Pepperdine University is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Ranked in the top-50 of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, Pepperdine enrolls approximately 8,000 full-time and part-time students in its five colleges and schools. Located in the coastal community of Malibu, California, Pepperdine University’s 830-acre campus has been ranked the most beautiful campus in the nation by The Princeton Review.

The Position


Reporting to the Executive Director of Public Safety, the Chief of Public Safety will provide strategic vision and leadership for Pepperdine University’s Department of Public Safety and manage all aspects of safety for the institution’s Malibu campus, including community engagement, security, emergency preparedness and response, enforcement, surveillance, and communication with the administration. The Chief of Public Safety will develop and oversee comprehensive safety and security standards, operational plans, officer staffing and deployments, and enforcement of codes and standards; maintain high standards of customer service; coordinate and oversee security efforts for other Pepperdine campus locations; and consistently collaborate with a variety of key stakeholders, including senior Pepperdine leadership and various departments, to build and maintain inclusive relationships with the community and collaborate with University stakeholders on safety, security, and access protocols. The Chief will work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, the fire department, certain city, county, and state officials, and internal university leadership to implement effective crime prevention strategies and emergency response protocols, coordinate investigations, and ensure compliance with relevant policies and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Jeanne Clery Act and Title IX. Additionally, the Chief will work closely with the University’s Threat Assessment Team and Emergency Operations Committee on urgent and emergent matters.


The Chief of Public Safety at Pepperdine University must possess a broad and deep understanding of best practices concerning comprehensive safety and security protocols, modern technology, and organizational and staff development in a private, Christian campus setting in Southern California. The Chief should be an experienced leader committed to customer service at the highest level, capable of managing complex situations and understanding current issues in community engagement and student development, and equipped to contribute strategically and operationally to a highly-dedicated, unsworn public safety department.

It will be crucial to identify a dedicated, capable individual who can consistently and faithfully promote the mission and values of Pepperdine University; support, uplift, and develop the professional team; set departmental priorities; systematically build and maintain the trust of the University and surrounding community; and work proactively in tandem with the University’s student body, staff, faculty, surrounding community, full Public Safety team, and nearby law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, to progressively, innovatively, and comprehensively move the program forward. The following were identified as possible opportunities, priorities, and challenges that will face the new Chief of Public Safety.

  • The Chief will be expected to promote a comprehensive culture of collaboration and partnership within Public Safety, throughout campus, and with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, and other local agencies. Pepperdine University is committed to building strong, healthy, and mutually supportive relationships as a foundation of the campus culture, and collaboration is an absolute necessity in all endeavors to ensure success. The Chief and the Department of Public Safety are interconnected on numerous levels throughout the campus community, so it will be crucial that the Chief build and maintain Departmental relationships, foster ongoing positive interactions, promote open communication, and provide opportunities for engagement. These connections are essential to assess the needs of constituents, provide exceptional programs and services for the campus, appropriately leverage a service-oriented approach, and ensure that Public Safety consistently performs each its duties with excellence.
  • The Chief should bring strong leadership skills, a deep sense of professionalism and integrity, and the ability to manage multiple priorities and staff. Ideally, these leadership skills will have been fostered through experience in a campus safety and security or other higher education environment, and the Chief will understand the nuances of a medium-sized, private institution with a Christian mission.
  • The Pepperdine University Public Safety team is unsworn, and the Chief should be familiar with campus safety and security concepts in this environment and quickly discern in emergencies when to handle internally and when to request assistance from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department or other emergency management agencies.
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice are crucial components of the Pepperdine community, and the Chief of Public Safety should be a leader in supporting, understanding, embracing, and nurturing these concepts, both internally to the department and externally from the department into the campus community. Public Safety must be a model for maintaining a strong sense of equity and an unbiased, supportive environment with all Pepperdine stakeholders, and the Chief must bring demonstrated experience in effectively integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into departmental recruitment, training initiatives, programs, and services.
  • Upon arrival, the Chief should prioritize quickly getting to know the departmental staff as individuals, learn their specific needs and career goals, ascertain and understand the various responsibilities they perform and roles they play, be available at all times, provide comprehensive professional development opportunities for all, and oversee the ongoing promotion of a strong, cohesive team and a departmental culture of support for the University’s mission. These efforts should holistically operate to positively impact the department’s culture. The Chief should also be willing to comprehensively assess and strategically organize the department to maximize strengths, encourage unity and participatory management, quickly fill any vacancies, and forge a shared vision among all department members.
  • The expectations for the new Chief are high, and the successful candidate will need to quickly become familiar with all areas of their portfolio to develop a comprehensive list of priorities. The Chief must prioritize a great deal of time upon arrival on learning the nuances and preferences of the Pepperdine campus, discovering the internal needs of the staff and the department, attending campus events, and beginning the process of reaching out and establishing themselves as the visible “face” and leader of Public Safety. The department must be seen as proactive, responsive, engaged, and functional members of the Pepperdine community and must be prepared to engage the students and student organizations on campus holistically, forging strong bonds and being present at all times, not only when issues arise. Positive change will be expected in time, but the Chief must first learn the department and campus culture and work together with the staff and other administration members to implement new processes, procedures, programs, and services in a systematic and well-planned manner.
  • Pepperdine values its comprehensive in-house emergency preparedness efforts, understanding that natural or man-made emergencies will occur at some juncture, and the Chief will need to ensure that Public Safety’s emergency plans are well-defined, up-to-date, and consistently in sync with those of the other operational departments. Being prepared before these issues arise, rather than reacting to them when they do, will go far in continuing to instill a high sense of community confidence and trust in Public Safety.
  • There will be great support from all corners of the Pepperdine community to implement new ideas, cutting-edge technology, and industry best practices. With great attention focused on the success of the department’s efforts and overall safety and security improvements across campus, these new ideas and advancements will be essential. The Chief will be encouraged to discern best practices from other institutions, remain current on professional benchmarking opportunities, and be involved in professional public safety associations (e.g., IACLEA, IACP, NAWLEE, NOBLE, etc.).
  • Located in the coastal community of Malibu, California, Pepperdine University’s 830-acre campus is ranked in the top ten of most beautiful campuses in the nation by The Princeton Review. With its stunning Pacific Ocean views, year-round temperate climate, and proximity to (though not directly within) the nationally-renowned retail, cultural, and entertainment opportunities of the Los Angeles area, Pepperdine is an ideal destination for all walks of life.


In addition to embodying the qualifications and characteristics outlined above, the departmental items listed below will, among others, contribute to the success of the new Chief of Public Safety.

  • Public Safety staff works together cohesively as a team toward a joint mission and clear vision.
  • The Christian-centered mission of Pepperdine University is being integrated into the strategic and operational plans and the training and engagement initiatives of the department.
  • Strong, collaborative relationships have been established across campus and in the community, including various academic and administrative departments (including Student Affairs), students and student organizations, local partners in the community, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and Los Angeles County Fire Department, and other surrounding first-responder and emergency management agencies.
  • Through consistently excellent communication, the campus is increasingly aware of the programs, services, community engagement, and outreach efforts provided by the Department of Public Safety.



A bachelor’s degree is required, as well as demonstrated progressive experience in law enforcement, public safety, or security organizations. Other requirements include experience building, implementing, and operating a safety and security program designed to serve and benefit a given community; the ability to establish effective collaborative relations with local law enforcement agencies; situational intelligence and decision-making skills; leadership and administrative supervisory experience; a track record of working effectively with a highly diverse group of constituents, engaging communities, and fostering inclusivity and belonging; organizational development acumen; excellent written and verbal communication skills; experience in preparing, implementing, and managing department-wide training; and a passionate commitment to Pepperdine and its mission, vision, values, and goals. Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree, experience working at a law enforcement agency or public safety/security organization in a supervisory administrative or executive capacity; experience working at an institution of higher education; law enforcement or security leadership training from an accredited or nationally-recognized organization certification; California POST certification or equivalent and a Bureau of Security and Investigative Services Firearm Permit and Guard Card; experience managing internal and third-party contracted employees; experience developing, implementing, and maintaining recordkeeping systems and procedures; and working knowledge of California BSIS laws and regulations.

In addition to the minimum academic and experiential requirements indicated above, other desired characteristics, skills, strengths, and abilities noted from discussions with campus stakeholders include the following:

  • Breadth and depth of knowledge around safety, security, and public safety, with particular emphasis given to the higher education environment
  • A genuine commitment to cultivating collaborative relationships and building partnerships across all levels of the institution and the surrounding community
  • Strong leadership and organizational development abilities that inspire and uplift others, with a commitment to providing abundant training and professional development opportunities and promoting unity and teamwork throughout the department
  • Strong, effective, consistent, and transparent communication abilities, both written and verbal, with the ability to reach all levels of the University and to speak to students, faculty, parents, alumni, the surrounding community, and local police and fire departments effectively to build trust and support
  • An understanding of the mission and affirmation statement of the University, a commitment to conducting themselves in a manner consistent with these principles, and a dedication to continuously operating the Department of Public Safety in the same way
  • A student-centered approach that prioritizes the safety, security, health, and wellbeing of the Pepperdine student population
  • A deep focus on customer service in all programs and services offered by Public Safety, including response time to emergencies, mobility escorts, and overall community engagement
  • A holistic and grace-centered approach to safety and security that includes an understanding of student development and the unique needs of today’s student body
  • Excellent problem-solving skills with the ability to determine needs, address issues, manage change processes effectively, and create new possibilities in establishing and growing a first-class public safety operation
  • A strategic, forward-facing vision that promotes a consistently-engaged, highly-responsive team of public safety professionals
  • A willingness to work with and among the Public Safety staff and actively participate in the daily operations of the department
  • Ability to interact effectively with all elements of the University and community environments, along with their respective constituents
  • Deep understanding of best practices and current trends in campus safety with the ability to keep Public Safety on the cutting edge in all aspects of security
  • Strong technology skills, with an exceptional understanding of the value and importance of technology and social media around safety and security in today’s world
  • A deep understanding of Clery, Title IX, and other applicable compliance initiatives
  • A positive and supportive attitude, with enthusiasm for the role and the opportunity to serve the campus community
  • Ability to actively listen to all sides of an issue, ask knowledgeable questions, adapt to significant changes on the spur of the moment without being reactive, conduct difficult conversations when pertinent, remain “cool under pressure” no matter the situation, accept input from all levels of the institutional community, and make complex, well-informed decisions
  • Demonstrated understanding of and experience with compliance reporting
  • A commitment to in-depth and comprehensive training and development of staff
  • Strong assessment skills, with the ability to make data-driven decisions, set expectations, devise and fully implement plans, analyze the results, and propose further changes and updates based on these outcomes
  • Approachability, availability, and accountability at all times

Institution & Location


The Chief of Public Safety provides strategic vision and leadership for Pepperdine University’s Department of Public Safety and is responsible for all aspects of campus safety, including community engagement, security, emergency preparedness and response, enforcement, surveillance, and communication with the administration.


Mission Statement

The Department of Public Safety is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and secure environment while respecting the rights and dignity of individuals utilizing the programs and facilities of Pepperdine University. The mission shall be accomplished within the constraints of federal, state, and local laws and ordinances.

Vision Statement

The Department of Public Safety will excel in community-oriented public safety. The Department strives to develop public awareness, support, and involvement in its community-oriented public safety efforts.

Organizational Values

  • Provide high-quality public service
  • Maintain peace and harmony within its community
  • Treat people with respect and sensitivity
  • Perform its duties without regard to race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, gender, or differing abilities
  • Maintain its position as an integral part of the university community, a widely-respected and trusted department

The members of the Public Safety Department receive ongoing training, including CPR/first aid, fire, and police response. Officers also have opportunities for additional training related to specific, individually assigned responsibilities. Public Safety personnel have the authority to arrest in some circumstances and to detain individuals until local law enforcement arrives. The Department of Public Safety has an ongoing relationship with local law enforcement agencies to provide updated information, joint investigations, and training.


George Pepperdine’s founding vision was a university committed equally to academic excellence and Christian values; he envisioned an institution that would transform students’ lives so that they would, in turn, impact culture. He imagined a vast body of alumni—men and women conscious of their good fortune, recipients of the generous gift of a Christian education—who would feel the moral imperative to serve others sacrificially. The students, faculty, and administration of Pepperdine University affirm this vision and advance the University’s standing as a cutting-edge educational institution by growing in knowledge and spirit.



Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.


Pepperdine University will be a preeminent, global, Christian university, known for integrating faith and learning, whose graduates lead purposeful lives as servant-minded leaders worldwide.

Strategic Planning

The University’s 2030 strategic planning process began in the fall of 2019, facilitated by the Strategic Planning Task Force, and sought participation from every segment of the university community. This process has resulted in the final elements of “Pepperdine 2030: Ascend Together,” which consists of a strategic guidance document approved and adopted by the Board of Regents, a presidential vision from President Jim Gash, and the University’s strategic plan. To read about Pepperdine University’s strategic planning, please visit


“Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our faith cherishes the sacred dignity of every human being and celebrates diversity as an accurate representation of God’s love and creative expression. We endeavor to build a diverse community that fully engages the transformative educational process across faces of human difference. Therefore, we strive toward academic excellence and a shared sense of belonging, understanding that a broad range of diverse perspectives enriches our learning, scholarship, and leadership quality.”



Jim Gash – President

Jim Gash (J.D. ’93) began his term as the eighth President and Chief Executive Officer of Pepperdine University on August 1, 2019. The first alumnus to lead Pepperdine as President, Gash has served the University professionally since 1999. Before assuming the presidency, he was the Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and External Relations at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. He provided operational oversight for many signature development initiatives. As a 20-year Caruso Law professor, his primary focus included evidence, torts, and international human rights.

Recognized globally for his transformative work in international justice reform, Gash has devoted himself to advancing the rule of law in developing countries and, since 2010, has visited Uganda nearly 30 times with Pepperdine students and alumni to support the country’s judiciary, having served as a specialist advisor to the High Court of Uganda since 2012. In 2018 Gash was appointed as the Chancellor of Livingstone International University in Mbale, Uganda.

Phil Phillips – Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief Operating Officer

Phil Phillips (’88, JD ’92), a veteran higher education executive, capitalizes on the numerous hats worn throughout his career—lawyer, administrator, regulatory affairs director, assistant professor of public policy, and associate dean—to bring a unique and experienced perspective to his current role as Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief Operating Officer at Pepperdine. He joined the University’s staff as part of the general counsel office in 1993.

Phillips provides leadership and executive management for several major areas, overseeing human resources, finance, campus development and facilities management, construction and land use issues, governmental and regulatory affairs, campus safety and security, emergency services, insurance and risk management, business services, and real estate. He is also responsible for oversight of the University’s $573 million gross operating budget. Phillips is the liaison to the Board of Regents on the Finance and Administration committee, chairs the University’s Management Committee, co-chairs the Emergency Operations Committee, manages the University’s emergency response and preparedness protocols, and serves on Pepperdine’s interdisciplinary threat assessment team.

Nicole Taylor – Vice President and Chief Business Officer

As the University’s Vice President and Chief Business Officer, Nicolle Taylor (’98, JD ’02) serves as a member of the Executive Vice President’s senior leadership team, working on institutional initiatives, policy development, and operational projects. Taylor oversees human resources, the center for sustainability, special programs, governmental and regulatory affairs, the graduate campuses, real estate operations, and the University’s auxiliary partnerships (dining services, campus stores, conference center, licensing, and the like). She co-chairs the University’s Retirement Plan Committee and Emergency Operations Committee and serves on the University Management Committee, the Strategic Planning Task Force, and the University Planning Committee.

Taylor joined the University in 2014 in the Office of Insurance and Risk. Prior to her work at Pepperdine, she had a successful career in the investment industry and owned a graphics design company. Taylor earned her BS in business administration from Seaver College and her JD from the Rick J. Caruso School of Law.

Benefits Overview


Pepperdine offers benefits for all active, regularly assigned, full-time staff and faculty (non-adjunct) employees. To learn about the full benefits offered at Pepperdine University, please visit

Application & Nomination


Review of applications will begin July 15, 2022, and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at Nominations for this position may be emailed to J. Scott Derrick at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

Visit the Pepperdine University website at

Pepperdine is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. Pepperdine is committed to providing a work environment free from all forms of harassment and discrimination. Engaging in unlawful discrimination or harassment will result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University.

Pepperdine is religiously affiliated with the Churches of Christ. It is the purpose of Pepperdine to pursue the very highest employment and academic standards within a context which celebrates and extends the spiritual and ethical ideals of the Christian faith. While students, faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Regents represent many religious backgrounds, Pepperdine reserves the right to seek, hire and promote persons who support the goals and mission of the institution, including the right to prefer co-religionists.

It is the intent of the University to create and promote a diverse workforce consistent with its stated goals and mission.