.

Among the 3,500 colleges and universities in the United States, and the thousands more abroad, Pepperdine aspires to establish its distinctive place. Pepperdine University seeks global recognition as an academically outstanding, mid-size, comprehensive university grounded in Christian values, dedicated to strengthening its graduates for lives of purpose, service, and leadership in the twenty-first century.