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Faculty and Staff 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).


WISR Graduate Faculty (whose names are highlighted in red) are those faculty with accredited doctoral degrees, and additional, relevant advanced academic and/or professional experience, who are lead instructors in courses for (and who can serve as faculty on Graduation Review Boards of) WISR doctoral students and Master’s students. Only those who are lead instructors of courses have the  responsibility and authority to make final evaluation and approval of courses assignments submitted by students. A graduate faculty member without a doctoral degree, or with an unaccredited doctoral degree, may be able to be a lead instructor in the MS in Psychology/MFT program, and in work with students in related fields in the MS in Education and Community Leadership program, if they have at least 15 years of experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), over 10 of which must be in the State of California, and who also have proven expertise in educating therapists and other professionals in related fields, as evidenced in presentations at professional conferences, continuing education workshops, professional leadership and educational writings.

JOHN BILORUSKY, PhD. 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. In 1970-71, John taught senior thesis seminars in the Social Sciences Integrated Courses and Field Major, as a Teaching Associate at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1971-73, he was Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs and Senior Research Associate in the Institute for Research and Training in Higher Education, at the University of Cincinnati. There he taught the required action-research course in the College of Community Services, created and coordinated the College’s Individualized Learning Program, and served as an in-house organizational and evaluation consultant for faculty at the University. Then, from 1973-75, he was Director of Graduate Studies at University Without Walls-Berkeley. He is the author of published articles and papers on higher education and social change, adult learning, and practical, community-based and participatory research methods, including a co-authored book published by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, May 1970: The Campus Aftermath of Cambodia and Kent State (with Richard Peterson) and two books to be published by Routledge Press in 2021—Principles and Methods of Transformative Action Research, and Cases and Illustrations of Transformative Action Research. He has served as a consultant for community agencies in the area of participatory action-research, including directing a major study of needs and services for low-income elders for the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, and using participatory research in collaboration with the Bay Area Black United Fund on three occasions for their African American Health Summits. In addition, he has done collaborative consultations with dozens of Bay Area groups over the years. He has conducted evaluations of colleges and educational innovations, for such institutions as De Pauw University (Indiana), Macalester College (Minnesota), Colorado College, New College of California, and Fresno State University. He has conducted feasibility studies for such groups as the California Housing Trust Fund and Cleveland State University’s Department of Human Services. John serves on the Advisory Board of the global network of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies ( https://www.humiliationstudies.org/  ) johnb@wisr.edu   or   john.bilorusky@wisr.edu   For more information, go to: www.johnbilorusky.academia.edu   or to: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8025-2125

AVA DENISE PHILLIPS MS LMFT. BS in Business Administration, Marketing, California State University Dominguez Hills. Masters in Counseling, Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, California State University Fullerton. She has been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist by the state of California since 2001. She has served her locale in the community mental health field for over 27 years. She has worked for the County of San Bernardino Behavioral Health Department, the County of Riverside Behavioral Health Department and several community agencies that support family preservation and reunification. She has always believed that the only way to truly impact the lives of children is to support their families. In addition, she recalls fondly her experiences working with the chronically mentally challenged, commenting that they are “vulnerable with a quiet strength that is endearing.” She would say, however, that her most illuminating experience was working with the domestic violence population; a complete change in basic assumptions for her! Ava is grateful for the opportunity she has been given to mentor and supervise many MFT associates (formerly called interns) to licensure. It is important to her that they are respected, protected, and well trained. She is fully committed to contributing to having quality, competent and relevant licensed clinicians in the mental health field.

Ava humbly serves on the Board of the California Marriage and Family Association as the Chief Financial Officer. She also serves on the Executive Board of Parktree Community Health Center as the secretary and member of the compliance and finance committees. She has actively participated in numerous community outreach activities through her church for over 30 years, as well as having held several leadership positions within the church. She has been a member of the African American Parent Advisory Board within the Pomona Unified School District since 2017. Over many years she has attended numerous monthly collaborative meetings for mental health and community service agencies and participated in various sub-committees. Ava facilitates therapy and community connection services for people who have trouble accessing services on their own. She provides pro bono counseling for people in crisis and some not in crisis. She regularly answers the call to speak at community events on mental health issues.

She has been in private practice since 2017 and is enjoying the autonomy! Her purpose is to help people connect or reconnect to their own lives, as they wish to live them. She has found that helping people understand and manage their depression and anxiety can be the cure they never saw coming. She instills hope!! She utilizes whatever it takes to make that happen. However, her go to approaches are cognitive behavioral, client-centered and solution-focused therapies. She models transparency, emotional integrity, staying present and above all speaking your truth. When appropriate and therapeutic she will utilize Christian counseling to give clients a point of reference from which to heal. She is grateful to have had the privilege of collaborating with people of all ages, cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic levels to change and improve their lives. Last, but first, Ava is the mother of three phenomenal children and one 11-month-old perfect granddaughter! She says her family grounds her and teaches her best lessons… ava.dee@wisr.edu 
Life Philosophy- “You must work for what you get, you must be accountable for your actions and reactions, your opinion is just that yours and yes, God does allow U-turns.” And, for further wisdom: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”–Maya Angelou

PETER GABEL, JD, PhD. Ph.D. The Wright Institute 1981 (Social-Clinical Psychology); J.D. Harvard Law School 1972 (magna cum laude); B.A. Harvard College 1968 (English Literature–phi beta kappa). Peter Gabel is the former president of New College of California and was a law professor at New College’s public-interest law school for over thirty years. He has been Editor-at-Large of Tikkun magazine for the last thirty years and is now co-chair of the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law, and Politics. He is also currently president of the Arlene Francis Foundation for Spirit, Art and Politics in Santa Rosa, in addition to teaching social-spiritual activism at WISR.  He is the author of many articles on law, politics, and social change, and has published three books: The Bank Teller and Other Essays on the Politics of Meaning (Acada Books 2000); Another Way of Seeing: Essays on Transforming Law, Politics, and Culture (Quid Pro Books 2014); and most recently, The Desire for Mutual Recognition: Social Movements and the Dissolution of the False Self (Routledge Press 2018). He received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from San Francisco State University in 2015 and has been described by Cornel West as “one of the grand prophetic voices in our day and a long-distance runner in the struggle for justice.” ptrgabel@gmail.com 

Gerrard PhotoBRIAN GERRARD, PhD. PhD Sociology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, PhD Counseling Psychology, University of Toronto. M.A. Counseling Psychology, University of British Columbia. Brian is WISR’s Chief Academic Officer. 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. Brian is senior editor of the book, School-Based Family Counseling: An Interdisciplinary Practitioner’s Guide (Routledge, 2019).  Brian is Co-Facilitator of the Disastershock Global Response Team that developed 26 language translations of the book Disastershock: How to Cope with the Emotional Stress of a Major Disaster and made them available free globally during the Covid 19 pandemic. brian.gerrard@wisr.edu     gerrardba@outlook.com

Linda Hartling Head_Dec_4_2015LINDA M. HARTLING, PhD. 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  linda.hartling@wisr.edu

RONALD MAH, PhD, 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 is Co-Director of WISR’s MFT Program. 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 previously served two terms on the Board of Directors of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), and in June 2021, he has been elected to another term on the CAMFT Board. He also has served on the Board of the California Kindergarten Association. Ronald 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    ronald.mah@wisr.edu 

elenie_opfferELENIE OPFFER, PhD. Ph.D., Communications, University of Colorado, Boulder. MA, 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. She currently teaches full-time as an Organizational Communication Faculty member at California State University, Channel Islands. 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. Her organizational communication emphasis includes classes on organizational communication, leadership, and nonprofit management. 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 recently co-founded a US Chapter of the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa. 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@wisr.edu   elenie.opffer@gmail.com

sudia photo croppedSUDIA PALOMA MCCALEB, EdD.
 BA in Anthropology and Romance Languages, University of Michigan, Masters in Education, Bank Street College, New York City. EdD 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).  Sudia is Director of WISR’s Doctoral Program and of the MS program in Education and Community Leadership. Dr. Paloma McCaleb 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.     sudiapaloma.mccaleb@wisr.edu    sudiapaloma@gmail.com

STEVEN POMERANTZ, EdD. Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology, with a minor in Organizational Leadership, in 1992 from the University of San Francisco; MA in Sociology with a minor in Counseling, in 1978 from California State University, Chico; and BS in Psychology in 1969 from Pacific University in Oregon.  Steve’s experience includes 10 years as a manager/supervisor in county government and nonprofit agencies, and he was the youngest County department director in the state of California in 1976.  He also has 32 years as an external organizational consultant to over 60 organizations, and trainer in private practice conducting more than 2000 seminars to over 30,000 participants; and concurrently 34 years teaching at the university level as adjunct faculty at USF; and 23 years as Field Consultant coordinating the Masters in Counseling with an emphasis in Marital and Family Therapy for the University of San Francisco, Sacramento Campus.  He also found time during 17 of those years to have a small private practice serving more than 400 clients with marital and family problems as MFCC & LMFT first licensed in 1983 (license #18527).  Currently, Steve has been retired for the past few years and his license is inactive as he plays golf 2 to 3 times per week.  He has agreed to come out of retirement to join the WISR faculty, and looks forward to working with the students and faculty.  Steve has been writing a book on Leadership, which he hopes to complete in 2021, and plans to write two more books, one on the evolution of counseling theories, and the other on dealing with life’s challenges.   steven.pomerantz@wisr.edu  or to: drstevep2@gmail.com

CHRISTINE L. TIPPETT, MSW, LCSW, LMFT.  MSW, Social Work (Mental Health Concentration), California State University, Sacramento 1977.  BA, Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara 1974.  Christine has extensive experience teaching a wide variety of Master’s level courses in counselor education.  With the support of WISR’s current Chief Academic Officer, Brian Gerrard, she created and administered a private practice model of the Mission Possible Program in school-based family counseling, which operated for 16 years, served over 3000 youth and families, helped more than 70 graduate students obtain practicum experience, and earned the 2020 Award for Best Practice in School-Based Family Counseling from the Oxford Symposium of School Based Family Counseling.  In addition, she presented at the symposium several times, contributed a chapter to School Based Family Counseling: Transforming Family-School Relations [Chapter 48], by Gerrard and Soriano (2013), and to the International Journal for School-Based Family Counseling, Vol VII (2016).  She was thereby made a fellow of the Oxford Symposium of School-Based Family Counseling.

Her interest in community mental health has included work with a variety of vulnerable populations deserving respectful justice:

  • Youth needing coordinated care following passage of AB 3632 (now written into code as EC26), so that payment and responsibility for delivery of services flows through the department of primary duty (e.g., education, mental health, juvenile justice, care and custody)
  • Mental health clients in need regardless of ability to pay, following the passage of: Lanterman/Petris/Short Act, Mental Health Act, Prop. 63
  • Clients requesting information prior to making “informed decisions” regarding birth control both before and after Roe v Wade
  • Veterans in higher education responding to “Move Up” preparation for college courses and “About Face” advocacy for (re)instatement of VA benefits
  • Advocacy with colleagues, administrators and, (eventually) families who are expanding their nucleus through adoption.

In therapy practice and in clinical supervision, Christine uses a humanistic systems approach to inform her perspective with regard to the person in situation.  For more information, contact christine.tippett@wisr.edu

KAREN WALL, EdD, LMFT, RN-BC, OFS.  Karen is Co-Director of WISR’s MFT Program and also WISR’s Coordinator of Student Services. AA, Pre-Medicine, New Mexico Military Institute, 1982; BS, Biology, Texas Tech University, 1985; MA (PD), Secondary Science Education with Teaching Credential, University of Hawaii-Manoa, 1987; BS, Nursing, York College of Pennsylvania, 1992; MA, Counseling Psychology/Marriage and Family Therapy, Argosy University-Inland Empire, 2011; EdD, Counseling Psychology, Argosy University-San Francisco Bay, 2015. In her dissertation, Karen surveyed practicing therapists about their views on the inclusion of religion and spirituality in their work with their clients based on how competent and confident they felt from their graduate training. Her survey revealed a need for more intensive coverage of these topics in the curriculum at the graduate level. She has developed a course which she hopes to pilot in the future, and integrates elements of her research into her current teaching of MFT students. Her publications include a book chapter on the use of technology in behavioral health, specifically with veterans:  “Chapter 7: Technology use in behavioral medicine health”  and articles in the areas of social robotics: “Use of Robotic Animals in VA Long-Term Care: An Example of Person-Centered Care”;  technology use in behavioral health: “The Interactive Mobile App Review Toolkit (IMART): A Clinical Practice-Oriented System”; “ An interprofessional framework for telebehavioral health competencies”;  “Telebehavioral health, telemental health, e-therapy and e-health competencies: The need for an interprofessional framework”; psychopharmacology: “The Efficacy Of Prazosin To Treat Nightmares Related To Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”; and employee wellness and resiliency: “B.R.E.A.T.H.E. Staff Resilience Training”. Karen taught nursing at the University of Southern California as a clinical instructor for the undergraduate psychiatric nursing rotations. Karen is currently the Director for Global Education with Global Human Development, Inc, working with Stefan Deutsch developing a mental health mobile app to teach people about Self-Love. She is also a Consultant on the Advisory Board for the All of Us Research Program at the NIH.

She is active in her Catholic faith, and is a Professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order, a lay religious fraternity. Karen is very passionate about animals and animal assisted therapy, especially with Veterans living with dementia and with PTSD. During her nursing practice as the Dementia Care Coordinator for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Karen volunteered with Paws For Purple Hearts service dog training program at Menlo Park, VA as a puppy sitter and worked with a facility dog for the Community Living Center, providing AAT for the older Veteran residents. Karen retired (her second-the first being from the Army) from the VA in June 2019 and now lives in Albuquerque, NM, where she enjoys her much-welcomed free time to do volunteer work with service dogs and animals with Paws and Stripes and Animal Humane of NM. She is a long-time volunteer with the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in UT, and spends time there during the year helping care for the animals living there. Karen is a volunteer mental health and dementia expert with the Honor Flight of Northern New Mexico. Partly due to being a “military brat” and being in the military herself, Karen loves to travel and learn about every culture she can experience, including learning languages. She was raised in Hawai’i in a military family, and served 23 years in the US Army, in logistics and then as a psychiatric nurse, including a deployment to Saudi Arabia in 1991 during the Gulf War. Karen has a private practice as an LMFT and uses technology and online teletherapy in addition to traditional models to see her clients. For more information about some of Karen’s many professional endeavors, go to: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/karen-m-wall-albuquerque-nm/463400   karen.wall@wisr.edu        logos68540@gmail.com karenlmft97283@gmail.com


WISR Learning Support Instructors  (whose names are highlighted in blue) have extensive and relevant professional and community leadership experience, and provide learning support and assistance in their area(s) of expertise to WISR students under the supervision of WISR Graduate Faculty. Learning Support Instructors serve as teaching assistants and professional mentors/peer tutors for WISR students and do provide valuable instruction and support services, in their areas of expertise. They help in facilitating the learning of WISR’s graduate students but only under the direction and supervision of Graduate Faculty who have the sole authority and responsibility for directing and evaluating graduate student learning and progress. Learning Support Instructors are not allowed to supervise Master’s or Doctoral students, evaluate their work for course credit, or serve on Graduation Review Boards for Master’s or Doctoral Students.

LARRY LOEBIG, MS. 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 has developed an interest in alternative dispute resolution and earned certification with Mediator Training International with an emphasis on conflict in the workplace. He provides supplemental learning support to WISR students in his areas of professional expertise under the supervision of WISR Graduate Faculty. larry.loebig@wisr.edu    larryloebig@gmail.com

croberson_2014_compressedCYNTHIA ROBERSON, MLIS. 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 Library Director.  She began her career as a teacher – first as a music teacher in the East Bay, then as a substitute teacher for West Contra Costa and New Haven Unified School Districts. Currently, she works as a Family Care Specialist  in the funderal industry while working on library projects for WISR. She is working to get WISR’S library resources online and accessible to students and faculty. cynthia.roberson@wisr.edu

monika_photo_headshotMONIKA SCOTT-DAVIS, LMFT. (Temporarily on Leave). MA Psychology (MFT), WISR, 2008. MA Gerontology, San Francisco State University, 2011. Monika is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has ten 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. In March of 2017 Ms. Scott went to work for 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.  In July of 2019, she began working at Root Community Health Services  as a behavioral health clinician.  Roots is a full service clinic which began in 2008 serving the re-entry population.  Roots continues to serve formerly incarcerated individuals as they launch to self-sufficiency; in addition, Roots serves a diverse demographic which encompasses marginalized communities who have suffered with poor health outcomes.   Ms. Scott also has been in private practice since August of 2016.  Ms. Scott’s psychotherapy practice is called Abundant Life Therapy Center located at 2034 Blake Street  Berkeley CA 94704 (510) 393-8121.    monika.scott-davis@wisr.edu      monika36@yahoo.com 


ROSA REINIKAINEN, LMFT. Learning Support Instructor. BA in Psychology, Minor in Women’s Studies, University of New Mexico 1998, MA in Counseling, Southwestern College, 2001,  Doctoral Candidate at WISR since 2015. Licensed California Marriage and Family Therapist. Natural Therapeutic Specialist, New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics, 2002. Trained Clairvoyant and Ordained Minister, Psychic Horizons and Church of Natural Grace 2007. Rosa has worked with the LGBTQI and alternative sexual community for over 20 years.  She has extensive experience addressing trauma, including cultural and collective trauma.  She works with sexual and gender minorities, communities of color and other oppressed populations in a variety of settings, including survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse survivors. She has served on various boards, including Santa Fe Rape Crisis Center, GAYLESTA (LGBTQI Therapist Organization) and Bay Area Open Minds (Sexual & Gender Minority Therapist Organization).  She has professional experience in community mental health agencies and inpatient facilities as well as a variety of other settings. In her work, Rosa focuses on love, attachment and somatic therapies and how that relates to social justice.  She is a long time activist and advocate for equality. She has worked within the field of education as an early childhood teacher, a middle school and high school wellness counselor and educator, and has worked in adult education as well.  She has offered CEUs for therapists working with LGBTQI people as well as working with transgender and gender non-binary people. She has also offered CEU courses in cultural competency in working with sex and sexuality and pagan communities. She works with integrative therapies with body, mind and spirit in her online private practice. She also works collaboratively with her spouse, who is an acupuncturist, to help people heal. She is focused on dismantling supremacy, especially white supremacy and racism.  Rosa is rooted in the ideas around human dignity.  Rosa is a lifelong learner and regularly updates her knowledge about the world, psychology, trauma, the body, spirituality, and healing. rosa.reinikainen@wisr.edu  ,  rosa.reinikainen@gmail.com , rainandsunfamilywellness@gmail.com

TITUS YU, PhD, Graduate Faculty. PhD., Intercultural Philosophy and Religion, jointly University of Washington, Seattle, and California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco, 1983. MA, Literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1968.  Dr. Yu is founding President of and a professor at Andrew University, Berkeley, CA, which began its operation in 1996 as a Liberal Studies school offering academic programs ranging from BA completion to Master’s to Doctoral degrees including PhD in Humanities. Before that, he taught Comparative Religion and Philosophy, East and West at Simon Fraser University, Barnaby, Canada, the Univesity of Alberta, Edmonston, Canada, JFK Univesity in Orinda, CA, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.  From the 1980s through the 1990s he served as a member of on site visiting teams for the State of California Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (later named Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education). He is an American Baptist Pastor, and since 1985, has served in that role at Thousand Oaks Bapitist Church in Berkeley.  He is the author of several books, including: The I Ching (Book of Transformation) in Light of Its Archaic Etymology, Seeming Controversies in the Old Testament, and Seeming Controversies in the New Testament. 



MARILYN JACKSON, PhD. Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Operating Officer. 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. Prior to her recent appointment as Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Operating Officer, and since 2004, Dr. Jackson was Executive Assistant to WISR’s President. She also worked for 25 years in law firms as an administrative assistant. In addition, she has been a Learning Support Instructor on WISR’s faculty since 2004. In her dissertation, Dr. Jackson contrasted popular spirituality movements in Western society to traditional religion, by relating Creation Spirituality to Lutheranism. Two 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. In her WISR studies, she also wrote about women’s and career development issues, as well as lifestyle, health and environment. She has organized educational activities about and with indigenous people and has been extensively involved with Scandinavian music and cultural activities, including translating Swedish songs. She has studied cooperative process, conflict resolution and democratic socialism among other tools to help people get along in society. She is also on the Board of and does freelance work for the Ecumenical Peace Institute. Marilyn is also a Learning Support Instructor at WISR. marilyn.jackson@wisr.edu 

DAVID ROSS, EdD Candidate, Quality Improvement Officer and Compliance Officer.  EdD Candidate, WISR. Graduate Studies in Theology and Philosophy, Gordon-Cromwell Theological Seminary, South Hampton, MA. BA in English, Westmont College, Santa Barbara. David’s background in Quality Improvement includes experience as Director of Continuous Quality Improvement, ACI (Addictions Care Interventions), New York City in a community healthcare clinic facility where he trained nurses and clinicians and where his directives resulted in renewal of accreditation and improved audit statistics. In that role, he was a certified professional in healthcare quality. He was Director of Continuous Quality Improvement for the World School of Massage and Holistic Health and has served as Director of Operations for Andrew University in Berkeley. He has been a Continuous Quality Improvement and Strategic Planning Consultant for a nascent global humanitarian project, Sums Global, in Scottsdale, AZ. He was also Director of Admissions and Triage for ACI (Addictions Care Interventions) in New York City, and New England Memorial Hospital in Stoneham, MA, he received the Siegert Memorial Award for excellence in clinical psychiatry. In addition, David continues his professional career and work in life coaching and well-being. In that role he has developed novel, integrative approaches to holistic health and lifestyle coaching and self-coaching training. He has extensive experience developing course manuals and handbooks, and in web marketing.

JULIAN TAO, MS. Chief Finance Officer. MS in Taxation, Golden Gate University; BA, Harbin Normal University, Harbin, China. Julian is a Certified Public Accountant, and he has worked in several U.S. companies including Chevron U.S.A., Visa International, and Ernst & Young.




TONI NEMIA, LMFT. Executive Director of the Center for Child and Family Development, School Based Family Counseling. MS, Counseling Psychology-Marriage & Family Therapy, San Francisco State University, 1987. MA, Literacy-Secondary Education, San Francisco State University, 1976. BA, English major, Anthropology minor, University of California, Berkeley, 1970. As the Executive Director of the Center for Child and Family Development, School Based Family Counseling, Toni has her hand in clinical and program aspects of this training program.  Outside of that role, she has a small sliding fee private practice in San Francisco where she sees clients. As an outside supervisor, she also works with Master’s level clinicians who are working toward MFT, PCC, and Social Work licensing primarily with a school-based emphasis.  She has a 40+ year history with the San Francisco Unified School District, first as a high school reading specialist, then as a licensed MFT when she segued into school based mental health with a joyous leap.  Supervision is a current passion.  She is a member of the Institute for School Based Family.  She can’t go a day without reading and longs for enough time to reengage with her micropetitpoint.  Toni identifies as cisgender.  As a multi-racial Jew, she is committed to anti-racist work and knows full well how much privilege she has been afforded.    tnemia.ccfd@gmail.com

MARK WILSON.  WISR Learning Experience Designer\Technologian.  In this role, he provides leadership in the development, implementation, and evaluation of all technology-related activities at WISR to ensure a realistic balance between the opportunities technology provides and the goals of faculty’s instructional programs so students, teachers, librarians, and clerical staff work together. He is involved in user experience design and online course design, so that technology meets the needs of members of the WISR learning community. He is strongly committed to helping WISR improve its learning technology in support of our long-standing mission to promote self-directed adult learning.

Mark Wilson is a retired craftsman. After studying the art and science of glass, he worked 20 years as a scientific glassblower in Silicon Valley making gas LASERs, X-ray tubes and high intensity short-arc lamps to manufacture computer chips. He returned to college in Oakland’s Peralta Community College District (PCCD) and has completed Liberal Arts and Sociology Associate’s degrees from Berkeley City College.
Inspired by the lack of support for adult students, Mark was deeply involved in the shared governance of the PCCD, collaborating with other student leaders in creating a four-college Peralta Student Council and serving two years as its first Communications Officer. He represented students on the PeopleSoft Financial Aid Upgrade Steering Committee, to automate financial aid disbursements. Mark was also a student worker at the Peralta Colleges Foundation, helping run fundraising events and supporting the RSVP pilot program; a cohort of first year students committed to graduating from Peralta in two years.
Mark belongs to the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), and the Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL), the group leading ePortfolio research. He has attended many education conferences and is a member of the AAEEBL Practices & Pedagogies Special Interest Group. He is also a Digital Storytelling facilitator trained at Berkeley’s StoryCenter.
Mark is enrolled as a non-degree student at WISR while completing his Bachelor’s degree in the College of Individualized Studies at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, through their distance learning degree program. He was selected as a HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) Scholar for the 2017-19 cohort. An “innovative student-driven community”, HASTAC is the “world’s first and oldest academic social network.” “We are building a community of students working at the intersection of technology and the arts, humanities and sciences.” See more at https://www.linkedin.com/in/markcorbettwilson/     mark.wilson@wisr.edu 


Retired, Long-time Core Faculty

TORRY DICKINSON, PhD, 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 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, PhD, 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 Memoriam:

Michael McAvoy, who was a core faculty member at WISR for the last decade of his life, and a friend of WISR’s for several decades, until his death in 2018:

MICHAEL MCAVOY, MA. 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.

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, JD, PhD. 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, PhD. Ph.D. in Psychology, Brandeis University, 1967 (N.I.M.H. Predoctoral Fellow, 1962-65); B.A., Reed College, 1959 (Major: Literature/Theater). Art was involved in humanistic psychology since 1959, when he went to Brandeis University to pursue doctoral studies with Abraham H. Maslow. Over the years, he 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 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. Art was also 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 was a friend of WISR’s for many years, and worked with students in many topics related to social change, among them: the Economic Literacy of Citizenship, Social Entrepreneurship, The Postindustrial (Postmodern) Economy, Community Economic Survival Strategies, A Sustainable Economic Recovery, and inquiries into The Epistemological Foundations of Community and Society. More information about Dr. Warmoth. http://www.sonoma.edu/users/w/warmotha/awresume.html