Dispatch 13: Coming to the August 2017 Saybrook RC - In the Spirit of the Griots

A student-driven, community-inclusive event, this looks to be an exciting series of opportunities for fellowship and dialog, embracing the vitality and importance of African-centered psychology. 

Dates are August 27 (7:30 PM) and 28 (8:30 AM and 1 PM) during the Residential Conference.  

Please see the flyer below for additional details. 


Dispatch 12: A Statement from APA Division 32

I am posting the following statement with permission from Dr. Donna Rockwell, Division 32 President and on faculty with Saybrook University. This statement can also be found at Huffington Post by going to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5993bf08e4b0afd94eb3f60

I would like to particularly call out the call to action found within the document, which is applicable to psychologists and other disciplines:

"As psychologists, we can similarly fight silence by becoming active voices on radio, television, the internet, local and national newspapers, blogs, website postings, and all the other platforms that exist for us, speaking and posting against bigotry and fear, spreading instead the words of inclusiveness, of love, of a radical “one love” for all others and for ourselves, that says a large “no” to hate, so large that love itself is felt as a backlash. We can withstand it, I know."

More to come.

In the meantime, let us stand together as a community against hate and as Dr. Rockwell notes let us begin "...spreading instead the words (and actions) of inclusiveness, of love, of a radical "one love" for all others and for ourselves, that says a large "no" to hate..."



It is not hate that kills, as much as it is silence. That is why Division 32 of the American Psychological Association is encouraging all caring parties to likewise give voice to the values that stand for our very humanity, as Humanistic Psychology emphasizes. In response to hate speech and violence in Charlottesville, it is clear that the White House was unable to display spontaneous benevolent leadership and awareness of the role a president plays during national crises, stepping up in critical moments to set an ethical bar as well as legal ones. Yet, we needn’t be surprised by this lag in conscience, a lack of emotional intelligence or well thought out advance planning born of a self-reflective exploration, because there is nothing on which to base such an expectation. 

In the context of mindful approaches to psychotherapy, every moment of life conditions the moment that comes after it, or said another way, every moment is conditioned by the one that came before it, by the one that preceded it. We must act thoughtfully, mindfully, and compassionately because cause and effect are interdependent. Reactions are spontaneous, empathy and leadership organically arise to meet the moment, producing human, and humane, responses. Thus, what we saw in Charlottesville was the result of all the many, many moments that caused it, that came before, that preceded it.

Much of the country wept on Saturday, after Friday night’s nightmarish torch-bearing foreshadowing of the next day’s flashbacks of racism, covered faces, hiding, and hatred. Many of us deeply inhaled on Friday night and found ourselves breathless, and remain so even today. The solution doesn’t only lie where we already know there is a massive and huge problem, but in the danger of propagating a resigned silence. This ennui engulfs a person or group of persons in a vacuum of hopelessness. So hope rests fully in saying no to silence.

Heather Heyer was martyred in Charlottesville as a result of racism. Her mother, Susan Bro described her daughter’s caring way: “It was important to her to speak up for people she felt were not being heard, to speak up when injustices were happening.”

As psychologists, we can similarly fight silence by becoming active voices on radio, television, the internet, local and national newspapers, blogs, website postings, and all the other platforms that exist for us, speaking and posting against bigotry and fear, spreading instead the words of inclusiveness, of love, of a radical “one love” for all others and for ourselves, that says a large “no” to hate, so large that love itself is felt as a backlash. We can withstand it, I know.

We need only continue the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who will always be the arbiter of peaceful non-violence, a politics of love. Perhaps there is an intersection where politics and love can find a synchronicity in our time, modeling Dr. King’s dignity, civility, Godliness, and love, patience, compassion, humanism, wisdom, and grace. We can emulate this stance dedicated to Dr. King’s vision of Beloved Community.

As Humanists, and simply as humans, we should not only speak out concerning what we are against, but what we are for: empathic regard, understanding of others’ suffering and pain, self-affiliation as a genuine love for oneself, and as philosopher Martin Buber described it, an I-Thou presence with other beings, that underlies a necessary trust.

The Society for Humanistic Psychology speaks out at this time, joining with other APA divisions and all those who are broken-hearted as a result of the domestic terrorism and unrestrained racism and “other-making” we’ve witnessed that starkly reminds us of a human capacity we’d be best served to acknowledge as “shadow” and then work against, re-affirming a commitment to stand up and be heard on issues of social justice and equality.

We are within our professional code to declare that this White House differs in ways that may give rise to a crassness that has its own economics, a trickle-down that apparently finds people emboldened to march in the name of their own crassness, and more. As we find America at this crossroads in the summer of 2017, we are called upon to cool the heat that we feel in our political system by banding together in the name of love, a sober, cooling love. This upheaval is an important opportunity to advocate for the America we want to see.

At this critical juncture, Division 32 issues A Call to Action for psychologists to engage proactively with media platforms, and through clinical practice, community intervention, and policymaking to promote Humanistic values of compassionate inclusion, multicultural innovation, empathic regard, self-responsibility and love, in an effort to negate racial and cultural disparities, and make real the vision of flourishing, optimally functioning beloved communities.

Donna Rockwell, PsyD
President, Society for Humanistic Psychology, Division 32, American Psychological Association
On behalf of the Board of Division 32

Dispatch 11: Dissertation with Distinction Award Winners

We are proud to announce our 2017 Dissertation with Distinction award winners from the College of Social Sciences. Congratulations to each of you and I hope to see you at our commencement ceremony next week! 

Clinical Psychology: Carmen Hall
Chair: Bonnie Settlage
Dissertation: Beyond Physical Inclusion: Teaching Skills in The Community to Enhance Social Inclusion


Human Science: Katherine Rosemond
Chair: Bob McAndrews
Dissertation: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Public Safety Workers:  Cultural Aspects and Implications for Effective Treatment


Organizational Systems: William Toth
Chair: Gary Metcalf
Dissertation: Complex Socio-Technical System Disasters, Crises, Crimes, and Tragedies: A Study of Cause from a Systemic Wholeness


Psychology-Clinical Psychology: Sonasha Braxton
Chair: Theopia Jackson
Dissertation: Reawakening Sekhmet: The Experience of African American Women Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse With Kemetic Yoga Practice  


Psychology-Creativity Studies: Gina Smith
Chair: Ruth Richards
Dissertation: Up, Down, Out; An Autoethnography Of Parental Alcoholism and Resilience


Psychology-EHTP: Carrie Pate
Chair: Louis Hoffman
Dissertation: A Narrative Inquiry of The Impact of Existential and Creative Processes In The Development of Posttraumatic Growth


Psychology-Applied Psychophysiology: Shawn Criswell
Co-Chairs: Stanley Krippner & Richard Sherman
Dissertation: Brief Trauma (Past)-Focused, Protocol-Guided Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Non-Combat Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Adults in An Outpatient Setting.


Psychology-TSC: Annie Jacobs Corbett
Chair: Theopia Jackson
Dissertation: The Voices of Survivors: An Exploration of The Contributing Factors That Assisted with Exiting From Commercial Sexual Exploitation In Childhood


Psychology-No Specialization: Odell Johnson
Chair: Theopia Jackson
Dissertation: The Lived Experiences of African American Males Who Enter Reentry or Rehabilitation Programs After Incarceration: Culturally-Informed Lessons Learned

Dispatch 10: Dr. Theopia Jackson, Honoree and Next President of Association of Black Psychology (2019)


We are pleased to announce that Saybrook University Department Chair of Clinical Psychology, Dr. Theopia Jackson, was recently recognized by the Association of Black Psychology (ABPsi). In recognition of her dedication and steadfast commitment to ABPsi, Theopia was honored with the 2017 ABPsi Service Award at the 49th Association of Black Psychology (ABPsi), Inc. convention that was held in Houston, Texas in July.


Theopia was particularly honored to receive this honor as her children (Jhia and Jaylen) were in attendance as were several Saybrook students.

In addition, Theopia was elected 2017-2019 President Elect for ABPsi, assuming the presidency in 2019. As some may know, Saybook has been a proud sponsor of ABPsi and we look forward to continuing our support of this fine organization.

As we look toward 2018, the 2018 ABPsi National Convention will be in Oakland which offers us another excellent opportunity to partner with this wonderful organization.

ABPsi Mission Statement

The Association of Black Psychologists sees its mission and destiny as the liberation of the African Mind, empowerment of the African Character, and enlivenment and illumination of the African Spirit.

To learn more about ABPsi visit http://www.abpsi.org/ .

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Theopia Jackson.

Dispatch 9: Dr. Ginger Charles Appointed as Director of Business Development and Operations

It is my distinct pleasure to announce that effective September 3, 2017, Dr. Ginger Charles will be joining the administration of Saybrook University as our new Director of Business Development and Operations. This unique role marries several areas for which GInger will be responsible including finance, operations (Human Resources & payroll will report up to Ginger as well), business development, project management, and cultivating community relations. Furthermore, Ginger will be our designated institutional Chief Financial Officer, working closely with faculty, staff, administration, and our System colleagues, including our System CFO, Mr. Mehul Patel.

Dr. Charles brings to the role 27+ years of experience as a police officer and sergeant as well as several years as an academician, focusing on psychology (specifically spirituality and policing). During her time on the police force, she successfully managed departments, staff, and budgets. As an alumnus of the university, Ginger has gained significant traction with her work on policing and spirituality, serving as a critical voice on policing-community issues.  

On a personal note, Dr. Charles brings an energy to our team that will further enhance the work we're doing to support Saybrook's long-term health and vitality. Her integrity, sincerity, and dedication to a job well done make her an outstanding fit for our institution. 

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Charles! 

Dispatch 8: Student Leadership Council's First Annual Saybrook Talent Show!


From the Student Leadership Council...

Saybrook U's Student Leadership Council (SLC) is super jazzed to announce we’ll be having an OPEN MIC – SHARE YOUR TALENT night at the upcoming August RC! We’re scouring the Saybrook Community for talented singers, dancers, jugglers, origamists, comedians, musicians, thumb twiddlers, poets, and baton twirlers to entertain and delight the rest of us.*

If you’re interested in performing on Tuesday evening, August 29 (7:30pm – 10pmth ), we’d love to hear from you! Please reply to Michael (mperazzetti at saybrook dot edu) with the following information to confirm an available time slot:

A. First and last name
B. Type of performance
C. Approximate length of performance (we ask that you don’t exceed 8 minutes)
D. Stage name
E. Why you’re choosing to perform this particular talent for the Saybrook Community

*Your amazing talent does not need to fall within one of the above listed skillsets, so please feel free to blow our minds with anything and everything.

Not so interested in gracing the stage with your hidden talents, but still love the spotlight? Let us know if you’d like to HOST because we’re looking for one or two masters of the mic to keep the show flowing!

Also, if you’re local/driving to Monterrey and wouldn’t mind letting our frequent flying Saybrookers borrow that guitar (or violin or accordion) you keep stashed in your trunk, let Michael know. I’m sure any last minute musical additions would very much appreciate having an instrument to borrow.

 The Student Leadership Council is a student-led, student-focused organization committed to advocacy efforts at the University. If you’re interested in learning more about who we are and what we do or you’re already convinced you want everything do with SLC, please reach out at StudentVoice@saybrook.edu. We’re always looking for feedback and fresh ideas so don’t hesitate to join us in making Saybrook a better educational community!

Dispatch 7: Dr. Ginger Charles Featured on MPR

Dr. Ginger Charles, Policing and Spirituality

Dr. Ginger Charles, Policing and Spirituality

Once again, Dr. Ginger Charles - Saybrook Presidential Fellow, SU Alumnus, and good friend - is featured on MPR. The program description is as follows:

 "MPR's Kerri Miller hosts a special program with listener calls about the recent police shootings.

Her guests included MPR reporter Brandt Williams, Minneapolis City Council member Linea Palmisano, former Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation and a former police chief, and Ginger Charles, a former police officer and now executive director of the Institute for Spirituality and Policing."

To hear the interview, go to https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/07/24/special-on-police-shootings

Dispatch 6: Twenty Years


21 years ago, I had just graduated from UK with a music performance degree in hand. Graduate school at the conservatory loomed large and for the first summer in several years, I had nothing planned except riveting work at the local Dairy Mart. Earlier that Spring while home on spring break, I remember seeing an advertisement (perhaps it was an ad in the Lima News or a flyer at the theatre) for music directing Encore Theatre's production of "Crazy for You". Full of hubris, I threw my hat in the ring for the position, somehow landing the job right in time for summer. I remember studying the score in between serving Slushees...two worlds colliding for sure.

Who knew what was next? La Scala? The Met? Broadway? Most of you know how that turned out...and yes, I am jesting. 

Auditions began in earnest, with what seemed to be the entire population of Lima, OH, trying out for a part given that the line stretched throughout the building (that's an exaggeration of course, but you get the idea). As we moved to the group of women who were auditioning, one stood out for her fierce talent. Kim Schroeder had that extra something about her - an authentic talent that went beyond typical. She didn't just sing a piece of music, she dug into its guts and extracted the meaning and emotion out of it. For me she had the technical and musical gift that so many in the music and theatre sectors lacked, especially when it came to the artistry and real-ness.

In my mind, I was scrambling to answer the question "who IS this person?" She wasn't a Limaite. She had just come back from NYC after an internship and stint in cabaret. But she was local. We then noted she was from Columbus Grove but as long as I had lived in Lima, I had never been there...Grove may as well have been Mars. Yes, I had heard of the place, but never set foot in the city limits.

Needless to say, she stood out from the rest. Karen Longbrake, the director, and I, cast her as Polly and from that point forward, the summer would turn into one that would change both of our lives.

By July, we realized we had feelings for each other and soon things, well, escalated. Review of china patterns at Lazarus, bad dinners but great conversations at Chi Chi's restaurant (the chips and salsa were pretty tasty, though), incredibly long talks into the night over the phone and in the green room of the theatre: soon it became clear I was falling in love. I had found someone who knew what I was about, who got me. I had been in a long-term relationship prior, but we never really got each other. Kim was different.

There's a lot of details in between but what matters here is that one year later - 20 years ago - we made the plunge and got married, a marriage grounded in deep friendship - a year after meeting that fateful summer in a theatre, in a small town in Ohio.

Our lives have evolved significantly since then. Several moves, several career changes for both of us, major changes to our spiritual and philosophical moorings, and two beautiful, wonderful children later we have a lot to look back on with gratitude. Our families have supported us in thick-and-thin, through the years for which I know we're deeply appreciative.

Yet, it's not the number of actual years to me that count. So often, it seems that people celebrating anniversaries get stuck on "the count". "We made it." "We stuck it through". Perhaps there is some value to such thinking. Indeed, in some cases, making it through is an accomplishment.

For me, however, it's the growth, the learning, the evolution of who I am because of this fine woman. A great artist, a smart human being (as bright as any academic I know, and if you don't believe me, read her stuff or talk to her), kind, compassionate, and sensitive in the best sense. She has been an inspiration, a fine editor of my writing, a confidante. I have always been able to count on her to be there during the hardest days of my career thus far, providing counsel, listening to my ramblings, helping me decipher the psychology of leading groups and individuals, urging me to keep on keeping on. You really can't get any better than that in a partner. And, she made sacrifices for us and for my career that I will forever appreciate. 

Yes, like most marriages, our marriage has been one of ups and downs, and with each I firmly believe we've become stronger, better people. Through each other and our children, we've had some amazing experiences; as well we have weathered some harrowing times in which I and we have taken some odd turns.

And now it's year 20.

In year 20, we are on the precipice of sending our first child to college, a young woman with an incredible head on her shoulders, no doubt influenced by her mother and also who is very much her own person (a result, I believe, of Kim's insistence that we raise our children as free thinkers). We also have a tremendous son whose empathy, love, and good-naturedness comes from a similar place of caring and compassion, attributes Kim has fostered through the years.

In year 20, I am looking ahead now with an eye towards how we are each growing in our careers. Where my career goes is unknown and for the first time in a long time, I am okay with that ambiguity. What I do know is that our partnership is allowing us to set a course that makes more room for that ambiguity and more importantly for Kim's blossoming career as a first-rate actress. Her determination is incredible, especially as she takes on an industry that is pre-disposed to youth over experience; Disneyfication over authentic representation. If any one person can do it, it's Kim. And while one can say a career isn't THE thing or the ONLY thing, it is in part what provide us purpose, what can enable us to fulfill another vital part of ourselves. For this, I am immensely proud to be at her side as she immerses herself in the work, building what I believe will be a formidable career in the arts.

In year 20, I am looking forward to years of exploring the world together. We both have a yearning to see what's out there, to see and meet new people from different cultures and backgrounds. What better way to do see the world than with one's best friend?

In year 20, I am looking forward to recommitting for another twenty years, to raising each other up, to making good not just on vows but promising to keep raising the other up, to best version of our selves as possible.

In the end, it really isn't about the number. It truly is about the quality of the person, the depth of the relationship, and the opportunity to become the individuals we want to become as one couple. I have that in Ms. Kimberly Schroeder-Long.

I love you, Kim, and thank you for being the partner I have always needed and wanted. Here is to us today, tomorrow, and for the long-term.

Happy anniversary.

Dispatch 5: Free Webinar Featuring Our System's Own Dr. Charlita Shelton!

"On August 8th the College Acceleration Summit will feature over 20 world class education experts who will share insights, strategies, and tactics to give you a clear plan to advance your career. Get over 10 hours of insights. Win one of three $500 scholarships. Attend from anywhere with an internet connection!" For more information, please visit https://collegeaccelerationsummit.com/

I am excited to help support this exciting event and presentation of which Dr. Shelton is a part. Charlita is currently serving as Executive Director of the Dallas Nursing Institute (part of The Community Solution Education System) and former president of University of the Rockies. 

Dr. Shelton's planned presentation at the College Acceleration Summit on August 8, 2017.

Dispatch 4: Leadership Eastside and Saybrook Seal Partnership

Sign of Things to Come: LE Moves to Bellevue 
From James Whitfield, President and CEO
Leadership Eastside

With deference to the historical reference, there are at least three things we can count on: death, taxes, and partners helping make great changes with LE.

As of today, the "global HQ" for Leadership Eastside migrates from the warm embrace of our non-profit colleagues at the Together Center in Redmond to the hustle and bustle of the Eastside's largest business district. In addition to making LE more centrally located as staff, volunteers, and program participation continue to grow, the location reinforces the power of LE's new academic partnership with Saybrook University.  

Saybrook is hosting LE at their campus located in Bellevue Corporate Plaza as a demonstration of their commitment to the wellbeing of our community. A more formal announcement of the further fruits of that relationship will follow soon.

In the meantime, we must turn our thanks to the good people at Symetra.  As one of LE's longest partners, it is with pride and admiration that the LE Board of Directors extends its great appreciation to Symetra for underwriting the cost of LE's relocation.

Our new physical address is
600 108th AVE NE Suite 230, Room 204
Bellevue WA, 98004

This is just the next step along the journey to bigger and brighter things for our community's greater good. 

Join us in celebrating our partners and a sign of things to come.

Dispatch 2: Saybrook U Origin Story, Part 1

Recently, our marketing team put together an incredible digital magazine titled UNBOUND, which went live a couple of weeks ago. I was honored to be able to contribute to this first edition, writing about the origins of Saybrook University. For purposes of my blog here, I thought I would re-post the content of my article in short segments, with links back to the main article.

Special thanks to our marketing team, Dr. Bob Flax for framing the origin story in the way he did (Saybrook is the child of three revolutions), and Dr. Carol Humphreys for her expert editorial assistance. 

For the full article, go to https://www.saybrook.edu/unbound/fourth-revolution/

I hope you enjoy it!


Origin Story, Part 1

Over the course of several decades, the legend of a humanistic psychology institute, turned graduate research center, turned university, is a plot rich with interesting characters and various twists and turns.

What began as a small group of academic rebels seeking to change the face of higher education has now morphed into a small university finding its way once again in a sea of political and academic change. One thing has remained constant though—the university’s administration, faculty, staff, and students are intent on adhering to Saybrook University’s founding mission of promoting a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

Saybrook’s rebellious, progressive lineage is a product of the countercultural movement of the 1960s and is a child of three major revolutions—in psychology, research, and education (1).

I contend that we are now on the verge of a fourth revolution—eclipsing the classroom to bring Saybrook’s humanistic ideals and methods of teaching and learning forward in ways that will not only fundamentally transform the lives of our students, but also the clients they serve, the organizations of which they are a part, and the communities in which they live.

In this sense, we are UNBOUND.

A child of the psychology revolution

In the mid-1960s, a meeting was held in Old Saybrook, Connecticut with several notable psychologists in attendance (Eleanor Criswell, Rollo May, Clark Moustakas, Carl Rogers, and Charlotte Buehler among them). They shared ideas about the importance of consciousness, motivation, the client as the expert, human choice, and self-actualization. They proffered the idea that a new school or institute could be developed that focused on educating psychology practitioner-scholars about these principles, which came to be known as “humanistic psychology” (2).

These thought leaders envisioned a path forward that would challenge the existing psychology establishment, which tended to revolve around B.F. Skinner’s basic psychology as a core science (behavioral), and Freud’s psychodynamic approach concentrating specifically on human beings.

The Humanistic Psychology Institute (HPI) was thus conceived. Initially housed at Sonoma State University, the Institute’s first director, Dr. Eleanor Criswell, helped institutionalize and bring to life the vision of her notable colleagues. In 1971, HPI began to educate students that this third way, or force, was needed in the advancement of psychology to more deeply understand what it means to be human and to improve the human condition.

Humanistic Psychology and the Institute, which began promoting its principles through scholarship and practice, ultimately embodied several main concepts, including:  

  1. Human existence is central to understanding the human condition: The vast nature of everyone’s full human experience is related to each person’s unique purposes and functions. Everyone, therefore, has human choice and agency in their own path to fulfilling their potential, drawing on their truly distinctive existence.
  2. Our commonality is that of possessing unique traits: Human beings are—as far as we know—unique in our capacity for self-awareness and to establish in-depth relationships. Those who embrace humanistic approaches leverage these unique traits to live an optimal life.
  3. Human beings are best studied in our natural context: While studying behavior in the laboratory can be useful to control for certain variables, understanding human psychology in natural contexts helps us better understand the fullness of the human experience. The humanistic practitioner will often use research and therapeutic techniques that are real-world. Furthermore, qualitative research is often used and may include phenomenology or exploring the human experience. The point of view of the subject is honored and articulated.
  4. Human beings must be viewed in the fullness or wholeness of our humanity: A person’s full humanity cannot be reduced to an illness, a relationship, or a set of behaviors in exclusion of everything else that makes one human. Humanistic-oriented practitioners recognize a person is more than just a combination of interrelated parts; she is a complex organism with significant potential. If a diagnosis is provided, it privileges the voice of the client.

For the full article, go to www.saybrook.edu/unbound

Dispatch 1: Back in the Blog Writing Saddle

July Fourth is soon upon us, giving many in our community the chance for a bit of rest, reflection, and rejuvenation. Taking time to just "be" without the pressures of a deadline is essential. Along with tending to personal items (that oil change and dental appointment I finally scheduled!), I am also taking time this July to prepare for the coming year, including a full review of my approach to personal-professional writing and social media presence. 

Clearly, it has been awhile since my last blog posting, the last of which I was discussing my trip to Berlin with the wonderful faculty and students from Saybrook University and across TCS Education System. I realized after reading these various blog entries, that this is the format I love most. Whether it's long- or short-form writing, photography, or just the quick status update, this blog is my online home allowing me to  journal my experiences as a husband, father, citizen, and university president. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Onward! 

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 d.school 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 – LeadershipDisrupted.com – 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 http://www.ahmadmansur.com

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: www.anvfarm.org and www.farmvetco.org

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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S5YPF8F  

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!