(903) 892-2020

Request for Donations to Support WISR’s Formal Application and Review for Accreditation

November 12, 2018

Hello WISR Students, Alumni, Board, Faculty and Friends,

This is an update that WISR is making toward great progress toward accreditation, although a positive outcome can never be guaranteed. And, this is a strong appeal to those of you who are able to do so, to donate to WISR before the end of 2018. As many of you recall, we received an anonymous donation (not from me nor any friend or relative) from a member of our community of $15,000 in early 2018. The donation was put in our account right away as an act of good faith, and it was supposed to be matched before the end of 2018, and so far, we have received only $6,000 in matching donations, although in early 2018 several pledged to give more by end of 2018.

Beyond the importance of matching this $15,000, it should be known that while our prospects for accreditation look quite promising, we do have a couple of big financial hurdles in the next 12 months.  First and foremost, we will have to pay about $45,000 in accreditation fees—first, $25,000 to submit our self-study and our online courses for review by DEAC  in early 2019, and then, hopefully $20,000 for a site visit late in 2019.

We have enough in our savings account to pay for half of those costs, and can use most of our $25,000 line of credit with the bank to pay for the rest of the costs.  However, our chances for getting accreditation in the next two years go up considerably if 1) we don’t touch our savings account, and 2) are actually able to increase the $23,000 in savings with another $25,000.  Having nearly $50,000 in savings would be a huge plus in seeking accreditation.

We will be able to do #1 if we get $25,000 in donations in the next two months, and we may be able to do #2 if we get $20,000 in donations in 2019.  In all other respects our finances are very solid, and our student enrollment is beginning to slowly grow—and more, and continued, referrals of prospective students to help us to grow slightly faster will be helpful as well.

While not asking for or expecting any special appreciation, I want to add that this year, as I did the previous year, I have cut my own salary by $26,000 (by 1/3). I say this to emphasize that I believe we are at a crossroads in WISR’s history, and I want to do my part to pitch in—to help sustain WISR for many years to come—even beyond my own lifetime. Further, many individuals among faculty and staff are donating their time. If we all pitch in, our likelihood for achieving accreditation will grow significantly!

All donations, large and small will be appreciated, and because of WISR’s non-profit 501(c)3 status they are likely tax-deductible.

Your contributions of time and energy to participating in our self-study process and outreach to prospective students (groups and individuals) are also greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

John Bilorusky, PhD
WISR President and Member of the Faculty

For more information, please visit our web page on Giving.

Author Event with WISR/CSSA Faculty Professor Peter Gabel, J.D., PhD. August 24, 6 – 9 pm Santa Rosa

Author Event with WISR/CSSA Faculty Professor
Peter Gabel, J.D., PhD.
at the Arlene Francis Center,
Santa Rosa
August 24,  6 pm – 9 pm

Join Peter Gabel and the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa as Peter shares his newest book
The Desire for Mutual Recognition: Social Movements and the Dissolution of the False Self

Author Peter Gabel examines the struggle between desire and alienation as it unfolds across our social world, calling for a new social-spiritual activism that can go beyond the limitations of existing progressive theory and action, intentionally foster and sustain our capacity to heal what separates us, and inspire a new kind of social movement that can transform the world.

Peter Gabel is the former president of New College of California and was for over thirty years a professor at its public-interest law school. He is a founder of the critical legal studies movement and the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law, and Politics. Editor-at-Large of the progressive Jewish magazine Tikkun, he is the author of numerous books and articles on law, politics, and social change. Peter is faculty at the Western Institute for Social Research and co-founder with Michael McAvoy of the Center for Social Spiritual Activism (CSSA).

Sat. August 4, 2018 Depression, Part I of II From Major to minor with Ronald Mah, LMFT, PhD

DEPRESSIONFrom Major to “minor,” Reaction, to the Blues, Part I of II 

Saturday, August 4, 10am-2pm
Ronald Mah, MA, LMFT, PhD, WISR Faculty

This seminar will be a study of the diagnosis, assessment, prognosis and treatment of depression. This includes study of the characteristics and dynamics associated with depression, ranging from neurotic styles found among “normal,” functioning adults to severe disorders—from having the blues, to the walking functional dysthymia.

Included is an examination of different systems of diagnosis, including the current edition of the DSM, and the strategies of treatment associated with these various diagnoses- distinctions and degrees. Study of evidence-based practices and therapeutic practices from, as well as study of differential diagnosis, the impact of co-occurring substance abuse disorders (in terms of self-medication for depression), established diagnostic criteria for expressions of depression. September 22 will be part II of this topic. Please RSVP by e-mail toronald@ronaldmah.com orjohn.bilorusky@wisr.edu for the Zoom video conference link and/or phone numbers if you plan to participate by videoconference or phone and provide a phone # in case of technical difficulties.

Sat. Sept. 9 Psychopharmacology Part II, 10 am – 12 pm with Karen Wall, EdD, LMFT, new WISR Faculty, Facilitator

As mental health practitioners, our work is to provide services with the goal of helping our client to reduce emotional pain, and to promote psychological growth and healing. Psychiatric medications are increasingly being prescribed by providers who are not psychiatrists; therefore, it is important for non-medical mental health providers, such as therapists, to be familiar with these medications in order to be able to monitor client responses for efficacy and side effects of the medications, and compliance in our clients who are taking these medications.

Regardless of the therapist’s degree of involvement or interest in medication management, the large body of evidence demonstrating the connection between certain mental disorders and neurochemical imbalances has made it important for therapists to be able to address medication-related topics that are directly related to diagnoses and referrals.

Please RSVP by e-mail to karen.wall@wisr.edu orjohn.bilorusky@wisr.edu for the Zoom video conference link and/or phone numbers if you plan to participate by videoconference or phone and provide a phone # in case of technical difficulties.

WISR’s Annual Conference will be Thursday October 4th through Saturday, October 7th or Sunday the 8th. Save the Date!

May 30, 11 am – 1 pm PST Understanding Race & Law Through Mindfulness May 30th with Rhonda Magee JD

Contemplative Pedagogy: Race, Law and Mindfulness with Law Professor Rhonda Magee and CSSA Founders Peter Gabel and Michael McAvoy

Contemplative Pedagogy: De-Biasing Educational Environments
Understanding Race & Law Through Mindfulness
May 30th with Rhonda Magee JD, Peter Gabel and Michael McAvoy
Free, open to the public and lunch is provided
11 am – 1 pm PST
or online
Log on:https://zoom.us/j/576505422
Or call 408-740-3766, 646-876-9923
or 669-900-6833; Meeting ID: 576 505 422

visit www.socialspiritualactivism.org
The Way of ColorInsight: Understanding Race and Law Effectively
Through Mindfulness-Based ColorInsight Practices
(Georgetown Law Journal of Modern Critical Race Perspectives, Spring 2016)
By Rhonda V. Magee
Introduction
Despite much good effort to the contrary, reports from a wide variety of fields and locations serve daily to remind us that race still matters in America. To many legal scholars,these reports are not only not news but they suggest work that must be done within the legal academy to minimize racial bias within contemporary law. For example, in his groundbreaking Article, Trojan Horses of Race, Jerry Kang highlighted the research identifying and confirming
implicit bias as a pervasive cognitive, interpersonal dynamic, and placed on the research agenda that should follow this revelation scholarship by law professors examining “teaching strategies,”
as well as “debiasing programs, and [educational] environments.”

JUNE 30 9:30 to 1:30 pm. WISR All School Gathering: WISR in the 21st Century

6/30 WISR in the 21st Century:
Using Online Methods in the Pursuit of Accreditation with Librarian Cynthia Roberson and Learning Technologist Mark Wilson

This will be an ALL SCHOOL GATHERING–PARTICIPATION IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED FOR ALL STUDENTS & FACULTY

All School Gathering (ASG)
Working on WISR’s
Strategic Plan

9:30am – 1:30 pm
All School Gathering (ASG)
Working on WISR’s Strategic Plan

TSaturday, June 30th 
10 am to 1 pm
Cynthia Roberson, MLIS, WISR Librarian and WISR Learning Technologist, Mark Wilson, Facilitators.

This seminar will be devoted to demonstrating for WISR students and faculty (as well as Board and active alumni): 1) how to access library resources online–for use in courses as well as individual student research projects; 2) copyright and fair use regulations we must comply with while using library resources, physical and digital; 3) Google Suite for Education for collaboration and communication, Google Drive for storage (resources, meeting minutes and course content, alike), the newly required participation in online forums, and Google Sites for eportfolios, courses, blogs, and much more.

MFT Students: Attendance at the AllSchool Gathering counts as attendance at an MFT seminar. 

Please RSVP by e-mail to
john.bilorusky@wisr.edu to participate by videoconference or phone and provide a phone # in case of technical difficulties.

Log on: https://zoom.us/j/435216380
Or call 646-876-9923, 669-900-6833  or 408-740- 3766; Meeting ID: 435 216 380

YACK AND HACK: WISR’S FUTURE AS A DISTANCE LEARNING INSTITUTION

Second Mondays, 6-8pm

Led by Mark Wilson, WISR’s Learning Designer\Technologian.

Join us to discuss WISR’s future, distance learning, and how we use Google’s Education Suite and other free digital technologies to create, access, and distribute educational resources worldwide. The public is welcome and everyone should bring a laptop if they have one.

To join from a distance use Zoom Meeting ID 774 808 774 – https://zoom.us/j/774808774; or by phone 669 900 6833.

For help with technical difficulties call 510 655 2830 or email mark.wilson@wisr.edu or john.bilorusky@wisr.edu.

 

Accreditation Update and Next Steps

To upload this letter in pdf form, click here.

~~~~~~~

January 6, 2018

Update on WISR’s Pursuit of Accreditation and Finances

Accreditation Update and Next Steps

WISR has been declared eligible to pursue accreditation by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (www.deac.org ).  Even though WISR offers ongoing opportunities for onsite seminars and face to face interaction, it is possible to study completely from a distance and earn a degree at WISR. As always, there are no guarantees, but we are hopeful that we can achieve accreditation by June 2020. DEAC is approved by the US Department of Education. WASC turned down our application for Eligibility last month, because they felt that we do not have, nor will we be able to develop, the large financial reserve and institutional infrastructure in the next two years that they expect of the (usually very large and conventional academic institutions they accredit).

DEAC has a number of very specific guidelines for course syllabi, so we will have to do some further tweaking of our syllabi. Still, as we do so, we will retain WISR’s strong emphasis on personalized/individualized degree programs and learning, and of course also, our commitments to social justice, multiculturalism, and action-inquiry and creativity in the content that students study.

We will have to make a transition to having our syllabi accessed through an online Learning Management System (such as Moodle or Canvas), our students will have to do a certain amount of “online studying” (studying some of the WISR-required readings and relevant videos online, not just hard cover print books), and some regular posting of “thinking out loud” ideas for feedback from other students and faculty (online dialogue—which will be easier for some students than having to come to two seminars per month—a requirement that so far only MFT students and a couple of other students have complied with).  We will have an initial discussion of first steps toward such refinements at our All School Gathering, Saturday, February 3rd (please try to participate, onsite or by phone/video conference).  In addition, our new volunteer staff (and student) Learning Technology Specialist, Mark Wilson, will conduct needed trainings on technology for students and faculty, alike, to help make this transition smooth.

Indeed, WISR has the opportunity now to become, after several years, a rather distinctive and appealing option—a distance learning alternative that:

  • Can be onsite and face to face for those who want that,
  • Will be engaging and socially progressive, rather than cookie cutter and conformist,
  • Will support and encourage self-directed learning that is also highly collaborative (through a combination of seminars, online forums, and student initiated collaborations),
  • Will continue to be affordable (despite likely, modest tuition increases in the not too distant future) and accessible to adults—especially those who are attracted by WISR’s long-held, steadfast commitments to our distinctive social and educational mission and methods.

Update on WISR’s Finances

We have made enormous progress, financially, in the past year, although we will need to continue and sustain this progress over the next several years, in order to become accredited.

 

In 2017, we received $44,108.12 in cash donations from 9 currently enrolled students, 5 Board members, 12 alumni, 2 current and/or former faculty, one staff person and 3 friends of WISR. The size of the donations has ranged from $18 to $15,000. All part-time faculty have been donating their time; John Bilorusky donated 33% of his salary and the cost of his health benefits for 2017 ($26,000 in salary, $9,000+ in health benefits).  These donations have been extremely valuable in our efforts to move WISR toward long-term sustainability.  Moreover, beyond this, WISR is benefiting from the continuing engagement of students, faculty, Board and alumni in learning at WISR and in WISR’s institutional planning and development.

One anonymous and very generous donor has given us $15,000 in 2017, based on our having received just over $12,000 in donations since their “challenge” match a month ago. If, in 2018, we can come up with $3,000 to finish matching their $15,000 already donated, and then an additional $15,000, they have promised to donate another $15,000 in 2018. That is, we need $18,000 to be donated in 2018 to match the $15,000 added donation pledged. So far, we have pledges totaling $12,250 for 2018, so beyond these pledges we need only another $6,000 to gain another $15,000 from this donor, in 2018.  In addition, in 2018, John Bilorusky will donate one-sixth of his salary ($13,000) plus health benefits ($9,000+).  Part-time faculty will continue to donate their time. John is asking that we also match his $13,000 donation of salary.

So, our challenge for 2018 to match $18,000 needed to receive the second $15,000 anonymous donation pledged, and to match the $13,000 in salary to be donated—or a total of $28,000.  So far, $12,500 has been pledged by others for 2018, so we need to receive from others who have not yet pledged, an additional $15,500 for 2018 to receive the $28,000 in monies from these two offered donations in 2018.

Based on donations received in 2017, we will be able to pay off the last $5,000 of debt in January 2018. Our ability to eliminate ALL of our debt is crucial to our becoming accredited, and whichstood at $45,000 in debt 18 months ago, and $37,500 in debt just six months ago. (go to next page . . .)

Regarding our use monies in 2018, we will use about $20,000 of these monies for accreditation fees, about $6,000 for technology and online library expenses, and about $8,000 for CPA-related expenses. These expenses will total $34,000.  Remaining funds will be used to set up a much-needed contingency fund—which is also expected by the accreditation agency.

 

 

 

 

 

WISR Annual Funding Campaign Your Donations Matched up to $20,000

WISeR Campaign for Education in Social Justice

For: Western Institute for Social Research
Your Donations Matched up to $20,000 by the WISR Scholar Fund

The Story

Founded in 1975, the Western Institute for Social Research (WISR) links education and social change in offering personalized BS, MS and Doctoral degree programs to those who wish to combine academic studies, action research/community-based inquiry with their community activist and professional involvements.

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