Skip Navigation


Graduate Programs in Psychology

Social Justice Collaborative


The Social Justice Collaborative (SJC) at the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) Irvine Graduate Campus was developed to provide a space for students to engage in critical dialogue around sociopolitical and cultural issues impacting families and communities.

SJC supports graduate-level psychology and MFT students and trainees in fostering sociopolitical and cultural awareness and responding to issues of oppression and inequity. The "collaborative" aims to initiate student involvement in activities that promote social responsibility; encourage students to interact in a stimulating forum; and foster the sharing of experiences, curiosities, and critiques related to multicultural issues, social inequalities, and working in diverse, underserved communities.

Specifically, SJC is interested in issues related to:

  • Social responsibility in clinical settings.
  • Techniques of assessment and treatment of specific groups with attention to social location, context, and diversity within the therapeutic relationship.
  • Collaborative, multisystemic, relational, and socially responsible therapy approaches.
  • Community demographics and intervention with children and families in Southern California and surrounding geographical areas.
  • Personal biases and values, and how to manage self-of-the-therapist issues and subjective experiences.
  • State and federal legislation and the impact on children and families, as well as the impact on MFT and psychology training and education.
  • Clinical research and assessment with diverse and underserved communities.
  • International issues as they relate to families, race-related trauma and the family, and children, families, and communities in crisis.

Strategies for Dialogue and Action

SJC aims to acknowledge, respond to, and raise diversity-related issues as they pertain to therapeutic settings, and provide an interactive, stimulating forum for students, trainees, and interns to share their experiences, questions, critiques, curiosities, challenges, and stories of success related to working in diverse communities. To create this community of rigorous discourse and wellness that supplements academic and clinical pursuits, SJC organizes the following forums:

  • Monthly Student Leadership Meetings
  • Biannual Open House
  • Immersion Experiences in the Community
  • Panel Discussions
  • Social and Teambuilding Events
  • Invited Speakers

As the collaborative grows and develops, there are plans to engage in research pursuits that attend to sociocultural and political issues, while also shaping the development of innovative contemporary theories and models of therapy.

Student Leadership

Leadership roles are a way to enhance academic and training experiences, professional development, and personal growth. SJC student leaders provide support to colleagues, Pepperdine University, and the community.

SJC events are open to Pepperdine students, alumni, faculty, staff, family, and friends, however only enrolled students may hold officer positions. Officer positions are voluntary and appointed according to a student's level of commitment and availability. Officers are expected to attend SJC meetings and SJC-sponsored events.


SJC was inspired by GSEP faculty and the GSEP Diversity Council. Associate professor of psychology Dr. Amy Tuttle serves as faculty sponsor, and facilitated development of the collaborative in fall 2008.  

SJC held its inaugural open house September 2008, and several MFT and psychology graduate students were appointed into leadership positions. SJC has since organized several events, including Multi-Systemic Therapy and Social Responsibility: A Panel Discussion., speakers on the recovery oriented model of intervention with those diagnosed with a severe mental illness, immersion trainings at the MHA Village in Long Beach, as well as social and networking gatherings. Tuttle and SJC student leaders participate in monthly student leadership meetings during the fall and spring semesters and organize several events each semester.  

To learn more, e-mail:  

Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series is Renamed for Creator Margaret J. Weber: The GSEP community came together to honor the dean's legacy of exceptional leadership and endowed the lectures as the... more