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Press Room

2021: Celebrating our 46th Anniversary!


The Western Institute for Social Research, or WISR (“Wiser”), is known as a premiere academic institute for social change since its inception in 1975. WISR offers individualized MS and Doctoral degree programs for working adults.* Areas of study are: Psychology (an MS program that leads to the State’s Marriage and Family Therapy License as well as for those seeking to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor), an MS in Education and Community Leadership (for Human Service Professionals, Educators and Related Fields), and an EdD (Doctor of Education) in Education and Social Change. Over the years, our interdisciplinary EdD program* in Higher Education and Social Change has been an exceedingly popular program for talented and highly innovative professionals and community leaders. Our tuition is very affordable for working adults with modest incomes and family commitments–at $7,500/year; $625/month. ***Note: WISR’s Board has announced a tuition increase for the first time in over 8 years–to $8,400/year ($700/month) effective November 1, 2021.  *Since June 1, 2013, WISR has admitted all new doctoral students to an EdD program, while previously enrolled doctoral students are allowed to complete their PhDs. We made the decision to switch the designation of the PhD program to an EdD program to enable us to explore the possibility of seeking national accreditation with an accrediting agency that is approved to accredit professional doctoral degrees.

IMPORTANT! Information about WISR’s unaccredited degree, the new State requirement that WISR and other State licensed schools must achieve accreditation by July 1, 2020, WISR’s financial integrity and legally required disclosures are found later in this catalog and on our website at: https://www.wisr.edu/about-2/important-legally-required-disclosures/

WISR’s history is indeed the stories of our students successfully building bridges to the significant things they next want to do in their lives. Our alumni have used their academic projects at WISR to network with professionals and community groups, to create new programs and even new agencies, to carve out distinctive and well-recognized specializations and consulting practices, and to obtain professional positions that carry significant and meaningful responsibilities.

It should be added that some of our alumni have professional goals that do not involve plans for further or continued employment–this is especially true of alumni who are in their retirement, or near retirement years, who want to further develop their professional knowledge and skills to help others and to make a positive difference in the world. Furthermore, many of our employed alumni place a higher priority on using their professional knowledge and expertise in their volunteer community involvements.

40th Anniversary w-out 2015
In sum, our alumni have generally been very, very satisfied with how well they have been able to use the combination of their WISR learning and their WISR State licensed degree to accomplish their goals, and indeed, to do more than they even aimed to do when they first enrolled at WISR. The results of surveys of student satisfaction and accomplishments are available upon request. 

Since 1975, WISR has successfully supported the creative community involvement efforts of hundreds of adult learners–through its highly personalized, socially progressive and interdisciplinary BS, MS and EdD programs, as well as through our collaborations with groups in community action-and-research. WISR students and the communities with which they are involved, reflect great geographic, intellectual and cultural diversity. WISR works with community groups to support participatory action-research as a way to promote critically needed inquiry into community problems and engage the community in solutions. Recently, we have worked with such groups as Neighborhood House of North Richmond on youth mentoring, community health issues, and violence prevention; Bay Area Black United Fund on health disparities impacting African American communities and people; the Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project on preserving and making accessible the history of the Omaha people; and Eco-City Builders and West Oakland residents on moving toward a sustainable urban village in West Oakland. WISR’s extraordinary learners and faculty together have created a dynamic and inquiring learning community where

“Multicultural is WISeR”!!!

Recent, New Partnerships:

The World Dignity University (WDU) Initiative, a global network of several thousand people working together toward a world that dignifies all, healing and preventing cycles of humilation, and WISR are pleased to announce a collaboration that will provide adult learners who wish to pursue the multidisciplinary study of topics related to human dignity and social change an opportunity to do so through flexible, learner-centered graduate degree programs. WISR is also partnering with the leaders and participants of The Center for Critical Environmental Global Literacy (CCEGL). CCEGL supports innovative educational projects and activities that embrace and infuse a critical, social justice and humanistic approach to education, thinking and action. Our goal is to bring educators, youth and community together to explore critical issues in education towards the furthering of democratic values; environmental stewardship; global cooperation and the development of critical literacy and media skills. A couple of CCEGL participants have embarked on academic degrees at WISR, related to their professional and community goals, coordinated by WISR faculty member, Dr. Sudia Paloma who is CEO of CCEGL.

If you are a member of the media and are interested in doing a story on WISR please contact WISR President, Dr. John Bilorusky, 510-655-2830 (vm), johnb@wisr.edu

Hot Off the Press!!

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The Second Publication of WISR Press is: Standing Tall: Willie Long and the Mare Island Original 21ers, by Jake Sloan, WISR Press and the African American Development Institute, second edition, 2017. This has been published as a print book by BookBaby and is available either through Amazon.com or by contacting Jake Sloan at WISR. For more information, about the book and Jake Sloan, click here

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The first publication of WISR Press is Multiculturalism–also the inaugural issue of The Journal of the Western Institute for Social Research. This has been published as a print book and an e-book using the services of BookBaby. It is now available–at online sellers in both print and e-book formats; for example, at

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, Sony, Kob0, eBookPie, iBookstore, Copia, through Ingram, Gardners and Baker and Taylor, through subscription services such as ScribD and Oyster, and also for academic institutions and libraries through EBSCO.

There are several copies in WISR’s library. The print book is selling for $14.99 and the ebook for $2.99. WISR’s royalties will be a bit over $3 for each print book sold and $2 or so for each ebook sold. More significantly, we hope that the book will bring greater visibility to WISR and to the serious action and inquiry pursued by the authors in particular, and by our students, alumni and faculty, in general.

More information about Multiculturalism, and you can PURCHASE THE E-BOOK HERE (!) FOR ONLY $2.99–and for information about the articles and authors of this inaugural publication of WISR Press


Listed below are some articles that have previously appeared about WISR in the local publication, The Open Exchange.

One issue of the Open Exchange Magazine has a featured article on Promoting Social Changes to Better Support Healthy Living. This article focuses on the blog and therapeutic work of WISR PhD student, Sherri Kimbell, and her presentation at WISR’s August 2011 conference on her plans to develop greatly needed therapeutic support for returning military personnel.

Other articles about WISR:

The Professional Coaching Movement at the Western Institute for Social Research

What’s an Academic Degree Worth?

Learning at WISR: A Tradition of Innovation, Community Improvement and Social Change

WISR Begins its 35th Year, Starting New Program: Community Action Think Tanks