Pacific Grove, CA, United States

Pepperdine University
Pacific Grove, CA, United States

Pepperdine University is a private, nonprofit, coeducational research university affiliated with the Churches of Christ. The university's 830-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean in unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, United States, near Malibu is the location for Seaver College, the School of Law, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, the Graziadio School of Business and Management, and the School of Public Policy. Courses are taught at the main campus, six graduate campuses in southern California, and at international campuses in Germany, England, Italy, China, Switzerland and Argentina. The Ed.D. program in Organizational leadership, has held international courses in China, Argentina, Chile, Belize, Costa Rica, and India.The 2015 edition of U.S. News and World Report lists Pepperdine as a "more selective" national university and ranks it 54th in this category. Wikipedia.

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Brewster J.L.,Pepperdine University | Gustin M.C.,Rice University
Science Signaling | Year: 2014

The protein kinase Hog1 (high osmolarity glycerol 1) was discovered 20 years ago, being revealed as a central signaling mediator during osmoregulation in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Homologs of Hog1 exist in all evaluated eukaryotic organisms, and this kinase plays a central role in cellular responses to external stresses and stimuli. Here, we highlight the mechanism by which cells sense changes in extracellular osmolarity, the method by which Hog1 regulates cellular adaptation, and the impacts of the Hog1 pathway upon cellular growth and morphology. Studies that have addressed these issues reveal the influence of the Hog1 signaling pathway on diverse cellular processes. Copyright 2014 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.

Elkins D.N.,Pepperdine University
Psychotherapy | Year: 2012

Documenting the schisms in clinical psychology, the author suggests that clinical scientists lay aside theoretical allegiances and work together by adopting a common focus in psychotherapy research on the determinants of effectiveness. Citing evidence showing that personal and interpersonal factors are primary determinants of effectiveness, the author suggests that humanism, broadly defined, provides the best philosophical and theoretical "home" for psychotherapy. Based on the evidence presented in the article, the author describes the revolutionary changes that must occur in research, training, and practice to bring clinical psychology into alignment with the findings of contemporary science. © 2012 American Psychological Association.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 74.72K | Year: 2015

This project is aiming at effective course engagement in and out of a class room through a Tailored Instruction and Engineered Delivery approach Using PROTOCOLs (TIED UP). A team of STEM faculty is restructuring three engineering courses into an integrated modular concept format using a model titled Re-structuring Engineering Courses for E-Learning and Integrated Virtual Education (RECEIVE) where complex engineering concepts are presented as networked sub concepts in a webpage, creating a virtual neural space. Each of these inter connected sub concepts is further linked to several learning tools, such as short video lectures, animations, mandatory activities and quizzes whose designs are based on a number of PROTOCOLs that leverage the latest insights from established theories of neuro and cognitive science.

PROTOCOLs are systematic procedures to be followed in a concept delivery using cognitive learning principles. The goal of a PROTOCOL is to enhance students capacity to elicit patterns of meaning. Instructional PROTOCOLs for each concept are searching for optimum strategies that possibly create neural networks and synapses that essentially constitute the learning process. Modular breakdown of a challenging engineering concept is providing a better learning experience to students who learn at different paces. The TIED UP is systematically informing students about what to learn in a course as well as how to learn each concept using PROTOCOLs. The broader impact of this project is that it replaces traditional instructional methods with an outcome oriented student centered learning approach using engineered instructional strategies based on neuro-cognitive leaning principles..

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RSCH EXPER FOR UNDERGRAD SITES | Award Amount: 363.21K | Year: 2016

This REU Site award to Pepperdine University, located in Malibu, CA, will support the training of 8 students for 11 weeks during the summers of 2016- 2019. Research opportunities associated with the program range from cellular to organismal systems, and students will have access to state of the art equipment and computer systems essential for such research. The primary goals of the program include the following: 1) provide training in the application of the scientific method; 2) involve students in collaborative and interdisciplinary research; 3) expose students to the overall enterprise of science as it relates to the design and implementation of a research project; 4) develop skills in scientific communication; 5) provide students with training in ethical decision-making as it relates to science; 6) train students in various forms of scientific communication; and 7) foster an appreciation for career opportunities in the life sciences as well as training in preparation for graduate school. In collaboration with a faculty mentor, each student will be encouraged to design a research project that interfaces with ongoing research at Pepperdine. This research will involve a mixture of lab and field-based activities and will culminate with a student symposium that includes both oral presentations and a poster session.

Over four years of funding, the program will award NSF fellowships to a total of 32 students, primarily from schools with limited research opportunities and from underrepresented populations. Student recruitment is primarily web-based but includes direct communication with undergraduate-serving institutions with high enrollment of underrepresented groups. Several factors are considered important for student selection, including academic record, letters of reference, student interest in obtaining an advanced career in science, and diversity. Students will learn how research is conducted, and many will present the results of their work at scientific conferences.

Program success will be assessed using a common web-based assessment tool used by all REU programs funded by the Division of Biological Infrastructure (Directorate for Biological Sciences) as well as specific tools developed within the Pepperdine program. Follow-through of the REU program will include presentations at regional and national meetings. For more information about the program, students can visit the website ( where they can apply online. In addition, students can contact the PI (Dr. Jay Brewster at This REU site is co-funded by the Division of Biological Infrastructure (Directorate for Biological Sciences), and the Division of Mathematical Sciences (Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences).

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 593.25K | Year: 2015

Pepperdine University has received an NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources Design and Development tier award to integrate high impact teaching practices that have been demonstrated to promote student success into a set of first-year seminars. In collaboration with colleagues at Whittier College, an Hispanic Serving Institution, the PI team proposes to integrate authentic scholarly research in biology into conventional first-year seminars, thereby invigorating and transforming introductory coursework into a First-Year Students as Scholars Program (SAS-Program). Through this novel approach, biology majors will be engaged in authentic research during their first college term. At Pepperdine, a subset of those students will apply for and receive an apprenticeship in an active research laboratory. This will prepare those students for total immersion in research the following summer, after which they will serve as student mentors to the next cohort of first-year biology majors.

Both engagement in undergraduate research and participation in first-year seminars have been identified as high impact practices and established as one of the most effective approaches to improving the retention and performance of underrepresented or at-risk populations of STEM students. Thus, the program will benefit all students involved, including first-generation, low-income students and those belonging to underrepresented groups. The first-year seminars will welcome students into a scholarly identity group, engaged in authentic research that applies the scientific method to real world problems. This experience not only will serve to orient high school graduates to successful college life, reducing anxiety during a pivotal transition, but also will invigorate the basic principles being learned in concurrent introductory courses, such as chemistry, biology, statistics, and physics. The project will use a mixed-methods approach both to investigate how well students learned and to elicit student perspectives of the course design and implementation and how these perspectives change over time. In addition faculty-mentors will assess learning objectives of the first-year seminars using an Erbes survey instrument (Erbes 2008; Carr et al. 2013). This will allow longitudinal comparisons with previous outcomes and focus on skills required to implement the scientific method in co-creating knowledge with faculty (Chopp 2014). Examples of student behaviors to be observed include the ability to: complete a primary literature review, identify gaps in knowledge, design appropriate experiments to test hypotheses, employ appropriate statistical methods, solve unanticipated problems, interpret empirical results, etc. The results of the projects evaluation will enhance the general knowledge within the undergraduate STEM education enterprise of the most effective practices for the integration of authentic research in a first-year seminar.

This project is funded jointly by the Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Biological Infrastructure and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education in support of efforts to address the challenges posed in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Education: A Call to Action

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 8.75K | Year: 2014

The Pacific Coast Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (PCUMC) is a one-day conference specifically for undergraduate math students in the Southern California region. The conference is held annually each spring at rotating institutions in Southern California and will be held at California Polytechnic State University at Pomona on March 9, 2013. The conference has been designed so that all sessions and keynote addresses are accessible to undergraduates and that panel discussion topics would be of particular interest to math majors and students in math-related fields. The key components of each conference are (1) student talks in all fields of mathematics, (2) panel discussions on career opportunities, summer opportunities and/or graduate programs in mathematics, and (3)lively, accessible keynote addresses by reputable professionals.

The conference organizers strive to attract student participants and speakers at all levels and provide them with valuable information about professional opportunities in mathematics. By designing some of the student sessions specifically for first or second year students, the organizers hope to encourage more freshmen and sophomore math students to attend the conference and participate in the sessions. Students can present on everything from results of original research to purely expository work. The conference organizers have also been extremely successful in encouraging the participation of women and underrepresented minorities. Through participant tracking, we expect to see that the PCUMC students are positively impacted in their mathematical career trajectories, including likelihood to consider graduate school, increased participation in extracurricular mathematics opportunities and success in finding mathematical employment. There is a national need for more well trained mathematicians, and the PCUMC is designed to play a role in encouraging bright mathematics students early to persist in and expand their mathematical studies.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: AISL | Award Amount: 1.72M | Year: 2016

This Research in Service to Practice project, a collaboration of Pepperdine University and the New York Hall of Science, will establish a network of STEM-related Media Making Clubs comprised of after-school students aged 12 - 19 and teachers in the U.S. and in three other countries: Kenya, Namibia and Finland. The media produced by the students may include a range of formats such as videos, short subject films, games, computer programs and specialized applications like interactive books. The content of the media produced by the students will focus on the illustration and teaching of STEM topics, where the shared media is intended to help other students become enthused about and learn the science. This proposal builds on the principal investigators previous work on localized media clubs by now creating an international network in which after-school students and teachers will collaborate at a distance with other clubs.

The central research questions for the project pertain to three themes at the intersection of learning, culture and collaboration: the impact of participatory teaching, virtual networks, and intercultural, global competence. The research will combine qualitative, cross-cultural and big data methods. Critical to the innovation of the project, the research team will also develop a network assessment tool, adapting epistemic network analysis methods to the needs of this initiative.

This work is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENGINEERING EDUCATION | Award Amount: 300.00K | Year: 2012

This award is designated as a Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) award and is being co-funded by NSFs Office of International Science and Engineering. This project, managed by researchers from Pepperdine University, describes the effort to create a knowledge network linking a series of small projects related to the SAVI theme that involve collaboration between U.S. and Finnish researchers. The collaborations include leading STEM educational researchers from both countries and focus on technology-enhanced learning, educational innovation, and learning analytics. On such projects, the pairing of researchers from the U.S. with those from Finland, a nation whose students regularly rank at the top in international measures of STEM learning, holds great promise as these scientific communities with complementary strengths come together. The goal is to spur innovative at the frontiers of our knowledge of STEM learning.

This EAGER will aim to hasten discovery and knowledge sharing and to facilitate the broader impact of the teams findings in educational enterprises in both the United States and Finland. It is the glue, or mechanism, for linking a set of disparate U.S.-Finnish research efforts, allowing for greater communication among the projects and making connections through common intellectual themes and practical innovations. The project will attempt to do so through eight sets of activities, including an active web presence, exchanges of early career and teacher researchers, a webinar for researchers, educators, and policy makers, the development of research toolkits, virtual and in-person SAVI research meetings, short courses, and contributions to research literatures and conferences that reflect the cross-disciplinary nature of the SAVI.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 30.16K | Year: 2016

The PIMS-NSF Undergraduate Workshop in Supersymmetry will be held August 15-19, 2016 at the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) at the University of British Columbia, Canada. This award is co-funded by the Division of Mathematical Sciences and the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) and provides support for US-based participants. The workshop combines lectures on the mathematics of supersymmetry, emphasizing graph theory and algebraic structures, with problem-solving sessions. By introducing students to this thriving area of research outside the standard curriculum, the workshop will have direct impact on undergraduate education. The speakers and problem session leaders will develop a community of mathematicians interested in research in supersymmetry and they will use this experience to enhance the research programs at their home institutions.

In physics, supersymmetry is a pairing between bosons and fermions appearing in theories of subatomic particles. One may study supersymmetry mathematically by using adinkra symbols, which are graphs with vertices representing the particles in a supersymmetric theory and edges corresponding to the supersymmetry pairings. The study of adinkra symbols highlights deep connections between algebraic, combinatorial, and physical structures. The workshop presents a unique opportunity to introduce students to this topic and encourage them to pursue further research at the boundary of mathematics and physics. Moreover, the workshop will encourage new connections between US and Canadian students and researchers. For more information about the workshop, visit

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 450.00K | Year: 2013

In this Cyberlearning: Transforming Education EXP project, the PIs focus on designing classrooms as collaborative workspaces and learning how such learning environments can foster learning well. They are addressing these issues in high school mathematics classrooms. Learners view videos and read textbooks as homework to begin to learn new content and to deepen their understanding of material already covered. The classroom is flipped; rather than the teacher lecturing, the teacher plays the role of mentor and facilitator as learners work in the classroom at making sense of what theyve read or heard, applying what they are learning, and deepening their understanding and capabilities. The hard work of learning is thus done along their peers as collaborators and the teacher available as a mentor. Based on cognitive and socio-cognitive theories of learning, the PIs have designed an ensemble of strategies and technological tools for promoting learning in such an environment. The tools include video for story telling in support of reflection, electronic pen-and-ink, and intelligent-tutoring type systems, but the innovation is in the integration of these tools into an ensemble. Research addresses how such an ensemble of technologies can foster deeply absorbing and effective learning experiences and important dynamics associated with learning when collaborative workspaces are in place in formal classrooms.

Many educators and educational theorists are experimenting with the idea of flipped classrooms, where learners read or view video lectures outside of class and spend classroom time working on problems together or working on projects, in effect, using classroom time for making sense together of what is being learned, applying what is being learned, deepening understanding, and mastering capabilities. While such an approach holds promise for promoting engagement and learning, little systematic research has been done about how, exactly, to design such learning environments to best promote deep and engaged learning. The PIs in this project address that issue, focusing specifically on students learning high school mathematics.

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