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GSLC Dissertations : New and Featured

J. Love Benton, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2020

Culturally Collaborative Teaching: A Path Toward Black Student Learning



From the abstract: 

Inservice teachers’ influence and power are vital components for academic success among Black children. Previous research has shown that when teacher/student interactions are culturally responsive, engaging, and equitable, student learning is positively impacted (Banks, 2001; Gay, 2010; Ladson-Billings, 2011; Sleeter, 2000; Warren, 2018). However, equity gaps between Black and White k-12 students continue to exist within classroom settings (Grant & Sleeter, 2012; Ladson-Billings, 2018). Using a mixed-method approach that includes Repertory Grid Technique underpinned by Personal Construct theory to identify the teaching perceptions of inservice teachers, I gathered data that indicate how k-12 teachers understand what enables Black students to learn. The findings reveal that respondents shared five key constructs as being important to Black students’ learning: “professional and skills development,” “impacts of administrative responsiveness and supports,” “caring,” “trust,” and “inclusion of lived experiences.” However, what is important to note is that my study indicates that neither Black nor White teachers held the entire picture of what enables Black students to learn. By integrating the results of both Black and White teachers’ responses, I theorize a framework which represents a path for Black student learning. I call this framework Culturally Collaborative Teaching, which takes into account both Black and White teachers’ understandings of what the critical factors are when educating Black students. Culturally Collaborative teaching is a framework in which teachers, regardless of their race and cultural background, can integrate and develop a shared set of skills and values. The inclusion of administrator support and understanding of cultural practices, serves as the foundation for positively impacting academic learning for Black students.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. J. Love Benton is a current Adjunct Instructor at Columbus State Community College and a high school English Teacher. Her background is unique, in that it intersects with several disciplines that include: education; diversity, equity, and inclusion; curriculum development; teaching and learning; nonprofit sector; sexual assault and domestic violence; trauma informed care; and LGBTQ+ communities. In addition to earning a B.S. in Agriculture Communication from The Ohio State University; a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Ashland University; and an MA in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, Dr. Benton is a widely traveled scholar practitioner whose research, professional development training, and keynote addresses have taken her throughout the Continental U.S. Dr. Benton’s current research focus spans race, education, and equity. Her PhD thesis explores how in-service teachers construct what constitutes teacher effectiveness and their beliefs about what enables Black students to learn.

Read more about Dr. J. Love Benton and download this dissertation at

Ann R. Flynn, Ph.D.  [C 10]  2020

Positionality of Paraeducators: A Phenomenological Study in a Public School District in the Pacific Northwest



From the abstract: 

Paraeducators play an important role in the classroom supporting students and certificated teachers. However, literature on the actual roles of paraeducators has revealed that paraeducators are rarely included in the teaching team (Patterson, 2006). Paraeducators are frequently asked to perform difficult or unpleasant jobs and may not be recognized as important professionals who support the educational system (Giangreco, Suter, & Doyle, 2010; Lucero, 2010). Surveys and interviews have shown that paraeducators view themselves differently from how coworkers view them (Chopra, Sandoval-Lucero, Aragon, Bernal, De Balderas, & Carroll, 2004; Patterson, 2006). The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain a deeper understanding of the positionality and lived experiences of K-5 paraeducators from an urban school district in the Pacific Northwest. This research focused on exploring the positionality, agentic, and systemic influences on paraeducators. Qualitative data were drawn from 12 participants, using demographic checklists, 21 interviews, and the researcher journal. First, a pilot study was conducted with three paraeducators; this flowed seamlessly into the expanded study. A researcher journal documented affective elements of interactive data collection and bracketed the researcher’s potential biases. Data were transcribed and analyzed using thematic coding and constant comparison, viewed through a general lens and a critical theory lens. Key themes, supported by the critical narrative data from the dialogs with paraeducators, are reported. Then, using the lens of critical theory, supported by educational and leadership perspectives, I discuss the potential impact of the conclusions on paraeducators’ positionality and practice in the U.S. K-5 public school system, with the possibility of transformation.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Ann R. Flynn for the past 24 years, has been an advocate for the underserved populations of students, staff, and teaching professionals in the U.S. Public School system, including immigrants, refugees, homeless, and other special need students and their families. Ann is a professional certificated teacher with endorsements in Special Education, Early Childhood Education, and Reading. She began her career at the Tone School for the Homeless in Tacoma, Washington, before going on to serve as a Program Specialist for the Head Start Program. Her experience provided her with the impetus to pursue the opportunities to explore advanced teaching and leadership opportunities. Ann has continued to live her mindsets of growth and life-long learning by earning her Master of Arts degree in Education, and her professional credentials to serve as an administrator and principal in the U.S. Public schools. This publication submitted to public access research marks her successful culmination of her doctorate in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, as well as her continued dedication to sharing information so that all might succeed. Most importantly, through her research, presentations, publications, and mentoring, Dr. Flynn is dedicated to making sure that the voices of those who have never been heard become heard. While urban public school paraeducators are her current focus, no-one is exempt from Dr. Ann’s compassion and support. Ann R Flynn, PhD, is bi-cultural of Latvian descent, a dedicated family member, and community member. She always recognizes the role of family and community in contributing to her continued advocacy and success.

Read more about Dr. Ann R. Flynn and download this dissertation at

Jody Levison-Johnson, Ph.D.  [Healthcare C 1]  2020

The Experience of Children's Mental Health Leaders During Times of Constraint: A Narrative Study



From the abstract: 

Across the United States, each state has a public mental health system that is designed to support children and youth with emotional and behavioral challenges. This is critically important as recent estimates show that one in six children in the United States has a diagnosed mental health condition (Whitney & Peterson, 2019). The design and structure of these systems vary by state, but consistent across them is the presence of a state-designated leader who is faced with an array of constraining factors that influence their behavior and shape the resulting system. This study describes the experience of leaders in children’s mental health administration and how they define, interpret, and perceive their current environments; the constraining factors that impact them, such as decline, instability, risk, politics, policy, and random events; and the strategies they engage in to achieve their goals. Using narrative inquiry, this study captures the experiences of ten leaders engaged in state-level children’s mental health system reform. These stories paint a rich picture of the complexity of leading change in public sector environments where there is dynamic interplay across people, politics, and policy and offer new insights into effecting change in complex systems.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Jody Levison-Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker with nearly 30 years of experience in the field of human services. She currently serves as the President and CEO of the Council on Accreditation, an international nonprofit accrediting body for human and social service organizations and public sector systems. Jody is a longstanding champion for systems change that results in the ability for individuals and communities to thrive. She is deeply committed to advancing policy that ensures equitable access to quality services and supports for children, youth, and families. Prior to joining COA, Jody served as the Assistant Vice President of Practice Improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health, where she oversaw the organization’s consulting portfolio and a large, privately funded adolescent mental health initiative. She has also served as the Chief Clinical Officer for a multi-state children's care management organization, as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health, and as the Vice President of Coordinated Care Services, Inc. (CCSI), a non-profit management and consulting services organization where was responsible for all of CCSI's service quality, system development, and evaluation activities including oversight of the county administered children’s mental health system. Her experiences leading system reform efforts across the country served as the foundation for her interest in understanding the environmental contexts that surround deep change in public systems. Jody holds a Master of Social Work degree from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts and PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

Read more about Dr. Jody Levison-Johnson and download this dissertation at

Yolandé Aileen Ifalami Devoe, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2020

In Pictures and Words: A Womanist Answer to Addressing the Lived Experience of African American Women and Their Bodies—A Gumbo of Liberation and Healing



From the abstract: 

Whether it is claiming a radical self-love for one’s body or dissatisfaction of one’s body, the experiences of African American women and their bodies cannot be divergent from the sociocultural contexts in which they live. Seeking to reveal how gender, race, and sexual orientation impact the lived experiences of African American women and their bodies, this study will bring attention to and provide a more nuanced understanding of the historical and sociocultural ramifications of the Black female body. Historically, inadequate attention has been given to an intersectional approach to understanding the experiences of the Black female body. It is understood that Black women are a marginalized population. This marginalization is rooted in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class. What influence do these interlocking oppressive forces have on the way African American women live and view their bodies? Utilizing a participatory research model, participants chronicled their experiences with their bodies in pictures and words through interviews, narratives, and photographs. Addressing body image from an intersectional approach, this research adds to existing literature and gives womanist breadth and depth to this discussion of body experience framed within the sociocultural context. The women, “sisters,” in this study shared stories of liberation, healing and resistance challenging assumptions of Black womanhood.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Yolandé “Falami” Devoe is a womanist scholar, arts- based educator with interdisciplinary interests at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnography, and pedagogy. She is passionate about the voices of Black women and how critical these voices are in creating new narratives and sustainable practices of healing, liberation and well-being. As an activist, scholar, practitioner, Dr. Falami integrates mindfulness, art, poetry, storytelling and photography in her courses and presentations. A certified Holistic Wellness coach, Dr. Falami considers herself a Body Liberation Coach. She creates and curates spaces for Black women to express themselves authentically and to help make meaning of their lived experiences of their bodies. Dr. Falami has presented at the National Women Studies Conference, National Council of Black Studies bringing attention to the Photovoice methodology as an affirming and culturally relevant methodological approach that fosters a legacy of stories and experiences via pictures and words for marginalized communities.She received her PhD from the Graduate School of Leadership and Change from Antioch University and her M.A. in Leadership and Change and M.A. in Educational Leadership from Antioch University and a B.A. from Hampton University. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Read more about Dr. Yolandé Aileen Ifalami Devoe and download this dissertation at

Nicola Smith-Kea, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2020

Saving a Seat for a Sister: A Grounded Theory Approach Exploring the Journey of Women Reaching Top Policing Executive Positions




From the abstract: 

The world of women in law enforcement is a thought-provoking one that has received increasing attention both in academia as well as in practice over the past few decades. Even more intriguing, and despite advances in the profession, is the low number of women in executive leadership positions in law enforcement. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the complex journey of women to top executive policing leadership positions. Embracing a positive psychology approach, the study used grounded theory in combination with situational analysis to answer one overarching question: What have been the experiences of women leaders in policing as they have progressed in the profession to executive rank? The study offers a theoretical model—A Web of Intersections—as a framework for understanding the complex journey of women, and the social processes and multiple intersections they have learned to navigate that can in combination, help them to advance to top executive policing leadership positions. The women in this study are agentic and not simply following the lead. They are active, deliberate, and intentional participants in their own journeys, making critical and strategic decisions that can gain entry to policy decision-making that can result in sustainable change.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Nicola “Nikki” Smith-Kea considers herself a change agent, with a deep passion for gender equity and equality. She has deep knowledge and expertise at the intersection of law enforcement, mental health, substance use disorders, and homelessness; helping jurisdictions improve their responses to people in crises. She has also focused on recruitment, retention and inclusion of women in law enforcement, with expertise in female professional advancement to executive leadership positions in law enforcement. She explores strategies that improve outcomes that drive transformative solutions and policy change, cultivates trust between communities and police, and partners with organizations who are working to decrease the devastating costs of violence to ultimately save lives. She is committed to the mission of helping to advance police effectiveness and increase positive encounters between police and the community. Nicola is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Montgomery County, Maryland. As a CASA, she is a trained volunteer appointed by the Juvenile Court to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. Nicola holds a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She received an M.A. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University and an M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has also received an M.S. in Sociology and a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

Read more about Dr. Nicola Smith-Kea and download this dissertation at

Angela Quitadamo, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2020

Social-Emotional Climate in the Community College Classroom: An Action Research Study Investigating the Impact of Real-Time Student Feedback to Instructors




From the abstract: 

Community college students often have obligations outside the classroom (supporting dependents or working part-or full-time jobs), preventing them from participating in extracurricular activities and fulfilling their social-emotional needs on campus. As a result, they rely heavily on classroom interactions with their instructors to gain a sense of belonging and motivation necessary for optimal cognitive growth. This action research study was conducted at a rural community college in New England to learn if an informal feedback tool, given to students, could provide real-time data to instructors to enhance the social-emotional classroom environment. Four themes rose to prominence: True Feelings, Engaging Students, Instructor Approachability, and Remote Learning. At the close of the study instructors completed a summative evaluation and met again to review the synthesized data. This study showed how a more reflective and transformational view of classroom assessment with a focus on engagement benefited students and instructors.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Angela Quitadamo is an academic affairs professional with over twelve years’ experience working at colleges and universities in student success and retention.  As a first-generation college student, she has experience, empathy, and respect for traditional and adult learners balancing the demands of employment, family, and school.  Her career path has taken her through positions in college-access, to financial aid and into college administration because she recognizes and believes in the transformative power of higher education.  She has never lost site that for those of us without generational college knowledge in our communities, helpers are essential.  Angela is a past-president of the Massachusetts Educational Opportunity Association, a membership organization of TRiO professionals committed to ensuring that secondary and post-secondary opportunities are accessible to underrepresented students.  She has presented at national conferences in areas of student retention, racial equity and justice, enrollment management, and institutional research.  Sharing her cross-divisional work in support of student success is always and empowering and enriching experience.

Angela received her doctorate in Leadership and Change from Antioch University where she conducted research on the social-emotional climate in community college courses. Angela has also studied History and Women’s Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (BA), Non-Profit Management at Worcester State University (MS) and Leadership and Change (MA) at Antioch University.

Read more about Dr. Angela Quitadamo and download this dissertation at

Jeanine Soucie, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2020

Contextual Creativity and the Experience of Cultural Pivoting in the Workplace




From the abstract: 

“The purpose of this grounded theory study was to explore the lived experience of foreign-born professional highly skilled employees living in the United States working for U.S.-centric organizations and the impact the interplay between their ethnic culture and the organization’s culture has had on their creativity in the workplace. Fourteen participants were interviewed and shared their experiences of creativity, providing rich stories. Using grounded theory analysis of their statements revealed five primary dimensions and five theoretical propositions. The study offers a heuristic model of the newly identified concept “cultural pivoting.” This term describes the importance and impact of having access to several cultural practices and finding behaviors/attitudes/discourses that best suits the situation and/or best solves the problem at hand. Navigating variations of cultural pivoting are indications of what I have called contextual creativity. Thus, the study also adds a different understanding of factors enabling creativity in organizations.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Jeanine Soucie holds a PhD in Leadership & Change as well as a BS in Education, an MS in Training & Performance Improvement, and an MA in Leadership & Change. Her work and research focus are on culture - both organizational and ethnic – and creativity.  As a consultant and facilitator, she provides analysis and recommendations on the employee experience, employee engagement, creativity, diversity & inclusion, organization development and learning experiences in the workplace. She has a background in corporate learning and employee engagement/experience and has worked with or for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies in multiple industries and has held the position of Advisory Chief Learning Officer (CLO) for a learning startup company. A proficient speaker, Jeanine has presented at several trade conferences and enjoys presenting and facilitating. Her work curating/creating a Leadership Development program won a Brandon Hall award for her client. Jeanine has been to almost all states and many countries for her work and loves to travel.

Below is the sharable link to her eLearning module:

Read more about Dr. Jeanine Soucie and download this dissertation at

Maxinne Leighton, Ph.D.  [C 11]  2020

Arising: Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy’s Impact on Design/Planning Professionals




From the abstract: 

Standing by my bedroom window, looking out at the ocean, a huge wave comes and swallows up my building. Everything around me is gone, including me. I wake up. I am 13 years old and living in the Coney Island Houses on Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. With ongoing anthropogenic changes to the natural environment such as sea level rise and intensifying storms, coastal communities, especially ones segregated by class and culture, are particularly vulnerable in this context that challenges a way of life, and in some instances, threatens that life's survival. This dissertation focuses specifically on what one massive storm - Hurricane Sandy (Superstorm Sandy) - left behind. This research explored how these experiences impacted the design/ planning professionals (architects, planners, landscape architects, engineers) approaches to future climate-related events, as well as the impacts upon them personally, professionally, and societally. Two significant findings were lack of equal attention to marginalized communities and lack of diversity and inclusion within the design/planning profession. As more populations are being impacted by Hurricane Sandy-like events, designers/planners will need to become leaders in changing to both a reflective and proactive stance to professional practice in the context of climate, economic and social justice.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Maxinne Rhea Leighton, Associate AIA, is dedicated to fostering human rights and ecological sustainability within the built environment. She has held leadership roles in design firms (architectural, engineering and planning) for the past two decades.

Post-9/11, Ms. Leighton, a native New Yorker, became committed to the "Advancement of Peace and Security Within the Built Environment." As a member of the initial Ground Zero planning team, she served as a liaison between design/planning professionals and the families of victims. Post-Katrina, while engaged with a study focused on affordable housing, she experienced the nexus between race and socio-economics in post-disaster recovery. This revealed inequities not just in communities but the design profession itself. During post-Sandy recovery efforts, Dr. Leighton—who was raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn—utilized her skills in marketing/communications and community advocacy on the Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design competition; the NYC Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency; and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIA-NY) and the AIA-NY’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee Post-Sandy Initiative report.

An Honorary Council Member for the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization Global, she is also Vice President of WIIS-NY (Women in International Security), a member of the New York AIA’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee, Advisory Council Member for Save Ellis Island, and an advisory board member for A Movement in Water,™ an interactive multimedia public art installation. In 2018 she was recognized with an Outstanding Women in the Building Industry award from the Women Builders' Council as well as being honored as one of New York’s Power Women.

Dr. Leighton previously earned a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Binghamton, a Master of Arts in Urban Studies from New York University, and a Master of Arts and PhD in Leadership & Change from Antioch University. 

Read more about Dr. Maxinne Leighton and download this dissertation at 

Etta Jackson, Ph.D.  [C 17]  2020

The Role of Geospatial Information and Effective Partnerships in the Implementation of the International Agenda for Sustainable Development



From the abstract: 

The former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (2014), repeated the core promise in the 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development, in which the General Assembly called for an approach guaranteeing meaningful participation of everyone in development and the fair distribution of the benefits of that development. To this end, partnerships are central and can lead to the dignity of the citizens involved as they participate in the development of their own communities. This dissertation research conducted in Manyatta A and B in the Port City of Kisumu, Kenya sought to do just that. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the role of participatory development planning and collaborative technology platforms of geographic information systems (GIS) and GeoDesign in strengthening sustainable development and enhancing of human dignity. This vision can be realized more rapidly through integrated planning to achieve poverty eradication and social, economic, and environmental sustainability, which are the three pillars of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The citizens of informal settlements represent those who are farthest behind and who should be given priority. This study demonstrated the potential of inclusive and participatory development planning in restoring the dignity of those groups.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Etta D. Jackson worked in the field of education for twenty-five years as teacher, guidance counselor and district administrator in both New York and Wisconsin. Ms. Jackson holds a B.A. in Biology and two M.S. degrees: one in Psychoanalytic Counseling and Development and the other in Administrative Leadership and Supervision.  She recently received her a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University in “The Role of Geospatial Information and Effective Partnerships in the Implementation of the International Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Her passion for wanting to make a difference led her to the founding of The Institute for Conscious Global Change ICGC), a 501(c)(3) international non-for-profit NGO organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.  She now serves as the CEO of the Institute. This New York based organization was founded in 2007 with the objective of providing a comprehensive response to: ‘Fundamentally Changing the Way Humanity Lives in and Creates Its Environment’! The focus of our work is to provide visual but tangible development solutions to support the unfinished mandate of the Millennium Development Goals and now Sustainable Development Goals.  With the aid of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), GeoDesign and related technologies, ICGC engages governments and citizens to develop integrated holistic and comprehensive development models for implementation in each country. ICGC believes this approach is essential for the eradication of extreme poverty, to create the ‘Future We Want’ and ensure no one is left behind.  ICGC seeks to ‘Put Equality on the Map!

Read more about Dr. Etta Jackson and download this dissertation at 

Marianne Kramer, Ph.D.  [C 13]  2020

The Impact of Career Experiences on Generativity and Postretirement Choices for Intelligence Community Baby Boomers



From the abstract: 

This study focused on baby boomers and explored how a career with a mission-focus in the Intelligence Community influenced boomer generativity and subsequent choices after retirement. Baby boomers make-up the majority of the population that is retirement eligible today and have the benefit of a longer life expectancy commensurate with improvements in health care over the past century. Current retirement literature covers a range of options that redefine what retirement means today. This study employed a two-phase mixed method approach to investigate the characteristics and impacts of a mission-focused career, and to understand how such experiences impact postretirement opportunities and choices. Stories documented that a strong sense of mission and service persisted in postretirement activities, both formal work roles as well as a strong sense of volunteerism. Despite study limitations, positive implications for future studies looking across different population segments provide an avenue to further explore these relationships between selfless work experiences as a component of postretirement directions.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Marianne Kramer self-identifies as a career public servant with over 30 years supporting the Defense Department (DoD) and the Intelligence Community (IC).  While her career has been defined by increasing levels of responsibility working in a range of activities supporting the geospatial needs of DoD and the IC, she is proudest of her involvement in the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that brought about the end to the war in Bosnia. Marianne spent the majority of her career at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton Ohio as well as a substantial amount of time in the Washington DC area supporting various scientific and technical research programs. Marianne double majored in Humanities and Anthropology, receiving a BA from Providence College and a Master’s Degree in Analytical Geography from Binghamton University.  Dr. Kramer later earned a Master’s Degree and PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University where she focused on understanding how mission-focused work experiences contribute to increased generativity and affect postretirement career choices. Her outside interests are heavily geared toward volunteerism where she serves as the Executive Director for Maryland Science Olympiad, a non-profit state chapter of the National Science Olympiad organization. Marianne is married with three adult children.

Read more about Dr. Marianne Kramer and download this dissertation at 

Denise Tala Diaz Ph.D.  [C 15]  2020

Living Through the Chilean Coup d’Etat: The Second-Generation’s Reflection on Their Sense of Agency, Civic Engagement and Democracy



From the abstract: 

This dissertation illuminates how the experience of growing up during the Chilean dictatorship (1973–1990) affected the individual's sense of self as citizen and the impact on their sense of democratic agency, civic-mindedness, and political engagement in their country's current democracy. To understand that impact, the researcher chose to study her own generation, the “Pinochet-era” generation (Cummings, 2015) and interviewed those who were part of the Chilean middle class, who despite not being explicit victims of perpetrators, were raised in dictatorship and surrounded by abuse of state power including repression, disappearance, and imprisonment. The narrative approach helped to elicit stories about participants’ life events from the coup d’Etat to present. Through the exploration of 15 narrative interviews it was also possible to collect participants’ memories and observe how they currently manifest their civic commitment and social responsibility. Their collective memory, influenced by a collective grief (Metraux, 2005b), still lingers over 40 years later and helps us to understand their life-long commitment and passion to fight for justice. This generation was part of a social movement that managed to set aside its political and economic divides and its personal self-interests with the collective goal of restoring democracy.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Denise Tala Diaz is originally from Chile. She spent her childhood and adolescence in Santiago, Chile’s capital, during Pinochet’s military regime. In her 20s she pursued her major in Sociology, in a time when the social sciences were considered subversive and dangerous for the military dictatorship. She has lived in different cities in the world such as Johannesburg, Seoul, Brussels, Los Angeles, California and Paris, where she encountered different people, realities and cultures, which allowed her to develop an understanding of social phenomena from a global point of view. She is currently a professor at the EDC Paris Business School for the Master Grande Ecole and also at the Business School of University of Chile in Santiago. She has worked for the private and public sector and has more than 15 years of experience in consulting, social and market research in different fields. She holds a Master of Arts in Communication from Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, a Master of Commerce from Witwatersrand University in South Africa and also both a PHD and a Master of Arts in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She lives in Thomery, France and enjoys playing piano, traveling with her family and visiting “French brocantes” where the objects she buys have a story to tell.

Read more about Dr. Denise Tala and download this dissertation at 

Susan Wiedemann, Ph.D.  [C 11]  2020

Ethical Leadership: Life Story of George Ciampa, U.S. WWII Military Veteran and Community Leader



From the abstract: 

This qualitative research study explored the influence of life experiences and personal ethics of George Ciampa, a United States military veteran; his work in establishing American military cemeteries in Europe; and later work as a community leader committed to teaching American youth about the cost of freedom. Dimensions of ethical leadership and public service motivation served as the theoretical framework for the study. The research extended knowledge on ethical constructs within the fields of leadership studies and public administration; recorded personal experiences that were absent in military historical archives; and increased awareness of aspects of the U.S. military subculture. The research exploration was guided by an overarching question of how Ciampa reflected on his sense of public service over his lifetime. The study employed narrative life story methodology and visual research methods. Data collection was an iterative process and included segmented life story interviews and historical archival research. Findings included identification of a major theme (liberty) and three supporting sub-themes (duty, honor, and country) influencing Ciampa’s life and leadership path. A comparative analysis of the themes discovered with shared tenets of ethical leadership and public service motivation is provided.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Susan M. Wiedemann has had the privilege of a lifetime of public service supporting U.S. Service members, Veterans and their families. First, in a 22-year career in the United States Air Force in the Intelligence field and a special duty assignment as the Deputy Director of an Air Force Family Support Center. Retiring as a Chief Master Sergeant (E-9), she began a second career working for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and had the unique opportunity to hold national leadership positions within all three VA Administrations: National Cemetery, Benefits and Health. Her most significant accomplishment in VA was project lead creating the first (and only) federal training center for cemetery directors. The National Training Center continues to support the development of future leaders for VA’s National Cemetery Administration.

Susan earned a doctoral degree from Antioch University where she conducted narrative life story research on ethical leadership making extensive use of historical archival imagery and the personal perspective of a WWII Veteran’s experience in Europe, as a member of the 607th Graves Registration Unit and his later community leadership. As part of her doctoral studies, she earned a master’s degree in Leadership and Change (MA) and during military service studied Adult and Higher Education (MEd) at the University of Oklahoma.

Read more about Dr. Susan Wiedemann and download this dissertation at 

Kimberly Walker, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2020

The Construction and Impact of Power in Cross-Sector Partnerships: An Interpretive Phenomenological Study



From the abstract: 

In the United States, cross-sector partnerships, a form of collaboration, are becoming increasingly common in practice (Gray & Purdy, 2018). However, questions remain regarding the effectiveness of these partnerships and if the many challenges of using them can be overcome. In particular, the intersection of cross-sector partnerships and power, which can deeply impact these partnerships, needs more attention. This study used interpretive phenomenology to understand, from the participant perspective, (a) the experience and construction of power, (b) the impact of power on participants, and (c) how power dynamics in these initiatives compare to dynamics in organizations. Financial resources were a dominant form of power and provided some partners with disproportionate influence. Dominant partners were also able to stack power across these six areas. The impacts of power dynamics were largely negative. Other significant findings included that some partners did not experience power at all. Critical theory and positive framing may explain this outcome. I call for an expanded CI model with a sixth condition related to power. As part of this sixth condition, I suggest communities make structural changes, such as, to honor discursive power more effectively, putting consumers in positions of power and rotating facilitation responsibilities.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Kimberly (Kim) Walker is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Arabella Advisors, a philanthropy-serving organization with five offices across the United States. In this role, she manages Arabella's internal DEI strategy and works towards a more diverse staff, a more inclusive culture, and a more equitable future. Her work prior to this was focused on capacity building, both as an external consultant to communities and organizations working on homelessness and other social issues and working internally with organizations on learning and development. She has previously worked with FSG, the Urban Institute, CSH, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness. She has a Master's in Urban Planning from UCLA, a Master's in Organization Development from Bowling Green State University, and a Master's in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. In her free time, Dr. Walker is an avid marathon runner, traveler, and reader. A native of Cleveland, OH, she now lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Markus, and Golden Retriever, Jones.


Read more about Dr. Kimberly Walker and download this dissertation at

Mike Bills, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2020

Turning Around Small, Private, Tuition Dependent Colleges: How Boards of Trustees Impact Decline and Turnaround



From the abstract: 

Even before the COVID-19 Pandemic, higher education has been facing unprecedented threats to existing business models. Small, private colleges heavily dependent on tuition revenue are particularly at risk. These at-risk small, private colleges need to make significant changes if they are to stave off decline and turn themselves around. Most of the literature on turnarounds of colleges and universities is focused primarily on the president, and is largely the reminiscences of former presidents. The board of trustees, however, is the ultimate governing authority of a college/university. If an at-risk institution needs to change in order to survive, the board must recognize and accept the need to change, and then use its authority to take the necessary actions. Private college boards, however, are not generally known for embracing change. The current findings suggest that in the decline phase, boards of trustees suffer from problem blindness, loss aversion, and optimism bias. Turning around required hiring a president more similar to a corporate CEO than an academic, moving fast to cut expenses, and recruiting diverse board members open to change. Most importantly for board members, the findings revealed that there is no White Knight or One Big Idea that turned these colleges around. Each of them had operational deficiencies in nearly every area, all of which had to be remedied to turn the institutions around.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Michael Bills has served as President of ConexED since 2015.  ConexED is the leader in virtual student services in higher education.  Dr. Bills is a leading authority in using technology and data science to improve student learning outcomes.  From 2004 - 2014, Michael led a series of acquisitions of three underperforming businesses across a broad set of industries.  As CEO, he led the turnarounds and negotiated and executed the sale of all three businesses -- two to strategic buyers, and the other to private equity.  Michael is a graduate of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT and has served on the Westminster College board of trustees since 2008.  He currently serves as Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and Vice Chair of the Governance committee.   As a board member, Michael has been a passionate advocate for first generation and underrepresented minority students.  Michael completed his Ph.D. at Antioch University, Graduate School of Leadership Change where his research focused on higher education governance.  A former nationally ranked triathlete, Michael now focuses on being fit rather than fast, and spends his free time mountain biking, road cycling, and skiing.


Read more about Dr. Mike Bills and download this dissertation at

Courtny Davis Olds, Ph.D.  [C 15]  2020

Perspectives from the Pew: A Phenomenological Exploration of Congregants' Experiences of Change in Their Churches



From the abstract: 

Christian churches in the United States are notoriously resistant to change, whether in regard to leadership, worship style, church governance, positions on social issues, or myriad other aspects of congregational life. Yet the ability to navigate change successfully is vitally important to churches’ continued survival and renewed relevance. A particular body of literature, consisting of both scholarly and practitioner-oriented works, has attempted to address the necessity and the challenges of change in a church context. However, the literature is largely silent when it comes to the perspectives of those who are most impacted by congregational change: namely, the congregants themselves. Therefore, this study sought to address both a problem in practice and a gap in the literature by exploring congregants’ experiences of change in their churches. The study utilized interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA), a qualitative methodology dedicated to exploring, in detail, significant lived experiences.  By providing a much needed “perspective from the pew,” this study contributes to a fuller understanding of congregational change and provides insights that can inform both congregational change endeavors and church leadership practices, as well as future research.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Courtny Davis Olds has 15 years of experience in healthcare and 11 years of experience in ministry, often working simultaneously in the different fields. As a physical therapist, she has focused her practice on treating underserved and medically complex populations in rural, urban, and international settings. An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA, she has held leadership positions in local congregations and the denomination’s mission agency, and has taught seminary courses on an adjunct basis. Most recently, she has assisted churches, faith organizations, and nonprofits with discernment, strategic planning, change management, staff development, and leadership transitions. The Rev. Dr. Davis Olds holds both a PhD and a Master of Arts in leadership and change from Antioch University, a Master of Theological Studies from Palmer Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from West Virginia University. She resides in Philadelphia and enjoys travel, hiking, rock climbing, ice cream, and good books.


Read more about Dr. Courtny Davis Olds and download this dissertation at 

Helen Lowman, Ph.D.  [C 15]  2020

Building Renewed Relevance: Portraits of CEOs Rebranding Iconic Nonprofit Organizations



From the abstract: 

In the United States, we often refer to the social sector as one leg of a three-legged stool. The private and public sectors support the other two legs. The social sector made up of nonprofit, nongovernmental, and charity organizations, contributes to the development of American society by focusing on social good rather than the desire to make profit. For decades, the sector has functioned as the social conscience of our society. However, many iconic, legacy nonprofits have struggled to keep their relevance in today’s world: their creation tied to a past societal problem, their mission and brand no longer germane to today’s generations. The research methodology utilized for this dissertation was qualitative portraiture; portraiture interviews were audio and video recorded for research purposes. This research adds to the body of knowledge about successful leaders of iconic nonprofit organizations and the best practices for achieving renewed relevance through nonprofit rebranding. This research could aid with building an awareness of the successes and challenges of nonprofit leaders and could increase the interest of potential organizational stakeholders in the future.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Helen Lowman joined Keep America Beautiful as President & CEO in May 2017 with more than 20 years of leadership experience in the areas of international diplomacy and development, youth engagement, environmental education, disaster resilience, global leadership, volunteerism, social justice and human rights. From 2010 to 2017, Helen served as an appointee of the President of the United States in the senior foreign service and the senior executive service. Prior to joining Keep America Beautiful, she was Director-Individual and Community Preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, D.C., overseeing programs to increase citizen and community preparedness while encouraging disaster and crisis resilience. Also, during her tenure with the Obama administration, she served in a variety of roles with the Peace Corps, directing Peace Corps’ largest U.S. headquarters’ office and working with leadership on strategic reforms related to volunteer recruitment and admittance. Helen, who speaks four languages, is a graduate of Austin College and received her master’s degree in International Economics and Development from the University of Denver, Joseph Korbel School of International Studies. She completed her Ph.D. at Antioch University, Graduate School of Leadership and Change. She is a Board member of PYXERA Global and was a Peace Corps volunteer for three years in Thailand.


Read more about Dr. Helen Lowman and download this dissertation at 

Lejla Bilal Maley, Ph.D.  [C 15]  2020

Teaming at a Distance: The Work Experience on Global Virtual Teams



From the abstract: 

“Global Virtual Teams (GVTs) enable organizations to become more flexible, and to adapt and react to turbulent, complex and dynamic environments. These teams span boundaries such as space, time, and geography, working collaboratively to achieve a shared purpose. Due to their reliance on technology for communication, knowledge sharing, and project management, structural and nonstructural components of their design must exist to enable these teams to exist and flourish at the edge of innovation. The human experience of working in virtual teams remains insufficiently observed, yet crucial to their sustainability. The results of phase one informed development of a survey instrument; a pilot test of this instrument showed promise for future validation of a scale that accurately depicts the experiences of working on a GVT. The current findings support practical applications toward better understanding team functioning, essential human needs, and best practices for team awareness and functioning.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Lejla Bilal Maley is originally from Bosnia. She now lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. She is currently manager of international product at McGraw Hill. She is also a co-founder and consultant at Transform·Ed Collaborative. She has seven years of English and foreign language teaching experience in the K-12 and Higher Education setting. She holds a B.A. in Linguistics, an M.A. in Applied Linguistics- TESOL, and a PhD in Leadership and Change. Lejla enjoys presenting at various national and international educational and leadership conferences on topics such as language acquisition, social justice education, and global virtual teaming. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with family, hiking with pup Skywalker, discovering new wines and bourbons, and doing Barre3 workouts.


Read more about Dr. Lejla Bilal Maley and download this dissertation at 

Cherie Bridges Patrick, Ph.D.  [C 15]  2020

Navigating the Silences: Social Worker Discourses Around Race



From the abstract: 

This thesis explored social worker discourses to learn what they could reveal about professional workplace practices and experiences with race and racism. The study traced the subtle and elusive racism often found in everyday professional conversations that are not considered racist by dominant consensus. Findings suggest the presence of subtle and nuanced racism and whiteness in social worker discourses, and I discuss how these forces work in tandem to produce dynamics that preserve hegemonic structures and support dominant status. This power analyses brought attention to often overlooked forms of counter-power and resistance embedded in participant narratives. Inferences from focus group discourse illustrated four interpersonal capacities that supported constructive racial dialogue. Findings revealed vastly different racial experiences between Black, biracial, and White social workers in their professional settings. Implications for social work (and more broadly the helping professions) education, training, and leadership and change practices are.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Cherie is the founder of Paradox Cross-Cultural Consulting, Training and Empowerment, LLC. Primarily focused on the education, counseling and faith-based professions, she combines her research and scholarly interests with her consulting practice. Cherie is adept at creating generative and liberating dialogic environments that promote transformational social change. Through customized workshops, consulting and coaching, she engages individuals at the organizational, community and grassroots levels around the historical and current consequences of oppression-based trauma; healing; and embodied liberatory practices.

A licensed clinical social worker, Cherie currently provides individual distance counseling utilizing a somatic psychotherapeutic approach. These practices create mind-body spaces for healing primarily around various forms of trauma including oppression-based trauma, intimate partner violence, and childhood trauma. Her multiracial and multiethnic clinical and educational experiences include extensive work in community mental health and with Somali immigrant families around the complexities of global displacement and resettlement. Cherie is a section instructor for the Simmons College of Social Work online MSW program where she teaches Dynamics of Racism and Oppression. She has also served as a Master’s level adjunct professor at The Ohio State University and IUPUI where she has taught Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations and Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups.

Cherie received her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, her Bachelor of Social Work from Capital University, and holds an Associate of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership from Franklin University. Cherie is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the NASW Ohio Chapter Anti-Oppressive Informed Practice group and leadership team. She is also a task force member of a newly formed global collaborative aiming to enhance the well-being and psychosocial support for peacebuilders operating in conflict zones during COVID-19. She is engaged in the Province V of The Episcopal Church Dismantling Racism Becoming Beloved Community efforts and is an advisor to the St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church Inclusion Committee in the Palm Desert.

Read more about Dr. Bridges Patrick and download this dissertation at  

Ellen H. Melis, Ph.D.  [Healthcare C 1]  2020

Understanding the Context and Social Processes that Shape Person- and Family-Centered Culture in Long-Term Care: The Pivotal Role of Personal Support Workers



From the abstract: 

This single, exemplar case study explored the context and social processes that shape person-and family-centered culture in a long-term care (LTC) home, using grounded theory and situational analysis for the data collection and analysis. The [personal support workers] perspective was often missed in decision-making, as decisions were made for this group rather than with them. A complex theoretical model of the interactions and the systemic blind spot they have unintentionally created is presented in the discussion. The results suggest that empowering PSWs is pivotal to improving quality of care in the LTC sector. Further research is needed to determine which methods of empowerment are most meaningful and effective. Future studies could also explore LTC homes of different sizes and with different types of governance, the competencies required by the different roles to foster a person- and family-centered LTC culture, and the criteria for relational practice and leadership in LTC.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Leadership development consultant, facilitator and systems thinker, Ellen combines her scholarly interest with her desire to change leadership in practice. Working with a variety of organizations across the spectrum of health care, she helps individuals, teams and organizations shift the way they lead themselves, engage others, achieve results, develop coalitions and transform systems.

Ellen holds a B.Sc. in Physiotherapy and a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Science. She is the founder of Unlimited Potential and co-founder of Deliberate Shift, working with clients to create learning experiences that foster adaptive leadership capacity to lead change at every level of the organization

Read more about Dr. Ellen H. Melis and download this dissertation at 

Ashley C. Gray Benson, Ph.D.  [C 13]  2020

An Exploration of Factors Influencing First-Generation College Students' Ability to Graduate College: A Delphi Study



From the abstract: 

This dissertation serves as a counter-narrative to the standard deficiency model in published research that characterizes most first-generation college students as feeble and unequipped when it comes to thriving in, persisting in, and graduating from college. This is one of the few studies that examines the success of first-generation college students from the students’ perspective. First-generation college students who graduated from college participated in a Delphi study that addressed this question: What factors influence first-generation college students' ability to graduate college? Three rounds of data collection resulted in ten themes, roughly in order of importance based on feedback from study participants: Self Starter, Financial Support, Finding a Passion, Social Network, Self-Development, Cultural/Identity Development, Family, Campus Resources and Programs, Work, and Service. The dissertation concludes with three sets of recommendations for improving outcomes of first-generation college students, aimed respectively at secondary school personnel, college officials, and first-generation college students themselves.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Ashley C. Gray Benson, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of Students at The College of Wooster where she supports enrollment management, retention efforts, and crisis management. Ashley has extensive experience in Student Affairs and served as the Director of the TRIO Student Support Services at North Central State College. Ashley earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Education form Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. Beyond first-generation college students, Ashley’s research interests include Student Affairs, Academic Services, student crisis management, student belonging & engagement, and leadership development. Ashley’s passion for working with first-generation and low-income students developed from her experience as a teacher and stories her parents shared about their experiences as first-generation college students. When she began her work with TRIO programs, she quickly realized her parent’s stories were not unique. Thus, her passion grew into a lifelong commitment toward improving the support and experiences of first-generation college students. She has served as president of Ohio TRIO for two years while also serving on the board for the Educational Opportunity Association (EOA) for several years.  Ashley has served on the Women’s Advisory Board for the Richland County Foundation, presented workshops and been a keynote speaker on topics such as mental health, diversity and inclusion, and leadership; and she is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Ashley is an ordained minister and provides leadership training for her church, The Oasis of Love in Mansfield, OH, and the surrounding religious community. Ashley has a vast support system stemming from her family, friends, church family, and sorority sisters. She is married to Brian Benson, Sr. and mother to Diamon, Miracle, and Brian, Jr., and grandmother to Amarion.

Read more about Dr. Ashley C. Gray Benson and download this dissertation at

Maria Chavez-Haroldson, Ph.D.  [C 13]  2020

LatinX Diversity Officers in Higher Education: Capacitating Cultural Values as Champions of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion



From the abstract: 

The purpose of this research study is to share scholarly data that may assist in the recognition and cultural understanding of LatinX Chief DOs in higher education institutions. This multi-phase, qualitative study critically considers the participants’ sociopolitical, psychological, and, cultural situated-ness as equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) leaders in higher education institutions (HEIs). Despite the psychological stressors, the participants described how and why they are energized by their commitment to creating change as social justice campeonas (champions). This study explains why LatinX DOs leading EDI institutional change in the 21st century, places them in precarious sociopolitical circumstances. An interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) methodology is applied to this study describing, interpreting, contextualizing, and gaining in-depth insights into specific concepts of the phenomena; of “being” LatinX DOs in HEIs leading EDI. This study included non-Westernized epistemological and ontological perspectives. A hermeneutic, subjective-reflective process of interpretation explored the co-researcher's social, contextual, and cultural truths—the wholeness of their experiences. The findings offer higher education leaders, and members of the dominant culture, deeply insightful, thought-provoking critiques. This study also demonstrated how leadership, social justice change, and cultural values are interrelated. Finally, this study emphasizes co-researchers’ lived experience and the belief that 21st century leaders in higher education institutions must be based within and upon an EDI framework.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Maria Chavez-Haroldson, Ph.D., is an international/national trainer and owner of EDI Consulting, LLC. Her consulting work focuses on organizational development which is built upon equitable, diverse, and inclusive (EDI) practices. Her doctoral research focuses on the lived experiences of LatinX Diversity Champions in higher education and how they access their cultural values as key foundations for their leadership in a predominately white male-led academic world. Maria applied the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis methodology which highlighted the importance of identifying cultural values and their impact on leadership.

She is an immigrant from Mexico and gives her deepest love and respect to her parents for the sacrifices made so she can attain academic success: Arturo Limas Marlen and Refugio Chavez Marlen. She has served as the Vice President of Metropolitan Group, a social change agency in Portland, and as Director of the Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Relations for Oregon Youth Authority. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences and two Master’s Degrees; Public Administration and Leadership and Change.

For twelve consecutive years, Maria and her husband have led the Northwestern Delegation to the Chicago United States Hispanic Leadership Conference and also provide yearly leadership workshops for 4-H Students throughout the Northwest. Maria shares her love, life, dreams and blessings with her lifetime partner, District Attorney (Benton County, Oregon, USA), John Morris Haroldson Suarez. Together they lead as global social justice advocates and leaders. Maria is a proud mother of four amazing adult children, nine supportive siblings, and seven adorable grandchildren who now refer to her as ‘Doctor Nana’.

Read more about Dr. Maria Chavez-Haroldson and download this dissertation at  

Lisa Berkley, Ph.D.  [C 10]  2020

A Case Study: The Role of Compassionate Cities, Healthy Cities, and UN Sustainable Development Goals in City Leadership and Planning



From the abstract: 

This research is a case study examining the relevance of three holistic city frameworks—Compassionate Cities, Healthy Cities, and UN Sustainable Development Goals—to the intentional or tacit thinking of city leaders, community leaders, and activists of Marina, California. Beginning with a discussion of the origin and development of the three frameworks, the study occurred in three phases: Phase I involved interviewing the five elected leaders, city manager, community development leaders, and two planners; Phase II consisted of a survey of appointed city leaders and community organizers and activists; and Phase III was an analysis of relevant public discourse, drawing from local newspapers, social media, and city council and other public agencies’ agendas and public records. In the background is a discussion on the challenges of a city that is transitioning from a former U.S. military base support city to one that embraces a new generation of urban dwellers, becoming an economically and socially sustainable municipality.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Lisa A. Berkley, PhD is the founder and director of Institute for Inner Economy, a non-partisan think tank dedicated to operationalizing positive peace for governance, diplomacy, and civil progress, at the local, national, and international level. Her work as a peace facilitator, activist, and municipal leader has spanned across three continents and stems from more than 25 years of experience in alternative/holistic medicine and education, stress management, and interpersonal conflict resolution. Her work has been publicly recognized across the globe.

Dr. Berkley’s current focus is on helping small to mid-sized cities adopt holistic city frameworks in order to be in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She is an elected City Councilmember in her home city of Marina, California where she serves on a number of Boards including Women In International Security’s U.S. West Coast Chapter (WIISWest), the Housing Resource Center of Monterey County, and AMBAG (Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments) where she is their representative on CALCOG (California Association of Councils of Governments). Dr. Berkley also serves on the Advisory Council for Compassionate California, is the Lead for Compassionate Monterey County, and is the Co-Lead for the Charter for Compassion’s Peace Sector.

Read more about Dr. Lisa Berkley and download this dissertation at 

Atim Eneida George, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2020

Generative Leadership and the Life of Aurelia Erskine Brazeal, a Trailblazing African American Female Foreign Service Officer



From the abstract: 

There is a gap in the literature on generativity and the leadership philosophy and praxis of African American Female Foreign Service Officers (AAFFSOs). I addressed this deficit, in part, by engaging an individual of exceptional merit and distinction—Aurelia Erskine Brazeal—as an exemplar of AAFFSOs. Using qualitative research methods of portraiture and oral history, supplemented by collage, mind mapping and word clouds, this study examined Brazeal’s formative years in the segregated South and the extraordinary steps her parents took to protect her from the toxic effects of racism and legal segregation. In addition, I explored the development of Brazeal’s interest in international affairs and her trailblazing diplomatic career. In an effort to understand her leadership philosophy and praxis, the study engaged eight additional research respondents, ranging from proteges and colleagues to Brazeal’s fictive daughter, Joan Ingati. Drawing from the Iroquois Great Law of Peace, this study employed the concept of generativity—concern for the welfare and well-being of future generations—as a focal lens. The research concluded that in order to be effective in the 21st century, leaders would do well to emulate Brazeal’s example as a generative leader.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Atim Eneida George was a U.S. diplomat for 30 years serving in Africa and Latin America. Her diplomatic portfolio included work on complex international challenges such as the climate crisis, HIV/AIDS, immigration, human rights, and democratization. An engaging and informative keynote speaker, she was nominated by former Congressman Solomon Ortiz for the Congressional Community Service Award. The American Foreign Service Association honored Atim with the coveted Harriman Award for “extraordinary contributions to the practice of diplomacy exemplifying intellectual courage and a zeal for creative accomplishment.” Among her many other accolades are a State Department Superior Honor Award for “forging smart partnerships that promote democratic values and advance international understanding, exemplifying the best use of America’s ‘soft power’ to influence and persuade.” During her service in Nigeria, Atim was honored with a Chieftaincy title, Yeye Araba, by the Ooni of Ile Ife and she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Babcock University for her work in Diplomacy and Peace Initiatives. A Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar, she holds degrees in Speech Communications, Education, Creative Expression and Leadership. Atim earned her doctorate in Leadership and Change at Antioch University. Her dissertation research, Generative Leadership and the Life of Aurelia Erskine Brazeal, a Trailblazing African American Female Foreign Service Officer, examines the relationship between generativity* and leadership. Atim is married to the love of her life, Dr. Levi ‘Zee’ Zangai; she is the mother of four and as of this writing, Atim has 4 talented grandchildren. Atim loves to dance, travel and is a student of world mythology. 

*Generativity is a concern for establishing and guiding the next generation.

Read more about Dr. Atim Eneida George and download this dissertation at 

Micah B.D.C. Naziri, Ph.D.  [C 12]  2020

Persistence of Jewish-Muslim Reconciliatory Activism in the Face of Threats and “Terrorism” (Real and Perceived) From All Sides




From the abstract: 

This dissertation concerns how Jewish-Muslim and Israel-Palestine grassroots activism can persist in the face of threats to the safety, freedom, lives, or even simply the income and employment of those engaged in acts of sustained resistance. At the heart of the study are the experiences of participants in the Hashlamah Project, an inter-religious collaboration project, involving Jews and Muslims. Across chapters and even nations, chapters of this organization faced similar threats and found universally-applicable solutions emerging for confronting those threats and persisting in the face of them. This raised the question of whether revolutionaries and activists in general can persevere with such work in the face of this sort of menacing. The study found answers to this in determining what methods were most widely employed and which had the best results. The results of the study showed an array of widely-employed methods for navigating threats in high risk activism, and persevering with such work in the face of these threats.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Micah Naziri was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. The son of a multitude of peoples, Micah has Ashkenazi Jewish, German, Native American and Melungeon background. Micah has often said he has “one foot in the masjid and the other in shul.” Spiritually, Micah considers his understanding of Judaism to be “Judeo-Sufi,” or “Istislam” as described by Rabbeinu Bachya ibn Paqudah, in his Medieval Judeo-Arabic work “Guide to the Duties of the Hearts” (Al-Hidayat ila Fara`id al-Qulub), which quoted Muhammad and his son-in-law `Ali profusely – reference each as being “a great chasid” – while fully embracing the Torah as the framework of religious practice for the Jewish people.

As the founder of the Hashlamah Project Foundation (2012), and the White Rose Society “reboot” (2016) Micah uses his education in Near Eastern Languages, Religions and historical models of building bridges between Jewish and Muslim communities, to help reconcile and unite Jews and Palestinian Muslims. He is a prolific author who has penned numerous academic articles, donating 100% of the proceeds to charities working towards social justice. He has also authored a science fiction novel fused with history and politics. His Master’s thesis on the religious milieu of Judaism in Muhammad’s life time, in Arabia, has been published by New Dawn Publications and is available on Amazon, with all proceeds similarly going to charity work. He has served as an editor for written works on Martial Arts and Eastern Medicine, transcribing and creating numerous titles for some of his teachers. He has himself authored several martial treatises using the pen name Seng, Hern-Heng – his Taoist lineage name given to him in 2006 by Huang, Chien-Liang.

Micah is currently coordinating expanded work with international Hashlamah Project chapters and the Jam`at Al-Fitrah. He is seeking grant-writing partnerships to grow the organization’s efforts – particularly in Israeli and Palestine. 

Read more about Dr. Micah B.D.C. Naziri and download this dissertation at

Heather Humphrey-Leclaire, Ph.D.  [Healthcare Cohort 1]  2020

Therapists Who Specialize in Addiction: A Grounded Situational Analysis of a Stigmatized Profession




From the abstract: 

This study used the methodology of a grounded situational analysis to explore the lives of therapists who specialize in addiction. Historians have researched the history of addiction treatment itself and some have identified parallel processes of discrimination, stigma, and stigma by association for therapist and client, but the complex intersectionality between social processes and organizational issues have been largely invisible. In this study, therapists who specialize in addiction (including social workers, clinical mental health counselors, and alcohol and drug counselors) were asked about their sense of how others see them in their role. These conversations made visible the many, enmeshed challenges faced by these therapists and how the process of professionalization, with its promise of validation, has been thwarted by social and organizational processes. This study presents a comprehensive theoretical model of the supports and the problems facing therapists who specialize in addiction and ultimately supports a theory of how to redress these issues in the face of the increased need and resources available during the current opioid epidemic.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page


Heather Humphrey-Leclaire currently works as a therapist who specializes in addiction and the clinical supervisor for Starting Now and an outpatient therapist for the Anna Marsh Behavioral Clinic at the Brattleboro Retreat. She is licensed by the Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health as a clinical mental health counselor (LCMHC) and an alcohol and drug counselor (LADC). She is an accredited clinical supervisor with the American Mental Health Counselors Association (DCMHS) and by the National Board for Certified Counselors as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Heather attended Marlboro College, where she received her BA degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in the Classics; as well as Antioch University NE, from which she received her MA in clinical mental health counseling with concentrations in substance abuse counseling and forensics. As a therapist who specializes in addiction, Heather is acutely aware of the unequal treatment of both her clients and her peers in clinical and community settings. She counsels groups, individual adults, couples, and families for psychotherapy at the Retreat.


Read more about Dr. Heather Humphrey-Leclaire and download this dissertation at 

John Littlewolf, Ph.D.  [Cohort 15]  2020

Police Officer Trauma in Rural Minnesota: A Narrative Study




From the abstract: 

We call on police officers to respond to all of society’s tragedies. Whether in our metropolitan areas or our rural communities, law enforcement will respond when called upon. The culture of law enforcement is laden with traits of masculinity. These cultural traits can inhibit the processing of traumatic experiences in the individual. While the nature of law enforcement has remained the same, our scientific knowledge regarding trauma has grown. Trauma has a biological impact which can manifest as stress symptomology or PTSD. Our systematic response to trauma in law enforcement has not kept pace with the body of knowledge on trauma. This narrative study highlights the intersection of trauma, law enforcement culture, and solutions in rural Minnesota. Ten dedicated public servants provide their in-depth experience on the problem. The findings support the literature on police officer trauma and law enforcement culture found in larger agencies. The findings show the support structures in place for rural officers, the areas where we can improve, and where we can direct resources. A profound finding is the current practice of deploying outdated interventions (psychological debriefing) that have been shown to be therapeutically ineffective and potentially harmful. As a current law enforcement officer and researcher, this is an insider-study. This dissertation contains graphic depictions of police work. If you are sensitive to trauma, or have had past trauma, this dissertation may be a traumatic trigger for you.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page


John Littlewolf grew up in the City of Cass Lake, on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.  He is Anishinabe, a citizen of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa.  John began his law enforcement career in 2009 and has served three tribal law enforcement agencies in Minnesota. In his 10 years of experience he has worked as a patrol officer, a domestic violence and sexual assault investigator, a criminal investigator, and finally, as a conservation officer.   

Law enforcement trauma is multi-faceted and includes social and systemic barriers.  John noticed early in his career that trauma in policing was unspoken and often endured in silence.  John’s own experience includes trauma, the sights and sounds of which will always be with him.  He understood that his story regarding trauma was not unique, it was present in his peers also.  It is at this proverbial intersection of trauma, law enforcement culture, and the individual officer experiences where John chose to focus his doctoral studies.

John believes we are in the midst of a cultural change on officer trauma.  He hopes that this work can contribute to bettering the lives of officers, and in turn, the public they serve


Read more about Dr. John Littlewolf and download this dissertation at 

Nate Woods, Ph.D.  [Cohort 13]  2020

Taking Off in Africa: Critical Elements of Aircraft Engine Manufacturer Engagement That Can Affect Airline Safety Performance



From the abstract: 

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is a term used in many industries to describe a company that produces parts and equipment that may be marketed by another manufacturer. In the aviation industry, the aircraft engine OEM refers to the company that manufactures engines powering the aircraft. This study identifies the critical elements of engagement between aircraft engine OEMs and airlines during two processes. The first process studied was the adoption of service bulletins and included how the airline becomes aware of a service bulletin, how they assess the need to perform the service bulletin, and finally how the airline prepares and executes on the adoption of the service bulletin. The second process studied was how the airline identifies when they need support from the OEM to properly complete required maintenance and inspection tasks. Applying the learnings from this study to the more generic process maps developed in previous studies allowed for a specific process map for ensuring effective and efficient engagement between aircraft engine OEMs and airlines, in this specific context.”


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page  


Nate Woods has over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, his professional and personal interest is focused on the development of the aviation industry in Africa. He began his career with GE in 2008 as a CF6 Diagnostics Fleet Manager.  In 2014 he moved to the field service organization where he served as the Field Service Engineer supporting Ethiopian Airlines and other airlines in the Sub-Sahara Africa region. He currently serves as the Senior Customer Support Manager supporting Ethiopian Airlines and all airlines in North Africa and the Sahel region of Africa. Before coming to GE, Nate worked at Rolls Royce as an HPT design engineer. Prior to this, Nate worked for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. 

In addition to his PhD, Nate has and B.S. & M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering as well as an MBA, all from Wright State University. In his spare time, Nate likes to spend time with his wife, Tisay, and sons, Mohammed and Ismael.


Read more about Dr. Nate Woods and download this dissertation at