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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Lifelong Learning


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 Impacting the World Through Leadership: What's Your Story?


Using her Pamela Hawley - Pepperdine GSEPown experience, Ms. Hawley discussed ways in which anyone can seek a calling in life, face the challenges along the way, and  "choose the right ladder to climb" towards their own unique success.

As a child, Pamela Hawley was powerfully impacted by the sight of poverty. At the age of 12, Ms. Hawley began her commitment to serve her community. Today, Ms. Hawley has volunteered all over the world. Her journey of life with service at the forefront led her to create UniversalGiving™ (www.UniversalGiving.org), an award-winning nonprofit helping people to donate and volunteer with top performing organizations all over the world. Her proprietary Quality Model™ vets each organization before it becomes a part of the online UniversalGiving opportunities. UniversalGiving reflects Ms. Howley's own calling to make giving as easy as possible, for as many people as possible.

Ms. Hawley is a winner of the Jefferson Award (the Nobel Prize in Community Service), and has been invited to three Social Innovation events at the White House. UniversalGiving has been featured on the homepage of BusinessWeek, Oprah.com, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.  She was a finalist for Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is an Expert Blogger for Fast Company and CSRWire.  She also writes Living and Giving, a daily blog with the mission of "Inspiring Leaders to Live with Excellence and Love."


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

Danielle Williams - Pepperdine GSEPIn 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.

Partnership for Los Angeles Schools - Pepperdine GSEP

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

Beverly and Etienne Wenger-Trayner - Pepperdine GSEPThe 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?

Sonia Nieto headshot - Pepperdine GSEP

The 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

Tim Wise - Pepperdine GSEPTim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States.  Wise, who was named one of "25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World," by Utne Reader in 2010, has spoken in all 50 states of the U.S., on more than 800 college and high school campuses, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda on issues of comparative racism, race and education, racism and religion, and racism in the labor market.

Wise is the author of six books, including Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority and White Like Me (updated and re-released), both of which will be available for purchase and signing.

This lecture and Q&A on Thursday, October 25, focused on the harmful effects of racism and privilege. Wise will delineated the difference between individual prejudice and institutional bias and how stereotypes impact daily decision making.


 2012 Modern-Day Slave Hunters

The Story of Modern-Day Slave Hunters:
Human Trafficking, Task Force Mentoring, Psychological Well-Being


Abolish Slavery wordmark - Pepperdine GSEP

At a time when more people than ever before are enslaved somewhere on the planet, Aaron Cohen is a slave hunter – working to find and free human beings from various forms of bondage. Cohen and his Abolish Slavery Coalition co-founder and executive director, Richard Leger, are unique assets to government agencies, think tanks, and anti-slavery organizations.

Aaron Cohen holds a child - Pepperdine GSEPCohen navigates the oppressive territory of pimps and drug lords. Posing as a sex tourist, he slips into brothels, urged by madams to select from a lineup of women and girls as young as six. Sometimes he can save them from their captors, but more often than not he must leave them behind, taking only the evidence he hopes will eventually lead to their rescue.

Leger is a trained weapon's specialist who utilizes this knowledge to manage and consult with governmental and non-governmental security before, during and after covert field investigations to safely rescue enslaved trafficking victims around the world.

Aaron Cohen with a slave's baby redeemed for $50.00.

On Thursday, September 6, 2012 students, faculty, alumni, and guests were afforded a personal look into the plight of human trafficking.


 2012 Dr. Ted Baehr

Fueled by his desire to redeem the values of the media while educating audiences on how to use discernment in selecting their entertainment, MOVIEGUIDE® Founder and Publisher Ted Baehr spoke as the keynote at the 4th installment of the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series event on Thursday, May 10, 2012.

Ted Baehr smiles - Pepperdine GSEPBaehr digs deeply into the moral content, theology and worldviews of the movies, videos and television programs reviewed by MOVIEGUIDE. He is an engaging resource on how to teach children and adult students to be media wise, including emerging media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. Baehr has used his 40 years of research on the media and culture to create a non-profit that is the only active liaison between studio executives and the general public for issues of family entertainment and faith.

Dr. Ted Baehr is Founder and Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment and Chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry, as well as a noted critic, educator, lecturer, and media pundit. Dr. Baehr was president of the organization that produced The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe for CBS-TV in 1980, boasting 37 million viewers and winning an Emmy Award. He has also has produced hundreds of programs for PBS television.

Dr. Baehr is Chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry (CFTVC), a non-profit organization dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media of entertainment by influencing the entertainment industry and by informing and equipping the general public of the impact that the mass media has on its audiences. The CFTVC is the only active liaison between studio executives and the general public for issues of family entertainment and faith.

The tradition of this event is one which focuses on inviting leading agents of change to speak to GSEP student and community members.

 2012 Children of the Night

Children of the Night wordmark - Pepperdine GSEP
Dr. Lois Lee, a pioneer in saving children who are victims of human sex trafficking addressed a crowd of graduate students, faculty, and members of the community at the February 21, 2012 installment of the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Lee is the founder and president of Children of the Night, the only comprehensive program in North America devoted to children who have been forced into prostitution to survive.

Group photo of GSEP faculty members - Pepperdine GSEP
(Right to Left, Dr. Anat Cohen, Dr. Lois Lee, Dean Margaret Weber, Dr. Robert deMayo.)


Dr. Lois LeeLee has devoted her life to rescuing America's children from the horrors of prostitution, abandoning a promising career as a scholar and social policy expert to protect and advocate for these voiceless children. In 1979, she created Children of the Night hotline. Today, that 24-hour hotline receives 10,000 calls a year and is the only nationwide hotline staffed by skilled workers who have been taught how to communicate with law enforcement, rescue children from pimps and prepare them to testify in court.

In 1981 she opened the first walk-in crisis center for children in Hollywood, which became a model for similar programs aiding street children all over the country. In 1992, Lee opened the Children of the Night home. It accommodates up to 24 residents at a time and provides shelter, an on-site school, individual case management, wholesome recreational outings, and a chance to experience the childhood they never had in a nurturing environment.

In the last two decades, she has raised over $40 million to provide these crucial services, as well as case management and college placement for many of the program's graduates. And her track record is impressive - Children of the Night graduates have gone on to become lawyers, executives and educators, among other professions.

Lee's trail-blazing humanitarian efforts have led the fight for the rights of one of the world's most unfortunate and discriminated-against populations. She continues to lead the field in the treatment of child prostitutes. Social service providers come from all over the world to observe Lee's ground-breaking work and visit the Children of the Night home - which is a model for similar programs in the U.S. and abroad. She has been sponsored by other countries -Japan, Romania, Mexico, Canada - to assist in developing such programs.

The tradition of this event is one which focuses on inviting leading agents of change to speak to GSEP student and community members.


 2011 Doing Well by Doing Good

How to Improve Your Bottom Line through Social Responsibility

The second installment of the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology's (GSEP) Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series event hosted a panel discussion on social responsibility in the corporate environment. Lois Lee - Pepperdine GSEP

Included in the panel were Rick Crandall, Director of Sustainability for the Southern California Division Albertsons; Zafar J. Brooks, Director of Governmental Affairs, Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity and Inclusion for Hyundai Motor America; and Jay Bell, Senior Vice President for TELACU Construction Management who sat in for Dr. David C. Lizárraga, President and CEO of TELACU/Millennium and Founder and Chair of TELACU Education Foundation.

Leading the discussion was moderator Dr. Steve Kirnon, Adjunct Professor in GSEP's Social Entrepreneurship and Change Master's program, who has more than 25 years of operational experience in biomedical organizations.

The evening of networking and lively discussion was kicked off with a mixer hosted by GSEP in partnership with the Culver City and Santa Monica Chambers of Commerce.

Each panelist brought their real-world examples of initiatives that not only impact their business, but the community as well.

Sarah Davis gives a lecture - Pepperdine GSEP


 2010 Inaugural Event Welcomed Social Entrepreneur Leader Jerr Boschee

The Global Rise of Social Enterprise

Jerr Boschee - Pepperdine GSEP

The inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series event welcomed Mr. Jerr Boschee, executive director of The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs. He served as CEO of the Social Enterprise Alliance, the largest membership organization for social entrepreneurs in North America. He and five others co-founded the Alliance in 1997 as The National Gathering for Social Entrepreneurs.

Boschee address more than 100 attendees at the Rave Motion Pictures Theater, with his  presentation, titled The Global Rise of Social Enterprise. He focused on the characteristics separating social innovation from social enterprise; a panoramic view of how the social enterprise industry evolved, including its origins in the private sector and its emergence in the nonprofit sector 30 years later; the five distinct sectors in the social enterprise industry today; the single greatest danger confronting any organization seeking to launch a social enterprise; 14 critical success factors identified by the pioneers in the field; and examples of failed and successful social enterprises from a dozen countries.

Boschee has long been recognized as one of the founders of the social enterprise movement worldwide. The NonProfit Times named him to its nonprofit sector "Power & Influence Top 50" list in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

“Social enterprises go beyond the traditional concept of corporate social responsibility,” says Boschee, “by directly confronting the major unmet needs of society through businesses themselves rather than grappling with them indirectly through socially responsible practices, such as corporate philanthropy, equitable wages and the use of environmentally friendly raw materials.”


GSEP also hosted a day-time student face to face meeting with Bochee, including students from the newly established master of arts in social entrepreneurship and change program, following the speaker event.