The leaders of the Pepperdine Voyage intend for this project to be student centered at every turn. At the same time, if we hope to make the "theological exploration of vocation" a central dimension of our university culture, then we must equip our faculty to work with this theme in meaningful and creative ways.
The faculty development component of this proposal will consist mainly of seminars on "Faith, Learning, and Vocation," offered for faculty, staff, and administration by the Pepperdine Center for Faith and Learning.
The Voyage grant invited Pepperdine faculty members from all five of its schools to apply for funds that would help them develop new courses that address faith and vocation within their discipline. There are already several courses throughout the university which fit into the category of the "theological exploration of vocation" and we have seen the creation of several more with the help of this funding.
Dr. Lisa Bauer, Seaver College, Social Science Division
Death, Dying and Bereavement
Dr. Bauer's class examines the psychological, social, legal and spiritual aspects of death, dying and grief. Particular attention is given to the "vocation" of dying and caring for the dying.
Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Samuel Seaman, Graziadio School of Business and Management
Virtue in Business
This class explores the value of virtue for contemporary business leaders in capitalistic economies. The course examines the classical virtues and vices from the perspective of the three great western faiths as well as literary resources to motivate students to explore virtuous commerce.
Dr. Melanie Howard, School of Law
Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship
The goal of this course is to develop social entrepreneurship as a vocation that students can pursue directly upon graduation from law school as well as apply its principles into other disciplines and sectors.
For several years, the Center for Faith and Learning has offered "faith and learning" seminars that focus on the theme of vocation in two specific ways: (a) the vocation of the Christian university and (b) the vocation of the Christian scholar/teacher.
These seminars have now expand their scope in order to highlight a third dimension—a consideration of how we can best communicate a theological vision of vocation to our students. To achieve this objective, we use books like Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak, Richard Hughes' The Vocation of a Christian Scholar, Frederick Buechner's The Sacred Journey, Lee Hardy's The Fabric of This World, Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie, Gary D. Badcock's The Way of Life, and Gordon T. Smith's Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential. With this third dimension, future seminars are advertised as seminars in "Faith, Learning, and Vocation."
Since we seek to make the "theological exploration of vocation" a central dimension of Pepperdine University culture, we have opened these seminars not only to interested faculty, but also to interested staff members and administrators from all the schools that make up the University. While some of the seminars, therefore, are held on the Malibu campus, others are held at Pepperdine's other campuses and educational centers.
The Planning Grant Committee determined (a) that seminars for new full-time, tenure-track faculty should include all new faculty in all of Pepperdine's schools, (b) that a seminar format should be adopted that would allow for at least one full week of intensive discussion based on substantial readings, and (c) that the seminars should be held at a location where participants are free from local distractions.
New Faculty retreat group in Assisi
The new faculty seminars are therefore held at one of Pepperdine's International Programs sites during the summer term break. Members of Pepperdine's faculty, dispersed throughout Southern California, serve in six different educational centers. This week of intensive study, conversation, and fellowship abroad contributes to institutional cohesiveness and a shared institutional vision. In addition, this experience acquaints all new faculty with Pepperdine's international programs. Pepperdine University through the Center for Faith and Learning now provides full funding for this program.