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Dean's Updates

April 14

Important Update on Graziadio Summer Term

This communication is intended to provide an update on the summer 2021 term in light of the recent announcement from the public health departments for Los Angeles County and Orange County. As of April 6, 2021, both counties have moved into Tier 3 (Orange Tier) on the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Under the Orange Tier, universities are permitted to have in-person instruction at 50 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. We are encouraged by this news and the progress Southern California is making toward overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will continue to use the latest information from local health agencies to plan for a gradual return to campus.

To ensure we deliver instruction to the highest standards without compromising the health and safety of our community, Pepperdine Graziadio’s vision for reopening is to methodically bring the community back to campus and resume in-person instruction in incremental phases. The majority of the programs will continue in the online modality for the entirety of the summer term, but in phase one of the reopening plan, we will offer in-person instruction for a small number of cohort-based programs that don’t meet on a regular/weekly basis. More details are outlined below.

Phase 1 - Summer 2021

Full-time, part-time, and DBA programs: Academic courses will be offered online as previously announced. Additionally, the personal and leadership development workshops for the BSM and FEMBA programs and the annual DBA conference will be held virtually.

Online programs: No changes are being made to our online BSM and graduate program offerings.
EMBA program: For select cohorts, courses will be offered a hyflex modality that allows for students to attend class sessions in-person or remotely via Zoom. Priority will be given to cohorts who are nearing completion of the program while other cohorts will remain online with the intention of returning to in-person instruction in the fall term. The program kick-off for new students will be held in mid-May via Zoom.

PKE program: Program kick-off for new students and class sessions for new/continuing students will be held in-person at an alternative out-of-state location with fewer restrictions permitted by public health guidelines.
MSOD program: Hybrid foundation courses will continue as planned with the intensive residential sessions taking place at various domestic destinations.

It has been over a year since our transition to the online modality in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re happy to have reached the long awaited turning point and look forward to our gradual return to campus at the start of the summer term. We remain optimistic that we will be able to offer more in-person instruction in the fall as a part of phase two of our reopening plan, and we are excited to begin filling our Malibu and regional campuses with renewed energy.

Best wishes on finals and wrapping up the spring term.

With warm regards,

Deryck J. van Rensburg
Dean

March 1, 2021

Important Announcement: Summer 2021

Dear Student,

With the start of the new year, there are promising signs that a brighter future is on the horizon in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 infection rates are decreasing nationally, as well as in Southern California, and the vaccine rollout is well underway. This past Friday, February 19, the University made an announcement that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will soon permit universities, including Pepperdine, limited allowances for on-campus activities. While a modest and welcome return to certain campus activities are anticipated to be communicated in the coming days, the current guidelines restrict the University’s ability to hold in-person classes on our campuses. Throughout the pandemic, we have remained committed to decision-making that reflects the realities of our circumstances and guidance provided by county/state health officials. We have also prioritized timely communication in the interest of helping our students, faculty, and staff prepare for each upcoming academic term.

To comply with all state and local health guidelines, and in our continuing efforts to prioritize the safety of our community, we have decided to continue the online course delivery format for the majority of our programs in summer 2021. To the extent that limited in-person engagement is feasible for certain programs that do not require weekly class meetings and are able to convene in alternative/less restrictive locations, we will endeavor to accommodate these programs in accordance with applicable health and safety guidelines and with agreement from the faculty teaching teams and students. Given the complexity of our institutional landscape and the varying needs and planning requirements of each school, we should note that this decision is only applicable to the Graziadio Business School. As such, it may not coincide with or have bearing on plans being formulated by other Pepperdine schools.

International Students

The Office of International Student Services (OISS) is anticipating the current guidance issued by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in permitting international students who are currently in the US in F-1 status to remain in legal immigration status for the summer 2021 term with the continuance of the online course delivery modality. The current guidance, however, prohibits new students with a Form I-20 issued for "initial attendance" from entering the US if their program is delivered entirely online. Should you have questions related to this guidance or your immigration status, OISS is ready to assist.

August 2021 Commencement Ceremony

We will continue to monitor state and local health guidelines for holding in-person events and will announce plans for an in-person or virtual celebration at the start of the summer term.

Academic Calendar

The summer academic calendar remains unchanged, starting on May 3, 2021, and ending on August 13, 2021. The program offices will be communicating information about course registration in the coming weeks. Please review program-specific information below for summer 2021.

Full-Time Programs

Academic courses will be offered online for full-time program students starting Monday, May 3 and ending Friday, August 13.

Part-Time/Online Programs
BSM (On-campus/Online), MBAJ, and FEMBA

New students:

Program-specific orientations with faculty and staff will be held in late-April via Zoom.

  • The personal and leadership development workshops will be offered virtually on the weekend beginning May 7.
  • Academic courses will be offered online for part-time program students starting Monday, May 3 and ending Friday, August 13.

Executive Programs

EMBA
Program kick-off for new students will be held in mid-May via Zoom. Academic courses for new and continuing students will be offered online.

PKE
Program kick-off for new students and class sessions for new/continuing students will be held in-person at an alternative location where physical gatherings are permitted by public health guidelines.

MSOD
Hybrid foundation courses will continue as planned.

DBA
Academic courses will be offered online. The annual DBA conference will be held virtually in late-June.

A Brighter Horizon

While current conditions prohibit us from welcoming you back to our campuses for in-person instructions, promising signs are emerging that the pandemic is reaching a turning point. Should conditions improve to the point where broader expansion of on-campus activity may be permitted, we will revise our plans at an individual program level and communicate updates accordingly. Ensuring we deliver instruction to the highest standards while not compromising the health and safety of our community remains our chief priority.

On behalf of everyone at Graziadio, we greatly appreciate your flexibility and patience as we navigate the road ahead. We are committed to having our students return to campus as soon as it is safe to do so.

Warmly,

Deryck J. van Rensburg
Dean

 


 

 

October 26, 2020

Important Announcement: Spring 2021

Dear Student,

With the fall term in full swing, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible dedication of our students who are studying with us from across the world. In spite of time zone differences or other emerging obligations vying for your time, you continue to engage in your academics with earnestness. Alongside you, our faculty and staff are working tirelessly to provide a rich and engaging online learning experience. While we are currently not able to be together in person, we are a community that has forged ahead in the midst of unprecedented circumstances. I commend you for your dedication to excellence and resilience.

As many of you may know, Pepperdine University continues to await specific guidance from the State of California and the Los Angeles and Orange County Departments of Public Health regarding our ability to hold classes on Pepperdine campuses in the spring term. At this time, Los Angeles County is classified in the “Widespread” or “Purple Tier” and Orange County is in the “Substantial” or “Red Tier” according to the State of California Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Consequently, depending on where your graduate campus is located, we are either precluded or substantially limited in our options to hold in-person classes and student gatherings on campus, and we do not currently have a clear understanding from local health agencies of when that may change.

As we look toward the upcoming spring 2021 term beginning on January 4, we recognize the importance of making a clear decision, where possible, on course modality now to help students, faculty, and staff plan appropriately. While we sincerely desire to bring our Graziadio community back together and return to face-to-face instruction, given the persisting uncertainties with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the decision to continue with online course delivery for the majority of our programs in spring 2021. For select executive programs that do not require weekly/frequent class meetings, we are looking into offering in-person instruction that will adhere to health and safety guidelines set forth by county/state health officials. We should note that this is a Graziadio-level decision, informed by a careful assessment of the factors that are most salient for the business school community. It may not necessarily reflect the plans and arrangements being considered by the other schools at the University.

Global Business Intensives

In the same spirit, the required MSGB and MSRE GBIs in spring 2021 will be shifted to an online modality similar to the fall 2020 term. All other in-person, one-week Global Business Intensives (GBIs) scheduled for April 2021 will be suspended. Acknowledging the inherent difficulty in replicating an international trip online, we have curated a meaningful, highly interactive global experience thanks to tremendous creative efforts put forth by the GBI faculty and Global Programs Office. Students who recently participated in the virtual MSGB GBI course in August provided overwhelmingly positive feedback.

More information about the required April 2021 GBIs as well as a possible virtual GBI option for all Graziadio students will be forthcoming from the Global Programs Office.

International Students

We are cognizant of the impact the decision to remain online through spring 2021 has on our international students, particularly for those who wish to pursue Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion of the program. According to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, students need to study in the US for a minimum of two consecutive academic terms to be considered for OPT.

For those who are currently outside the US and enrolled in a campus-based, one-year MS program (MSRE, MSAF, MSBA and MSHR), we have created an option to extend the program to four terms in an effort to help you remain eligible for OPT. Students in the aforementioned programs who started in fall 2020 will have the opportunity to choose completing the program in three or four terms. Provided these students are able to enter the US to attend in-person classes in summer 2021, they will be eligible to apply for OPT based on their program completion in December 2021. I encourage you to connect with your academic advisor in the full-time program office to further discuss the details.

The Office of International Student Services (OISS) will provide more information and next steps for international students. Based on current guidance from ICE, international students who are currently in the US remain in legal immigration status and should not be impacted by the decision to offer an online course delivery mode. Students are encouraged to contact OISS with pertinent questions.

Academic Calendar

The spring academic calendar remains unchanged, starting on January 4, 2021, and ending on April 16, 2021. In the coming weeks, the online modality will be reflected in WaveNet, and information will be forthcoming from the relevant program offices regarding course registration.

More detailed information about the spring 2021 term is provided below.

Full-Time Programs

New students:

  • Online Pre-arrival Orientation will launch in mid-November.
  • Program-specific orientations with faculty and staff will be held in mid-December via Zoom.
  • The personal and leadership development workshops will be offered virtually during the week of January 4.

All full-time program students:

Academic courses will be offered online starting Monday, January 11 and ending Friday, April 16.


Part-Time/Online Programs

BSM (On-campus/Online), MBAJ, and FEMBA

New students:

  • Program-specific orientations with faculty and staff will be held in mid-December via Zoom.
  • The personal and leadership development workshops will be offered virtually starting Friday, January 8.

All part-time program students:

Academic courses will be offered online starting Saturday, January 9 and ending Friday, April 16.

Online Graduate Programs (MBA, MSML, MSHR, and MSBA)

No changes will be made to our online graduate program offerings.

Executive Programs

We are working towards conducting in-person class sessions for the PKE and MSOD programs that rely on a face-to-face experience. As we solidify the details, we will ensure the integrity of the program and academic experience is upheld and guided by public health officials and county/state guidelines. More information will be communicated to you by the program chair/academic director.

EMBA and DBA programs will remain online for spring 2021. Because of the periodic nature of class meetings for these programs, should the situation with the pandemic shift in allowing us to offer some sessions in-person, we will work with the program chair/academic director to thoughtfully evaluate our options and provide appropriate advance notice. Rest assured we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community in our decision making.

Looking Ahead

I am remarkably proud of all our students, faculty, and staff for their unwavering commitment and resilience shown throughout the past year. I strongly believe that our community is truly capable of endless possibilities, regardless of circumstance or obstacles, and look forward to welcoming everyone back on campus when we are permitted to do so. I am excited for the future of our school and everything we have yet to accomplish together as Best for the World Leaders.

With warm regards,

Deryck J. van Rensburg
Dean

 


 

 

July 23, 2020

Fall 2020 Campus Update: Dean Deryck van Rensburg Announces Graziadio Business School Will Adopt Online Courses

Dear Student,

In light of the president’s announcement regarding the University’s plans for the Fall 2020 academic term, the Graziadio Business School will adopt a predominantly online course delivery mode. For most of our programs, courses will be taught in the virtual environment, leveraging various instructional technology tools like our online learning management system (LMS), Zoom real-time video-conferencing, and asynchronous (self-paced) learning activities. In a select few programs, specifically those that do not involve weekly class meetings, we will aim to utilize a combination of virtual and in-person meetings. These adaptations are necessitated by the persisting conditions associated with the pandemic and reflect our chief priority on the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. 

Below is a summary of our Fall ’20 modified plans by program type:

Courses in the full-time MBA and MS programs, and part-time programs, including BSM, FEMBA, and EMBA will be offered fully online for the entirety of the fall term.

  • There will be no changes in the online programs (BSM, MBA, and MS programs).
  • Due to the less frequent nature of class sessions in the PKE, DBA, and MSOD programs, we are exploring the possibility of conducting some in-person meetings during the term. Locations outside L.A. County will be explored when it is safe to do so. The final determinations will, of course, be made with consideration to public health guidelines and local/state level directives. Decisions will be communicated to you by the relevant program office.
  • Please note that our fall academic calendar and term dates remain unchanged. The fall term will begin on August 31 and will end on December 11, with some introductory activities taking place prior to August 31 for new students. In the coming weeks, the modified course delivery modes will be updated in WaveNet, but they will not impact the actual days/times of your class sessions. If you have already been enrolled in Fall ’20 courses, no further action is needed on your part. Should you have further questions about your course schedule, please contact your academic advisor.

The Office of International Student Services (OISS) will be sending detailed communication outlining guidance and next steps for international students. Based on the latest information from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, international students who are currently in the US may remain and should not be affected by the decision to offer a predominantly online course delivery mode. When synchronous attendance is a course requirement, faculty will provide reasonable considerations for students facing significant time zone constraints. International students can be confident that the University and the Graziadio Business School will actively support their ability to remain in full compliance with all visa requirements. Students are encouraged to remain in close contact with the OISS as the fall term progresses.

While the shift to a mostly online learning experience may not have been what many of you had initially anticipated, we are prepared and committed to providing you with a high-quality and engaging learning experience. Our faculty have had a great deal of experience teaching online since 2013 and have developed superb methodologies for creating a strong community of professional connections and robust learning across our curriculum. Graziadio's premium academic experience arises from its small class sizes, outstanding faculty, and robust support services irrespective of delivery mode. In fact, our commitment to providing each student a premier educational experience during the pandemic has required additional institutional investment far beyond any normal academic year.

The past several months have brought tremendous uncertainty and unpredictability to all facets of our lives. They have also inspired creativity, ingenuity, resilience, and flexibility among our faculty and staff to continue to provide rich and meaningful learning experiences in the context of our new reality. While our learning modality has shifted, we remain steadfast in our mission of developing Best for the World Leaders. We stand ready to welcome you to the new academic term and look forward to a fruitful journey together!

With warm regards,

Deryck J. van Rensburg
Dean