Interview with Dr. Mark Mallinger
The new director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence seeks to establish a collaborative faculty community.
“I came to Pepperdine in 1980, hired in the Business Administration Division at Seaver College, but in the early 1990s, I moved to the Business School, even before it was called the Graziadio Business School. My field is organizational behavior, and I’ve taught not only core classes, but elective classes related to creating and building teams, ethics, and international management. I’ve taught in the full time MBA program, in the evening FEMBA program, and the executive MBA program. I later became emeritus faculty, teaching one executive MBA class each year, and being on the faculty at the European Business School in Germany for four years in the fall.”
“I then had the idea of becoming a pedagogical mentor for faculty to help them not on their content, but their delivery of that content. I thought, how can I be a mentor and a coach to full-time and support faculty? I was named the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, and my first official act in that role was to lead the new faculty orientation. It was a very enjoyable evening exploring options and ways in which one can teach their course. Their content is based on their professional background and expertise, but we try to come up with some creative ways to deliver that content. Now I’m enjoying engaging with faculty and encouraging them to interact with me and enhance their pedagogy.”
What are some upcoming initiatives of the CTLE?
“My goals for the CTLE are to explore pedagogical options, to establish a collaborative faculty community, and to build creative strategies for teaching. We kicked this off at our first faculty meeting this year, and I plan to continue this practice of discussing different approaches to teaching. Next, we will talk about cases and different ways to teach them. Over the years, I’ve written a number of cases in organizational behavior, leadership, and managing change, and I want to work with faculty to develop short cases rather than using the 25 page cases that are typical of the Harvard cases. I could work with them and help them write their own cases.”
“I also plan to put together a workshop and asking faculty members in different disciplines to present interesting and creative ways they are teaching in their classrooms, whether it is exercises or cases, to generate conversation around what can we do differently and better, and learn from one another. I’ve also mentioned to faculty that if they are interested, I’d be willing to sit in on their classes and talk with them about impressions I have, and to think about alternative ways of delivery and leveraging and enhancing what they do well.”
What makes Pepperdine Graziadio special?
“I was first attracted to Pepperdine because of its values around teaching and the belief that the underlying driver of who we are and what makes us successful is the link between the faculty member and the student. The role of the faculty member is to be committed and devoted to teaching. That’s always been the key driver for what I do. We have small class sizes at the Graziadio Business School and it allows students to engage more with faculty, and that really resonates with me.”
What piece of advice would you give to students, having taught so many of them over the years?
“For a new graduate student coming into the Graziadio Business School, my advice would be to come in with an open mind, a strong desire to want to learn about yourself, be open to feedback, get to know your faculty. Be participative in the classroom rather than being an independent student just listening and taking notes and writing papers. Engage with your colleagues and enhance your collaborative skills.”