Facebook pixel Pepperdine University Skip to main content
Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University Announces Leadership Appointments



August 24, 2023 – Malibu, CA – Pepperdine University provost Jay Brewster announced three leadership appointments today. Each of these appointments are within the Office of the Provost, with oversight of key academic functions of the University.

Brewster commented, “I am thrilled to welcome these exceptional faculty members into new administrative roles. Their experienced leadership will strengthen our academic community and will serve the mission of Pepperdine University.”

Lila McDowell Carlsen has been appointed as interim vice provost for the current academic year. Her responsibilities include oversight of the Office of Research, Grants, and Foundation Relations and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. McDowell has served as a professor of Hispanic studies at Seaver College and associate provost. In her work as associate provost, McDowell was chair of the University Academic Council, chair of the Faculty Conference Committee, and led several initiatives in support of faculty.

David Smith, who has served Pepperdine for more than 20 years as a professor of economics at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and served as associate provost for six years, will serve as senior associate provost with new responsibilities in information technology and academic initiatives. In his prior roles, his responsibilities have included Pepperdine programming and partnerships in both online and international locations.

Jennifer Smith, an associate professor of English, has been named associate provost. Her expanded role will include oversight of the Office of Student Accessibility and serving as chair of the search process for the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence. Smith will also continue to serve as the associate director of the Center for Faith and Learning and as the convener of Dialogue Dinners hosted by the Office of the President. 

About Pepperdine University
Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University is an independent, Christian university located 30 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles in scenic Malibu, California. The University enrolls approximately 10,300 students across its flagship liberal arts school, Seaver College; the Caruso School of Law; the Graziadio Business School; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; and the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Follow Pepperdine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Media Contact

Public Relations Office