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Diversity and Belonging

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The Pepperdine School of Public Policy (SPP) and SPP Diversity Committee provides a forum for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to engage in events, professional development, and mentorship opportunities that aim to build a diverse community founded on a set of core values that strive toward academic excellence and a shared sense of belonging with the understanding as noted in the Pepperdine University Diversity Statement.

School of Public Policy's Committee Members

The SPP Diversity Committee consists of five members from the SPP community, which includes (at minimum):

  • 2 Full time faculty
  • 1 Alumnus
  • 1 Staff member
  • 1 Student (2nd year)

All committee members serve a term of one academic year with an option to renew. The two full time faculty members will serve as chair and vice chair.

The 2020-2021 committee chair is Dr. Luisa Blanco, professor of public policy, and the vice chair is Dr. Michael Shires, associate dean for strategy and special projects, director of assessment and associate professor of public policy.

Students interested in becoming members of the SPP Diversity Committee will be asked to submit a statement of interest that will be reviewed by the chair and vice chair. The alumni member will be outreached by the chair or vice chair at the beginning of each academic year.


Meeting will be held via Zoom, for the 2020-2021 academic year. The chair or vice chair will make a determination if in person meetings will take place for the Fall 2021 term at the conclusion of Spring 2021 semester. The committee will host 1 - 2 meetings per semester.

Committee Goals

The School of Public Policy diversity committee will:

  • focus on executing at least one (1) diversity event per semester
  • strive to create a forum for diversity related issues throughout the University
  • collaborate with the UDC on programming
  • develop a mentorship/ resource program

2021 Committee Members

  • Jamil Barnett (MPP '17)
  • Luisa Blanco, Professor of Public Policy
  • Melissa Espinoza, Assistant Director of Engagement and Programs
  • Tyson Rhodes, Second-Year Student
  • Michael Shires, Associate Dean for Strategy and Special Projects, Director of Assessment and Associate Professor of Public Policy