Reflections on Election 2016

Dear Saybrook Community,

Yesterday, we witnessed an historic election. Over these last 18 months, we as citizens across this great land have been grappling with very real, human questions that concern who we are as a country, what we value, and how we advance our nation.

As a university, we take no political position on who should lead these United States. Our obligation and commitment to you as a community is to create the space for caring, respectful, rigorous, intellectual dialog.

We believe Saybrook students and faculty have much to offer in the post-election world in which we now live, especially through authentic, caring discourse - discourse that eschews partisan labels and monikers with the goal of creating understanding and strengthening the ties that bind us together. By participating in conversations that encourage introspection and healing in our communities, these events can connect us to one another in ways that remind us of our common humanity, further demonstrating the power of who we are.

To that end, we are currently looking at opportunities for facilitating/promoting dialog, including holding community-based sessions at our January Residential Conference in Monterey. Our hope is that by coming together to share our feelings - joys, fears, and dreams for our country and ourselves - we find greater clarity in how best to contribute to our communities and our country. If you have further suggestions, please do not hesitate to bring these to me or any Saybrook faculty-staff member.

In the days, weeks, and months ahead, my sincerest hope is that we continue our commitment to positive social change by working in the areas of social justice and action that ensure our fellow citizens are afforded the right to live liberated existences free from the shackles of oppression and empowering us to live to our fullest human potential. Most importantly, Saybrook University is everyone's home regardless of political beliefs or affiliations. All are welcome here. Together, we believe in the mission and humanistic values that both guide us and define who we are as individuals and as a community.

Lastly, I urge us all to show love and concern to our fellow citizens by hearing one another, and demonstrating empathy, all-the-while recognizing that there is important healing that must occur on all sides before we as a nation can fully move forward.

Keep engaging, keep hearing, keep talking, keep honoring each other's unique humanity.

Most sincerely,

Dr. Nathan Long, President, Saybrook University

Saybrook University Appoints Sixth Presidential Fellow

              Ashanti Branch - Ever Forward Club

              Ashanti Branch - Ever Forward Club

I am pleased to announce the final appointment of the sixth Saybrook University Presidential Fellow, Mr. Ashanti Branch. 

Ashanti Branch works to change how young men of color interact with their education and how their schools interact with them. Raised in Oakland by a single mother on welfare, Ashanti left the inner city to study civil engineering at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. A construction project manager in his first career, his life changed after he tutored struggling students and realized his passion for teaching. In 2004, during Ashanti’s first year teaching high school math, he started The Ever Forward Club to provide support for African American and Latino males who were not achieving to their potential. Since then, Ever Forward has helped all of its more than 150 members graduate from high school, and 93% of them have gone on to attend two- or four-year colleges, military or trade school.

Ashanti completed a fellowship at Stanford in the 2015-16 school year and worked full-time on Ever Forward for the first time, in an effort to grow the organization to serve thousands of Bay Area students. This year The Ever Forward Club will be in 10 schools and the organization will serve over 15,000 through their "Taking Off The Mask" Workshops and professional development for Educators, parents and Corporate Teams. Ashanti can be found on Twitter at @everforwardclub. He and his students were also featured in the documentary "The Mask You Live In". View the trailer below.

Saybrook University Appoints Fifth Presidential Fellow

Ahmad Mansur

Ahmad Mansur

I am pleased to announce the appointment of our fifth Presidential Fellow, Mr. Ahmad Mansur of Oakland, California.

Ahmad is a strategist, educator, entrepreneur and a thought leader on the talent economy. He helps leaders learn deeply about complex global challenges and big shifts impacting their organization, region and community, and offer leadership solutions to adapt for change.

Ahmad splits his time between two enterprises. He is the co-founding partner of the Urban Economy Group, a global consulting and venture firm that focuses on innovation and growth sector opportunities in cities and communities.

And recently, he formed Consilient Education, a development company that builds innovative brands for adult lifelong learners to access training through online courses, catalyst events, media channels and high-impact learning experiences

A sought-after speaker, Ahmad shares his insights on a broad range of topics with audiences worldwide through keynotes, panel discussions, and executive sessions at premiere events like Swissnex “Future of Leadership” conference, US Congressional Panel on Biotechnology and Jobs and the ILA London conference.

Ahmad also pens for various media platforms, authors deep futures research, and explores transformational perspectives at his blogmag – – on leadership challenges at the intersection of innovation, society and globality.

Ahmad draws on his in-depth knowledge from previous experiences as an Aspen Institute fellow, a college Dean in workforce education, a senior associate at a international research firm, an advisor to government ministries and – yes – even as a program director of an interactive media arts center.

Ahmad earned is BS in social sciences from Long Beach State University, a Master’s in Strategic Leadership from St. Mary’s College, a Master of Education in Adult Learning from San Francisco State and graduate certificate in Adaptive Leadership from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Ahmad enjoys hiking, biking, yoga, drinking Bulletproof Coffee and cool hunting for things less known.

For more, please visit his website at

Saybrook University Appoints Fourth Presidential Fellow

Ms. Kelly Carlisle, Executive Director of Acta Non Verba and Saybrook Presidential Fellow  

Ms. Kelly Carlisle, Executive Director of Acta Non Verba and Saybrook Presidential Fellow  

I am pleased to announce the appointment of our fourth Presidential Fellow, Ms. Kelly Carlisle, Executive Director of Acta Non Verba and resident of Oakland, California. We welcome her to the Saybrook family and look forward to partnering in advancing positive social change in Oakland! 

From Kelly's bio at Newman's Own Foundation: I enlisted in the Navy in 2001, just before 9/11, and served as an Operations Specialist in the US Navy and Navy Reserve. When I returned to civilian life, I was distressed by news stories detailing the severe socio-economic and health conditions in my childhood home of East Oakland. Poverty, childhood obesity, and school dropout rates are abnormally high in this part of the city. As a mother and as someone who served her country, I decided I wanted to be part of the solution.

I didn’t immediately consider urban farming. But one day, I was cruising a nursery and came across a lemon tree that had two ripe lemons on it. My daughter, who was three at the time, was shocked! So I purchased the lemon tree and dared it to produce again. It did. I decided right there that I wanted to learn how to grow everything. I was meant to grow food, and growing food was going to transform my community.

I founded Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project with a group of neighbors in August 2010. A quarter-acre parcel of parkland in the heart of East Oakland was granted to us. 

Acta Non Verba means “Deeds, not Words”: we need to take action if we’re going to give our children a bright future. Our primary focus is at-risk youth in grades K-8 and their families. The students plant, cultivate, and harvest crops year round, and sell the produce to local residents. All proceeds are placed into individual savings accounts.

In 2011, we got a boost from the Farmer Veteran Coalition when I was named a Bon Appétit Good Food Fellow. The fellowship enabled us to purchase a heavy-duty pickup truck, which was an absolute necessity. We’ve moved into a new office space, hired several employees, and are in the process of recruiting a Board of Directors. I would like to see Oakland take advantage of the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act (AB 551) which authorizes tax incentives for landowners to put their land to agricultural use. 

In less than four years, we’ve cultivated dozens of crops, planted fruit trees, and built a beehive. We hold monthly garden parties and community dinners. Most importantly, we’ve engaged hundreds of schoolchildren, and many adults, in learning new skills and taking charge of their health. They are eating better, earning money, and experiencing the joy of being close to the Earth. We’re realizing our vision of holistic community revival—literally from the ground up. I’m proud to be a part of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. This is what I fought for.

Visit: and

Saybrook Core Messaging Project

Dear Saybrook Community and Friends of the University: 

Back in July, we began working with Noelle Kull, our PR and Communications Manager at TCS ES, on a core messaging project. The nature of the project is to identify a key or core message that captured who/what Saybrook is. The goal of core messaging is to create a sentence that captures the essence of Saybrook that can quickly capture an individual's or group's attention. After interviewing a number of faculty leaders, administration, staff, and TCS ES leaders, a series of initial options were presented for review. 

At this point, I am now presenting four (4) options for our community's consideration, with the hope of determining how these different core messages resonate with individuals. We determined the easiest way to achieve this was by having each of you rank four separate statements from "most like" (1) to "least like" (4). Please complete this simple ranking survey by Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 12 PM Pacific. The link to the survey is:  

Bear in mind, our main tenet of humanistic philosophy and key mission elements are essential and will be infused into language that follows our core message once that is identified. Remember: the ultimate aim is to first identify a clear, concise, broad statement that captures the essence of SU. Lastly, the general rule of thumb in creating a core message is that there is one identifier (i.e. We are an innovative institution…) with a minimum of one or maximum of two descriptors about what we do (i.e creates student success and unlocks human potential). 

Thank you very much for your assistance!

Saybrook U Town Halls Beginning September and October

Beginning in September, I will be holding town halls on the first and second Thursday of the month. The first half-hour to 45-minutes, we will talk about goings-on at the University, administration updates, strategic plan implementation, etc. The remainder of the time will be open for questions and comments. 

First Thursday of the Month: Faculty and Staff Town Hall from 12 PM to 2 PM Pacific (begins October)

Second Thursday of the Month: Student and Alumni Town Hall from 12 PM to PM Pacific

Town Halls will be held virtually and in-person. We will be sending appointment information to the everyone (via Outlook) invite in the next couple of days. 


CSS Residential Conference Information

In case anyone missed the email - this is from our Academic Affairs team regarding the RO/RC at the Westin at the San Francisco International Airport. Web links require an SU user ID and password. 


The CSS Fall 2016 Residential Orientation and Conference Schedule<> is now available on the CSS RC website! This schedule will have minor updates before the start of the RO. We will also post event descriptions in the next few days.

This day-by-day schedule, schedules broken down by program, and event descriptions will be distributed in print format at the conference.

Also, the faculty and staff appointment system will be posted on the website by the end of the week!

Please feel free to contact us with questions!

Warm regards,
Saybrook Academic Affairs Team

Fall 2016 CSS RC Information

Great information on our upcoming RC at the Westin in San Francisco. See below. Links to key information require a Saybrook U logon ID and password. 


Hello all,

The CSS Fall 2016 Residential Orientation and Conference Schedule is now available on the CSS RC website! This schedule will have minor updates before the start of the RO. We will also post event descriptions in the next few days.

This day-by-day schedule, schedules broken down by program, and event descriptions will be distributed in print format at the conference. Also, the faculty and staff appointment system will be posted on the website by the end of the week!

Please feel free to contact us with questions!

Warm regards,
Saybrook Academic Affairs Team

Saybrook University Appoints Third Presidential Fellow: ShakaJamal Redmond

Mr. ShakaJamal Redmond

Mr. ShakaJamal Redmond

I am pleased to announce the appointment of our third Presidential Fellow, Mr. ShakaJamal Redmond of Oakland, California. 

OLU8 founder ShakaJamal is a culturally innovative artist and filmmaker from Oakland, California. His many experiences as film producer, director, cinematographer, editor, writer, performing artist, and music producer bring a distinctive and invaluable perspective to any venture. ShakaJamal is a graduate of Tuskegee University where he earned a BA in History. He received aMaster’s of Fine Arts in Cinema at San Francisco State University. ShakaJamal is the first filmmaker from Oakland, CA to receive the Game Changers Fellowship which lead him to premiere a series of micro-documentaries in New York at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. His work has premiered both nationally and internationally, on television, and in numerous film festivals.

After meeting ShakaJamal and his wonderful family, it is clear his skills, dedication, and passion for making change in our community will add significantly to the Fellows Program. We welcome ShakaJamal to Saybrook University.

To see a sampling of ShakaJamal's work, see below as well as visit his website, for more information. 


Saybrook University Appoints Second Presidential Fellow: Ms. Kelly Amis

Kelly Amis, Loudspeaker Films

Kelly Amis, Loudspeaker Films

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Kelly Amis, our second appointee to the Saybrook University Presidential Fellows Program. In selecting Ms. Amis, it was clear her efforts in education and documentary film, specifically focused in the Oakland and Bay Area communities, uniquely qualify her for the appointment. 

After graduating from Georgetown University, Kelly taught in South Central Los Angeles as a charter corps member of Teach for America. She has an M.A. in Education Policy from Stanford University and researched the Australian education system as a Fulbright Scholar. In Washington, DC, Kelly worked for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Fight for Children, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Cesar Chavez Charter Schools and Building Hope, which she helped design and launch. Since founding Loudspeaker Films in 2009, Kelly has won the Teach for America Social Innovation Award, the Rising Star Director's Award from the Canada International Film Festival and documentary awards from festivals including Harlem, Napa, Amsterdam, Houston, Humboldt and (In)Justice for All. You can learn more about her work at, watch more videos below, as well as here and read some of Kelly's writing here.

We are thrilled to have Kelly join us as a Presidential Fellow and anticipate a tremendous partnership over the coming year. 



This video highlights the winners of the 2013 Teach For America Social Innovation Award. You can see what they had to say about Kelly beginning at around :25 mark.

Saybrook University Appoints First Presidential Fellow: Dr. Ginger Charles

Dr. Ginger Charles, Ph.D. (

I am pleased to announce our first appointee to the Saybrook University Presidential Fellows Program, Dr. Ginger Charles, Ph.D., Executive Director, Research Psychologist, Consultant, and Police Sergeant (ret.)

Dr. Charles is a retired police sergeant, having served 27 years as a police officer in Colorado. Her experience in the police culture gives her a unique, boots on the ground, approach in the law enforcement world. Ginger has served in patrol, administration, and investigations.

In 2005, Dr. Charles received her doctorate from Saybrook University in Health Psychology, focusing on Health Risk Factors in the police community, specifically in the area of health and spirituality. Ginger recently retired in 2013 after living in the "petri dish" and relocated to Northern California to continue research, writing, and consultancy in the law enforcement culture. She recently authored the book, Police Pursuit of the Common Good (2016, Balboa Press), in which she “…examines the current issues facing law enforcement and marginalized communities. She presents reasons why our police communities appear to be in constant conflict with marginalized communities for the last several years. In the book, she explores the behaviors in the police culture from a social psychological perspective, illustrating the importance of understanding police behaviors in order to change the culture of conflict. It is her experience as a police officer that provides the reader with a unique understanding from inside the police community and as an observer of that community. Dr. Charles concludes with potential solutions to reform and restore the police culture, as well as heal the divide between our communities and the police.” 

As a result of her work, she is beginning to lead a variety of training sessions with police departments in the Bay Area. For the most up-to-date information on Dr. Charles' work, please go to: or

We welcome Dr. Charles to the Saybrook University community as our first Presidential Fellow and look forward to the great work she will be doing over the coming year.

Announcing the Saybrook University Presidential Fellows Program

I am pleased to announce the launch of the new Saybrook University Presidential Fellows Program. This program is designed to offer practitioners and scholar‐practitioners the opportunity to connect with a reputable university that is dedicated in mission and purpose to advancing positive social change. Fellows will leverage the institution for purposes of exposure, affiliation, and resources, as appropriate. As a Fellow, the individual commits to engaging with appropriate, relevant University activities/events that serve to cross‐ promote the individual’s scholarly or practitioner agenda with relevant programs of Saybrook University

The goal of the program is to provide a beneficial experience to both the University and the individual’s work she or he is doing in the community, their organization, or academic home that promotes positive social change. 

Expectations of Fellows

  • Participate in occasional activities/events such as symposia, panel presentations, residential conference sessions that are relevant to her or his particular focus area, 3‐4 times per semester.
  • Actively participate and contribute to the Saybrook University President’s Advisory Council 2 times per year.
  • Provide a culminating presentation to the University and broader community on her or his particular focus area during the Spring semester of each academic year.
  • Fellows, in collaboration with the president of the university and their university liaison, may decide to identify other expectations/responsibilities in addition to or in lieu of the above that further reflect the scholarly or practitioner work in which they are engaged. 

Expectations of the University

  • Provide space and resources enabling each fellow to be in residence, including office space, telephone, Internet, email, and the like (note: being in residence is not necessarily a requirement of being a Fellow).
  • Provide, if desired, a university liaison to support their work at the institution, offer opportunities for engaging with faculty and staff, connect with TCS Education System faculty and staff members as appropriate, etc.
  • Support initiatives of each Fellow through travel stipends (food, lodging, airfare) in support of activities/events that cross‐promote the individual’s scholarly or practitioner agenda with relevant programs of the University.
  • Offer marketing support for cross‐promotional programs to the larger community to encourage attendance and participation in key events.

Should you be interested in nominating an individual or individuals, please download, complete and send the nomination form located here to Ms. LaTanya Hicks at


I have had some significant time to think about a great deal with respect to our wonderful university - Saybrook University. As a non-profit, private, regionally accredited institution conceived in 1964 and officially launched in the mid-1970s, the original idea put forward by established scholars like Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, and Charlotte Buehler was to reimagine higher education, focusing on creating a new means of accessing graduate study, particularly in the field of psychology. This entailed at-a-distance graduate work with luminaries in the field. And for well over 45+ years, SU has been making good on that original concept and expanding across several disciplines. 

Heading into the next few years, our University is setting out on an ambitious strategic plan, which as of late has caused me to reflect on a few of key questions: Why Saybrook University? Essentially, why do students, faculty, and staff come to this institution? Moreover, what is it that we do that is making a difference? And, ultimately, how do we continue to provide excellent graduate education in a day and age where competition is fierce, when institutions of similar size are struggling and in some cases collapsing? 

Mission comes first. Saybrook's mission is what draws faculty, students and staff in the first place. The focus on rigorous graduate education steeped in humanistic philosophy and practice with the goal of spurring positive social change speaks to our intellectual leanings and pulls our heartstrings. And while mission is vital, it is essentially the idea of what we hope to accomplish. In the end, students come to graduate school to immerse themselves in deep study with scholars who have established themselves in their particular field of interest. Additionally, our students embrace the fact that our faculty eschew the Ivory Tower stereotype plaguing much of higher education today. In short, many are practicing their scholarship, making substantial contributions in their disciplines, their clinical and consulting practices, their organizations, and their communities.

Our Academic Programs - Humanistic Scholar-Practitioners: When considering the question of why, I think of our various programs, including Mind-Body Medicine, Integrative and Functional NutritionHumanistic and Clinical Psychology, Counseling, Leadership and Management, and Transformative Social Change. Each program embraces our humanistic legacy, weaving in the importance of understanding the individual, her unique strengths and challenges, her role within the greater community and society, and helping her to actualize her full potential.

In The Field, Promoting and Making Change: Real life examples of Saybrook faculty, students and alums abound. Consider Anthony in San Francisco who is putting his education to work supporting, among several important causes, homeless men with HIV; or Ginger Charles, a retired police officer and alum who is working with police departments to help change how they interact with their communities, thus improving morale and reducing police-citizen violence;  or alum Brigadier General (ret.), Dr. Kaffia Jones who is dedicating her next career phase to helping veterans with PTSD; or Dan Leahy and Jeff McAuliffe who are helping transform organizations like SoundTransit; or our student interns working with Girls, Inc., in Oakland by supporting and helping young women and men actualize their full human potential; or Dr. Theopia Jackson who is creating community healing networks in concert with Association of Black Psychologists; or the work of College of Social Sciences Dean Kent Becker and his Photovoice project offering individuals from marginalized communities opportunities to share their stories. The list goes on.

Our students and faculty, as evidenced above, are people making a difference locally and globally. Ultimately, those of us here or who are coming to Saybrook University want to make that difference, because we believe in the power of taking what we learn, applying it, and changing lives for the better. The power of what we are working to achieve now will definitely enable us to accomplish and expand Saybrook's mission well into the future. 

The Student Experience. Moving into the next few years, our next priority is to continuously enhance the student experience. In addition to excellent faculty, our online and residential learning environments must reflect 21st Century best practices and innovate beyond the "what is". My numerous conversations with students point to a pervasive theme: students expect connectivity and meaning. Online learning around the country has become unnecessarily disembodied, with few exceptions. Finding new ways to expand the human-virtual experience that promotes academic engagement as well as close-knit bonds will be how Saybrook defines itself. 

For me, all of the above answers the "why" and "how" of Saybrook University. Together, we are making a difference each and every day, locally and around the globe.


Inaugural Posting: Welcome!

Dear Visitor, 


As I write this inaugural blog posting for my new personal-professional website, I am heading into the second week of time off. In addition to spending much-needed quality family time and absorbing what has turned out to be a unique election cycle (to put it mildly), my main goal was to complete a long-standing to-do list item: create a website and associated blog. I am glad you're here! 

The website will largely provide visitors like yourself insight into my general professional background, the blog will give you deeper glimpse into who I am as an individual. This section will be devoted to several areas of interest of mine including higher education, leadership, academia, and my own academic areas of interest (history and sociology of education as well as peace and urban education). 

One of my other core objectives with this blog is to promote Saybrook University, my professional home. As the institution's president and loyal advocate, I will spend time discussing what I hope you will find to be relevant topics ranging from integrative health, to Humanistic and Clinical Psychology, to counseling, to leadership and management, to transformative social change, including social impact media and peace and justice issues. 

I look forward to having you join me in this virtual world and hope to make many good friends along the way. 


Nathan Long, President
Saybrook University