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Academic Advisory Committee

Role of Academic Advisory Committee

As WISR moves toward long-term sustainability, we have formed an Advisory Committee to help us critically assess and creatively formulate where we are, and where we might next head, to build on our 40+ year history as an extremely innovative and vibrant academic institution.  We have chosen people who have extensive experience as leaders in traditional academic institutions, and who also share our commitments to social justice, community involvement, multiculturalism and transformative, personalized learning. The role of the Advisory Committee is primarily one of helping us think of ways to continue to develop our strong academic programs, and further improve them—in ways that will be both true to our mission and values, and also compelling to, and valued by, many leaders in conventional academia. In part, the Advisory Committee members will serve as external reviewers to help us to evaluate our graduate programs, and their insights and wisdom will be helpful and valuable to inform our efforts in the coming months and years.

JOHN BEAR, PhD is widely regarded  as one of the foremost experts on nontraditional higher education and distance learning. His guidebooks on the topic, first published in 1974, have sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide. He is an actively involved critic of diploma mills. He has helped develop and market various distance and online programs, including ten years with the MBA of the Edinburgh Business School, which became the largest MBA in the United States and in the world. He received his BA in Psychology (1959) and his M.J. in  Journalism (1960) from the University of California at Berkeley; his PhD in Communications (1966) is from Michigan State.   He is the author of 35 books with major publishers (Random House, McGraw-Hill, etc.)—on higher education, computers, travel, US history, cooking, publishing and consumerism.  He is especially well known in the higher education community for his numerous guides to nontraditional higher education and distance learning. He was the Head of New Business Development for the Financial Times division of Pearson PLC, which is the world’s largest educational publisher. Years ago, he was a tenured Associate Professor  of Journalism at the University of Iowa and head of the Senior Honors Program there. He has appeared as an on-screen expert on Good Morning America (4 times), CBS 60 Minutes, The Today Show, AM Canada, and many others. Now in his 80’s, he continues to write, research, give interviews, and expert witness testimony in higher education matters.

J.HERMAN BLAKE, PhD.  BA, Sociology, New York University, 1960. MA, Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 1965. PhD, Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 1974. Dr. Blake’s current position is Inaugural Executive Director, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission. In this capacity, he serves as Principal Administrator/Officer of a Congressionally mandated cultural and linguistic heritage region along the Atlantic Coast of four states, from Wilmington, NC to St. Augustine, FL.  This 12,000 square mile area is home to one of America’s most unique cultures shaped by enslaved Africans brought to the southeastern United States.  Gullah Geechee people are their direct descendants who have created a unique culture embodied in their cuisine, music, crafts, oral traditions, language and spirituality.  He was:  1) Founding Provost, Oakes College at University of California, Santa Cruz, California. 2) President, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi. 3) Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, Indiana University Purdue University  Indianapolis. 4) Director of African American Studies,Iowa State University. 5) Inaugural Humanities Scholar in Residence , Medical University of South Carolina.  He is the author of many scholarly articles and reports, as well as the book, Revolutionary Suicide, New York:  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1973 (with Huey P. Newton).  He has served on many academic and community boards, including the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 1979-1984.

HARRY BUTLER, PhD, LCSW.  AA College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, 1963. BS, Psychology, University of Cincinnati, 1964. MSW, Social Work, University of Louisville, 1966. PhD, Social Work, Washington University (St. Louis), 1971. Dean of Social Work, San Diego State University, 1975-78. Dr. Butler was the first Dean of the newly formed College of Health and Human Services in 1978, San Diego State University. He is the author of many published articles on social science research methods, social work practice and education. He has spent three decades in private practice as Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Diego, until his recent retirement.

TORRY DICKINSON, PhD. WISR Core Faculty Emeritus. BA, Sociology, Livingston College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 1975. MA, Sociology, SUNY-Binghamton, 1977. Graduate Certificate in Women and Public Policy, Rockefeller Institute for Public Affairs, SUNY-Albany, 1983. PhD, SUNY-Binghamton, Sociology 1983. Torry has recently rejoined WISR’s core faculty after having spent about 10 years as a WISR core faculty member in the 1980s and 90s. Torry is Professor Emeritus at Kansas State University (Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies and Sociology/Nonviolence Studies). She has authored, co-authored, and edited a number of books, including: Transformations: Feminist Pathways to Global Change; Democracy Works;Community and the World; Fast Forward: Work, Gender and Protest in a Changing World; and CommonWealth. In the past, she has taught or done research at a number of universities in California–in addition to WISR, at the University of California at Berkeley (School of Education, National Center for Research on Vocational Education), the University of California at Santa Cruz (Sociology, cross-listed with Women’s Studies), and San Jose State University in San Jose and at the former Salinas Campus (Sociology cross-listed with Women’s Studies). Torry has been a Revson Fellow in Women and Public Policy (1983)and an American Fellow (Susan B. Anthony Award) with the American Association of University Women (1980).

RICH DOUGLAS, PhD, DSocSci. Dr. Douglas holds a Master of Business Administration from National University, a Doctor of Philosophy from Union Institute and University (specializing in Nontraditional Higher Education), and a Doctor of Social Science (in Human Resource Development) from the University of Leicester. He also holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) professional designation. Currently, he is the Chief Talent Officer for Service Center Operations, US Immigration and Citizenship Services, supporting more than 4,000 employees assigned around the country. He has extensive public- and private-sector experience in training, management and leadership, and delivering solutions for AT&T, Corrections Corporation of America, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and others.  A retired Air Force officer, Dr. Douglas has also been a faculty member for many universities.  Dr. Douglas resides in Fairfax, Virginia, with his wife, Paula.

CYNTHIA LAWRENCE, PhD. Core WISR Faculty Emeritus. BS in Education, Massachusetts State Teachers College at Boston, 1960. MA in Multicultural Education, Pepperdine College, 1977. PhD, Higher Education and Social Change, Western Institute for Social Research, 1987. Cynthia is a former schoolteacher, and is an expert in the areas of multicultural education, alternative education, and the teaching and learning of language skills. She is a retired faculty member in Teacher Education at the University of California, San Diego. Over the years, she has developed materials and conducted training sessions to heighten teachers’ sensitivity to multicultural issues. She has conducted workshops on interracial issues for such groups as the Family Stress Center and the National Organization for Women (NOW). She was appointed in 1991 to the San Diego Human Relations Commission.

MONA VAUGHN SCOTT, PhD. BA College of Pacific. MA, Religion, University of Pacific. MA, Sociology, Stanford University, 1976. PhD, Sociology, Stanford University, 1977. During her career, Dr. Scott has taught at George Washington University and University of San Francisco, where she helped to set up their Ethnic Studies curriculum. She has been and a consultant and researcher at the UCSF Dental School, where she also served on the Minority Admissions Committee. She has researched and written on racism and urban schools and minority retention.  She has received many honors, including from the Mayor of Berkeley and Alameda County Women Hall of Fame. She is listed in Who’s Who Among African Americans. For more than 30 years she has been Director of the Berkeley Black Repertory Theater and Group. As the theater group’s executive director, Dr. Scott has mentored actors, developed after-school programs for youth, facilitated self-esteem-building workshops and used performance to reach out to people in communities affected by substance abuse and violence.