Students in the courtyard

The Great Divide

Nel Noddings' Philosophy of Education positions the practice of caring as a fundamental aspect of education, one that urges students to consider their influence on each other's lives and pursue collaborative and communal methods for learning. This democratic process explained by the esteemed philosopher is key to thriving as engaged citizens in a pluralistic culture and expanding our capacity to love. In fact, it is the uniquely human qualities that we possess that enable us to keep pace with the evolving nature of society and industry. But as we continue to be influenced by polemics, cynics, and paradox, many are turning away from humanity, a direct result of pursuing the very advances that are meant to engender societal progress.

As society sits at the cusp of the swiftly approaching smart machine age, and industry continues to favor artificial intelligence to human innovation and interaction, humanity is confronted with another risk to its relevance: automation. In this new reality, it is imperative that humans harness their innate abilities to listen intently, think critically, and engage with empathy—qualities that even the cleverest machines can't match—and partner them with technological advances to lead the next generation of progress and innovation.

At Pepperdine these virtues are manifested in all we do—in the integrity demonstrated by our community every day, the dignity with which we connect with our neighbors, and the basic goodness of the principles we endeavor to uphold. These values are not incongruent to learning. In fact, they are the very forces that help bridge the great divide between society, industry, and self and create educational contexts in which love, compassion, and profound humanness are vital components in the process of teaching and learning.

Seaside Residence Hall

Seaside Residence Hall, the largest undergraduate housing structure on the Malibu campus, opened its doors this August to approximately 420 students. After nearly two years of construction, the new 120,000-square-foot facility features 54 eight-person, four-bedroom suites, each with spacious, deluxe accommodations.

Part of the Campus Life Project, the opportunity to design and develop a new building from scratch allowed the University to think critically about creative and innovative ways to incorporate sustainable practices throughout the structure, respond to accessibility needs in the physical spaces, and create an environment for students to engage in fellowship.

"The intentional focus was to create spaces that support the academic mission and provide the safe home environment that allows students to grow personally, spiritually, academically, and in new, lifelong relationships," says Austin Oakes ('07, MBA '13), executive director of planning, operations, and construction at Pepperdine.


Pepperdine places in the top 50 universities in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2019 Best Colleges rankings.

Eric Wilson

The student demand for spiritual mentorship has increased substantially at Seaver College over the last few years, especially among seniors. In order to effectively meet this demand, the Office of the Chaplain pairs interested student mentees with faculty and staff mentors, and in some cases, students act as mentors to help guide their peers.

According to associate chaplain Eric Wilson, Christian communities nationwide witnessed a notable rise in youth ministries, school campus ministries, and faith-based camps for kids and teens around the year 2000. As a result, current college students who grew up in that era have become accustomed to receiving spiritual counseling.

"People are searching for actions much more significant and robust than just going to the same church, hearing the same sermons, and practicing the same rituals," explained Wilson. "Freshmen in college may feel off-balance and overwhelmed, so they understand the value of a competent spiritual mentor normalizing their experiences for them. During their senior year, they want a mentor to help them understand the mysteries that lie ahead in the real world."

Pete Peterson, center

A new dispute resolution specialization is now offered within the master of public policy (MPP) degree curriculum at the School of Public Policy. Created in partnership with the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the School of Law, the new program establishes Pepperdine as one of America's only graduate policy programs to offer such a concentration and the country's only joint MPP/MDR program.

"We often say that we're a school committed to ‘bringing the public back into public policy.' This new specialization—with its focus on how we can solve our public challenges in more collaborative ways—is a logical extension of this mission," explained Pete Peterson (MPP '07), dean of the School of Public Policy. "We're living in an era known for its polarization—especially in the public square. Through this course work, we intend to prepare leaders with both policy expertise and the skills to work across differences, whatever they may be."


of Seaver College graduates interned, engaged in student-teaching, worked on or off campus, or participated in undergraduate research as students.