Points of Pride

New Books by Fielding Students, Faculty, and Alumni (November 2014)

Posted on Mon, Dec 01, 2014

The following books, authored by members of the Fielding community, were published in October and November 2014.

What Psychotherapists Learn From Their Clients, Edited by Sherry L. Hatcher, PhD, facultydescribe the image

Hatcher recently published research that has spanned several years with some of her
former and current doctoral students. Contributors to the book include three Fielding alumni and five current doctoral students. This book represents the conclusion of over four years of Hatcher’s work on her research project that was earlier published, in part, as a journal article.

DancingThroughRainDancing Through the Rain, by Valerie Grossman (HOS ’04)

It is a narrative addressing issues we all face. Appendices speak to generational transmission and social justice and invite readers to look at points in their own lives with a series of questions. The final appendix makes a possible connection between generational transmission and social justice.

Lenten Reflections: From the Desert to the Resurrection, by Milton Lopes, Faculty EmeritusResurrection

Milton’s book is written for those of us who want to be more spiritual. Four seminal questions are posed: Where are we? What are we? Who are we? Why are we? Answers to these questions set the stage for what many spiritual masters call the purgative way, in which the Twelve-Step Program of Alcoholic Anonymous is suggested as a framework to one’s first steps into spiritual wholeness.

After by AR NealAfter, by AR Neal (ELC ’09)

Andreé Robinson-Neal, EdD, is a well-published academic writer, but she stretches her wings with her third foray into science fiction. In her newest book, the ordinary world has ended. Some call it the Rapture of the Bible. Others say aliens are responsible, while others blame terrorism. As the main character, Marlena Jacoby, reflects on her husband's faith tradition and beliefs, she and her friends start seeing parallels between what is going on around them and what the Bible seems to suggest. Follow Marlena's journey of self-discovery and redemption as she discovers what happens "After."

Do you have a book that’s publishing soon? Send us your information, and we’ll include your book in next month’s blog.

Tags: social justice, fielding faculty, graduate education, human development

Student and Alumni Projects Improve the Lives of Veterans

Posted on Fri, Nov 07, 2014

by Marianne McCarthy

Veterans Day honors America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. While our nation pauses to reflect on those who have served our country, we would like to recognize a few of those in the Fielding community who dedicate their practice and study to improving the lives of veterans.

Preparing to Serve Vets and Their Families

“A lot of our veterans are coming back with brain injuries, and they are finding that they have increased sensitivity to light, memory problems, difficulty thinking and reasoning, and responding with the same kind of personality their spouses remember,” says Jeremy Jinkerson, a doctoral student in clinical psychology with neuropsychology concentration.

Jinkerson's interest in military psychology stems from his earlier work with children and adolescents, where he developed specialties and interest in the traumatic process and how PTSD develops.  He is currently doing his practicum at Little Rock Air Force Base and applying to become an officer in the Air Force.

Jinkerson is also the Commanding Officer of Fielding’s APA Division 19 Society for Military Psychology student chapter. Other officers include Tiffany Duffing (Executive Officer) and Athena Hubbard (Secretary/Treasurer). The group has put together a training series to help prepare students to serve active military families and veterans now and in their future careers.  They’ve brought in speakers and even had presentations from some Fielding students.Fielding Div19 officers

“We can learn a lot from [Fielding] veterans as well,” says Jinkerson.  “We’ve had presentations on military culture and on topics that are of interest and pertinent to us from a clinical perspective. We’ve had presentations from interns at active duty sites as well as national training directors who are teaching us what we need to know now to apply to their site this year or next year.

Later this year, Jinkerson will transition into a more national role for Division 19. As Director of Programming, he’ll be organizing programming and virtual dissemination strategies for all of Division 19 members.

Developing Entrepreneurship for Veterans’ Families

Growing up in Harlem with parents who were actively involved in community affairs had a huge impact on Stephen Redmon. The Human & Organizational Systems (HOS) alumnus (2013) has been devoted to community service since he graduated college and joined the Peace Corps. Today, Redmon serves as Special Assistant to the General Counsel of the Departments of Veterans Affairs. But in 2008, he was selected for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities at Syracuse University where he developed an award-winning business plan for improving the quality of life for service-disabled veterans.

describe the imageHis dissertation explores the experiences of family members of veterans who participated in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Family Program (EBV-F), an entrepreneurial learning and coaching program designed to assist family members of service-disabled veterans in an effort to support the discontinuous life transition of these veterans and their families. 

“Family members of service-disabled veterans oftentimes have to bring more income to the family to make up for the decrease in income because possibly of the service disabled veteran,” says Redmon. “The entrepreneur opportunity offers both the potential for income and resources for the family, but also a more flexible way to bring in those resources to the family.”

Redmon has been practicing law for 25 years. His doctorate in HOS has allowed him to take a “more holistic, medical-legal approach” to his practice. Rather than looking at a case from as a purely criminal justice matter, Redmon seeks out the root cause of a patient’s condition to see if there’s a legal component to it. Does the veteran need counseling? Assessment, diagnosis, or treatment? Is a drug or alcohol intervention needed?

Comforting Heroes in their Greatest Hour of Need

RebeccaA couple of years ago, clinical psychology doctoral student Rebecca Hodges started the Military Heroes Comfort Project. The nonprofit organization provides knitted hats, blankets and other sources of comfort to military heroes and their families going through chemotherapy, infusions, or radiation.

The project began following her own family’s struggle with cancer. When her foster son retired from active duty, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and needed infusions. According to Hodges, military budget cuts meant few of any items of comfort were available during these treatments. She saw a huge need for lap blankets, chemo hats, ball caps, slippers and quilts to help comfort patients as they bravely battled with cancer. Yet regulations prohibited anyone from giving or sharing these items to non-relatives. That’s when Hodges decided to create her own organization, one that is sanctioned by the US Judge Advocate General (JAG). In the short span of two years, her group, comprised completely of volunteer sewers, knitters, and donors from across the nation, has provided over $350,000 in donated or handmade gifts to patients of all ages (infants through geriatrics).ComfortProject

Hodges always needs donors and crafters, but she is especially looking for someone to help the organization with social media and a website. If you’re interested in helping out, email her at mh.comfort.project@gmail.com. All donations are tax-deductible.

Want to get involved?

If you are a veteran or are interested in learning more about veterans' issues, there are two Fielding communities to consider joining. Psychology students can join Division 19 of the American Psychological Association (APA). Any student can join the Fielding Veterans Connection, a group that was initiated by Redmon and fellow HOS alumnus Bart Buechner as a space to share interests and offer support. The group has both a Moodle (login required) and LinkedIn forum and is open to both veterans and non-veterans. 

Tags: psychology, trauma psychology, APA Division 19, fielding graduate university, graduate education, military psychology, veterans

New Books by Fielding Students, Faculty, and Alumni (October 2014)

Posted on Wed, Oct 29, 2014

The following books, authored by members of the Fielding community, were published in September and October 2014. The collection includes nonfiction, fiction, and self-help titles and depicts the diverse knowledge and skills within the Fielding community.

NewRulesforWomenNew Rules for Women, by Anne Litwin, PhD (HOS ’08)

Organizational Development Consultant Dr. Anne Litwin recently published a book on gender dynamics that influence women’s workplace relationships. According to Litwin, research shows that many women struggle in their workplace relationships with other women. These struggles can be frustrating for women—and a bottom-line concern for employers. Litwin exposes the sources of confusion and misunderstanding between women colleagues and offers powerful tools for preventing and resolving conflict that result in better relationships, as well as increased productivity and retention.

The Story of Christianity, by Jean-Pierre Isbouts, DLitt (faculty)Christianity Cov v11 Stained Glass REV 335x400

In his fourth National Geographic book, faculty member Jean-Pierre Isbouts chronicles of Christian civilization from ancient Rome to today. Covering more than 2,000 years, from the birth of Jesus to the modern day, Isbouts examines the dynamic interplay of religion, politics, economics, and geography as they impacted the development and spread of Christianity. His thorough research weaves a historical narrative that provides context for biblical events without bias and with a deep respect for all traditions.

AstonishedEyeThe Astonished Eye, by Tracy Knight, PhD (PSY ’91)

Tracy Knight takes the story of one man's search for his identity and blends it into a tale of fantasy, mystery and science fiction, with all the charm of a modern American fable. Born and raised in Carthage, Illinois, Knight is a clinical psychologist and university professor at Western Illinois University. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies in a variety of genres, including suspense, mystery, science fiction, western, and horror. 

The Art of Activation, by Ramona Hollie-Major, EdD (ELC ’08)Art of Activation

In a world where self-doubt and pity run rampant, a group of authors have joined forces to enlighten readers in the ways of self-love and success. Dr. Hollie-Major is one of 24 writers who provide action steps to gaining success in business, attaining wealth, having loving and harmonious relationships, helping the less fortunate, or discovering personal health and wellness.

 

Recognize cover 2Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men, by H. Sharif Williams (HOD ’06)

This collection of short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, personal narratives, critical essays, and visual art produced by 61 bisexual men was co-edited by H. Sharif Williams (aka Dr. Herukhuti). He is an activist, researcher, artist, and founder of the Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality. As a revolutionary scholar, he promotes erotic empowerment, social justice, and ecological wellness as human rights.

 

 

Do you have a book that’s publishing soon? Send us your information and we’ll include your book in next month’s blog.

Tags: bisexuality, creativity, LGBTQ, religion, workers rights, organizational change, Organizational development, human development

MA-CEL Alumna Invited to White House to Receive Presidential Arts Funding

Posted on Thu, Aug 14, 2014


By Marianne McCarthy

Malissa Cindy Rachel with captionWhen Principal Rachel Clark Messineo (MA-CEL, ’08) received an invitation to the White House this past May, she knew her school had been chosen as a recipient of an arts education initiative that could help make a difference in her school. But the students of Burbank Elementary and the rest of San Diego didn’t know for sure until they watched the event streaming live from the White House. Of course, they couldn’t be more proud and excited, as are we at Fielding.

Burbank Elementary is one of only 35 schools across the nation to participate in the Turnaround Arts Initiative, an assistance program that provides training, development, and workshops to ensure that the arts are an available avenue to success for all students.

Underperforming School Struggles to Change

Led by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, together with local partners, Turnaround Arts aims to help failing schools implement high quality arts education to “turnaround” the pervasive problems found in high-poverty, chronically underperforming schools. By using the arts as a strategic tool, students are engaged while they learn 21st century skills critical to their success.

Burbank Elementary is located in the “Barrio Logan” area of San Diego, serving 350 students, all of whom are socioeconomically disadvantaged. In 2010, it was identified as performing in the lowest 5% of all California schools.Burbank Elementary

 “We’ve been a chronically under-performing school for many years working hard to make a difference, but our scores just go up a tiny bit each year, so it’s hard work. Our kids are low income, second-language learners, part of a very transient population. There are lots of things working against us, but we’re really hoping that integrating arts will be an avenue to attract students to stay at our school,” says Rachel.

She explains that due to limited funding Burbank Elementary doesn’t offer any on-going activities like some of the other more affluent schools in her district. When funds get cut, it’s usually the arts and extracurricular activities that go first. Burbank doesn’t have funds to provide anything other than the core classes: reading, science, math, and history. Kids who struggle in these areas typically don’t want to come to school, says Rachel.

“If we had an acting class, or a singing class, or a dance class, they’d be more excited about coming to school and could learn through song or dance. They could learn through acting, building sets, things like that.  So we’re looking at integrating arts as a way to improve our academics which will ultimately improve self-esteem, confidence, and attendance…maybe we could even become a school of choice for new students.”

Believing in the Value of Arts Education

She believes that there is a connection between arts education and academic achievement. She has a personal connection and passion for arts education as she has played the flute, piccolo, and piano since elementary-school age. She has experienced first-hand how arts education increases student motivation, confidence, and teamwork.

Associated with the school since 2009, Rachel has moved up the ladder from teacher to grant coordinator to just last year being appointed principal.

“As I began my journey toward an administrative position, I started utilizing materials that I had learned at Fielding. It just kept sinking in deeper and deeper,” says Rachel.  “Now that I’m a principal, I frequently draw upon the readings, the books, the activities, and the collaborative tasks that were assigned. Facilitators said, ‘Trust the process,’ and several years later, I see what they meant.”

Turnaround Arts Equips Teachers with Powerful Tools

TurnaroundArtslogoAccording to the Turnaround Arts website, placing the arts as the heart and soul of a school gives leadership and teachers powerful tools to improve school climate and culture, increase student and parent engagement, which ultimately contributes to improved academic achievement and the successful turnaround of a failing school.

Obamas KidsTurnaround Arts began as a pilot program with eight schools, and celebrating that success is what the White House event was all about. First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a talent show in the East Room of the White House, which was transformed into an old fashioned school auditorium. Students from the program’s inaugural schools showed off their skills singing, dancing, making music, and reciting poetry. The First Lady also announced the expansion of the program, from eight pilot schools to 35 schools, 10 from California. Celebrities Sara Jessica Parker and Alfre Woodard, artist-mentors who were paired with one of the original eight schools, were there to help promote the event. President Barack Obama even made a surprise appearance before the show concluded—and Rachel and her superintendent got to shake his hand at the event.

Burbank Gets Assigned an Artist-Mentor

This month, Burbank Elementary meets their new artist-mentor, Grammy award-winning musician Jason Mraz, who lives in the San Diego area. Mraz will work with Rachel and Burbank teachers to infuse the arts into curriculum and campus culture over the next three years.

“We have planned to learn how to play the guitar and ukulele, and Jason plays both!” says Rachel.  “Our hope is that we can have a concert with him at the end of the year with students all playing one of his songs.”

Mraz said in a statement, “I’m humbled by the opportunity to support and represent a school in our country and my local community that will greatly benefit from the support of a vibrant arts education program. The arts are the key to life and the Turnaround Arts program will open the doors for youth to life, love, creativity and endless imagination.”


Tags: art education, change agent, social justice, educational leadership, diversity, multicultural, arts, fielding graduate university, graduate education, teacher education, MA-CEL

Doctoral Students Stay Connected and Get Things Done!

Posted on Fri, Jun 20, 2014

Anchor Group Stays Close Through Session and Daily Emails

By Marianne McCarthy

There’s nothing simple about graduate school—especially when you do it on as an adult. Our students have busy lives that often include a job, family, and other commitments, not to mention all the activities that come with them!

“It’s easy to disconnect from school. Other things come in the way and they are all huge priorities,” says doctoral student Dohrea Bardell. “To maintain focus, you need people around you to constantly remind you.”

Dohrea, who runs a Seattle-based manufacturing company with her husband, is one of six members of the Getting Things Done (GTD) group. These Human & Organizational Development (HOD) students originally met at a New Student Orientation (NSO) in 2011. Dohrea and the other members of the group have found that staying connected with each other helps them stay on top of their coursework and their degree progress.

IMG 7440 cropped resized 600

Getting Things Done group members (from left to right): Dohrea Bardell, Holly Bardutz, Trevor Maber, Susan Miele, Don Khouri, and Sam Jama.

The group’s name comes from the book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, a veteran coach whose premise is: productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax.  It made a profound impact on one of the member’s coaching practice, and the group adopted the name because they decided they were going to get things done!

Daily Emails Keep them on Track

At NSO, the GTD members spent a lot of time on the Lifelines component, analyzing each other’s milestones and really getting to know each other.  After returning home, they initiated a system of daily emails at the suggestion of their program director, Dorothy Agger-Gupta. Since then, each member has taken one day out of every week to compose a message to the rest of the group. As a result of this daily contact, they have developed a strong bond, despite their distance.

 “With a daily connection and constant contact with Fielding peers, doctoral work becomes an integral part of your everyday thoughts. You’re constantly reminded about the work that you have to do, but also feel a part of the community via a virtual community,” says GTD member Sam Jama who lives and works in Canada.

Their daily messages comprise something personal or something very practical for the program.

“Whatever you want, even little tips or jokes.” says Holly Bardutz, “I have two kids and a job, but the emails remind me every day that this is part of my life too, and I have to keep going.”

Staying connected with each other has a profound impact on their success, admits Professor Agger-Gupta, who says that students who stay closely connected to others throughout their program benefit from the collegiality and have a greater tendency to complete their program.

“You could go through this program and have little to no contact with anyone else,” says Canadian Trevor Maber. “Some people are great at that, but I like to socialize. I need that connection. I need that sense of belonging.”

Group Collaborates on Coursework

GTD members contracted, designed, and executed several of their Knowledge Areas (KAs) together. Deciding that it’s better to go through courses together than apart, they leverage resources, take turns interviewing faculty, and collectively select the literature.

Susan Miele is raising a teenaged daughter and managing a human resources team at a technology company while working toward her doctorate. For her, working on coursework together was beneficial. “It’s easy to get distracted when you have your own individual deadline versus when you have five other people who are committed to the same timelines.”

“I wonder how people without the support network do it,” says Don Khouri, an executive coach for the technology and healthcare industries in New England and New York. “I’ve talked to other folks who struggle because they don’t have some of the logistical and process knowledge about HOD that we gained from someone in our group.”

Session Has More Meaning

Summer Session is just around the corner and all six members are slated to meet in Chicago this July.

“I don’t think I would come as often as I do if I didn’t know these people,” says Holly. “Knowing that they will be there is what motivates me to come here, and I’m more comfortable.”

GTD group members use their collective bandwidth to capitalize on all the opportunities Session presents. They attend different workshops, then come back together and share what they learned.  They benefit from discussing and debating these concepts and ideas from within their various viewpoints.

“In some ways we are a very divergent group and that brings a lot of richness to our experience in that we bring different perspectives and backgrounds,” says Trevor.  “It challenges us in other ways. If the six of us all lived in Phoenix and agreed on everything, I don’t know if we’d have the same experience.”

Group Provides Emotional Support

GTD group

 “Most people don’t know what it means to get a PhD, not to mention what Fielding is like,” says Susan. “As much as my husband and daughter are supportive they have no idea. They just know I’m busy all the time.”

“I view GTD as a group of lifelong friends. We have really built that bond. It’s not just Fielding stuff we’re talking about on a daily basis; it’s life stuff,” says Don.

The GTD Group of Six” is in the midst of an amazing learning journey, and I know that the strength and insight they each bring to this group will enable them to thrive when they all become the “GTD Group of Six PhDs!” says Professor Agger-Gupta.



Tags: adult learning, Distributed education, national session, graduate education, human development, distance education, learning

Alumna Recounts Earning PhD at Fielding while Raising Small Children

Posted on Wed, May 07, 2014

ErickJacob13SummerSessionGraduate Education + Motherhood = Possible!

By Kari Newbill Lannon, PhD (PSY ’13)

Special thanks to guest blogger, Kari L. Lannon, PhD, who shared her personal experience of earning her PhD while starting a family. This article celebrates all Fielding students who combine motherhood and scholarship. We applaud and honor you! Happy Mother’s Day!

Fielding Graduate University is an amazing place! I chose Fielding for two primary reasons: the high quality APA-accredited program in clinical psychology and the flexibility offered by the distributed learning model.

My husband’s industry was on a three- to four-year cycle of geographic moves, and I wanted to start a graduate program that I could finish if I was unable to stay in the same city. Little did I know, that my journey of becoming a psychologist and mother were about to begin! Three weeks after starting at Fielding, I discovered I was pregnant and the adventure intensified. Because of the incredible support of Fielding faculty and students, family, and friends, I successfully completed my first year while in the midst of severe morning sickness, months of working on my laptop in bed while on bed rest, and a breastfeeding baby who attended clusters and sessions. I cannot imagine being able to accomplish this at any other school.

EC4The flexibility and support of the Fielding community continued as subsequent years brought a second baby. My children have always been welcomed and included into Fielding events. I arranged my practicum schedules to spend the first year of each baby’s life primarily with them, keeping my family a priority even as I continued to successfully progress in school. I joined the Fielding LONGSCAN research team while seven months pregnant and on bed rest. Throughout my dissertation process, the team and my committee provided helpful feedback and understanding about the difficulties inherent in parenting two active boys while generating doctoral level research.

Going through the APA match process was complicated because I was trying to balance family and educational goals. My mother and children traveled to interviews with me as I was still nursing my second baby. I was incredibly blessed to match at an APA-accredited site, Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago, part of the Chicago Area Christian Training Consortium that provided outstanding and diverse clinical experiences and training opportunities. My family and I relocated from Dallas to Chicago, where I worked in an environment that was congruent with my values of social justice, faith, and family.


Summer2011BoysSchoolSessionI cannot adequately describe my sense of thankfulness, accomplishment, and excitement when my Final Oral Review was scheduled for Summer Session 2013, and I registered to walk in graduation. I made plans for my husband, parents, in-laws, and children to attend as they have all been integral parts of my education along with Fielding faculty and students, practicum and internship supervisors, and colleagues. My education at Fielding will always be measured by the age of my oldest son, Erick, and my dissertation research by my younger boy, Jacob.

As I stated in my dissertation acknowledgements: It takes a village to earn a PhD as a mother!

Tags: APA, gender empowerment, psychology, women's issues, adult learning, clinical psychology, graduate education

Winter Session Attendees Explore Homelessness in Paradise

Posted on Mon, Feb 10, 2014

Fielding tours Santa Barbara Housing Facilities

By Marianne McCarthy

National Sessions provide a great opportunity for Fielding students to get a practical view of social change in action. As our community gathers in one geographic area, we often dedicate a day to investigate first-hand how agencies within a local community address issues such as worker’s rights, poverty, and other social issues.

This January, during the Winter Session, Fielding’s School of Human & Organizational Development (HOD) organized a day-long field trip and evening symposium called “Homeless in Paradise.” Approximately 20 Fielding students and faculty members visited shelters and low-income housing projects and learned how local agencies and nonprofits tackle homelessness in a city that is considered by many to be paradise. Later that evening, a panel of local officials and agency directors addressed the general public on innovative policies and partnerships that lead to effective and transformative programs. They were joined by recent HOD graduate, Michael Wilson, PhD, whose work with The Phoenix Centre in British Columbia exemplifies the benefits of building a socially innovative community that can respond to the complex and interconnected issues of homelessness.

Developing Transitional Opportunities

Despite its reputation for locals with wealth and fame, Santa Barbara surprisingly ranks in one of the lowest categories for affordable housing. Rob Fredericks, deputy director of the Santa Barbara City Housing Authority, attributes this to the community’s high rental prices and low vacancy rates.

“The need is not only to provide shelter to those on the streets, but also to house seniors and a work-force that can’t afford to rent at market rates,” explained Fredericks, who cited a waiting list of over 7,500.

Fredericks led the Fielding group on a tour that progressed from shelters and supportive housing programs to low-income residences, demonstrating how a local in need might transition from homelessness to greater independence.

At the 200-bed Casa Esperanza, we learned how the struggling shelter has had to change its model to survive. According to Executive Director Mike Foley, the nonprofit recently merged with the Community Kitchen and changed from an open shelter to one that mandates sobriety, to keep dollars flowing.

Our next stop was Transition House, an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence which also provides long-term housing and supportive services for individuals and families. By offering mental health, case management, and career development services, the nonprofit works to address the issues that lead to homelessness.

Executive Director Kathleen Bauske expressed that since “children of the homeless are more likely to be homeless as adults,” it’s important to break the cycle.

“Combining services with housing helps get people to integrate back into society,” added Fredericks.

Artisan Court, Santa BarbaraThis type of model is also proving successful for Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, a regional nonprofit that provides affordable housing to 5,000 low-income children, adults, and seniors.  By providing constituents with supportive services such as youth education, skill development, and income counseling, its programs are helping marginalized individuals gain greater self-sufficiency.

But these agencies can’t do it alone. They rely heavily on federal redevelopment dollars (which area disappearing), in-kind donations, and thousands of volunteers to make ends meet.

Overcoming the NIMBY factor

According to Fredericks, one of the challenges that cities around the country are facing is “Not In My Back Yard.”

As we toured these facilities, scattered throughout the downtown area, it quickly became evident that design matters. All the residences are clean, quiet, and well-kept. Low street-front profiles and groomed landscaped help them blend into their neighborhoods, many of which are residential.

As he reiterated throughout the tour, it's important to landscape and maintain properties to keep public support. "If you give people a nice place to live, they're going to take care of it. If they take care of it, the public is going to support it.”

Making a Difference Takes Collaboration

If there was a theme for the day, it was collaboration. And on this, the panel at the evening symposium all agreed.

Homeless in Paradise Panel

Panel participants included (Left to right) Michael Wilson, Kathleen Bauske, Mayor Helene Schneider, Rob Federicks, and Supervisor Doreen Faar. They all agreed that creating effective and enduring partnerships between public and private agencies and garnering community support are the essential ingredients to building successful and innovative programs that help people transition out of homelessness. You can view the entire presentation online.

“If we can produce socially beneficial initiatives on the community level, we can do the same on a global level,” said Wilson.

Special Thanks

Fielding would like to express its gratitude to everyone who took time away from their busy schedule to provide us with an informative and meaningful exploration of their city’s approach to homelessness. In particular we thank Rob Fredericks, City of Santa Barbara Housing Authority; Micki Flacks, County of Santa Barbara Housing Authority;  Mike Foley, Casa Esperanza; Kathleen Bauske, Transition House; Kristen Tippelt, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing; Doreen Farr, Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor; Helene Schneider, Santa Barbara Mayor; Michael Wilson, The Phoenix Centre; and The Santa Barbara Trolley Company

Tags: social justice, fielding graduate university, human rights, human development, habitat

Dr. Latisha Webb (ELC’13) Wins Entrepreneurial Award

Posted on Thu, Dec 19, 2013

Empowers Others through Multiple Ventures

By Marianne McCarthy

Dr. Latisha Webb ARWEY Award winnerDr. Latisha Webb, a January 2013 graduate of the School of Educational Leadership for Change (ELC), likens her ability to manage multiple projects as similar to an octopus. Last month when she received an American Riviera Woman Entrepreneur of The Year (ARWEY) award, however, it was not for her physical ambidexterity. Instead she received accolades for her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to multiple innovative endeavors that focus on empowering others.

"The ARWEY awards recognize and celebrate women and the accomplishments they have made in communities throughout the world. We applaud the efforts of women dedicated to creating the best possible environments in the workplace and improving communities using "new business" models,” said Tia Walker, ARWEY Awards executive director.

A true entrepreneur, Dr. Webb has her arms in several different ventures—nonprofit and for-profit businesses, as well as her own personal brand, On B.L.A.S.T.

“On B.L.A.S.T. stands for Being and Living my Authentic Self Today, which is a derivative of my Fielding dissertation, Discovering the Authentic Self: The Concurrent Processes of Being and Becoming.” said Dr. Webb. “It’s about defining and understanding the authentic self and then loving and embracing our very Being now while becoming who we inspire to be in the future.  We as individuals should align our core values, thought processes, actions, relationships, and every aspect of our lives so we can become who we're destined to become.”

She and her pastor provide weekly On B.L.A.S.T. conference calls that lead listeners through a six-dimensional self-discovery process of the physical, spiritual, psychological, emotional, social and sexual aspects of the authentic self.

“Sometimes we focus so much on the physical, but then we don’t take care of our psychological.  Or we concentrate on the social and neglect the spiritual.  From a systems theory perspective, On B.L.A.S.T. provides a way for us to understand that we as human begins many parts and those parts are all interdependent to make us who we are,” explained Dr. Webb.

She developed the curricula Demystifying Sexuality and the Impact of Trauma (DSIT) and Survivors of Trauma Educational Program: Stepping into My Authentic Self (STEP) based on several research projects while at Fielding. Her book, The Authentic Love Experience: Pillow Talk Topics for Couples who Desire a Holistic Relationship, addresses the six dimensions of the authentic self for couples and singles who desire to be in a committed relationship.

Named a Worldwide Network for Gender Empowerment (WNGE) fellow for 2011-2012, Dr. Webb presented at the United Nations on "Empowering Women through Demystifying Sexuality." A victim of sexual abuse herself, her mission is to empower women all over the world who have experienced sexual trauma to discover, be, and live their authentic selves.

Dr. Latisha WebbDr. Webb is also a committed human service professional. In her 13 years as a practitioner, she has served a myriad of populations: survivors of sexual trauma, the homeless, people living with HIV/AIDS, people in recovery, returning citizens, and neglected and abused children. She is currently the Director of Operations and one of the founding partners of OpportUNITY, Inc., a nonprofit organization which provides a myriad of educational and employment opportunities to disenfranchised populations, specifically targeting returning citizens, women, veterans, and people in recovery.

OpportUNITY’s programs are designed to foster economic empowerment, advancement, achievement, and self-determined homeownership. For example, the organization offers the welfare-to-work population hands-on experience through its PAATHS (Practical Application And Training in Human Services) program, which trains volunteers in the field of human services by providing opportunities to participants in the other programs who are returning citizens. Their flagship program is a 16-week residential construction-training program which provides homeless men, women, and others to learn a skill set and become gainfully employed. Willam and Latisha Webb at work at OpportUNITY, Inc.

“We have a great relationship with the South Philadelphia EARN Center who places public assistance recipients at job sites.  We train our volunteers from the EARN Center in the fielding of human services, in hopes to spark an interest and desire to apply for an entry level position in the field,” said Webb.

“Dr. Webb represents the new paradigm woman leader and business person, leading with her heart and creating economic empowerment for women which is at the core of the ARWEY Awards,” said Walker.

“In order to be a change agent, first you must go through a change process.  Having bought into the vision of Fielding and what it represents for world changers, I am lifelong learner and scholar-practitioner,” said Webb. “The more I learn, the freer I am. As I move in liberation, the freer I am to teach, free, and liberate others.”

Tags: change agent, educational leadership, trauma psychology, adult learning, fielding graduate university, authentic self, entrepreneur

A Life of Activism and Advocacy: Supporting Exiles and Survivors of Sexual Violence

Posted on Tue, Nov 26, 2013

By Marianne McCarthy

Indira K. Skoric, PhD

Few people can say they were on the front lines of societal change, especially if it dealt with a cultural taboo.  Yet, humanitarian Indira K. Skoric (HOS ’12) proudly witnessed the alteration of a long-standing sentiment about women subjected to sexual violence during the Yugoslav Wars and a system that tolerated such abuses.  A victim of sexual violence herself, she has consistently advocated for those subjected to systematic rape and torture during the war. It took over a decade, and the work of countless other advocates, but finally women survivors were legally labeled “civilian victims of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Indira was living and studying in Belgrade during the Yugoslav National Movement when she first became involved with feminist groups. In 1991, she helped establish the Belgrade Women in Black, an antimilitarist peace movement protesting the war in Serbia and all forms of hatred, discrimination, and violence.  According to the group’s website, it has organized more than 500 protests throughout the former Yugoslavia since its founding.Belgrade Women in Black

After the war started, Indira joined the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as an information officer.

“I wanted to do something tangible for people who were survivors and victims of the war,” she said.

Many of these victims were the unacknowledged sufferers of sexual violence. Years later, Indira would write in her dissertation that post war reports estimated that 10,000 to 60,000 women had been submitted to sexual violence during the war, although the European Commission settled on a figure 20,000.

While one part of her felt devoted to working with people who were minorities like herself or those who were working on gender issues, another wanted to escape the violence and the intense political climate of ethnical and territorial conflict.

In 1994, Indira found her way out of Yugoslavia after winning a fellowship at the New School for Social Research in New York. She continued her activism with the American Friends Service Committee and a New York branch of Women in Black. But pressure was building from the war in Kosovo, and she received threats to her life. Many of her Women in Black colleagues had been forced into hiding. Eventually, she was granted political asylum and was able to complete her master’s degree in International Relations, writing her thesis on “Understanding War Rapes.” It was a topic she would continue to explore during her time at Fielding.

In the meantime, Indira focused on survivors of sexual violence and refugees of the former Yugoslavia. She consulted on the documentary film, Calling the Ghosts. The Emmy-award winning documentary reveals the torture and humiliation of women in concentration camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Directed by Mandy Jacobson in 1996, it also won the Human Rights Watch Int'l Film Fest and Nestor Almendros Award for best documentary.

Indira also co-founded the Reconciliation and Culture Cooperative Network (RACOON, Inc.), an organization she would eventually direct until 2011, raising over $1.5 million to assist in community-building programs for an estimated 250,000 Western Balkan refugees and exiles in the New York and tri-state area.

Indira Skoric and staff of Reconciliation and Culture Cooperative Network (RACOON, Inc.)

“We were mostly political activists,” said Indira, “but early on, we realized that these refugee populations not only needed a conflict resolution program, but they also needed someone to help them navigate complexities in the system and advocate for them.”

Indira describes how things became especially difficult for immigrants after 9/11. “People couldn’t get social security numbers, and so they would end up in the category of aliens, or illegals,” even if they were awaiting a “legal” status.

Her organization began working on issues such as advocating for health care and ensuring her constituents could get the care they needed in their native language. In 2004, RACOON, Inc. received the Union Square Award for grassroots activism that strengthens local communities.

Reconciliation and Culture Cooperative Network (RACOON, Inc.)“The organization that started as a conflict transformation group, thinking how do we reconcile in exile, ended up providing advocacy and networking,” said Indira. “As part of the leadership, I was pushed in a place that I needed to learn how to navigate, not only practically but also strategically. Fielding provided that place for my own learning and growth, to be able to lead this small organization.”

Intrigued by women, like herself, who used their experiences to “transform their lives and even emancipate themselves from the horror that haunts them,” her Human and Organizational Systems research focused on the life stories of nine women survivors of and advocates against sexual violence. In a way, it was her way to seek greater understanding of her own growth.

Then, in 2007, the Law on the Protection of Civilian Victims of War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was amended to include victims of rape. By essentially garnering women who had been raped during the war status of civilian war victims, they became eligible for disability, health care, and professional rehabilitation. It was a “huge” moment for Indira.

According to her dissertation committee chair, Richard Appelbaum, "Indira's life and work bear witness to Fielding's concern with social justice—with putting theory into practice. Her dissertation was a powerful exploration into the lives of women who were severely traumatized, yet who used their pain and sorrow to devote their energies to helping other women similarly afflicted.”

A recipient of multiple Fielding scholarships, Indira’s research contributes to the literature on “emancipatory learning by revealing how these women created the conditions for their own survival, and adds to the literature of feminist studies.” Indira has organized and presented at numerous international seminars, conferences and United Nations meetings. During her doctoral studies, she was a fellow in Fielding’s Institute for Social Innovation and was named Revson Fellow by Columbia University. Her article “Advocacy and Survivors of Sexual Violence” is set for publication in Canadian Oral History in the spring of 2014.

In addition to being assistant professor at Kingsborough Community College, Indira currently sits on the board of the Women’s Refugee Commission, a research and advocacy group that accomplishes life-changing improvements for vulnerable displaced populations. 


Tags: change agent, social justice, diversity, women's issues, graduate fellows, violence, human rights, scholar activist

Dr. Herukhuti Attends First-Ever White House Roundtable on Bisexuality

Posted on Fri, Nov 01, 2013

By Marianne McCarthy

On September 23, Dr. Herukhuti (Hameed S. Williams, HOD ’06) joined 30 leaders from the bisexual community at the first-ever White House roundtWhite House Roundtable on Bisexualityable discussion on Bisexuality in Washington, DC. The historic meeting was also attended by high-ranking federal governmental officials and representatives from national LGBTQ organizations, who met to discuss HIV/AIDS and other health issues, hate crimes, workplace discrimination, and domestic violence impact on bisexual communities.

As a clinical sociologist/sexologist and editorial board member of the Journal of Bisexuality, Dr. Herukhuti was invited to present information on HIV and its impact on bisexuals. His topic focused on the ways in which the lack of bisexual-specific HIV programs in research, prevention education, treatment, and care may be contributing to disparities among black and Latino men and women.

“Current HIV treatment focuses on black and Latino men who have sex with men and women as though they were gay men, or as though they were white gay men,” said Dr. Herukhuti.  “This may be the reason why we are missing the mark.”

wide view group shot at taskforce(Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.)

Being a Scholar-Practitioner

Admittedly, Herukhuti didn’t accept the White House invitation with the agenda of pointing out these disparities. It was the research that led him there, and Herukhuti attributes that to being a scholar-practitioner—something that was nurtured and supported at Fielding Graduate University.

“Fielding helped me cultivate and develop a sense of practice—learning by doing and allowing an experience to inform one’s theory and allowing theory to inform one’s practice. With my co-presenters, I looked at existing research on disparities, allowed my conclusions to emerge from what I observed in the literature, and used my lived experience working and living in the field as a check. This provided a compelling message we could present to the policy makers in the room,” said Herukhuti.

Practicing Agency Helped Open Doors

Fielding also helped influence Dr. Herukhuti’s career by encouraging him to take ownership of his learning and practice agency. He sought resources in his own community and started attending the Grand Rounds at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University. These weekly presentations provide updates about the most current research related to HIV, sexuality, substance abuse, and socio-medical sciences.  After one of the sessions, a member of the center approached him and invited him to write a grant supplement to a National Institute of Mental Health research project. As a result, Herukhuti became a federally-funded graduate research assistant at the HIV Center where he received training and education in sex research, in particular, HIV social behavioral research.  He also received funding to conduct his own small scale study.

“Fielding's learning model created the structure and opportunity for me to take ownership of my learning, like going to a Grand Round, and ultimately led to my having a complementary relationship with another institution that I would not have had at traditional universities with their rigid borders,” said Herukhuti.

Working to Change Public Policy on Bisexuality

A respected faculty member at Goddard College in Vermont since 2007, Dr. Herukhuti also serves as Chair of the Goddard College Faculty Council, the voice of the faculty on academics at the college.  He is the founder of the Center for the Culture of Sexuality and Spirituality (aka Black Funk) which provides sex education, sexuality education, and relationship coaching.

Dr. Herukhuti is the author of Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality, Volume 1. He is currently co-editing a bisexual anthology with Robyn Ochs, a Boston-based bisexual activist and educator. Due out next year, the anthology will include prose, poetry, creative non-fiction, visual work, and essays by cisgender and transgender bisexual men.

“We expect it to be a resource for bisexual men others to see the diversities, the complexities, the nuances, and the presences of bisexual men,” said Herukhuti. “And there aren’t a whole lot of those resources out there.”

In addition, Dr. Herukhuti said he will continue working with those who were present at the White House roundtable on bisexuality to help support the development of a more inclusive public policy relating to bisexuality.

Tags: change agent, HIV, bisexuality, AIDs, LGBTQ