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Dean’s Annual Report: (2022-2023)

dean Farzin Madjidi headshot

A Message From Dean Farzin Madjidi

Greetings GSEP Family,

I am delighted to have the opportunity to present the 2022–2023 dean’s annual report and reflect back upon the past academic year. I was honored to serve as interim dean, and even more so to be appointed to serve as the permanent dean of GSEP.

The academic year 2022-2023 at GSEP was marked by continued transition and growth. We started new chapters in leadership for GSEP, continued the transition to a post-COVID normal, celebrated the successes of students and faculty, and mourned the loss of those in our community whose lives ended so early. Through it all, we remained focused on our mission of purpose, service, and leadership. In August 2022, we joyfully watched Dean Helen Easterling Williams conclude her tenure as GSEP dean and transition to the role of vice chancellor for the University. She has left her mark of excellence on GSEP for years to come.

Psychology Division

Our psychology faculty, with a lens of equity and justice, continue their exceptional work in training therapists and mental health professionals. Our Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy, the largest in the nation, successfully supported its students with both online and in-person options. Stephanie Woo graciously accepted the role of assistant dean of online psychology programs and joined the GSEP Deans’ Council at the start of the academic year. Her passion, wisdom, and experience have enhanced the dean’s executive leadership team.

We are proud and honored to celebrate Thema Bryant-Davis’ election and service as the president of the American Psychological Association (APA). Bryant-Davis is nationally renowned for her work in intergenerational trauma, and her vision for APA is to “bring psychology to the people.” The work of Miguel Gallardo in the Aliento program, supporting the Latinx community, is remarkable. Erlanger Turner was a finalist for the Lionel Hersov Memorial Award for his outstanding work and research in the area of race and cultural experiences.

Education Division

The education faculty excels at training leaders, teachers, and social entrepreneurs who continue to shine through inclusive service to their various organizations and communities. We celebrated the second year of our Pepperdine Excellence Postdoctoral Project for Equity Research (PEPPER) with four new postdoctoral students who will advance their teaching, research, and practice. We also started our first Employee Educational Equity program that allows our staff members to take one free course per term if they are admitted to and perform well in any of our programs.

The nationally recognized work of Jennifer Miyake-Trapp and her Virtual Initiatives team in the area of learning technologies is noteworthy. Consistent with our Christ-Centered Belonging Commitments, the Education Division held several events in which they elevated the voices of students who do not have access to various platforms, celebrated and observed occasions that honor our diversity, and provided learning opportunities for a deeper engagement of issues around belonging. In July 2023, after a rigorous hiring and selection process, Anthony Collatos was named the next associate dean of the Education Division. We look forward to his leadership and vision in the coming academic years.

Finally, I want to express GSEP’s collective gratitude to our alumni who generously supported Pepperdine University in its annual Pepperdine Gives event. Your contributions helped set an all-time high single-day record for contribution to Pepperdine. Thank you! We promise to be good stewards of your generosity.

With God’s glory as the wind in our sails, we are inspired to serve Him by continuing to prepare students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

With gratitude,

Farzin Madjidi (MBA ’88, EdD ’91)


Professor of Leadership

The Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) proudly announces the completion of the 2022–2023 Dean's Annual Report, reflecting on a transformative academic year guided by the institution's steadfast mission.

Mission Commitment:

At the heart of GSEP's mission is the commitment to an innovative learning community, promoting academic excellence, social purpose, meaningful service, and personal fulfillment. Grounded in Christian values, the school strives to educate and motivate students to take on leadership roles that positively impact individuals, families, and communities.

GSEP's dedication to embracing human diversity as a natural expression of God's creation is evident in its efforts to advance multicultural proficiency. The strategies employed include promoting inclusive discourse, recruiting and retaining diverse students and faculty, developing inclusive curricular models, and reaching out to communities to address diversity challenges.

Strategies for accomplishing this mission:

  • Inclusive Discourse: Promote and prioritize discourse that values each member's background, experience, and perspective within the GSEP community.
  • Diversity Recruitment: Actively recruit, retain, and advance diverse students, staff, and faculty to ensure representation that reflects the multifaceted nature of human diversity.
  • Curricular Development: Develop curricular models for practice in educational and psychological environments that prepare professionals to address the diverse needs of communities and promote equity in education and mental health.
  • Community Outreach: Reach out to broader communities to foster understanding and facilitate solutions to diversity challenges, extending GSEP's commitment to service beyond the academic institution.
  • Multicultural Proficiency: Advance, sustain, and advocate for multicultural proficiency, recognizing and embracing human diversity as a natural expression of God's creation.
  • Leadership Preparation: Educate and motivate students to assume leadership roles in professions that improve and enrich the lives of individuals, families, and communities, aligning with the Christian values of the university.
  • Purposeful Events: Host events that elevate the voices of underrepresented students, celebrate diversity, and provide learning opportunities for a deeper engagement with issues surrounding belonging, in line with GSEP's Christ-Centered Belonging Commitments.

The Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology is a dynamic and innovative community committed to academic excellence, social purpose, and leadership guided by Christian values. The school is dedicated to advancing multicultural proficiency and preparing students for impactful roles in their professions.