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Faculty Profiles

OVERVIEW OF WISR FACULTY. WISR has deliberately sought faculty members whose range of ethnic backgrounds, academic disciplines, work experiences, and community involvements allow them to act as resource people for WISR’s adult, community-involved students in ways that go beyond intellectual specialization and unite academic with professional and community concerns.

WISR faculty generally have very broad, interdisciplinary social science expertise beyond their particular areas of specialization, which enables them to work with our varied student population. They have many years of teaching experience, both in traditional academic settings and at WISR. Many have been teaching at WISR for 10 years or more. There is a very low rate of faculty turnover at WISR, and indeed, faculty are enthusiastically committed to working at WISR in personalized ways with the diverse and talented population of mature adults who enroll at WISR.

WISR faculty also have a rich background of involvement with community organizations, other educational institutions, and consulting practice. This practical experience further enriches their contributions to student learning, given the strong practical community concerns of most of our students. Indeed, this is the case with our two faculty who are licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs).

Core Faculty–10 years or longer at WISR

JOHN BILORUSKY. BA cum laude, General Studies and Physics, University of Colorado, 1967. MA, Sociology of Education, University of California at Berkeley, 1968. PhD, Higher Education, UC Berkeley, 1972. John is President of WISR, was a co-founder of WISR in 1975, and has served full-time on WISR’s faculty ever since. Before that, he taught social sciences at the University of California, Berkeley and community services at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of many published articles and papers on higher education and social change, adult learning, and practical, community-based and participatory research methods. He has served as a consultant for community agencies in the area of participatory action-research. He has conducted evaluations of liberal arts colleges and educational innovations, performed public policy research, and helped others to create community-involved colleges. John is Chair of the Board of the Association of Private Postsecondary Education in California.  johnb@wisr.edu

MARILYN JACKSON. BA, Augustana College, 1981, Religion. M.A., Holy Names College, Institute in Creation Spirituality and Culture, 1989. PhD, WISR, Higher Education and Social Change, 2004. In her dissertation, Dr. Jackson contrasted popular spirituality movements in Western society to traditional religion, by relating Creation Spirituality to Lutheranism. Two of her recent articles were published: “The Life of the People: The Legacy of N.F.S. Grundtvig and Nonviolent Social Change Through Popular Education in Denmark” and “Education for Life at Danish Folk Schools and Highlander.” Marilyn continues to study and work on unlearning racism and building multicultural society through dialogue, education, cultural expression and community based celebrations. She is also interested in women’s and career development issues, as well as lifestyles, health and environment. She has organized education activities about indigenous people and has been extensively involved with Scandinavian music and other cultural activities, including translating Swedish songs. As part of her commitment to egalitarian values, she educates others about socialism and social democratic values. She is on the Board and staff of the Ecumenical Peace Institute, and organizes monthly forums at the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. In addition to serving as a member of WISR’s core faculty, she is Executive Assistant to WISR’s President.marilynejackson@sbcglobal.net

VERA LABAT. BS in Nursing, San Francisco State University, 1964. Masters in Public Health Administration, University of California at Berkeley, 1974. Vera has recently retired after a long career in the field of public health. For many years, she directed the immunization services for the City of Berkeley, and prior to that, she was school health consultant for the Berkeley Unified School District. She taught community health at the University of California, San Francisco, and taught in the School of Medicine at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. She was the second Executive Director of the Over 60 Health Clinic in Berkeley in the late 1970s. Vera has served on WISR’s faculty and Board of Trustees for most of the past thirty years. For the past two years, she has served as an elder in her church. She is an accomplished jazz and gospel singer, and has traveled widely throughout the world, inquiring into ways to create peaceful social change in the quest for justice and equality. labat7@aol.com

LARRY LOEBIG. BS, Summit University, Real Estate Management, 1998. MS, Summit University, Organizational Behavior, 1999. He is a graduate of Coach University and received the MCC designation from the International Coaching Federation. When he was the Business Manager of the Black Scholar Journal, he was introduced to the works of Jay Conrad Levinson and recently became Jay’s master trainer for the Western United States and is Director of the Academy for Guerrilla Marketing International. He is an advocate of learning in action and has applied his theory and learning in co-founding California.com Inc., and as an active Director of the Socially Responsible Internet Company. He is pursuing his PhD at WISR, and has developed an interest in alternative dispute resolution and earned certification with Mediator Training International with an emphasis on conflict in the workplace. He is developing a School of Coaching and Collaborative Communication as part of his action plan for earning his PhD. larryloebig@gmail.com

RONALD MAH, LMFT. BA in Psychology and Social Sciences, University of California at Berkeley, 1975. MA in Psychology, Western Institute for Social Research, 1991. Teacher’s Credential Program, University of California at Berkeley, 1976. PhD in Higher Education and Social Change, Western Institute for Social Research, 2013. Ronald has had a private practice since 1994 as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is a credentialed elementary and secondary teacher, and former owner-director of a preschool and daycare center. He does consulting and training for human service organizations, teaching courses and workshops for many community agencies and educational institutions around the California and the United States. He is a visible and active writer of books and articles in the field. His areas of special concern include child development, parenting and child-rearing, multicultural education, and teacher education. He is serving a second term on the Board of Directors of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and has served on the Board of the California Kindergarten Association. Ronald recently completed his PhD at WISR, writing on multiple topics on couple’s therapy, and for a potential twenty book series, possibly e-books. For more information about Ronald’s many professional endeavors, go to www.ronaldmah.com Ronald@RonaldMah.com

Core Faculty–new to WISR during the past 10 years

MIESHA CLIPPER WILLIS. EdD, Counseling Psychology, Argosy University, 2013. MS Education (Counseling Psychology, PPS Credential), University of Southern California, 2004. BA Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 2000. New to the WISR community, Miesha Clipper Willis is originally from Central Valley, California and the first in her family to attend college.  She is a Counseling and Education Training professional committed to serving low income and “at promise” students and families.  She has spent the last thirteen years in K-12 and university level community outreach, training, coordination, and counseling.  Miesha has served as a School Counselor across the state of California in school districts such as Los Angeles Unified School District, Long Beach Unified School District, and Oakland Unified School District.  She currently serves an Educational Consultant for the University of California, Davis School of Education and University of California, Berkeley School of Education. A former Adjunct Faculty with St. Mary’s Graduate Counseling Department in the Kalmanovitz School of Education (2010-2012), Miesha is dedicated to mental health/ academic counseling and advocacy in urban communities, and continues to support up and coming education professionals and school counselors with an emphasis in Urban Education and narrowing achievement and socio-emotional gaps for all students. mieshaclipper@sbcglobal.net

Gerrard PhotoBRIAN GERRARD. PhD Sociology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, PhD Counseling Psychology, University of Toronto. M.A. Counseling Psychology, University of British Columbia. Brian is Emeritus Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology Department, University of San Francisco. He holds teaching awards from two universities. He has extensive experience teaching a wide variety of Master’s and Doctoral level courses in counselor education. Brian developed USF’s masters MFT program and for 14 years served as MFT Coordinator. His orientation emphasizes an integration of family systems and problem-solving approaches. He is an experienced administrator and has been Chair of the Counseling Psychology Department three times. Currently, he is a member of the Board, University of San Francisco Center for Child and Family Development. The Center, co-founded by Brian, has for years managed the largest longest-running School-Based Family Counseling program of its type in the USA. Its Mission Possible Program has served more than 15,000 children and families in over 100 Bay area schools. Brian is also Chair of the Institute for School-Based Family Counseling. The Institute sponsors the International Journal for School-Based Family Counseling and the Oxford Symposium in School-Based Family Counseling. He is also Symposium Director for the Oxford Symposium in School-Based Family Counseling which is an international association with members in 22 countries and which meets at Brasenose College, Oxford University in even years and other international sites in alternate years. gerrardb@outlook.com

Linda Hartling Head_Dec_4_2015LINDA M. HARTLING. Ph.D., Clinical/Community Psychology, The Union Institute Graduate School, Cincinnati,Ohio, 1995. Master’s of Music., University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 1989.Bachelor’s of Music, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 1978. Dr. Hartling is the Director of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) and is part of the leadership team facilitating HumanDHS projects, including the World Dignity University initiative and Dignity Press. HumanDHS is a global transdisciplinary network of scholars, practitioners, and activists collaborating to end cycles of humiliation while encouraging practices that support the dignity of people and the planet. Dr. Hartling is the past Associate Director of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (JBMTI), part of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Dr. Hartling holds a doctoral degree in clinical/community psychology and has published papers on Relational-Cultural Theory, workplace practices, resilience, substance abuse prevention, and the psychological and social impact of humiliation. She is co-editor of The Complexity of Connection: Writings from the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Stone Center (2004) and author of the Humiliation Inventory, the first scale to assess the internal experience of humiliation. Dr. Hartling is the recipient of the 2010 Research Award presented by the Association for Creativity in Counseling, American Counseling Association. She was recently honored with the 2015 HumanDHS Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at the 26th Annual Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict, at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City. lhartling@me.com; lhartling@humiliationstudies.org; lhartling@icloud.com

 

MICHAEL MCAVOY. Michael received a Master’s Degree in Medical Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland) in 1983. Prior to that, he was a student activist in the 1960’s civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements. After receiving his BA degree from St. John Fisher College (Rochester, NY) in Biology in 1970, Michael entered medical school at the Faculté de Médecine, Université de Bordeaux (France). Preferring to work on community health rather than individual change, he left in 1973 to create the San Francisco People’s Health Resource Center and People’s Medical School (1974-79) which provided access to medical care for the poor, along with a political-economic critique of the social causes of disease as well as education in self-care, holistic health and alternative medicine. Later, based at the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland and working with leaders of the African-American Hough neighborhood community, Michael helped develop a model community-based hypertension program, adolescent health clinic and radical health education program. In 1985 Michael joined the Core Faculty of the New College of California (San Francisco), and subsequently founded New College’s Center for Community Action, Research and Education, its North Bay Campus of Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community, and its Activism and Social Change Program. During his three decades at New College, he also served for awhile as Dean of the Humanities Program and co-Academic Vice President. Currently, Michael is also seeking ways to theorize and create a social movement which combines a spiritual change in consciousness, with healing ourselves and others, while also resisting injustice, in line with Martin Luther King’s vision for a universal “beloved community.” mmcavoy@wisr.edu

elenie_opfferELENIE OPFFER. Ph.D., Communications, University of Colorado, BoulderMA, Speech Communication, San Francisco State University. BA Cum Laude, Humanities, San Francisco State University.  Elenie joins WISR after serving as a communication professor at several universities including University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Regis University, Denver, and California State University, Stanislaus. Her research, teaching, and service interests encompass social justice, social identity, and conflict transformation within various organizational and societal contexts. Some courses she has developed and taught on diverse identities include: intercultural communication, ethnicity and communication, diversity and communication, gender and communication, and sexuality and communication. Courses revolving around conflict transformation include: conflict and communication, group dialogue, mediation, and designing conflict interventions. She has also taught qualitative and action research methods. Elenie was the founding director of the Regis University Conflict and Dialogue Studies program, worked as a mediation and conflict resolution consultant, trainer, and intervenor for the Community Board Program, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the National Peace Summit in Nigeria. She organized the International Peacebuilding Conference for this organization for the last two years. Locally, she has been active in developing and delivering training for university LGBTQI Safe Zone programs, and serves as a fellow at the Intercultural Communication Institute’s summer program. Some of her publications include: Coming out in class: notes from the college classroom; The Rhetoric of Rocky Mountain Women; Talking trekking and transforming a male preserve; and A Systemic Approach to School Conflict Resolution. When she’s not working, you might find Elenie hiking, biking, or dancing till the break of dawn. elenie.opffer@gmail.com
sudia photo croppedSUDIA PALOMA MCCALEB.
BA in Anthropology and Romance Languages, University of Michigan, Masters in Education, Bank Street College, New York City. Doctorate in Multicultural and International Education, University of San Francisco, 1992. (Doctoral thesis focused on working with multi-cultural and multi-lingual families in the early literacy development of their children).  Dr. Paloma was born into a family of educators and grew up in an apartment above the school that her parents founded.   She began teaching Head Start programs and Columbia University laboratory schools in New York City. Upon moving to California, she assumed the Educational Directorship at University of California, Berkeley Early Childhood Centers through the ASUC (Associated Students, University of California).  Subsequently, she directed her own small family pre-school/kindergarten.  A  Berkeley school funding initiative led her to become an arts specialist in Berkeley public schools.  Later she became an educator and teacher of literacy development and second language development in Oakland and Sonoma County schools. . She was a popular workshop presenter at CABE (California Association of Bilingual Educators) and NAME (National Association of Multicultural Education).  She created the CA State accredited primary and secondary bilingual (Spanish and Cantonese) Teacher Education and Masters programs in Critical Environmental & Global Literacy Programs at New College of California in  San Francisco, where she  directed and taught literacy and English Language development, multicultural education, participatory action research, environmental education) for 15 years. In 2008 she created and served as Executive Director of CCEGL (Center for Critical Environmental & Global Literacy) which focuses on building teacher and community consciousness around Environmental Challenges. This work has extended to communities and school educators in Guatemala, Mexico, Romania, Hungary, Cuba and El Salvador. At the present time her work focuses on building collaborative relationships between bay area educators (and beyond) and indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico and Sonsonate, El Salvador. supaloma@lmi.net 

croberson_2014_compressedCYNTHIA ROBERSON. Master of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, 2014. BA, Music, California State University East Bay, 2007. AA, Liberal Studies, Contra Costa College, 2003. Cynthia is WISR’s Librarian. Assisting people in accessing, evaluating, managing, organizing, presenting, and retrieving information is her main career goal. As a graduate library and information student, Cynthia assisted the students and faculty of San Jose State University School of Information in the use of the school’s collaboration software, Blackboard Collaborate. Additionally, she worked with the British Columbia Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS) in Vancouver, BC, Canada in order to create and implement a needs assessment for their resource center so that services can be improved. She has joined WISR in order to manage WISR’s library and help students and faculty with their library and information needs. librarian@wisr.edu

 

monika_photo_headshotMONIKA SCOTT-DAVIS, LMFT. MA Psychology (MFT), WISR, 2008. MA Gerontology, San Francisco State University, 2011. Monika is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has seven years of experience in the field of mental health and social services. She has worked with youth in the foster care system, and seniors striving to maintain their independence in their homes and community.  She is now in the dissertation stage of her doctoral studies at WISR, and she continues to work on the important matter and needed area of concern, of foster youth who age out of the system with little or no continuing support. Ms. Scott was employed with Adult Protective Services as a social worker with the county of Alameda as an intake social worker and a field investigator. She is currently employed with the Center for Elder’s Independence as a psychiatric social worker. Center for Elders Independence, CEI is a PACE model program.  The PACE model stands for Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly.  CEI is a multi-disciplinary program for seniors designed to meet the needs of nursing home eligible seniors and allow them to maintain their independence in the community. As a licensed marriage and family therapist Ms. Scott works with participants who have a diagnosed mental health condition. Ms. Scott is also currently a guest lecturer at San Francisco State University’s Department of Gerontology, teaching an introductory course in their Master’s program, which highlights the aspects of aging in today’s society. monika36@yahoo.com 

Retired, Long-time Core Faculty

TORRY DICKINSON, Core Faculty Emeritus. B.A. Sociology, Livingston College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 1975. M.A. Sociology, SUNY-Binghamton, 1977. Graduate Certificate in Women and Public Policy, Rockefeller Institute for Public Affairs, SUNY-Albany, 1983. Ph.D. 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).  dickins@ksu.edu

CYNTHIA LAWRENCE, Core 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 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. Cynthia was the co-author, with John Bilorusky, of the recently published articles: “Multicultural, Community-Based Knowledge-Building” in Community and the World: Participating in Social Change, Torry D. Dickinson (ed.), Nova Science Publishers, 2003, and “Participatory Action-Research, Inclusiveness, and Empowering Community Action” in Democracy Works: Joining Theory and Action to Foster Global Change. in Torry D. Dickinson and Terrie A. Becerra (eds.), Paradigm Publishers, 2008. cynthiarose@mac.com

In Memorium:

Terry Lunsford, who served as a Board member and key member of WISR’s core faculty from shortly after WISR’s inception until his death in January 2009:

TERRY LUNSFORD. BA with honors, General Studies and Humanities, University of Chicago, 1951. Pre-doctoral study in Psychology, University of Chicago, 1951-54. JD, Law, University of Chicago, 1957. PhD, Sociology, University of California at Berkeley, 1970. Terry taught at UC Berkeley for four years, where he also was Chair of the Social Sciences Integrated Courses & Field Major, Academic Director of the Field Studies Program, and a professional researcher at the Center for the Study of Higher Education, at the Health & Medical Sciences Program, and at the Institute for the Study of Social Change. He was involved in the early years of studying the social and legal impacts of genetic research. Terry also helped to create an Oakland campus of New York’s College for Human Services. Terry was a central figure in WISR’s USDE-funded project to extend the teaching, learning and uses of action-research throughout the larger community, and in developing valuable curriculum materials and writings on participatory action-research methods and qualitative research methods. Over the years, he mentored many WISR students, and provided important leadership among the faculty and on WISR’s Board.

Art Warmoth, who contributed greatly to WISR as a Board and faculty member passed away in April 2014:
ART WARMOTH. Ph.D. in Psychology, Brandeis University, 1967 (N.I.M.H. Predoctoral Fellow, 1962-65); B.A., Reed College, 1959 (Major: Literature/Theater). Art has been involved in humanistic psychology since 1959, when he went to Brandeis University to pursue doctoral studies with Abraham H. Maslow. Over the years, he has used his nationally recognized expertise in humanistic psychology to address local and national economic issues, to health care reform, to politics, and ecology. He joined the Psychology faculty at Sonoma State University in 1969, and became full Professor in 1985, and he has continued to teach there, sometimes serving as Chair of the Department of Psychology. Early in his career at Sonoma State University, Dr. Warmoth co-founded the Humanistic Psychology Institute (now the Saybrook Graduate School), which emphasizes training and research in humanistic psychology that addresses human potential at all levels. In 2005, he received “The Community-Based Learning Founders Award,” which is given annually to a faculty member for career achievements and contributions in linking Sonoma State University with the local community through teaching, scholarship, and service. He has also been involved in community service, including serving on the boards of The Family Connection (a transition services agency for volunteers mentoring homeless families), the Latino Commission for Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services of Sonoma County, and the Latino Democratic Club. He has been a friend of WISR’s for many years, and his interests in working with students at WISR covered many topics related to social change, among them: the Economic Literacy of Citizenship, Social Entrepreneurialism, The Postindustrial (Postmodern) Economy, Community Economic Survival Strategies, A Sustainable Economic Recovery, and inquires into The Epistemological Foundations of Community and Society. More information about Dr. Warmoth. http://www.sonoma.edu/users/w/warmotha/awresume.html