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Inspiring Excellence

Pepperdine presents Professor Peter Robinson with the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence.

As one of the 2010 recipients of the Howard A. White award for teaching excellence, Peter Robinson, managing director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, has been recognized for his ability to inspire, stimulate, challenge, and motivate his students. Having just celebrated his 20th year teaching, the award is particularly timely.

“It meant a lot to me, especially because I know that there are so many outstanding teachers at the law school, and I know that our law school has a culture of engaging students, being part of lives, and influencing them,” he says. “To know that I was recognized as having done that well was really an honor.”

Known for his humor and energy in the classroom, Robinson has presented advanced negotiation and mediation skills courses in more than thirty states and in Argentina, Canada, England, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, France, and Rwanda. Drawing off his long career, Robinson makes lessons in the classroom relevant to daily life.

“I teach dispute resolution courses, which to me, is frankly kind of cheating because the area that I teach in is very easy to make very practical for students because we all have conflict,” he explains. “There are areas of application, the areas of integration, on one hand I want them to think about them as a future lawyer, but I also challenge them to think about the course content as a roommate, as a sibling, as a child, and as a parent.”

Prior to joining Pepperdine, Robinson served as the director of the Christian Conciliation Service of Los Angeles (CCS). He has served on the board of CCS, the Ventura Center for Dispute Settlement, Dispute Resolution Services of the LACBA, the Southern California Mediation Association (SMCA) and the California Dispute Resolution Council. For his work, the SCMA recognized him as Peacemaker of the Year in 1999.

In his 20-year history at Pepperdine, Robinson has published numerous articles on mediation and alternative dispute resolution, but his favorite moments have been in the classroom. “The giant satisfaction has been the change in understanding and perspective that students have shared with me about their views about how they’re going to counsel their clients regarding these building blocks to reconciliation,” he says. “This is great fun to teach to people who are going to be advocates, but also people who are going to be mediators, and this is a standout moment.”

Learn more about the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence.

Meet the Pepperdine Law faculty.