Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD
Professor of Information Systems and Technology Management; Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence
What do you believe distinguishes Pepperdine University in higher education?
"Pepperdine University and the Graziadio Business School are purposely focused on the personal transformation of its students. Our university mission uniquely involves the whole person in an ongoing educational process that extends beyond their time as a student. We believe in providing opportunity and equipping individuals with the skills to have impact in their workplace and communities so they can succeed as leaders with purpose. Our focus on moral integrity and theology as valuable optics that should be included in teaching and business practice sets the business school apart. I am honored to play a role in positioning Graziadio students for impact at this institution."
What do you enjoy about teaching here at Pepperdine Graziadio?
"What I truly enjoy about the Pepperdine Graziadio School are the people who are a part of this community. The faculty members are some of my closest friends. The same can be said of our alumni with whom I keep in constant contact. The students are inspirational and strive to transform their businesses and communities. I see how much they challenge themselves, and admire their dedication and hard work."
How do you think your class enriches the academic experience here at Pepperdine Graziadio?
"I strongly believe in storytelling and engaging students in unique ways. I have been fortunate enough to be appointed to corporate boards and consult with a broad array of companies. Because I work with C-level executives I am often able to bring them into the classroom as guest speakers. These executives bring a high level of expertise from an experienced background and are able to tell their stories. Their personal, business and technology stories – told and experienced in multiple ways – are an integral part of my class.
In addition, in order to further leverage the unique qualities of the BSM, EMBA and FEMBA programs I teach, I engage students with interactive activities. For example, in my EMBA Information Systems for Business Innovation course, students have to learn how to be effective in communicating highly technical concepts to executives and incorporate data into decision-making. They practice this almost on the spot as I put them in 'boardroom' situations where they have to drive a compelling message to key stakeholders. At a more operational level, I use games, simulations, case studies and competitive group work to equip BSM and FEMBA students with a deeper understanding of concepts and their immediate application in their workplace. The goal is for them to achieve a high level of expertise – an ability to communicate concepts and identify gaps and opportunities strategically and operationally. Ultimately, this will get them noticed in their workplace and positioned for career advancement."
Describe a rewarding project, class or academic experience that you are currently working on or have completed here at Pepperdine Graziadio.
"I have a strong appreciation for innovation in education. Currently, I am designing new elements for online learning and I am testing these approaches in the classroom. One approach my students are very attracted to this quarter is gaming. I'm interested to see what the learning outcomes are for this course given these new design elements and my students' eagerness to participate. I am also working to bring in new concepts of risk, analytics and enterprise architecture around innovation and information security."
What are some of your career or personal milestones that people should know about you?
“As a consultant, I have trained hundreds of executives in information systems strategy and operations, digital innovation, information security, business analytics, enterprise architecture and leading corporate technology strategy. In particular, I have extensive experience working with executives and boards in the area of information systems security and digital strategy and operations.
In addition, I have been sponsored by the U.S. Department of State as a featured speaker at several international conferences and workshops in transitional economies such as Bangladesh and Bulgaria, where I worked with government advisors and heads of state to explore technology transfer and education as a mechanism for catalyzing innovation and entrepreneurship. Most recently, I conducted research at companies such as Honda, Hilton Hotels and Pratt-Whitney Rocketdyne/Boeing in the areas of information security, self-service technologies and knowledge management. I also had the privilege of working with CIOs from the U.S. Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FDIC and NASA exploring critical success factors for these organizations and departments. Earlier in my career, I worked for NASA in programming at the Kennedy Space Center and served as a consultant for the United Nation’s Global Environmental Facility and the European Commission.”
What are you working on right now that excites you?
“As Editor-in-Chief of Technology in Society, an international journal published by Elsevier, I am excited about continuing to advance the global conversation regarding technology in society. I intend to explore the dynamics of information systems security and, more broadly, the intersection of technology, society and global business practice. This year I am focused on the scholarly discourse around China, engineering and philosophy as well as the technology and services in our everyday life.”
What is one piece of advice that you would give incoming or current graduate students?
“Make the most of the formal educational experience. Do not pass up any opportunity to further your understanding and comprehension of what you are already learning in the classroom. Take the time to explore your education while you’re here and to get to know your faculty and fellow students. They will help you develop the arch of your career. Learning continues after your graduate degree, but this is a unique environment and you will miss it.”