Lessons learned at Spears School help Pepperdine dean

by Spears School News Staff 
(July 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm)

Livingstone played basketball at OSU as an undergraduate. She said her athletic experience at the university helped shape who she is today. It provided her with opportunities to lead a team in difficult situations, an experience which has helped her in her career.

“Those leadership opportunities were really critical,” she said.

After completing her master’s degree, Livingstone and her husband moved to Woodward, where she worked as the director of a children’s recreation program. Not long after, the couple relocated to Enid, where she worked in a hospital business office. After spending about a year in Enid, Livingstone and her husband decided to return to OSU for graduate school. She pursued her doctorate while her husband worked on his master’s.

Livingstone said her time at OSU prepared her exceptionally well for her role at Pepperdine. She spoke in glowing terms of the faculty and the academic environment at OSU. The quality of education provided by the university was a major factor in her success, she said. That quality was a big part of why she chose to complete her undergraduate and both of her graduate degrees at OSU, she said.

“At all levels, and for different reasons, I felt like I was extremely well prepared,” she said.

One of the main things Livingstone gained from her time at OSU was a love of eduation, she said. Sometime during her time as a graduate student at OSU, she said, she realized that she enjoyed being in a university setting and decided to pursue a career in academia.

This realization led to a position as a professor in the Management and Entrepreneurship department at Baylor University. Eventually, she became the associate dean for graduate programs at the university. In 2002, she left Baylor for Pepperdine.

At Pepperdine, Livingstone directs the business school’s academic programs. She also oversees the school’s strategic plan and is heavily involved in outreach to alumni and other members of the community.

In developing a strategic plan for instruction at the university, Livingstone said she and her associate deans must always consider the school’s priorities. The school places a heavy emphasis on teaching students to think ethically about the business decisions they make, and consider how those decisions will impact society more broadly.

“Our mission is to develop value-centered leaders and to advance responsible business practices,” she said.

Livingstone said the business school also emphasizes practical application of knowledge. The business school operates a program in which students work as consultants on strategic projects for businesses. The students work in teams, she said, and four or five teams will be assigned to each project. The number of teams allows the business to hear several different perspectives on the same issue, she said.

One of the advantages of the program is that it allows students to encounter ethical questions in real-life situations. Livingstone said the students must consider those issues and come up with answers as a part of the project.

“It sort of closes the loop on the learning experience,” she said.

Although Livingstone has been away from Stillwater for several years, she said she still feels a strong connection to the area, as well as to OSU.


“I grew up at Oklahoma State,” she said. “It’s sort of been a part of my life from the beginning of my life.”