Pepperdine University is excited to welcome many new faculty members this year. They all have incredibly impressive credentials and teaching experience, and we’re extremely grateful that they have chosen to join our family. Included in our esteemed list of new faculty are a Bronze Star Medal recipient, a Microsoft Excel applications developer, and a former clerk of the Supreme Court.
We encourage you to learn more about our new faculty and extend a warm Pepperdine welcome the next time you see them on campus.
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Dr. Jason Blakely earned his master’s and PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. His doctoral dissertation was entitled Three Political Philosophers Debate Social Science: Leo Strauss, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor. He is currently coauthoring a book: Interpretive Social Science: A Theoretical Introduction.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Dr. Tomás Bogardus taught at the University of St. Thomas prior to joining the faculty at Seaver College. His work focuses on metaphysics and epistemology as well as the mind-body connection and the rationality of religious belief. Dr. Bogardus has published five scholarly articles. He earned his PhD in philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin.
Assistant Professor of Practical Theology
Dr. David Lemley ('94) has significant ties to the Pepperdine community, as an alumnus, University chaplain, and adjunct professor of religion. His research interests include music and worship, spiritual discernment, lay leadership and emerging ecclesial structures, ethics and eschatology, and worship and spiritual disciplines in missional communities, among others.
Dr. Lemley earned his bachelor's in religion from Pepperdine University, his master's degree from Abilene Christian University, and his PhD in theology and MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Dr. Duane Myer is a former staff analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a senior financial analyst with Sprint. His research interests include strategic marketing, marketing research, segmentation, and consumer behavior. He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Iowa State University, and a master's degree and PhD from the University of Kansas.
Assistant Professor of Italian
Dr. Fiona Stewart is a former faculty member with Pennsylvania State University. Her work encompasses 20th-century Italian literature, history, and culture, and her research interests include Nuto Revilli, Primo Levi and witness literature, neorealist film and literature, and rural Italy and its representation in literature and film. She earned her master's and PhD degrees from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
Dr. José L. Santos joins the GSEP faculty after having been an assistant professor in the Higher Education and Organizational Change division at UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSE&IS) where he was also an affiliated scholar of the Higher Education Research Institute and an affiliated faculty member of the Chicano Studies Research Center. His research centers on resource allocation, public university privatization, and finance policy as it relates to access to education for underrepresented students.
Prior to joing UCLA, Dr. Santos served as a senior institutional researcher and the founding executive director of the Latina/o Policy Research Initiative in the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona. He was also an associate of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, a Distinguished Scholar for the Sudikoff Family Institute for Education and New Media, and an Academic Fellow of the Institute for Higher Education Policy and Lumina Foundation Academic Fellows Program.
Dr. Santos is a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps and earned his BA in Mexican American studies, MA in educational psychology, and PhD in higher education economics and finance policy from the University of Arizona. ... [more]
Dr. Natasha Thapar-Olmos is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in community mental health, college counseling, and counseling in medical and correctional facilities. She has taught on such topics as cognitive behavioral therapy, recovery-oriented services, cultural competence, dialectical behavior therapy, and community psychology.
Her research focuses on multicultural psychology, with an emphasis on South Asian and Asian communities. She served as the communications chair for the Asian American Psychological Association's Division on South Asian Americans, participated in the American Psychological Association's Minority Fellowship Program Psychology Summer Institute, and was a Fellow at the Council of National Psychology Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Interests Leadership Development Institute.
She received her PhD in clinical psychology at UCLA. ... [more]
Director of Clinical Education and Associate Clinical Professor of Law
Professor Jeffrey Baker is an experienced litigator, trial lawyer, and teacher. Prior to joining the School of Law, he was an associate professor of law and director of clinical programs at Faulkner University Jones School of Law. At Faulkner, he taught the Family Violence Clinic, designed and launched the Elder Law Clinic, and supervised the externship program. He coached the school's national championship winning teams in the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition and was named Professor of the Year.
Professor Baker formerly served in the law firm Watkins & Eager where he had a diverse trial and appellate practice in areas including health care, mass tort, and products liability. His work addresses domestic violence and gender justice in families, including intersecting fields of moral philosophy, religion, legal history, social science, and multidisciplinary professional responses. He earned his JD from Vanderbilt University Law School. ... [more]
Professor of Law
Professor Paul Caron is one of the leading entrepreneurial tax scholars in the country. He is the former D & L Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine and previously served as associate dean of faculty and Charles Hartsock Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. A prolific author, Professor Caron serves as Series Editor for two book publishers. In addition, Professor Caron is the publisher and editor of TaxProf Blog.
Named one of the 100 most influential people in tax and accounting by Accounting Today, Professor Caron also serves as vice president of the board of directors of the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) and a member of the LexisNexis Law School Publishing Advisory Board. He is the Herzog Summer Visiting Professor in Taxation at the University of San Diego School of Law and also has served as a visiting professor at the University of Florida College of Law, Florida State University College of Law, and New York University/IRS Office of Chief Counsel Continuing Professional Education Program. He earned his JD cum laude from Cornell Law School. ... [more]
Assistant Professor Law
Prior to joining the School of Law faculty, Professor Ann Ching served more than a decade in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps. During her army career, she prosecuted and defended criminal cases, served as an international law advisor for U.S. Army Pacific headquarters, taught legal research and writing at the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, and served as editor in chief of the Military Law Review. Professor Ching's military awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Humanitarian Assistance Medal for Japan earthquake relief.
Professor Ching teaches Legal Research and Writing. She earned her JD with high honors from the University of North Carolina. ... [more]
Associate Professor of Law
Professor David Han is a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court associate justice David H. Souter and his expertise centers on First Amendment law and tort law. He is a former acting assistant professor of lawyering at New York University School of Law and he has practiced as a litigation associate with Munger, Tolles & Olson where he worked on a broad range of trial and appellate matters.
Before entering law school, Professor Han worked as a strategic planning analyst at Morgan Stanley. He received his JD magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he served as the notes chair of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation, he clerked for the Honorable Michael Boudin on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. ... [more]
Associate Professor of Law
Professor Victoria Schwartz joins the Pepperdine faculty from the University of Chicago Law School where she was a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and lecturer in law. At the University of Chicago, Professor Schwartz taught a seminar entitled Business Perspectives on Workplace Privacy, as well as legal research and writing. Her research interests include contract and business law, employment law and discrimination, privacy law, and intellectual property.
Prior to joining the University of Chicago, she practiced as a litigation associate with O'Melveny & Myers LLP where she focused on complex and appellate litigation, contract law, entertainment law, and intellectual property. While at O'Melveny, Professor Schwartz taught at the UCLA Ninth Circuit Appellate Clinic. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School where she was the senior editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. ... [more]
Professor of Law
Prior to joining the Pepperdine faculty, Professor Ahmed Taha was a professor at Wake Forest Law School, an attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., an associate with Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, and a corporate finance analyst at McKinsey & Company.
His research focuses primarily on consumer and investor protection law. This research reflects both his training in law and in economics in which he holds a PhD. His work has been discussed in national media outlets, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is also the 2011 recipient of the Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award at Wake Forest University School of Law. He earned his JD from Stanford University. ... [more]
Practitioner Faculty of Applied Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Max Ellzey (MBA '95, EdD '08) is an executive and organizational development coach and consultant specializing in the areas of organizational culture transformation, leadership development, organization change, change management, training, group facilitation, and team building. Over the last 25 years, Dr. Ellzey has worked with a wide-range of companies, including AT&T, KIA Motors, Mercedes Benz, and Symantec to redesign organizational structures, streamline business processes, and improve cross-cultural communication and team problem solving.
In addition to being a lecturer of applied behavioral sciences at Graziadio School of Business and Management, Dr. Ellzey is the leader of The C12 Group — a group of Christian CEOs in the Los Angeles area who strive to conduct good business by utilizing biblical principles.
Dr. Ellzey holds an MBA and an EdD in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University. ... [more]
Practitioner Faculty of Decision Sciences
Dr. Robert Emrich ('91, MS '98, EdD '03) has been teaching decision sciences since 2002. For the past 10 years, Dr. Emrich has been developing and publishing Microsoft Excel-based tools for easily conducting a range of statistical analyses, as well as several manuals and statistical workbooks for learning statistics using real-world data. These tools have been incorporated into the curriculum at numerous colleges and universities.
In addition to his contributions to higher education, Dr. Emrich also consults as an applied statistical analyst in fields ranging from health care to nonprofit management and has contributed as a statistician to numerous published research studies in fields such as health sciences, organizational behavior, and political science.
Dr. Emrich holds an MS in philosophy of religion and an EdD in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University. ... [more]
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Dr. Jim Salas is an assistant professor of marketing and has more than 12 years of corporate sales experience with AT&T, where he specialized in strategic account management and sales management. Dr. Salas' research focuses on the implementation of service infusion strategies among traditional industrial manufacturers.
Dr. Salas is a member of the PhD Project, American Marketing Association, and Academy of Marketing Science. He recently obtained his PhD from Arizona State University, where he also lectured and won multiple awards, including the Ken Coney Doctoral Student Outstanding Teaching Award two years in a row. ... [more]
Visiting Instructor of Communication
Ms. Broccard has served as the speech lab director at Pepperdine since 2011 and as an adjunct faculty member in the Communication Division since 2012. She also has professional experience as a communications consultant and an ESL teacher.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Dong brings teaching experience from the Claremont Colleges, where he was a visiting assistant professor. He has three journal articles in print and has given six poster presentations.
He received his PhD in organic chemistry from UCLA.
Visiting Instructor of Religion
Ms. Harmon brings teaching experience from Abilene Christian University, where she taught as an adjunct professor. She is currently working toward her PhD at Catholic University of America's School of Theology and Religious Studies. Ms. Harmon was involved extensively at her home church in North Carolina, where she served as an adult Bible class teacher and a small-group ministry leader.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Highfield received his PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Riverside.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Great Books
Dr. Hoang brings adjunct teaching experience from California State University, San Bernardino and the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on two areas: non-communist intellectual and cultural history in urban South Vietnam and the history of Vietnamese immigration to the U.S.
He received his PhD in history from the University of Notre Dame.
Graziadio School Executive in Residence
Ms. Johnson has 20 years of consulting experience in IT, management, and process. She was the partner and owner of Strategic Vision Consulting for six years before selling the company to Cognizant Technologies in 2008.
Ms. Johnson is a client partner at Cognizant, where she supervises over 100 team members.
Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine
Dr. Klika's professional experience includes working five years as the laboratory director for the CTS Performance Center in Aspen, Colorado, and training members of the U.S. Olympic ski, swim, and Nordic teams. Dr. Klika has presented at numerous conferences and has published several peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals.
Dr. Klika has a PhD in exercise science from the University of Texas at Austin, and he received postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health.
Visiting Instructor of Theatre
Ms. Mazor has taught at the Art Institute of Orange County and Fordham University, among others. In addition to holding numerous freelance director positions, she has worked as the resident director of Disney Entertainment Productions and as the artistic director of Voice and Vision Theatre.
Visiting Instructor of Communication
Mr. McKissick in no stranger to Pepperdine. He has taught classes as an adjunct faculty member in Seaver's Communication Division and Fine Arts Division. His professional experience includes working in new media production and marketing with companies such as Embeddedin.la, Conquistador Entertainment, Doma Theater Company, Aysen Entertainment, Push Offices, Trouble Maker Studios, and Visual Addiction Studios.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Media Communication
Dr. Na'puti comes to Pepperdine after serving as an adjunct professor at Southwestern University. Her research interests include indigenous cultural discourses, resistance, social movements, globalization, and postcolonial theory. She has published three book chapters and presented at numerous conferences on these topics.
Dr. Na'puti received her PhD in communication studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Visiting Instructor of English
Mr. Schultz has served as an adjunct professor in Seaver's English department since 2008. He has also taught at the University of Michigan and Concordia University. Mr. Schultz' poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies and has won several awards.
Visiting Instructor of Dance
Mr. Szobody started teaching and choreographing Seaver's Fine Arts students in 2008. The following year, he became director of Pepperdine's dance company, Dance in Flight. Mr. Szobody has performed on professional stages across the globe, including Spain, Tokyo, Chicago, and Broadway. His choreography credits include Hello Dolly, Sweeney Todd, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Damn Yankees, Anything Goes, and many more.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
Dr. Trammell began serving as an adjunct professor at Seaver College last year after teaching at Penn State University. His research focuses on the dynamics of the upper atmospheres of gas-giant planets orbiting other stars.
Dr. Trammell has worked on UV/optical surveys of active galaxies with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite, as well as spectrograph performance analysis of instruments on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope of the McDonald Observatory.
He received his PhD in astronomy from the University of Virginia.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Varotto has taught at Loyola Marymount University and the City University of New York and has worked as a consultant/chemistry writer at the American Institutes of Research. His areas of expertise include DNA technology, organic synthesis, fluoro-materials, bio-nanotechnology, the fabrication of nanomaterials, and more.
Dr. Varotto has published numerous journal articles and owns a patent. He received is PhD in chemistry from the City University of New York.