Welcome From Director Gary Selby | Pepperdine University | Seaver College

Welcome From Director Gary Selby

Gary Selby

Dear Visitor,

I would like to welcome you to the web page for the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the work that we do. 

The Center for Faith and Learning seeks to unite what many in the academy would separate:  the life of faith and the life of the mind.  The graduate schools that prepare Pepperdine faculty do an outstanding job in training them in the skills of their particular disciplines, but few of our faculty have been encouraged to consider how their work as a scholar and a professor relates to their vocation as a person of faith.  Recognizing that there were few resources to support faculty in this integrative endeavor, Pepperdine founded the Center for Faith and Learning in 1999 to help the university achieve its mission of combining academic excellence and Christian commitment.  While we are fully aware that there is no single model for what constitutes the successful integration of faith and learning in our classrooms, nor is there only one answer for how our faith might inform our scholarship, the Center is committed to the proposition that the separation between our various disciplines and our faith is neither intellectually sustainable nor personally satisfying. 

Since its founding, the Center has developed several programs to support faculty and students in all five schools of the University as they seek to engage in cutting edge, original scholarship and classroom teaching within a framework of Christian beliefs and values.  These programs include new faculty retreats, faculty development seminars, promoting faculty scholarship, and hosting national conferences.  The purpose of these endeavors is to sustain a conversation about how religious insights bear on the work that we do as scholars, administrators, and students, knowing full well that absent this constant nourishment the conversation will die and we will have failed to live up to the mission of our university. 

The university’s mission statement positively affirms “that truth, having nothing to fear from investigation, should be pursued relentlessly in every discipline.  That spiritual commitment, tolerating no excuse for mediocrity, demands the highest standards of academic excellence.”  The programs supported by the Center for Faith and Learning evidence this kind of academic integrity and commitment.

What makes our commitment to these values somewhat unique in higher education, however, is that they come to us out of a deep respect for the religious heritage of our university and as a consequence of our own religious values.  We are faithful in our pursuit of truth not because it is an academic value, in short, but because it is a Christian value that is intimately connected to the Christian intellectual tradition. 

The Center for Faith and Learning has an important role to play in sustaining the conversation about faith and learning, in nourishing religious commitments, and in promoting the grace filled life of the mind for students, faculty, and administrators at Pepperdine University. 


Gary Selby