First and second-year students sit at a Seaver 200 foundation gathering in fall 2021 at Eddy D. Field Baseball Stadium. Seaver 200 is moving from the Hub for Spiritual Life into the Dean’s Office for fall 2023. Photo by Ashton Bell
Seaver 200 is moving because it is a program specifically for Seaver College, Feltner said. With it being under the Dean’s Office, they can integrate curriculum from Seaver 200 into classes and vice versa. Seaver 200, which took the place of the University’s Convocation credit, is an academic program and the only credit-seeking program not previously under the Dean’s Office, Feltner said.
“We will keep going and endeavoring to make sure this is a program that richly contributes to the experience of every single college student,” Feltner said.
Feltner said the Dean’s Office will continue to partner with the Hub to bring spiritual life activities to campus — still overseeing service outreach, worship gatherings and ministry opportunities.
“The reason for the move had nothing to do with the Hub,” Feltner said.
The Dean’s Office will oversee Seaver 200 for first and second-year students and the Hub will focus on ministry to juniors and seniors, Feltner said.
“We have amazing partners at the Hub,” Feltner said. “They will continue to have a critical role in spiritual life of all students.”
History of Seaver 200
Seaver 200, previously known as Convocation, is a 10-week, faith-based program for first and second-year students at Seaver. Students are required to complete the program for their first four semesters, earning 0.5 credits each semester, according to the Pepperdine website.
From 1937 to 1957, the University required all students to attend a daily chapel. In 1957, the requirement shifted to three days per week, then in 1972 to two days per week, according to a 2017-18 Office of the Chaplain program review report.
In 1972, the requirement shifted to one day per week — on Wednesdays — for a campus-wide event for faculty and students to gather and worship God, according to the report.
From 1972 to 2021, the Convocation program modified and added in Club Convos and spiritual mentoring, according to the report, while still requiring 14 Convo hours — 0.5 credits at the end of the semester — for all Seaver students.
University Chaplain Sara Barton oversaw the Office of the Chaplain at this point, which oversaw the Convocation office — including the director of Convocation.
At the start of February 2021, the University laid off the Convocation staff, during a time when Convocation was not a requirement for students due to COVID-19.
On May 3, 2021, the University announced the Hub — a department replacing the Office of the Chaplain and the Convocation office, while shifting from working under Student Affairs to the President’s Office.
Barton still oversaw all spiritual life activities, including Convocation, according to previous Graphic reporting.
Three days after, the University announced changes to Convocation — renaming the program Seaver 200 and only requiring credit for first and second-year students rather than all Seaver students, according to a May 3, 2021 email to the Pepperdine community. The program shifted from a 14-week to a 10-week program.
Barton oversaw the new Seaver 200 program for one academic year before transitioning out of the Hub and into the new Office of the Chaplain under the Provost in summer 2022. Barton now works with faculty and staff rather than students, according to previous Graphic reporting.
In fall 2022, the Hub hired Cameron Gilliam, director of Student Ministries, to co-host and lead the logistics for Seaver 200, Gilliam wrote in a Sept. 16 email to the Graphic.
The program will now move to the Dean’s Office and out of the Hub’s oversight. Feltner said the Dean’s Office hopes to hire a new director of Convocation by spring break — the last week of February — who will oversee, plan and organize the program.
Feltner also said he formed an advisory committee of students, faculty and staff from the University to inform the office and give feedback on the Seaver 200 program.
“Now what we’re doing is returning it to where it was in 2013,” Feltner said. “And all times prior to that.”
A timeline of changes in the Hub since 2021. Graphic by Abby Wilt
Plans for Ministry
Feltner said the Dean’s Office is not planning on huge structural changes to the program — it will still be focused on first and second-year students, while the Hub will focus on ministry to juniors and seniors.
“It is a way to just further our partnership with the Hub and the University on all spiritual life activities,” Feltner said.
Parker King, associate director for Discipleship at the Hub, said in an Oct. 30 interview with the Graphic one of his main responsibilities this year is working to provide meaningful faith experiences for juniors and seniors — such as leading the Spiritual Leadership Cohort and offering community gatherings.
Reasons for the Move
One of the main reasons for the move, Feltner said, was so the Dean’s Office could oversee and help Seaver 200 align with class curriculum.
Paul Begin, associate dean for Curriculum and General Education, has worked on revising the General Education program and now will start integrating the Seaver 200 curriculum into classes, Feltner said.
“We want to share at our college to maybe use Convo to elevate the intellectual quality, the student experience,” Begin said.
Begin said there is a clear distinction between Pepperdine’s academics and its spiritual development and student activities side, but he said, through Seaver 200, professors and students alike can connect their spiritual and academic experiences.
“Convo is our chance to sort of bridge the gap and bring it together and see it integrated,” Begin said.
Goals for the Program
Feltner said he wants Seaver 200 to be a welcoming program that gives students a place to either grow int heir faith or enter into a life with God.
“At it’s best, Convocation should offer an invitation to every student at Seaver College — freshmen and sophomores — to learn more about the institution, to learn more about our Christian faith and heritage and to consider a Christian life for themselves,” Feltner said.
Kindy De Long, associate dean of Seaver College, will also be helping organize and develop the Seaver 200 program and said she has similar goals for students.
“We’re hoping to create a conversation where all students, regardless of what perspective they’re coming from, will appreciate being part of that conversation,” De Long said. “And model what it looks like to think about and to envision life at its fullest.”
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
Contact Abby Wilt via Twitter (@abby_wilt) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org