Skip Navigation


Pepperdine News and Events

Margaret j. Weber Distinguished Lecture Series - Leaders Inspiring change


Emeritus Dean Margaret J. Weber established the first-ever Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) in 2010. To honor her leadership and legacy, GSEP continues this event series in her name. The Margaret J. Weber Distinguished Lecture Series brings leading agents of change to GSEP to discuss the challenges and opportunities in servant-leadership in communities across the world. The lecture series helps support the GSEP mission of educating students to inspire lasting change in their communities and to lead lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

2014 -2015

Event Schedule 

Thursday, September 11, 2014, 7pm - Pamela Hawley, Founder and CEO, UniversalGiving, "Impacting the World Through Leadership: What's Your Story?"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 7pm - Rebecca Cooper, Author and Founder of Rebecca's House Eating Disorder Treatment Programs, "Current Eating Disorder Technological Research and Treatment Implications."

Thursday, January 15, 2015, 7pm - Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, Barefoot Wine Founders and New York Times Best Selling Authors, The Barefoot Spirit, "The Barefoot Spirit, Guiding Principles For Success."

Thursday, April 9, 2015, 7pm - Dr. Nina Vasan, Physician at Stanford and author of the #1 Amazon Best Seller Do Good Well: Your Guide to Leadership, Action, and Social Innovation, "The Placebo Effect in Social Change: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention."


 Past Lectures

2014   Sexual Assault and Trafficking's Effect on Mental Health and Education


In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness month, the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series featured Minister Danielle Williams, author of From Porn To The Pulpit. From Porn to the PulpitRev. Williams is the leader of "A New You Ministries," which exists to restore, regroup and refocus the youth and women in society to overcome the destruction of the streets, human sex trafficking, and domestic abuse. In her lecture, Rev. Williams discussed the impact sexual assault and human sex trafficking had on her mental health and education.

2014   The Role of Philanthropy in Revitalizing L.A.’s Public Schools.

The Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series welcomed two leaders from the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools: Melanie Lundquist, philanthropist and board member; and Joan Sullivan, chief executive officer.

This independent, nonprofit organization manages 17 public schools, focusing on four tenets: family and community engagement, targeted student intervention, teacher effectiveness, and great school leaders.


Melanie Lundquist
Lundquist is a founding member of the Board of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, past chair of the Advisory Board for Teach for America, and is co-chair of a $165 million capital campaign for the California Science Center. She also lends her support to the Fulfillment Fund's endowment fund for college scholarships, and has taken active roles in Inner City Arts, United Friends of the Children, and Alliance for Children's Rights, among others.

Joan Sullivan
Sullivan oversees all aspects of the organization to ensure students receive a quality education. Prior to her post as CEO, Sullivan served as the Deputy Mayor of Education for Los Angeles. In that role, she oversaw Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's education policy agenda, working closely with the superintendent and board president to transform the nation's second largest school district. She also oversaw the Partnership to accelerate student achievement at scale within the district's lowest performing schools.

2013   Learning in Landscapes of Practice: Recent Developments in Social Learning Theory

Wenger-traynerThe October 5 installment of the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series welcomed two pioneers of communities of practice, Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner.  Any field of human knowledge can be seen as a landscape of different communities of practice, each one contributing a specific perspective. Learning is then a journey through that landscape with people developing their identity in respect to different practices they encounter, join, visit, ignore, or leave. This perspective is the topic of recent developments in social learning theory. In this keynote the Wenger-Trayner's presented these developments and discussed with the audience their applicability to their work.

Etienne Wenger-Trayner is a globally recognized thought leader in the field of social learning and communities of practice. He has authored and co-authored seminal articles and books on the topic, including Situated Learning, where the term "community of practice" was coined. Beverly Wenger-Trayner is a learning consultant specializing in communities of practice and social learning systems. Her expertise encompasses both the design of learning architectures and the facilitation of processes, activities, and use of new technologies. She has published chapters and articles about learning in internationally distributed communities and co-authored a popular toolkit on social reporting. She has also been the creative director of an Open Source platform for networked communities.

2013   Doing Culturally Responsive Education: What Does it Take?

In our increasingly diverse society, all practitioners need to know how to teach and reach young people of all backgrounds. What attitudes, values, dispositions, actions, and practices can help practitioners become culturally responsive?

Dr. Sonia NietoThe Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series invited Dr. Sonia Nieto, a leading authority in the field of multiculturalism and Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy and Culture in the School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst to the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus on May 1, 2013 to address "what it takes" to be culturally responsive by highlighting her latest research with educators from around the nation .

Dr. Nieto has taught students from elementary school through doctoral studies and her research focuses on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of Latinos, immigrants, and other students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She has written many journal articles and book chapters and several books on these topics including most recently Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education (6th ed, 2012, with Patty Bode), The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities (2nd edition, 2010), and Language, Culture, and Teaching: Critical Perspectives (2nd ed, 2010).

2012   Beyond Diversity: Challenging Racism in an Age of Backlash

2012   Modern-Day Slave Hunters

2012   Dr. Ted Baehr

2012   Children of the Night

2011   Doing Well by Doing Good

2010   Inaugural Event Welcomed Social Entrepreneur Leader Jerr Boschee

Helen Easterling Williams Named New Dean of GSEP: Helen Easterling Williams, EdD, has accepted the invitation to serve as the new dean of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP). more