Meet the Faculty

School of Public Policy Faculty

Photo of James R. Wilburn, Ph.D.

James R. Wilburn, Ph.D.
Dean Emeritus

Office: School of Public Policy (SPP)
Phone: (310) 506-7490
Fax: (310) 506-7494

  • Ph.D., Economic History, University of California, Los Angeles
  • M.B.A., Pepperdine University
  • M.A., Midwestern State University
  • M.A., Abilene Christian University
  • B.A., Abilene Christian University

Dr. James R. Wilburn has served as inaugural dean of Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy since its beginning in 1996. Previously he served as dean of Pepperdine's George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management for 12 years where he was also a professor of Business Strategy. During Wilburn's years as dean, the business school moved more aggressively into international business and started five new academic programs, with the nation's foremost program for mid-career adults and the largest MBA enrollment west of Chicago (the third largest in the nation).

Wilburn formerly served Pepperdine as vice president of University Affairs, and as provost and chief operating officer of its original campus in Los Angeles. As business school dean, he founded, jointly with Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the annual Conference on Strategic Alliances in Geneva, and was invited to speak to the European Parliament. As a member of the European Parliament Industrial Council he is listed in Who's Who in International Business and was asked by the prime minister of Russia to serve as chairman of the U.S. Committee to Assist Russian Reform, a program that led to funding from the United States Department of State. Formerly appointed by President Ronald Reagan to head the board of the CFTR Education Foundation, he has served as a director on a dozen corporate boards in Europe and the U.S. including banking and venture capital as well as home building, manufacturing, and security technology.

The author of several books on American history, business management, and leadership, he is the recipient of the McGarvey Award for American history and of the George Washington Medal of Honor from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge. He has published widely on aspects of Russian economic reform.

Wilburn received his PhD in economic history from the University of California at Los Angeles, a master's degree in History from Midwestern State University and an MBA from Pepperdine's Presidential/Key Executive program. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in Biblical studies from Abilene Christian University.


  • MPP 604 Political, Organizational, and Strategic Aspects of Public Policy Analysis

Academic Interests:

  • American History
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Strategy
  • Economic History
  • International Business
  • Leadership