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Pepperdine University Begins Collaborative Investigations on the Intersection of Religion and Sociology at the Center for Faith and the Common Good

The center, led by Pepperdine president Jim Gash and scholar Byron Johnson, supports high-caliber, interdisciplinary research collaborations on the outcomes related to prison incarceration and other social and behavioral services

July 12, 2022

Pepperdine University is beginning several collaborative research projects through the University’s Center for Faith and the Common Good, a research-intensive, collaborative enterprise dedicated to encouraging the scholarly examination of faith structures that affect positive social action and improve results in social and behavioral services.

“Our vision for the Center for Faith and the Common Good reflects the very heart and mission of Pepperdine—to see our Christian faith bring new life to a broken world through research, scholarship, and personal engagement,” says Pepperdine president Jim Gash.

The center was first announced at the President Speaker Series which featured Byron Johnson, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and director of Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. Johnson presented insights from his research on how faith-based practices enhance human flourishing, particularly in prisons. Both Byron Johnson and Pepperdine University president Jim Gash, who are united in their shared passion for improving prison conditions and recidivism, will serve as the center’s executive directors. In April 2022, Johnson also joined Pepperdine’s faculty at the School of Public Policy as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Religious Studies and the Common Good.

Pepperdine vice provost Lee Kats leads the center as academic director, and Cameron McCollum, director of the Caruso School of Law Sudreau Global Justice Institute, offers his expertise as the center’s administrative director. Kats is eager for the center to build on already established research collaborations and connect Pepperdine faculty to scholarly investigators from other universities across the nation. Some inaugural research partners include Grant Duwe from the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Michael Hallett from the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of North Florida, and Andrew Johnson from the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul Minnesota.

To learn more about the center and its inaugural projects, visit the Center for Faith and the Common Good website.

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