Helen Easterling Williams will complete her term as Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Helen Easterling Williams, who has served Pepperdine University as Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) since 2014, will complete her term, effective August 1, 2022. After a sabbatical, Williams will begin a period of service at the University as Vice-Chancellor before returning to the GSEP faculty.

“Dean Williams led the pursuit of academic excellence at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, guided by his commitment to collaboration, kindness and grace,” said Jay Brewster, Provost of Pepperdine. “Helen’s deep Christian faith fuels her passion for Pepperdine’s mission and continues to have a positive impact on our community. I look forward to working closely with her on exciting new institutional initiatives in the future.

Under Williams’ leadership, GSEP has made significant strategic advances in traditional and online education, achieved hardware enrollment expansion, strengthened scholarship support, and significantly advanced the University’s service mission to school. Among countless other accomplishments, she spearheaded the launch of several new degree programs in education and psychology, including the accreditation and implementation of the University’s first doctoral program in 2016, as well as the The school’s first fully online degree program in partnership with global education leader 2U.

“Helen’s thoughtful, innovative, and compassionate approach has built a strong administration that has elevated the Graduate School of Education and Psychology while strengthening Pepperdine University on its journey to becoming a preeminent global Christian university,” says President Jim Gash. “Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to have planned and prayed alongside Dean Williams. I am thrilled to move on to the next chapter as colleagues and dear friends.

With nearly three decades of leadership in higher education, Williams previously served as Dean of the School of Education at Azusa Pacific University, where she led the school’s successful reaccreditation efforts and initial accreditation for the school’s psychology program, established its emerging technology center, and developed an international visiting scholar program. A widely recognized leader in higher education in Southern California, Williams was named the 2019 Executive of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal Women’s Council.

The University will begin preparing for Williams’ transition by appointing an interim dean and launching a nationwide search to identify his successor, engaging an executive search firm and an internal search committee chaired by Provost Brewster.

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