Fielding Graduate University News

Fielding alumni and current student to present at upcoming Systems Thinking in Action Conference

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Tue, Nov 06, 2012

Using the Power of an Organization's Natural Network

Fielding Graduate University alumni Joan Goppelt (HOD '09) and Keith Ray (HOD '09) with Act Too Consulting, Inc., will be presenting with current MOD student Samantha Cooprider with Learning as Leadership at the Systems Thinking in Action Conference November 12-14 in Indianapolis, IN.

Overview of the upcoming of "Using the Power of an Organization's Natural Network":

When embarking on organizational improvement, working “in” the system can be much more powerful than working “on” it. Organizations are not objects but rather are people in the constant act of organizing. As they organize toward accomplishing individual and collective goals, they create networks of interaction known as teams, groups, departments, etc. In this session, you will hear how change agents in one large organization used the power of their internal network to address the limits to growth encountered with most organizational initiatives. You will learn what research revealed about their process and how an understanding of complex adaptive systems guided their way.

Joan and Keith presented the highly successful scholar-practioner class titled Integrating Research & Practice at the last all-school Fielding Summer Session 2012 alumni track to a packed room of Fielding alumni, students, and faculty.

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Keith Ray, PhD, has over 20 years of experience in organization development, organizational research, strategic change, project management, software development, and systems engineering. In 2008, he co-founded Act Too Consulting, Inc., which provides organization development and research services to a variety of clients. Keith has a BS in physics and a doctoral degree in human and organizational systems from Fielding Graduate University. Keith is interested in complexity and narrative in organizations.

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Joan Goppelt, PhD, has over 25 years of experience in leadership development, organizational change, software development, and project management. In 2008, she co-founded Act Too Consulting, Inc., which provides organization development and research services to a variety of clients. Joan has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in computer science, and a doctoral degree in human and organizational systems from Fielding Graduate University. Her interests include collaboration, adult learning, and new concepts of leadership.

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Samantha Cooprider has been a facilitator, executive coach, and COO with Learning as Leadership (LaL) since 2000. She developed a Leadership in Action course at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a facilitator of LaL’s on-site We Lead leadership training program. Samantha has a BA from the University of California at Berkeley with a focus on leadership organizations and social change and is currently pursuing a master’s in organizational development at Fielding Graduate University.


For further information about the conference:






Tags: educational leadership, organizational change, Organizational development, leadership, higher education, graduate education, research

Fielding alumna Melle Starsen presents in the US and the UK with research of stereotypes in media

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Fri, Oct 26, 2012

Fielding Graduate University alumna (ELC '11) Melle Starsen, EdD, presents her doctoral research across the United States and United Kingdom.

Starsen started off 2012 by traveling to the University of Oregon in Portland, OR, Loughborough University in Loughborough, UK, and John Moores University in Liverpool, UK presenting her research titled: "Cool to be cruel: Mean-spiritedness in 21st century children's TV sitcoms"  Starsen cites, "Much has been written about the proven negative effects viewing television violence has on children and yet there is another kind of violent role-modeling embedded in an unlikely place: children’s television sitcoms. This content analysis investigated live-action children’s half-hour sitcoms and discovered the presence of relational aggression and superiority humor, both of which rely on brutally treating other humans as inferior. The television characters seek revenge on each other, intentionally make others look bad or stupid, humiliate peers and parents, and are rarely punished for their mean-spiritedness and cruelty. The children’s sitcoms are behavioral blueprints of lies and deceit, as the characters unashamedly cheat others, defraud parents and other adults, and attempt to make peers and teachers look stupid and in the vernacular of the culture, “clueless.” Further, stereotypes are not only presented as acceptable, but are reinforced by frequent inclusion into the action. This study discovered myriad examples of mean-spiritedness and cruelty on the part of characters in the programs, ranging in frequency from 7 to 31.25 per half-hour episode, averaging 33.75 per hour for programs viewed. The study includes recommendations for parents and educators to help offset the possible negative effects of these programs."

For the next part of the year, Starsen began presenting her next topic: "Hidden messages: Archetypes in Blaxploitation Films" at the 2012 Film and History Conference-Film and Myth in Milwaukee, WI in September. Starsen states: "Many movie critics and researchers have rebuked Blaxploitation films (1970-1975) as sexist, racist, and, most of all, degrading to black audiences and the black community.  However, this empirical study of blaxploitation films has determined that far from presenting a negative image of the black community, many of the entries in this genre do in fact provide embedded archetypes that present consistent messages for black audiences about the need to eschew exploitation of their own people and communities and instead, support education, crime-reduction programs, and community outreach to improve the communities. The films, though accused of being violent and brutal, actually present messages about the need for black communities to stand together and right the wrongs of the past by supporting an almost sovereign nation-within-a-nation."

Starsen presented this research at the Midwest Popular Culture Association in Columbus, OH in October along with a second presentation titled "The metamorphosis of modern television news into 'entertainment propaganda" which she is scheduled to present at the upcoming Media and Politics Conference at the University on Bedfordshire, Luton, UK on Nov. 1-2, 2012.  

Starsen currently serves as assistant professor of communication at Upper Iowa University  which has an international and online presence; teaching television history, editing, writing for media, television production, media law and ethics, journalistic and online writing, and public speaking. Previously an instructor in communication for 10 years teaching screenwriting and speech. Published author with two novels, short stories in academic journals, and articles in national publications and journals. TV producer-director-writer at university PBS affiliate for nine years, producing documentary programs and PSAs. Researched, wrote and acted as location unit manager for American documentary on Dr Who. Journalist and freelance writer for 20 years, with articles in publications such as The New York Times. Wrote screenplay that is currently in pre-production. Appeared as extra in two films. Ten years’ experience acting and doing technical work in theatre. Ongoing research interests include: 1) using media such as film in successful college teaching; 2) importing real-life experience into university teaching pedagogy; and 3) researching and studying the millennial generation, so-called “echo boomers,” and their visually-oriented learning styles and short attention spans. Hobbies include photography, fossil hunting and collecting sea pottery shards from the UK.

Tags: Media psychology, conference, social media, international, human development, learning, research

Denise M. Frank, PhD, alumna and ISI Research Fellow from Fielding, publishes research focused on the meaning of self-esteem for individuals with psychotic disorders

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Mon, Oct 08, 2012

journ of human behv resized 600Alumna Dr. Denise M. Frank (MA, PSY '05) and research fellow with the Institute for Social Innovation (ISI) at Fielding Graduate University, recently co-authored an article published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology with Dr. Larry Davidson of Yale University entitled Experiences of Self-Esteem in Outpatients Diagnosed with Psychosis-A Phenomenological Study

Sage Journals abstract:

Denise M. Frank, Larry Davidson
Journal of Humanistic Psychology July 2012 vol. 52 no. 3 304-320

The aim of the article is explore the meaning of self-esteem for individuals with psychotic disorders. To understand how individuals with psychosis experience self-esteem, eight participants (four females and four males) were interviewed using a semistructured open-ended format with scripted questions. Individuals with psychotic disorders maintained a sense of self by pursuing social and interpersonal activities that sustained and enhanced their self-esteem. Neither the positive symptoms nor the negative symptoms commonly associated with psychotic disorders appeared to diminish self-esteem. Also, participants did not describe their sense of self-esteem as being contingent on, or as a direct function of, having a psychotic disorder. For the individuals in this pilot study, self-esteem did not appear to be affected by having a psychotic disorder or by the stigma associated with having been given such a diagnosis. Individuals were able to engage in and maintain social and interpersonal relationships that contributed to their having a positive sense of self-worth. Further study is required to confirm and elaborate on this surprising set of findings.

Denise's publication, Experiences of Self-Esteem in Outpatients Diagnosed With Psychosis - A Phenomenological Study, has has been identified by Psychology Progress as "a journal article considered to represent the best in Psychology research."

For further information:;52/3/304

denise frank resized 600With over 21 years of teaching experience, theoretical psychologist Denise M. Frank currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York.  She earned her Ph.D. in 2009 from Capella University and her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University in 2005. Denise is a Research Fellow with the Institute for Social Innovation (ISI) at Fielding Graduate University. Her research interests focus on understanding the issues of self-esteem in individuals with schizophrenia. Denise has written a text for those students interested in getting into a doctoral program entitled “Frank’s Handbook for Prospective Ph.D. Students: How to Maximize Your Chances of Getting In and Staying In. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendal/Hunt Publishing Company”.


Tags: psychology, self-esteem, qualitative research, human development, research

Fielding faculty Dr. Karen Dill keeping busy in media psychology news

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Fri, Sep 14, 2012

describe the imageFielding Graduate University media psychology faculty member Karen Dill, PhD, is making the news.

Karen recently completed an interview with Time magazine covering her research on race in video games. The article reviews the research for the game Assassin’s Creed III based on the concept for a half-Mohawk, half-British assassin.

Read the Time article here: 

Regarding the her research and analysis of the Mohawk culture, Karen writes about what the game developers did right:

“This game might teach some realistic aspects of Mohawk culture, and the game developersMohawk iron worker strove to be realistic and accurate about Mohawk culture. What would be positive is if the game caused players to learn more about the Mohawk culture, specifically aspects that do not involve aggression. For example, game players might find out that Mohawks were key ironworkers that helped build the city of New York.

What makes a character a stereotype or not, for me, depends on several things, all of which have to do with good narrative and character development in general. Of course, game developers should stay away from stereotypes, negative or positive. Characters should be complicated and nuanced. The fact of their race should inform who they are and yet they should still be allowed to be a unique individual."

Along with this article, Karen also recently published an article in Sage titled: Simulation & Gaming: An International Journal  demonstrating how minorities are presented in the media makes a difference in how others feel about and react to other members of that minority.  For more than four decades, Simulation & Gaming: An International Journal of Theory, Practice and Research has served as a leading international forum for the exploration and development of simulation/gaming methodologies used in education, training, consultation, and research. It appraises academic and applied issues in the expanding fields of simulation, computer- and internet-mediated simulation, virtual reality, educational games, video games, industrial simulators, active and experiential learning, case studies, and related methodologies.

Not slowing down, Karen recently worked with the International Society for Research on Aggression to complete a statement regarding media violence intended for general audiences to summarize what experts believe about media violence effects. The International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) is a society of scholars and scientists interested in the scientific study of aggression and violence. The Society is both international and interdisciplinary and meets every other year on alternating continents. There are over 250 members from several dozen countries with specialties in psychology, psychiatry, physiology, sociology, anthropology, animal behavior, criminology, political science, pharmacology, and education. For more information on the ISRA media violence statement, click here:

Based on her expertise, Karen was also recently invited by the chair of the division on information systems of the ICA (International Communication Association), to be part of a panel promoting promote the upcoming Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology, of which she is the editor, next summer at their London conference.

Last but not least, Fielding Graduate University is pleased to announce the Media & Social Psychology course that Karen teaches draws praise in this article posted recently for being on the forefront of thought in its field, and is among other courses offered by top Universities including Harvard.

Click here for the article 10 College Courses That Didn’t Exist 20 Years  Ago:

To keep up with Karen and her work:

Psychology Today Blog:

Tags: Media psychology, diversity, research

Fielding faculty member Michele Harway and alumna Carolyn Steigmeier each write a chapter in a series published by Routledge

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Mon, Aug 27, 2012

Gender in the Therapy Hour

Fielding Graduate University faculty member in the School of Psychology Michele Harway, PhD, ABPP, and alumna Carolyn Steigmeier, PhD, HOS ’98 were each asked to contribute a chapter in Gender in the Therapy Hour:  Voices of Female Clinicians Working with Men, (Holly Barlow Sweet, Ed.), Routledge, 2012 in their series on Counseling and Psychotherapy with Boys & Men.  The author of each chapter discussed how she came to understand men and the treatment modalities she has found successful.  All are members of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity:  Division 51 of the American Psychological Association.

michele h resized 600Michele authored the chapter:  Understanding men’s issues:  Assessing and treating men who are abusive.  Michele also recently published two books:  Engaging men in couples therapy (with David Shepard, Eds.), Routledge, 2011 and Navigating multiple identities:  Race, gender, culture, nationality and roles, (with Ruthellen Josselson, Eds.), Oxford University Press, 2012.

Carolyn SteigmeierCarolyn wrote the chapter Coaching Men, which focused on coaching as an alternative therapeutic modality for working with men as opposed to traditional psychotherapy.  In her dissertation, "Men in a Cultural Vise:  Foucauldian genealogical analysis of the social construction of men as resistant," (Fielding Graduate University, 1998) Carolyn examined cultural views of men through the social construction of masculinity.  Based on her research and years of working with men she developed the Men in Action™ Coaching Process, a positive approach with action-oriented tools to tackle real issues in real time by following a plan.

Gender in the Therapy Hour:  Voices of Female Clinicians Working with Men, (Holly Barlow Sweet, Ed.), Routledge, 2012 can be ordered on

Michele can be contacted at

Carolyn can be contact at

Tags: psychology, women's issues, higher education, clinical psychology, graduate education, research

Fielding faculty member and alumni Jeff Leinaweaver selected as finalist for annual excellence award

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Thu, Aug 09, 2012
The Coordinated Management of a Culturally Diffused Identity: Internationally Adopted People and the Narrative Burden of Self.

BrownWalker Press and the editors of selected Fielding Graduate University faculty member and alumni Jeff Leinaweaver as one of three finalists for the annual excellence award for the book version of his dissertation The Coordinated Management of a Culturally Diffused Identity: Internationally Adopted People and the Narrative Burden of Self.


Internationally adopted persons confront multiple challenges in constructing their identities. This study of the narrative burden of self looks at and interprets the dynamic process in which internationally adopted people develop, coordinate and manage their sense of self, identity and cultural/racial personhood. Drawing on the theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM), the study focuses on their use of orphaning and adoption stories to most skillfully position and tell one's origin story in concert with one's internal sense of self, and the pressures and forces found in interpersonal and intercultural dialogue. The research reveals how internationally adopted people develop and demonstrate varying levels of game mastery in managing societal scripts and oppressive frames of stigma. Through this game mastery, the research brings to view how the participants have reflexively learned to claim ownership of their stories and develop a sense of agency while fashioning self-empowering narratives out of the resources of their personal root journeys to better manage, frame and coordinate the meaning of their stories across cultural and interpersonal boundaries.

About The Author

Jeff Leinaweaver, Ph.D., is a social researcher, narrative genealogist and fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University where he studies topics related to the intersection of narrative, complexity and global identity development. He represents a first generation of internationally adopted scholars studying and re-framing the conversation on international adoption and human development.

Institution: Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara, CA, USA)

Advisor(s): W. Barnett Pearce

Degree: Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems

Year: 2008


ISBN-10: 1612337619

ISBN-13: 9781612337616

Category: Sociology

Tags: adoption, sociology, development, international, graduate education, research

Dr. Alice Brand Bartlett awarded the American Psychological Association Excellence in Librarianship Award

Posted by Carla Billings on Fri, Jul 20, 2012

Dr. Alice Brand BartlettDr. Alice Brand Bartlett, psychologist and psychoanalyst, was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Excellence in Librarianship Award at the American Library Association’s meeting in Anaheim CA June 23, 2012. Bartlett was  honored for her work as Director of the Menninger Professional Information Services (1979-2001) and her original research that led to the development PEPweb, a full text database of the significant psychoanalytic journals and books including the complete works of Freud in English and German. Bartlett has served as a Director on PEP’s International Board since 1998. 

Bartlett is in private practice in Topeka Kansas and is a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst with the Greater Kansas City Psychoanalytic Institute.  She received her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO and her PhD in psychology from Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA.

Tags: APA, adult learning, clinical psychology, research

Fielding alumnus becomes chair-elect of CASAP

Posted by Sylvia Williams on Thu, Mar 22, 2012

At the winter meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA), Eric Willmarth , PhD, of Kentwood, MI, was voted chair-elect of the Coalition for Academic, Scientific, and Applied Research Psychology (CASAP). This group serves as a forum for issues coming before the APA Council of Representatives and helps to formulate positions on issues which further the interests of research in psychology.

Dr. Willmarth is a 1999 graduate of Fielding’s School of Psychology.                                                                                                                     

Congratulations, Eric.

Tags: APA, Organizational development, research, aging