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Pepperdine University Student Priorities

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Increasing Community Engagement

One of the issues we've discovered in our research of Pepperdine's campus is the lack of community and alumni engagement due to the nature of Pepperdine's geographic location.  Malibu is a very isolated part of Los Angeles county so students often do not tap into the expansive alumni network that is available to them. This is likely due to the lack of knowledge of such resources. Further, the connection to alumni that we do have is quite silo'd between the schools. Our goal will be to integrate and make more visible the amazing alumni network that Pepperdine has to offer so that students can benefit from those currently in the field.

Possible Project: One of the best ways to increase community engagement is to appeal to an individual's competitive spirit. We would like to propose a Student/Faculty/Alumni intramural sports league where upon undergraduates, masters students, faculty, and alumni can engage in low-stakes competitive sports.The event could be held in a central location of Los Angeles to encourage more alumni to come during their weekends.

Prototype:  We created an official email and survey to send to students, faculty, and alumni to gauge interest and suggestions for the league.  We also discussed the idea with students to great response.

Requirements: funding for food, reservation of space and sports equipment

Reflections on this Prototype:  After gauging student interest in this idea, we found that many students were unaware of the vast Pepperdine alumni network in Los Angeles.  There are quite a few movers and shakers in the Entertainment industry who have come out of Pepperdine that would love to give back to their alma mater and guide students in any way possible.  Once this was realized, students were incredibly excited to engage in our league.  The verdict is still out on what kind of alumni interest we would have.  We would need to be very deliberate in how we crafted this so as to make it easy for busy alumni to attend.  Organization will be key.

Possible Dates:

Sign ups during orientaition week of respective schools (Between August 15th-31st of 2017)

Seasons start in September with possible championships in early November.

Collaboration Between Departments and Campuses

Something that everyone at Pepperdine can agree upon is the lack of collaboration in academics. It seems as though every department and campus (along with their resources) is isolated from the others. There are many ways different ways one can address and tackle this problem. But in light of our new Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture (IEMC), along with our small film program, UIF candiadtes Keeyana Kian and Moises Barba knew which direction they wanted to go in.

As film students, filmmakers, and representatives of the IEMC Innovation Catalyst Team, we wanted to utilize resources from the undergraduate and graduate schools, the business school, and the law school to completely reinnovate the film program at our school. While certainly promising with its many incredibly talented students, it is still not quite on par with the programs of other universities in the greater Los Angeles area. So for our prototype, we decided to create a theoretical dream major, Cinematic Arts, and its would-be curriculm. 

To begin, we looked at Pepperdine's exisiting undergraduate film programs, Film Studies and Media Production, and pulled all the courses we thought were beneficial to film students. Next, we looked at the MFA Film Program, and added courses that we thought were essential to an undergraduate's education. Afterwards, we perused through course catalogs for the business and law schools. We were able to find invaluable courses in entertainment law/intellectual property from the law school. The business school is currently working on creating their own entertainment program, from which we are planning to pull relevant courses once the course list is made available to us. 

Our prototype can be found here: 

After we had drafted our prototype/proposal for the major, we met with three faculty stakeholders, two of which were Media Production professors. We also conducted a focus group comprised of current Film Studies and Media Production students. The feedback we got from both sides was invaluable, and really helped outline our next steps, which are summarized in the milestones below.

Milestones/ Target Dates:

- 2/26/17: Collaborate with business school UIF Candidates (Charchil and Stephen) to come up with a potential course/courses that would benefit both film students and MBAs looking to get into the entertainment industry.

- 3/26/17: Create sequences so that film students may select an emphasis/specialty within the program by their junior year.

- 4/26/17: Come up with new and innovative film courses unique to Pepperdine that would distinguish it from other film programs

- 4/26/17: Present updated proposal to faculty stakeholders, students.

- 9/26/17: Complete the recommened adjustments by stakeholders, and present the updated proposal to them once more.

- 10/28/17: Present completed proposal to the Executive Board of IEMC, with stakeholders' support.

- 11/28/17: Make any adjustments needed, and either present to faculty stakeholders, or, if ready, present to Seaver Undergraduate Academic Council.

Enhancing Student Engagement

The primary goal of this is to bring students together purely for the purpose of the social experience. Students that we have spoken with speak very highly of the programs and clubs that are offered, but the common thread is that they all tie to something academic, sports-related, etc. This makes sense, nothing wrong with that. This is an institution of higher learning and funding and support should go towards those endeavors.

That said - we believe that there is a gap that can be filled in the social spectrum. After speaking with other UIF fellows about successful programs at their schools, we would like to implement a handful of social clubs that are only for the purpose of bringing good people together. Ideally, out of this students (and maybe even faculty and staff) can form unexpected alliances and share ideas. Participants dictate their own agenda and talking points, the only planned piece is the food.

The best part about this - it's incredibly easy. If you bring food into a room, people will show up. That is a tenant of the college experience. I plan to steal an idea from Drew Spooner to kick this off and then we'll go from there. Ideally we'll do this the first Wednesday of the month over lunch in one of the common areas.

February - Donut Club

March - Bruschetta Club

April - Pizza Club

Orientation Agenda

Brainstorming: Orientation is the first official event that every student who comes to Pepperdine is required to attend. It lays the premises of the student life and the academic pathway the student should expect during his program,hence making it very important for the student. With that, we realised that it would make things much simpler and easier if the orientation process provides more knowledge and if its more detailed about the curriculum and everything what a student must expect from Pepperdine. Specially for the International Students it is lot more difficult if the orientation is not well informed, since they are coming to a completely different study environment as well as to a different Country. It is important for the School administration to communicate clear school agendas and how their academic years are going to look like. At Pepperdine we believe that if the students are guided about the curriculum more in detail it will help a lot. Campus tour of the entire University is a must.

Prototype: We created a pilot recruitment process for Incoming students at B-School for Fall intake students, ensuring their SMOOTH arrival in the United States and at Pepperdine. Facilitating the convenience of the students was the prime objective and making their arrival hassle free.

Reflections: Our reflections coming from the prototype and what we wanted to achieve, we thought of assigning mentors to each incoming student who would be the first resource for the individual incoming student and provide information regarding not only the curriculum but also regarding issues like renting an apartment, opening a bank account (for international students), etc. Further, we made groups according to the countries, considering they would know preferences of the students coming from the same home country and would make their stay better. We decided to go all the way from Airport pickups to hosting them for few days until they find their apartment and are well settled. Apart from that we also provided with a good landscape canvas of Pepperdine University, providing awareness regarding how school systems function from the education perspective as well as from the administrative viewpoint. These steps would make the arrival of every incoming student extremely simple. We beleive how you welcome the student is very important and First Impression is the Last Impression; with this such a well facilitated orientation process will create a positive mind-set to the students and give a good kick-off to their education path ahead which eventually will help them excel in their studies.

Foster Greater Student Mentorship

Intercampus Real World Career Mentorship Program 

  • Two students from each the business school, law school and undergraduate school are put in groups to discuss, learn about and simulate real world entertainment/media career projects, sponsored by a collaboration of each school’s career center.
  • Film industry example
    • A group has an interest in working in the film industry (i.e. 2 undergrad media production/film studies majors, 2 law students with interest in the film industry, and 2 business school students with interest in finance/marketing for films)
    • They receive training on group dynamics and how the film industry works then come up with a project to work on. This group decides they want to work on creating/producing/submitting a short film for a festival.
    • They strive towards this collective goal with their specific expertise and are coached by alumni mentors through each school’s alumni network, professors and the on-campus industry specialists.
  • The overall goal of the program is to serve as a hands on experience for all areas of a production/project for a multi-disciplinary team. 

Related Links

Spring 2017 UIF:

Kelly Rodriguez

Keeyana Kian

Stephen Baillet

Charchil Shah

Tracy Smith

Moises Barba

Aundene Szmolyan