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Academic Conferences and Lectures


Faculty and Staff Leadership Conference 2024

Friday, September 27, 2024 | Location to be announced.


Pepperdine Dialogue Dinners

The Pepperdine Dialogue Dinners promote discernment through discussion. The dinners are intended to provide regular, structured opportunities throughout the academic year to deepen our community’s engagement with high-quality speakers who come to campus, as well as to increase opportunities to engage one another through open dialogue. The four lectures that will be partnered with the dialogue dinners include the keynote address from our Faculty-Staff Leadership Conference, the first lecture in the President’s Lecture Series, the annual Reagan Lecture hosted by the School of Public Policy, and the spring D.W. Baird Lecture hosted by Seaver College.


University Faculty Conference 2023

The Probability of Virtue

Malibu, CA | Friday, September 29, 2023 | 8 AM - 4 PM (PDT)

As our society experiences an ever increasing automation of human interactions, where do we encounter the embodiment of virtues? Do traditionally held virtues such as integrity, compassion, justice, and wisdom still have a place in today’s academy? As a Christian university, can we build consensus around shared virtues to which we aspire as a professoriate? This conference aims to address these questions as well as issues of faith, diversity and community belonging, and technology in our teaching and scholarship. 

The program will feature keynote speaker Dr. Francis Su (Harvey Mudd), author of Mathematics for Human Flourishing, as well as remarks from President Jim Gash and Provost Jay Brewster. The afternoon will include a panel on the future of AI, featuring Dr. Mark Warschauer (UC Irvine, School of Education).  The day will include interactive breakout sessions, and we will conclude the program with our annual teaching and research awards, which offers an exciting time of celebration for our community.  Join your colleagues for an enriching, rejuvenating, and thought-provoking day of dialogue and fellowship. Full-time faculty can register through their personal invitation and link to the registration website in their Pepperdine email.


Faculty and Staff Leadership Conference 2022

October 7, 2022 | Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village

The 2022 Faculty and Staff Leadership Conference has been developed with a theme of Flourishing at Pepperdine. The one day event will gather our community of faculty and staff together for engaging conversation and to celebrate exceptional examples of flourishing. The morning keynote presentation will be offered by philosopher and best-selling author, Dr. Matthew Crawford.  A research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, Crawford has authored three books including Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, and Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road. The afternoon keynote presentation will be offered by Dr. Ilana Horwitz, the Fields-Ryant Chair in Contemporary Jewish Life at Tulane University. Her presentation will focus upon her recent book - God, Grades, and Graduation: Religion's Surprising Impact on Academic Success. The conference will include four breakout sessions focused upon Self Care, Community at Pepperdine, Faculty Scholarship, and Best Practices in Teaching.  

University Faculty Conference 2019

Provocative Ideas. No Easy Answers. The Future of Higher Education.

October 4, 2019 | Elkins Auditorium, Malibu Campus

Join us for Provocative Ideas. No Easy Answers. The Future of Higher Education, the annual faculty conference at Pepperdine University this fall. We will take this time to discuss the disruptive forces affecting higher education and the specific issues facing Pepperdine University today and in the future.

The plenary speaker is Ryan Craig, co-founder and managing director of University Ventures and author of A New U: Faster and Cheaper Alternatives to College. Named in the Wall Street Journal as one of the Books of the Year for 2018, Craig's book addresses topics such as the rising cost of college tuition, increasing popularity of online courses, and lower college graduation rates.  Craig received bachelor's degrees summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and a law degree from Yale Law School.  Our conversations will be centered around shared governance, diversity, and the provocative questions we face here at Pepperdine University and in higher education at large.


Faculty and Staff Leadership Conference 2018

We are One, Made of Many

October 5, 2018 | Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village

Join President Benton and world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker and Pulitzer Prize winning, New York Times #1 best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin at this year's Leadership Conference, as we explore the theme, We are One, Made of Many: Living out Pepperdine's Mission. Goodwin's seventh and most recent book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, is the culmination of her five-decade career of studying the American presidents. We will hear from Goodwin on the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership as exemplified by Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. This discussion will provide an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders as we continue to strengthen our students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.


University Faculty Conference 2017

Pepperdine University and the Future of Higher Education

October 6, 2017 | Malibu Campus

Join your colleagues as we discuss the future of higher education and Pepperdine's place in that future.

The plenary speaker for this event is Michael F. Adams, Chancellor and Distinguished University Professor at Pepperdine University. A nationally recognized leader in higher education, Chancellor Adams has over 40 years of expertise in educational administration, marketing, communications, and government relations. In 2015, he returned to Pepperdine where he previously served as vice president for university affairs from 1982 to 1989. He has been a distinguished college president, first at Centre College (1989 to 1997) and then at the University of Georgia (1997 to 2013), and he has chaired the American Council on Education, the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the NCAA. He holds a PhD in political communications from The Ohio State University where he was a graduate fellow, the Graduate School's highest academic recognition.


Faculty and Staff Leadership Conference 2016

October 7, 2016 | Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village

Bestselling author and New York Times writer David Brooks will join President Benton in conversation to explore the benefits of providing students with spiritual and moral direction in a higher education context, and highlight how we can best encourage students to dream bigger, love deeper, and be inspired toward greater things. Pepperdine strives to prepare the whole student for success and Brooks, in his book The Road to Character, challenges us to shift the cultural conversation surrounding success away from the "resume virtues" of wealth, status, and power, and toward the "eulogy virtues" such as honesty, dignity, courage, self-acceptance, service, and love.


University Faculty Conference 2015

Challenges and Opportunities: Trends in American Higher Education

October 2, 2015 | Malibu Campus

Please join colleagues in a discussion of the pressing challenges and opportunities facing higher education, specifically faith-based higher education.

The plenary speaker for this event, Molly Corbett Broad, President of the American Council on Education (ACE) since 2008, is a nationally recognized spokesperson for American higher education and the first woman to lead ACE since its founding. Prior to her role at ACE, Broad served in many administrative and executive positions, including president of the University of North Carolina and vice chancellor for administration and finance and chief operating officer at the California State University system. She currently holds chair positions on the boards of PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) and the Parsons Corporation. Throughout her career, Broad has written and spoken widely on strategic planning for higher education, K – 16 partnerships, information technology, globalization, and biotechnology. Her expertise in these areas and others has transformed her into a leading voice in 21st century American higher education.


University Faculty Conference 2014

Teacher to Teacher: Supporting Excellence in the Classroom

October 3, 2014 | Malibu Campus

To be a college professor in today's landscape of higher education poses unique challenges and opportunities—advancing digital and mass communication technologies, demographics, competition, public scrutiny, and even relevance. Newly appointed provost Rick Marrs will provide our keynote and reflect on what it means to be called to the 21st-century professoriate.