Volume IX, Issue 2 | April 19, 2023

Sowing Malibu’s Field of Dreams 

The Malibu Campus is finally bearing its first fruit. Spring’s bounty consists of 26 course offerings, ranging from marine biology to vocal yoga, serving more than 450 students. An exclusive interview with the campus’s associate dean on what’s ahead.

SMC In Focus


After 20 years of patient cultivation, the Malibu Campus is finally bearing its first fruit. Spring’s bounty consists of 26 course offerings, ranging from marine biology to vocal yoga. Summer’s harvest will soon bring another 15 classes in credit and non-credit varieties. More than 450 students already are reaping the benefits.

Alice Meyering couldn’t be more pleased. Since starting in her new role in January as associate dean of the Malibu Campus, she has been diligently surveying the seaside landscape on the lookout for more fertile fields to sow. “It’s a new location with lots of unknown territory,” she says. “If you like to work, which I do, there’s definitely a lot to be done. It’s mostly boots-on-the-ground community outreach—the sort of work I really enjoy.” 

Located in what’s known as East Malibu, SMC’s eighth campus occupies a two-story building on three acres. It fulfills a decades-long plan to fully serve the Malibu community. The new campus provides dedicated science and computer labs, a 100-seat lecture hall with raked seating, an art studio, open floor spaces for dance and yoga, general classrooms, a conference room, a community room, outdoor study spaces, and an interpretive center tied to nearby coastal features.

The Corsair-Malibu connection reaches back into the 1970s and early ’80s, when SMC offered 70 general education classes here. In the more recent past, SMC has held Emeritus Program classes at the Malibu Senior Center in City Hall and evening credit classes at Webster Elementary School. The college also contributed $2.5 million for the acquisition of Legacy Park and an additional $2.5 million toward its wastewater treatment facilities. Located immediately to the south of the new campus, the 15-acre site opened in 2010.

As site administrator of the Malibu Campus, Alice is the chief on-ground authority and day-to-day decision-maker. “This is the farthest SMC satellite campus, about 15 miles from the main campus. I think of it as a Roman outpost—we’re part of the college, but we have to be self-sustaining,” she says.

SMC in Focus asked her to reflect on the changes afoot and preview the April 22 official ribbon-cutting ceremony and inaugural open house.

SMC in Focus: Aside from SMC, what are the Malibu community’s adult learning options?

Alice Meyering: Other than Pepperdine University and Malibu High School, I don’t think there are other educational options. The nearest two-year colleges are Pierce College in Woodland Hills (25 miles from Malibu) and Moorpark College in the Simi Valley (35 miles from Malibu).

SMC in Focus: Who are our students in this first semester?

Alice Meyering: About 70 percent are traditional students. A third come from Santa Monica, but another third come from Malibu and areas to the north—Agoura Hills, Calabasas and Thousand Oaks. We have people coming from Beverly Hills too. You know the saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Now we’re here, and if people like our classes, they will come.

SMC in Focus: Do you envision high school students taking college-level coursework?

Alice Meyering: Certainly. We have partnered with Malibu High School, surveyed their students, and scheduled classes that will be of great interest in the summer and fall. We’ve met with school counselors to engage with parents, and our recruiters have spoken with students to promote dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment.

SMC in Focus: How do you anticipate Malibu Campus programming evolving?

Alice Meyering: This first semester we’re listening to the community, and this community is not shy. They come and tell us what they think, what they want, and how they could be better served. We’ve done a few surveys, and the open house will be a great opportunity to ask more people what they’d like to see happen here.

SMC in Focus: What is planned for the April 22 open house?

Alice Meyering: People can come to class demonstrations and really see this campus in action. There’ll be guided tours at 1 and 2 pm, highlighting the sustainability features of the building. Many local organizations, like the Adamson House, are participating. All Points North will offer wellness evaluations and workshops. A Call 2Peace Foundation will put on a concert. Malibu High School is arranging a choir performance, and the school’s theater club will give a preview of their upcoming play. Food and beverages will be provided by Howdy’s and Alfred Coffee, both beloved local establishments.

SMC in Focus: What is the Malibu Campus vibe?

Alice Meyering: It depends on the day. The campus is a living, breathing entity. There are times where it’s quieter and times where it’s busier. We have over 450 students enrolled here, and they’re all different kinds of students. Traditional, non-traditional, seniors, local community members.

SMC in Focus: Could you describe the campus site for our readers?

Alice Meyering: We’re right behind the Malibu Country Mart on Civic Center Way, next to the old courthouse. There’s a hill in the back, and I can see City Hall from my office. In the front, we have Legacy Park, which SMC helped purchase and refurbish. Across from that, we have PCH and then the ocean.

SMC in Focus: What are the dining options?

Alice Meyering: Everything on the Malibu Campus is designed to serve the community, and they don’t need a cafeteria. On the second floor, we have a student lounge area with vending machines. Just a short walk away is the Malibu Country Mart. Across from that is a plaza with Whole Foods, Blue Bottle Coffee and Howdy’s. If you cross PCH, there’s a Subway and McDonald’s.  

SMC in Focus: Any exciting new community partnerships that you’re exploring?

Alice Meyering: We have lots! Our closest neighbor is the Malibu Library. They will participate in our open house with children’s activities. We are already cooperating on security, and I want to collaborate on their speaker series by offering our lecture hall that seats 100 people. Recently Pepperdine University came to visit. They have a three-year BS/MBA program that’s a good option for our non-traditional transfer students entering business management. The Boys and Girls Club has also reached out to us about partnering on events. 

SMC in Focus: What are you most excited about?

Alice Meyering: We’re just excited to be here. This is a project 20 years in the making. It’s a vision coming true. For me personally, it’s an honor and a pleasure to be a bridge between the college and the Malibu community.

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