Fielding Graduate University News

Filmmaker Brings Critically Acclaimed 'Tangerine' to Fielding

Posted by Starshine Roshell on Fri, Jan 29, 2016


Students, faculty, and friends of Fielding got a behind-the-scenes view of Hollywood—in more ways than one—when filmmaker Sean Baker screened his critically acclaimed film “Tangerine” at Winter Session last week.

Shot on an iPhone and described by the New York Times as “tough yet tender, gritty yet gorgeous,” the Independent film depicts a day in the life of two transgender prostitutes in Hollywood. It was presented by Fielding’s Alonso Center for Psychodynamic Studies, whose director Sam Osherson saw the film last year and was moved by it.

“It portrayed the lives of people who are marginalized in a way I had never seen before,” says Osherson, a Clinical Psychology faculty member who wanted Fielding students to have the opportunity to explore how they can capture human experience in a way that feels real and honest. “I’m always trying to deepen our understanding of what it means to be human and to help our students think about the people we’re working with as human beings with rich stories to tell. Sean Baker has a way of telling that story. It’s not a sentimental perspective, it’s very real.

”Relationships are at the heart of good therapy,” Osherson continues, “and this is about helping us look at a person as a person rather than as a diagnostic category.”


Filmmaker Sean Baker

After the screening, writer and director Baker answered questions from the audience, which included the Fielding community as well as Santa Barbara therapists, LGBTQ advocates, and students from UC Santa Barbara.

Baker explained that he lives near the Los Angeles neighborhood where the film is set, and wanted to explore its denizens and microcultures on the screen. But rather than create a script and impose it on the place, he spent time hanging out, earning the trust of the locals, getting to know their stories, and seeking their help in developing a story loosely based around their real lives.


The film’s stars—not professional actors but the real sex workers whom Baker met in the neighborhood—brought a levity and humor to the film, even when it touched on dark subjects from infidelity to addiction.

“Ultimately, we made a comedy,” Baker said, “but underneath the humor there’s a sadness—a sad state of affairs.”

Jennifer Tyburczy, assistant professor of Feminist Studies at UCSB and director of the LGBTQ minor there, brought students to the event from her own Trans-Art class, who are in the process of making their own films.

“The talkback with Baker allowed students to imagine themselves in the roles of director, auteur, and artist,” she says, “and empowered them to think with and through the existing representations of trans experience."

Tyrone Dixon, a Fielding student who graduated with a PhD in Media Psychology last week and is a filmmaker himself, appreciated the perspective that “Tangerine” offered.

“I thought it was a bold and courageous film,” he said. “The filmmakers did a great job of sharing that world.”

Tags: Media psychology, clinical psychology, Film, Alonso

Announcing the Fielding Graduate University Press!

Posted by Starshine Roshell on Thu, Jan 28, 2016

Harvard. Princeton. Stanford. Yale. Cornell. MIT... 

Now Fielding Graduate University joins the list of elite schools publishing under their own university press. Beginning this year, Fielding will publish original scholarly books under the Fielding Graduate University Press imprimatur.

“The purpose of our new academic press is to highlight the excellence of research conducted at Fielding,” said Provost Gerald Porter, PhD.

With two review cycles per year, Fielding invites proposals from faculty and staff across a wide variety of disciplines who wish to publish a book rooted in their scholarship or professional contributions. The first submission deadline is May 15, 2016. Each submission will be reviewed by a panel consisting of one faculty member from each of Fielding’s programs. 

The Fielding Press will be especially receptive to submissions that reflect the university’s commitment to social justice, multidisciplinary and systems approaches, and the creative application of research to produce effective social change.

Since 2013, Fielding has published seven monographs of articles written by our doctoral graduates based on their dissertation research. We’re proud to books of outstanding work by our faculty and staff to our publications.

Tags: books, publishing

Media Psych Students Win Mike Neal Awards

Posted by Starshine Roshell on Fri, Jan 22, 2016


Fielding's Media Psychology department awarded $1,000 scholarships to Matthew Price and Tunisha Singleton on Thursday evening for their exemplary work in the program.

The Michael R. Neal Legacy Award is given annually to students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, media innovation and collaboration with and support of fellow media scholars. 

Singleton helped produce a department webinar series and serves on student government for the American Psychological Association.

“This award is proof that you are a product of your environment,” she said, thanking her cohort for “encouraging me to be myself and believe in myself.”

Among other things, Price was cited for his ambitious program goal: to produce a measurement for emotional engagement.

“When I came into the program, I had a specific idea of what I was looking for,” said Price, who wanted to combine his interests in both technology and psychology. “And I didn’t think I would ever find a school that would let me do that—let alone one that would feel so much like family.”

The Neal Award was created in 2014 in memory of a Fielding student who graduated with a PhD in Media Psychology in 2013 and died just a month later at age 52.

Mike Neal was an extraordinarily accomplished person who held 19 US patents, authored several children’s books, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and led numerous technology companies. At Fielding, he was known for his passion for helping others, including leading teams of his Fielding colleagues to publish articles and present their work at prestigious conferences around the world.

“He exemplified the kind of person we want to put out into the world,” said Fielding President Katrina Rogers, who knew Neal and spoke of his collaborative and creative spirit, activist approach to scholarship, advocacy in using media for change, and record of putting ideas into practice.

Neal’s wife Teresa and daughter Rianna conferenced in to watch the awards program. Rianna, who is 22, said that her father's terrific experience at Fielding—and the appreciation and support the department has shown her family since his passing—have inspired her to start graduate school now herself.

The scholarship funds for the Neal Award are raised from a fall auction, student donations, and a pizza party at Winter Session. Fielding alumnus Larry Drake has helped spearhead the funding.

Learn more about the Neal Award.

Fielding Launches Marie Fielder Center for Democracy, Leadership, and Education

Posted by Starshine Roshell on Thu, Jan 07, 2016


On January 15, 2016, Fielding Graduate University will launch its brand new Marie Fielder Center for Democracy, Leadership, and Education, a multidisciplinary research and advocacy center that will advance diversity and inclusion throughout society. It honors the life and legacy of the late Marie Fielder, PhD, a brilliant and influential African American educator and champion for social justice, who was a member of Fielding’s founding family in the 1970s.
The Center aims to become a significant national entity for advancing public discourse and advocacy on social democracy, leadership and especially education—K-12 through university.
“Social and ecological justice has resided at the cornerstone of Fielding’s mission since its founding in 1974,” says Katrina Rogers, PhD, president of Fielding. “Among its earliest leaders was Dr. Marie Fielder, who lived her life in pursuit of justice and inclusion of all people in all aspects of civic life. Through the Marie Fielder Center, Fielding reaffirms its commitment to conducting the research, providing the public and academic education, and engaging in the advocacy in diverse communities that is required to ensure the notion that while ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice.’”
At the launch event during Winter Session, Fielding will also present the inaugural Marie Fielder medal to Walter Bumphus, PhD, President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Tags: research, Marie Fielder

Jean-Pierre Isbouts to Reveal True Story of Walt Disney at Winter Session

Posted by Starshine Roshell on Tue, Jan 05, 2016


Santa Barbara residents are invited to hear Walt Disney documentarian and Fielding Graduate University faculty member Jean-Pierre Isbouts shed light on the storied and often surprising life of Disney’s founder, illustrated with excerpts from the acclaimed film Walt: The Man Behind the Myth at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Hotel, 633 E. Cabrillo Boulevard.

Fifty years after his death, Walt Disney remains one of the most celebrated — and misunderstood — figures in popular culture.

Narrated by Dick Van Dyke and featuring interviews with luminary Ray Bradbury; stars like Robert Stack, Buddy Ebsen and Fess Parker; and animators who worked on the classic films Snow White,Pinocchio and Fantasia, the film takes an unflinching look at the man behind the world’s greatest entertainment empire.

“He was an ordinary Midwestern guy doing extraordinary things with extraordinary talent,” says Isbouts.

Between clips, he’ll share insider stories gleaned while working on the film.


“Politically, Walt was a conservative who testified at the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings,” he says. “But from a social justice perspective, he was one of the first to hire African-American animators and to approach his workers on an equal level. These days, there are dozens of layers between the president of a studio and the worker bees — but Walt would sit with his animators and sketch.”

Isbouts teaches media and humanities at Fielding Graduate University and his public talk is part of Fielding’s winter session, when graduate students from across the country convene on the DoubleTree for seminars and workshops in media psychology, human and organizational development and more.

“Disney had a very novel way of creating an organization where people can not only produce and create but innovate,” Isbouts says. “If you don’t innovate in the 21st century, you’re going to die. You must constantly reinvent yourself, and Walt Disney is a magnificent case study of doing just that.”

Seating is limited, so all guests should arrive at the event by 6:45 p.m.

Tags: Organizational development, national session