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GSLC Dissertations : New and Featured

Rev. Tawana Angela Davis, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2021

Womanists Leading White People in Intergroup Dialogue to End Anti-Black Racism: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis



From the abstract: 

"Womanism is a term curated by Alice Walker (2004) that centers Black women’s lived experiences, past and present, encouraging Black women to no longer look to others for their liberation (Floyd-Thomas, 2006). Soul 2 Soul Sister’s Facing Racism program is facilitated by Womanist instructors, who work with groups of mostly white people to address anti-Black racism. This qualitative study explored the experiences of white participants who took part in this program, Facing Racism, which holds Womanism as its central guiding principle. Although pre- and post-surveys were routinely conducted over the years about participants’ experiences with Facing Racism, this study sought to take a deep dive using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to understand how the white participants made sense of the Facing Racism experience and the longer-term outcomes it promoted in addressing and ending anti-Black racism. The interpretive phenomenological analysis explored the experiences of white people who completed the Facing Racism program. Eight white participants were interviewed using open-ended questions. The key findings of the study included: a) indications of the transforming impact of Womanist and intergroup dialogue in anti-racism work, b) revelations of the preconceptions and biases antithetical to ending anti-Black racism that participants brought with them, c) an affirmation of anti-racism work that works beyond the intellect and the importance of heart and gut/soul work, and d) the identification of racial justice work as life-long work. The key contributions include: a) the verification of a Womanist epistemology as an effective means to address anti-Black racism, b) the value of Womanist ethos in conducting anti-Black racism work centering Black women and Black experiences, c) the introduction and nomenclature of a love-based revolution to address and eradicate anti-Black racism, d) identification of ways for white people to dismantle white supremacy/privilege/thought for the liberation of the historically oppressed and the oppressor and e) a way for white people to commit to address and end anti- Black racism in the long run."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Reverend Tawana Davis, BA, MDiv, MA, Ph.D., is the daughter of the late Edward Eugene Davis Jr. and the late Rose Lee Davis. Born and raised in Harlem, New York, she was educated in the public school system. After attending St. John's University, Tawana completed her last year of studies at State University of New York Empire State with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management. Reverend Dr. Davis earned a certificate in Project Management from New York University and Human Resources (PHR) from Cornell University. Later, she received a Master of Divinity at Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA. Reverend Dr. Davis earned a Master of Arts in Leadership and Change and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Leadership and Change at Antioch University Graduate School of Leadership and Change. Reverend Dr. Davis is a Womanist, thought provoker, preacher, community leader, domestic violence survivor, and awareness advocate; currently surviving HER2+ metastatic breast cancer; and a Co-Founder of Soul 2 Soul Sisters. Established in 2015, Soul 2 Soul Sisters leads and facilitates anti-racism work across the country through its signature program Facing Racism. Tawana contributed to the ground-breaking academic textbook "Race Work and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience." Reverend Dr. Davis serves as the Secretary of IREE (Institute for Racial Equity and Excellence). She hosts a podcast called #tuesdayswithtawna on Fb Live, various Podcast platforms, and YouTube. Tawana is the moderator and strategic planner for the award-winning Healing the Healers II 4-part series on Domestic Violence Awareness produced by Odyssey Impact and Transform Films. Tawana is a proud mother of two master level educators, a grandmother, and most of all a Justice activist for all!

Read more about Rev. Dr. Tawana Davis and download this dissertation at

Eric James Charlton, Ph.D.  [Healthcare C 2]  2021

Self-Concept, Healthcare, and Leadership: Understanding the Lived Experiences of Physician Leaders in Urban Community Healthcare Centers



From the abstract: 

"Reducing disparities in health services delivery and outcomes is a continued challenge. The consistence of healthcare disparities, despite advances in medical technology and increased awareness of the problem, poses an ongoing test to the nation. There is a growing body of work that demonstrates providing access to good primary care may be the most effective intervention at hand. For over 40 years, community health centers have been providing quality, comprehensive primary care focusing on reducing health outcome disparities. Increased awareness is now emphasizing primary care elimination of health disparities within disadvantaged, underserved populations. A major failing of the system that delivers healthcare to the urban poor is the dearth of appropriate health care providers. The overarching research question that my study addressed is: How do physicians, who lead in urban community health centers, make meaning of their self-concept and identity in their leadership? The research represented by this dissertation adds to the domain of healthcare leadership because what is needed to transform the landscape of healthcare begins with understanding the “being” aspect of a human being. This study focuses on eight physicians who work in urban community health centers in the southwestern Ohio region, and thirteen interviews describing the phenomena of their meaning making of self and identity. Key findings for understanding motivations, lived backgrounds, career decisions, and/or other rewards that might influence physicians in UCHCs are well established. This qualitative study also represents a unique opportunity to showcase how physician leaders make meaning of self during a pandemic, as well as significant findings of how UCHC physicians are leading in practice for social change "

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Eric is an Assistant Professor of Allied Health at the University of Cincinnati- Blue Ash campus. He is also Co-Owner & Co-Founder of CharltonÔŚĆ Charlton & Associates, an emotional wellness firm. As a previous healthcare administrator, Eric increased productivity and employee morale, managing a diverse staff & bridging gap between physicians, staff & patients. Eric works with employee groups and organizations to address moral injury, burnout, emotional wellness, and the power of ‘Harnessing Happiness’. He has worked in healthcare organizations in over 25 states ranging from Trauma 1 centers to small rural acute care settings. He as an Associate degree in Radiologic Technology from Sinclair Community College, a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Services from Wilberforce University, a Master of Health Administration from Ohio University, a master in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, and a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Eric and his wife have been married for 19 years, and they have two children, a daughter who is a senior Marketing major at the Alabama State University, and a son who is a freshman at the University of Dayton, majoring in Political Science.

Read more about Dr. Eric Charlton and download this dissertation at

Liz Paxton, Ph.D.  [C 17]  2021

Exploring the Use of Courageous Followership in Conversations with Nurses and Their Colleagues



From the abstract: 

"Health care is fraught with communication issues, many of which can lead to patient safety errors and toxic behaviors. Communication in a hierarchical environment has been historically challenging, especially for nurses. Courageous followership, a style of leadership first introduced in the early 1990s, is a duality of “powerful leaders supporting powerful followers” (Chaleff, 2009, p. 3). The tenets of this leadership style empower both the leader and the follower to have the courage: to assume responsibility, serve, transform, challenge, take moral action, speak up to the hierarchy, and listen to the follower. All of these actions are needed in the hierarchical health care environment to empower the staff and the leaders to speak up both for themselves and for their patients. I investigated whether nurses currently utilize the concepts of this leadership style in conversations with their colleagues. Through the use of critical incident technique, stories were collected to understand if this type of leadership is naturally occurring in conversations with nurses and their colleagues. Meaningful incidents, either positive or negative, were collected and analyzed for relevance to this topic. The research showed that positive leadership, CF concepts, and communication can influence and be beneficial to the future health care environment for both staff and patients.”

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Elizabeth L. Paxton, Ph.D., MSN, RN, NE-BC, earned her doctorate in Leadership and Change from Antioch University in Ohio (USA) in 2021. She is currently the Regional Chief Nurse Executive for Providence Health and Services in Alaska. Before joining Providence, she enjoyed a 17-year career at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and a 10-year career at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama. She has focused on team building and healthcare culture for most of her nursing leadership career.  She leveraged this experience in her dissertation which explored the use of courageous followership in healthcare conversations between nurses and their colleagues. Dr. Paxton also consults with nurses on career planning and healthcare environmental culture through her business, Wise Path Leadership.

Read more about Dr. Liz Paxton and download this dissertation at

Lori Hofmann, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2021

How Male Technology Leaders Navigate Inclusion and Diversity Expectations Using a Paradoxical Leadership Framework



From the abstract: 

"Male technology leaders have faced mounting expectations regarding topics related to inclusion, diversity, and equity (IDE). The impact of COVID-19, events exposing racial injustice, as well as political discord in the US have increased sensitivities to when and how leaders should respond to this highly charged arena. This study seeks to understand more about male leaders’ experiences of navigating the tensions and expectations that often accompany enacting IDE practices. Leaders that have experience in leading technology organizations as well as a background in technology or product development participated in interviews exploring various aspects of their experience with IDE topics. The interviewed leaders shared diverse experiences about vulnerability, privilege, making mistakes and taking risks. Often their experience highlighted paradoxes or situations where there was tension between what they were being asked to do and what they felt they should do. The most apparent paradoxes in my interviews had to do with (a) caring for others and revenue generation, (b) challenging and supporting, and (c) being self-centered and being other-centered. The experiences of those interviewed revealed three different approaches taken by leaders in response to IDE initiatives, represented in my study by three different “personas.” Having a strong level of intent toward and impact on IDE defined the first group, while a moderate level of intent and limited impact involving IDE were associated with the second group. The last group had little to no intent and impact concerning IDE topics v and practices. The leader’s characteristics for each persona are defined, including how that leader would need support and what their reaction to crucial paradoxes might be. The construct of personas can provide leaders with clarity regarding behaviors for supporting IDE and training ideas they can request for themselves or for their companies; it can also help leaders recognize the importance of reflection and action regarding various paradoxes that are explained in this work. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, ( and OhioLINK ETD Center, ("

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Lori Hofmann, PhD., PCC, has spent her career exploring a variety of industries and roles, always focusing on how people, processes, and technology work together to support change or hinder it.  Lori is a practitioner at heart.  She worked in portfolio management for many years and developed a deep appreciation for the role of data and reporting in supporting change.  She is always curious about how to make things better for everyone, positively impact the business, change the systems we use, and use technology to achieve our objectives. The drive to understand more about how individuals experience change led her to earn a coaching certification.  She channeled her expertise to focus on helping people create a voice for themselves. Lori found her next journey in the desire to create space for everyone to have their voices heard, their work valued, their development a priority, and to know that those around them have both positive intent and an enriching impact to share. Her most current work focuses on leadership development and coaching. She has worked with all levels of leadership in organizations, helping them develop their inclusive leadership skills, global mindset and challenging them to continue to see opportunities for their growth that will positively impact their organizations. One of Lori’s ultimate goals is to have the skills that support inclusion, diversity, and equity recognized as being at the core of excellent leadership skills.

Read more about Dr. Lori Hofmann and download this dissertation at

Esther Ewurafuah Sackey, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2021

Strengthening Organizational Performance through Integration of Systems Leadership, Participatory Communication, and Dynamic Capabilities



From the abstract: 

"This dissertation seeks to include systems leadership and participatory communication as facilitators of the elements that enhance dynamic organizational capabilities to improve performance. The study employs the normative theory-building process to show how systems leadership and participatory communication can facilitate and enhance dynamic capabilities. Specifically, this dissertation offers an integrative model that combines systems leadership, participatory communication, and dynamic capabilities. The proposed integrative model is accompanied by a series of propositions that extend the dynamic capabilities theory through the integration of systems leadership and participatory communication. The potential relevance and application of the proposed model are demonstrated through multiple case examples. The study may also guide nonprofit and for-profit organizations on improving performance through leadership skills, effective communication, and enhanced dynamic capabilities."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Esther Sackey is currently a licensed Social Worker at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility, a detention center that provides various services and treatment for incarcerated male youth. She provides them with individual counseling and group lessons that target various issues, including conduct disorders, anger, aggression, violence, depression, anxiety, self-injury, and strategies and skills to achieve self-efficacy. Esther is also a trained Journalist and worked as a reporter with the Ghanaian Democrat Newspaper and later as an Editor with the Television Newsroom of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. She covered assignments on social, economic, and political issues before traveling to the United States. As a Journalist, she focused on highlighting the plight and amplifying the voices of the disadvantaged in society, especially teenage mothers who had been forced into marriages and dropped out of school. Her news reports helped the leadership of organizations such as the National Council on Women and Development (NCWD) in Ghana and UNICEF to assist these women with vocational training and other logistics to attain self-efficacy. In the US, she helped the MomsFirst Program of the Cleveland Department of Public Health to highlight the needs of teenage mothers who have dropped out of school and needed assistance to access various resources to improve their lives. Her report on the views gathered from these young women was published and used as evidence to secure funding for the program. As a journalist and Social Worker, Esther has observed a pattern of behavior among leaders of some organizations which prevents growth and excludes others in the decision-making process. Such conduct has created communication and leadership problems that have prevented most organizations from improving their performance. As a result, she has developed a passion for promoting participatory communication and strong leadership skills through research and training. Esther completed her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Relations at the Cleveland State University, a Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA-Social Work) with a concentration in Community and Social Development, and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management (CNM) from the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She also obtained a Master of Communication at the University of Akron with a concentration in Organizational Communication. She recently earned her Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Her research focuses on employing competencies among leadership to ensure inclusive communication in organizations and finding the best strategies and skills organizational leadership can utilize to improve performance and increase their organizations' capabilities.

Read more about Dr. Esther Ewurafuah Sackey and download this dissertation at

Lynette Suliana Sikahema Finau, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2021

Teachers of Color's Perception on Identity and Academic Success: A Reflective Narrative



From the abstract: 

"Research and scholarship in multicultural education has consistently affirmed that as a result of the long standing racial academic achievement gap and the current teaching force not reflecting the changing demographics of students in the United States, students of color continue to be deprived from having teachers who look like them and who may bring similar life, social, and cultural experiences that can increase the value they place on academics. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of teachers of color and how they perceive their identity as significant and meaningful to their profession and its influential impact on the academic success of students of color. It is the role-model premise that students can benefit from seeing teachers with similar racial/ethnic background in a position of authority in school. This research was grounded on the depth that qualitative inquiry brings to the field of education and was critical to the ongoing thematic interpretation of teachers of colors’ often preconceived views of identity. Findings were extracted from 14 teachers of color participants who were engaged in a reflective process that revealed emerging themes from their individual and common perceptions and experiences. This study affirms that teachers of color are vital in the education system and as anticipated, their reflective narratives each produced a landscape of stories that brought meaning into their different backgrounds, personal stories, challenges, belief system, and career that surfaced their initial motivation for entering the teaching profession. This study is also embedded within a framework that draws particularly from two theoretical lenses; identity theory and identity construction theory. Employing identity studies to teachers is an extension of ways in which theoretical views intersects with teachers’ lives, experiences and perceptions of their role and educational practices."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Lynette Suliana Sikahema Finau earned her PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, in Yellow Springs, OH. She holds MA’s in Secondary Education/English and Leadership & Change, a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Culture, Literature & the Arts from the University of Washington. Recognizing the expansion of globalism and ethnic diversity of students in the classroom today, yet the persistent discrepancies in the racial-ethnic composition of the students and the teaching force not keeping up with the changes, Dr. Finau conducted a qualitative research on teachers of color’s racial-ethnic identity, as a tool, can contribute to the success of the students they reflect. She firmly believes that students need to see and have teachers who reflect back their language, their culture, their ethnicity, religion, and their experiences in the classroom. Appointed by Governor Jay Inslee, Dr. Finau became the first Tongan-Pacific Islander to serve as a Commissioner for Washington State’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) chairing the Education Committee for two terms examining and defining issues pertaining to the rights and needs of Asian Pacific Islanders (AAPI’s) and made recommendations to the Governor, state, local leaders and agencies with respect to desirable changes in programs and laws for underserved AAPI communities and students. Happily married to her husband Paul, they have 3 children, Jarett, Jade and PaulaVuna.

Read more about Dr. Lynette Suliana Sikahema Finau and download this dissertation at

Glynell R. Horn Jr., Ph.D.  [C 16]  2021

A History of Distrust: How Knowing the Law Impacts African American Males' Perceptions of Police Encounters



From the abstract: 

"From its inception American Law Enforcement was built from a racially motivated system in which African Americans were subject to discriminatory treatment. Unfortunately, that treatment still persists in modern day policing, which is highlighted by the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd to name a few. There is no surprise that law enforcement needs to be improve trust with the African American community; however there is a dire need for a new approach. This study is unique because unlike previous research this study focuses solely on African American males that reside in disenfranchised communities that are most at risk for experiencing negative encounters with law enforcement. The overall purpose of this mixed-methods action research study was to enhance participants’ knowledge of Texas law. The primary research questions are: (1) How does knowing law impact perceptions of police-civilian encounters on the part of African American males? and (2) how do participant responses change by taking part in an educational session about the law? The research study included 43 Black males between the ages of 18 to 35 years of age from predominantly Black communities within the metro Houston, Texas area. The study consisted of pre- and post-perception surveys and educational tests, videos of police and civilian encounters, educational interventions and focus group discussions. Research findings suggest that an educational intervention did significantly shift participants' perceptions regarding police-civilian encounters in a positive direction. However, participant responses suggest that knowing the law brings police conduct into question; and indeed, knowing the law seemed to result in research participants trusting police even less. Law enforcement agencies can use this action research study to improve relationships with the African American community.”

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Glynell Horn Jr. is a dedicated law enforcement professional and public safety executive with 15 years of progressive experience with the municipal police department in Stafford, Texas. The Stafford Police Department also provides police services for the Stafford Municipal School District, which is the only municipal school district in Texas. He began his career as a patrol officer and quickly rose through the ranks to his current role as Assistant Chief of Police. As a firm believer in the importance of strong organizational culture, Dr. Horn is committed to building transparent environments that promote employee development and inspire trust in leadership. His motto is "Productivity Inspires Credibility." He sets a positive example by embodying this ideal. Also, he is dedicated to fostering employee success by improving training, providing professional development opportunities, creating consistent evaluation processes, and seeking input from superiors and subordinates. At its core, Dr. Horn recognizes that policing is about serving the community by creating a sense of safety and security. His overarching community safety goals are rooted in crime prevention and reduction, organizational excellence, and citizen engagement and involvement. Dr. Horn is passionate about working collaboratively with all communities, especially those from disenfranchised communities. Additionally, Dr. Horn is a strategic thinker who influences others, executes complex problems, and builds strong relationships. Dr. Horn's restorative approach to problem-solving and process improvement has generated positive results within the Stafford Police Department and the community he serves.

Read more about Dr. Glynell R. Horn Jr. and download this dissertation at

Leah Michelle Burton, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2021

Influencing Capitalst Attitudes to Drive More Capital Towards Social Good



From the abstract: 

"The purpose of this study is to better understand how to influence capitalist attitudes and drive more capital towards social good. This is why we must explore the prospect of emancipating the capitalists from capitalism. This study identifies capitalism as a form of oppression that is contributing to a newly developed ethics of capital, a term introduced in this study. Emancipatory action research and general systems theory were employed as the primary approaches to engaging a group of venture capitalists and finance professionals in activities and dialogues. Value2 is the theory of action I use to influence the attitudes of the participants in the study. I developed the Emancipatory Action Map as a tool for capturing the epistemological process catalyzed by Value2. The findings identified common themes and contrasts, such as how participants rationalized their problem-solving, how they responded to the isomorphism between systems operating within capitalism, and how they experienced their own agency in relationship to the problem of driving more capital towards social good."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Michelle Burton serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Community Health Councils & Director of the Social Change Institute, a social enterprise  of CHC, that incubates and accelerates strategies for a more just and equitable society.  As the Director, she has co-designed Leading for Equity, a more equitable and dignified model for advancing impactful capacity building with communities and organizations. Michelle is an LA native and studied at Los Angeles City College, has a BA in Pan African Studies from CSULA an MBA, with a concentration in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University and recently earned her PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Her research focuses on influencing capitalist attitudes to drive more capital towards social good through emancipatory educational practices that catalyze critical thinking and consciousness.

Read more about Dr. Leah Michelle Burton and download this dissertation at

Kristina A. Van Winkle, Ph.D.  [C 15]  2021

Educating for Global Competence: Co-Constructing Outcomes in the Field: An Action Research Project



From the abstract: 

"Capacity building for globally competent educators is a 21st Century imperative to address contemporary complex and constantly changing challenges. This action research project is grounded in positive psychology, positive organizational scholarship, relational cultural theory, and relational leadership practices. It sought to identify adaptive challenges educators face as they try to integrate globally competent teaching practices into their curricula, demonstrate learning and growth experienced by the educators in this project, and provide guidance and solutions to the challenges globally competent educators face. Six educators participated in this three-phase project, which included focus groups, reflective journal entries, and an exit interview. Data were collected, grouped into emergent themes, and organized into cohesive categories. The data from this project supported the creation of two foundational models for educating for global competence. The first is pedagogical and the other, coaching. Both models are in developing stages and are grounded in key theoretical frameworks and the data shared by the participants. Globally competent and globally responsive pedagogy tasks educators with examining their practice through a global and cultural prism to gain clarity of perspective, build social capital, improve relationships, and meet ever-changing local and global challenges. The approaches honor and respect diversity so as to dismantle systems of oppression and fight policies and social norms rooted in cognitive biases. The model integrates theory and key findings from this study to support educators to integrate and implement global competence."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Kristina Van Winkle earned her doctorate in Leadership and Change from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, OH, in 2021.  She holds a Master’s of Arts in Foreign Language and Literatures. Dr. Van Winkle has taught Spanish, English as a Second Language, and Social Sciences to students Pre-kindergarten to Adult for about 20 years.  Her thirst for knowledge and desire to explore, immerse herself, and understand diverse cultures and societies began at a young age. For her dissertation research, Dr. Van Winkle lead an action research project that explored the challenges educators faced as they sought to implement and integrate global competence in their educational practice. As a result of this work, she created a pedagogical model titled A Globally Competent and Globally Responsive Pedagogy as tool to help support educators and leaders implement and integrate globally competent practices in their organizations. She is also creating a framework for coaching for global competence. She currently teaches Spanish at the secondary level and will be working as the California Global Education Project Coaching Project Director at the University of San Diego (USD) School of Leadership and Education Sciences in the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education.

Read more about Dr. Kristina Van Winkle and download this dissertation at

David Lawrence, Ph.D.  [C 17]  2021

Exploring Equity through the Perspective of White Equity-Trained Suburban Educators and Minoritized Parents



From the abstract: 

"The intent of this qualitative critical incident study was to explore the interpretation of equity by White equity-trained suburban educators (WETSE) and minoritized parents (MP) in a Midwestern suburban school district to address and change inequitable student outcomes. WETSE and MP participated independently in focus groups. The research design used critical incident technique (CIT) as the methodology; focus groups as the data collection tool; and thematic analysis (TA) as the analytical tool. Zones of Mediation (ZONE) and Transformative Leadership Theory (TLT) were used to distill and categorize the research findings. WETSE and MP established an agreement on four themes thought to represent impediments to achieving equity in schools (implicit bias, White privilege, diversity, and power). Two divergent themes (WETSE—deficit thinking and MP—stereotyping) and one emergent theme (Equity Training) were generated. The singular stand-alone theme, assimilation, was a complete outlier, and it was generated by MP. All themes were categorized as “normative” or “political” elements of ZONE, demonstrating that technical changes are disconnected from WETSE and MP equity perspectives. Transformative leadership theory (TLT) is composed of eight tenets. WETSE and MP prioritized two of the eight tenets as essential to achieving equity. These findings indicate that changing mindsets (tenet #2) and redistributing power in more equitable ways (tenet #3) are central to achieving equitable school conditions. This study contributes to existing, albeit minimal, literature detailing longitudinal equity training’s effectiveness at deconstructing beliefs and ideologies of White equity-trained suburban teachers and comparing them to minoritized parents’ interpretation of equity using critical incidents. There is a disconnect between this study’s findings and what researchers and practitioners are doing to achieve equitable school outcomes."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. David Lawrence is currently the principal at Northmoor Elementary School. Previously he has served as the principal of a middle school and high school. In addition, he has taught mathematics and science in grades 5-12. Dr. Lawrence has also served as Chief Academic Officer and Chief of School Innovation in multiple school districts. Dr. Lawrence is a national consultant most recently working with Jobs for the Future a Boston, Massachusetts based consulting firm and The Nikhar Group a Columbus, Ohio based consulting firm. Dr. Lawrence holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the University of Cincinnati, master’s degrees with a concentration in leadership from Wright State University and Antioch University. In addition he also holds a superintendent license. Dr. Lawrence is passionate about CrossFit, reading, traveling, and connecting theory to practice in the field of education. Dr. Lawrence is surrounded by three amazing women. His wife Kim is a travel nurse and midwife who enjoys training and traveling with Dr. Lawrence. His daughter Davishay is currently working in Savannah, Georgia after completing her graduate studies at Akron, University and his youngest daughter Kimea is a graduate school student at DePaul University in Chicago majoring in Women’s Studies. Dr. Lawrence’s scholarship focuses on the issues of equity, implicit bias, stereotyping, assimilation, deficit thinking, and suburban school demographics.

Read more about Dr. David Lawrence and download this dissertation at

Kelly Cerialo, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2021

The Social Impacts of Tourism in the UNESCO Champlain Adirondack Biosphere Reserve (USA)



From the abstract: 

"In its most benign form, tourism is able to protect the cultural and ecological integrity of a region and to promote economic development in line with sustainability principles. Additionally, sustainable forms of tourism have the potential to improve the quality of life within the host community by promoting intergenerational equity. However, sustainable models of tourism are extremely challenging to design, implement, and manage at the community level because of competing stakeholder interests. There are significant power dynamics associated with sustainable tourism planning and management that often fail to incorporate all citizens’ voices, particularly those belonging to underprivileged backgrounds. Due to the growth of international tourism (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) and its related impacts, multinational organizations such as the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) continue to collaborate with member states and affiliates to identify methods to improve existing sustainable tourism strategies, discover new ones, and to address the social impacts of tourism globally. This study examines the social impacts of tourism in UNESCO’s Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve and the stakeholders’ dynamics that influence tourism planning in the region. The findings revealed significant new knowledge about social impacts of tourism in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness and a mapping of complex competing stakeholder interests related to tourism management. A conceptual model is offered to assess the social impacts of tourism in international UNESCO Biosphere Reserves."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Kelly L. Cerialo is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in the Business and Hospitality Department at Paul Smith’s College. She is the Co-chair of the UNESCO Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve (New York/Vermont), a steering committee member for the U.S. UNESCO Biosphere Network, and founder/focal point for the U.S. Biosphere Reserve Youth Network. She coordinates international student exchanges with a focus on sustainable tourism and community development in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Italy, Canada, South Africa, and the U.S.  She is the co-founder of the Adirondack to Appeninno Sustainable Parks and Communities Project – an international sustainable tourism initiative between the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano Biosphere Reserve in Italy and the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve. Kelly was the Director of the Global Center for Rural Communities at Paul Smith’s College, and has over a decade of experience building international sustainable development collaborations. Kelly received the David H. Chamberlain Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019 and Faculty Member of the Year at Paul Smith’s College in 2018.  Kelly has presented at United Nations and UNESCO conferences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Africa.  Kelly has a Master's in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, a Master's in Communication Management from the Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor's in Public Relations/Mass Media Communication from The College of New Jersey.  Research interests include the social impacts of tourism in protected areas, tourism in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves governance and management, recreation overuse, youth leadership mentoring in sustainable communities, and cross-cultural communication.

Read more about Dr. Kelly Cerialo and download this dissertation at

Stefanie L. Watson, Ph.D.  [C 11]  2021

Experiencing Race in the Workplace: Understanding How African American Male Leaders Make Sense of Their Race at Work



From the abstract: 

"Weber (2001) defines race as “the grouping of people with certain ancestry and biological traits into categories for differential treatment” (p. 74). Yet, according to the American Anthropological Association (1998) and countless doctors, scientists, geneticists, and scholars, in theory, the term “race” does not scientifically correspond to biological and physiological distinctions and has no empirical basis. Despite the lack of biological basis, racial categories are powerful frameworks for defining self-concepts and structuring opportunities within American society. Within the framework of a racially stratified, White dominated society, individuals who self-identify as White (or are perceived by Whites to be White) receive privileges that are not equally attainable for non-Whites. Even in the 21st century, as in prior centuries, race continues to be used as one of the most instrumental signifiers of differences between people within the United States. Racial categorization has undergirded hierarchical structures powerful enough to determine a group’s access to fundamental human necessities (clean water, food, and safe living conditions), intellectual and economic resources, infrastructures, agricultural and commodity trade markets, and financial systems. Socially and politically, race continues to be an important variable in how individuals are categorized and treated in the United States. The proposed research aims to understand how African American male leaders experience and make sense of their race in the workplace. The knowledge and skills acquired from being an African American male leader in the United States includes navigating a multifaceted intersection of domains such as racial identity, masculinity, and leader development, which encompasses personal and professional lives. This research asserts that African American males’ understanding of race affects their professional relationships and leadership experience in the workplace. This study will explore how African American males’ perceptions of race influence their interactions and leader development at work, including barriers and bridges to communication, stereotype threat, and perceived prejudice and discrimination.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Stefanie is the United States Census Bureau's Chief of Diversity & Inclusion. In this role, she focuses on leading the research, development and implementation of strategic approaches to lead diversity and inclusion efforts.  She can see the bigger picture and is driven by her intellectual curiosity to find answers to the most pressing equity and inclusion challenges. Prior to joining the United States Department of Commerce, she served as the Director for the Office of Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration.  Stefanie began her career in the federal government with the United States Department of Agriculture in 2008 as a federal career intern. She is a highly regarded civil rights, equity & inclusion practitioner. Stefanie’s education background includes a Ph.D. and M.A. degree in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, a M.A. degree in Conflict Resolution from Antioch McGregor University, and a B.A. degree in Spanish from the University of Kentucky. She’s a country girl at heart and enjoys cooking, reading, and travelling. She resides in the Washington D.C. area with her daughter Glory.

Read more about Dr. Stefanie Watson and download this dissertation at

Amy Huntereece, Ph.D.  [C 17]  2021

Shifting Paradigms: Using Action Research to Redefine Engagement in Faith Formation in Unitarian Universalism



From the abstract: 

"The issues that this research addressed were the changes related to engagement in religious education (RE) in the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church in the past several decades. To address this problem, the purpose of this research was to innovatively problem-solve with other religious professionals and consider how to redefine engagement to support families in their faith formation. The research aims to answer the question: How could UU RE professionals more effectively engage families in faith formation opportunities designed to meet the desired outcomes of RE parents/caregivers? To gather data, interviews with seven Millennial and Generation X parents/caregivers from the Baja 4 UU congregations in Southern Arizona were conducted. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed. The data from interviews provided insight about Gen X and Millennial parents’/caregivers’ needs, desires, and expectations and gaps in their RE program, types of multigenerational offerings, and alternative approaches to engagement. A new RE engagement pilot study was designed by a team of innovators and launched for three weeks. Following the pilot study, a summarizing focus group was facilitated. Parents/caregivers had the opportunity to offer additional thoughts, suggestions, and ideas. Together we made meaning of the data from the interviews and focus groups and synthesized it to redefine engagement and offer pedagogical indications for the future of faith formation in the UU church.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Amy Huntereece has served as a nurturer, teacher, and guide for people ages 0-100 for nearly 40 years.  Her experience with Waldorf education has forged a passion for learning from the inside out and her spiritual practice with Unitarian Universalism has fostered a deep appreciation and love for the interconnected web of life.  She earned both her master’s degree in education, Waldorf certification, and PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Dr. Huntereece has always approached change within organizations creatively and positively. She is a proponent for improving systems and meeting the needs of the stakeholders, rather than perpetuating antiquated methods. She desires intellectually stimulating work and chooses to lead through change in supportive, impactful, interconnected, and innovative ways that encourage self-discovery and joy. She is particularly interested in how educators can meet the needs of learners through adaptive, collaborative, and transformational leadership. Amy lives in the beautiful mountains of Flagstaff Arizona with her husband and two teenagers. She enjoys hiking with her dog, cooking home grown veggies in her instant pot, and quieting her academic mind by busying her hands with a crochet project.

Read more about Dr. Amy Huntereece and download this dissertation at

Daniel Kyei-Poakwa, Ph.D.  [C 12]  2021

Restoring the Traditional Quality of African Leadership: Perspectives from the Diaspora



From the abstract: 

"There is a widely held and mainly fair view that Africa’s contemporary leadership is deeply flawed. Reform is needed and this dissertation takes the position that the challenges to and desirable characteristics of leadership are understood and can be influenced by Africans living in the Diaspora. To explore the challenges and possible solutions, four focus groups were convened drawing on Diasporic Africans living in Rhode Island in the United States. Each group meeting was facilitated by the researcher and discussed several questions about the most needed changes in leadership in Africa today. These concerned the most desirable characteristics in political leadership in Africa and how Diasporic African leaders can support leadership improvement in Africa. All group discussions began with consideration of the philosophy and relevance of Ubuntu a tradition-based perspective that has re-emerged through Africa in the last 30 years. Groups discussed how leadership renewal and improvement related to reviving practices based on Ubuntu. Transcripts from these sessions were analyzed for the number of mentions of particular ideas. Results were condensed into clusters of related ideas and themes for purposes of discussion. The top responses to the first question about challenges were about incompetence; corruption; and the exclusion of good leaders and officials because of sexism, tribalism, and nepotism. The leading responses to the second question on desirable leadership characteristics emphasized honesty, personal qualities of leaders, achieving visionary leadership, and enacting democratic values. In response to the third question of involving the Diaspora, a diverse range of ways in which help would be given were enumerated. This work concludes with a synthesis of the perspectives of Diasporic Africans on how to restore sound leadership in home countries

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Danny Kyei-Poakwa, originally from Ghana, West Africa, is a Diasporan African leader living in Rhode Island. Danny is an ordained Bishop and clergy leader with the Church of God International. He serves as the lead pastor at the House of Deliverance Church of God in Dorchester, Massachusetts. A district bishop for 10 churches across Southern New England (SNE), Bishop Danny has been the lead council of the SNE Regional Council of Bishops which consists of 120 churches for seven years. He is also the Regional Director of Education for the SNE Church of God as well as a member of the Church Health and Revitalization Task Force, Cleveland, Tennessee. Bishop Danny is an adjunct professor at Providence College. He is an author, publisher, leadership coach, conference speaker and an accomplished educator. He is also an Afro-optimist, and a Pan-African who has a passion for leadership excellence in the Church and Africa, an Ubuntu believer, and a dedicated community and people enhancer. He has published the following books: Flourishing in Uncertain Times: Principles for Excelling in a Difficult World”, and Open Heavens (volumes 1, 2 & 3). He is a loving husband, father, and grandfather.

Read more about Dr. Daniel Kyei-Poakwa and download this dissertation at

MaryAnn Martinez, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2021

Human Centeredness: The Foundation for Leadership-as-Practice in Complex Local/Regional Food Networks



From the abstract: 

"Our local and regional food systems are predominately modeled on a failed capitalist market-based economy. In the absence of corporate accountability, and/or support on the federal policy level, local and regional leadership and self-organized networks are critical to the scaling across and evolution of a moral and equitable food system. Networked food systems leaders are developing the capacity to solve wicked problems, and spark change. Understanding the values and practices of local food systems leadership, that initiate, influence, and support activities is essential to understanding how to foster conditions for local and regional food network growth. My dissertation research is designed to better understand the leadership practices, values and use of power which contribute to the flourishing of food system networks. In this mixed method study, I set out to answer the question, “What is the nature of leadership in emerging local and regional food networks that provides the foundation for a network to strengthen and scale?” This dissertation establishes Human Centeredness as a foundation for Leadership as Practice to occur in self-organized food systems networks. Human Centeredness, for the purposes of my framework and model, is a recognition of the importance and contribution that relationships and connection, essentially a human centered way of being make to laying the foundation for leadership as practice to occur. The findings also reveal the need for a greater understanding of the importance of power and accessing various forms of power within and beyond the known boundaries of networks.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

MaryAnn Martinez has a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Food Systems, and a Master’s in Leadership and Change. She is the Executive Director of the New London Community Meal Center in New London, CT.  MaryAnn is also a social systems network consultant offering support in network design, facilitation, and the development of structures that activate self-organizing, equity, and justice at the intersection of food systems, politics, and the environment. To this work, in addition to education, MaryAnn brings years of expertise in non-profit and local government in the areas of health and nutrition, youth substance abuse prevention, and other social issues, as well as practical food systems experience as a vegetable and livestock farmer, in both for-profit and social enterprises. A former masters cycling champion, MaryAnn, when not working, can usually be found growing food, and running or doing a CrossFit workout. She is also enjoys a good game of Scrabble, or hanging out with family, friends, and pets.

Read more about Dr. MaryAnn Martinez and download this dissertation at

Greta Creech, Ph.D.  [C 17]  2021

Holding on to Who They Are: Pathways for Variations in Response to Toxic Workplace Behavior Among U.S. Intelligence Officers



From the abstract: 

"The U.S. intelligence community is a critical mission industry responsible for protecting lives and safety in ways that impact the global security environment. Research on the deleterious impact of toxic workplace behavior on other critical mission fields, such as health care and the U.S. military, is robust. However, intelligence scholars publishing within the unclassified arena have been silent on the phenomenon, how personnel respond to it, and how it may impact the intelligence function. This lack of scholarship has afforded an opportunity to understand what constitutes toxic behavior in the intelligence environment and how it may affect U.S. national security objectives. This study presents a theoretical model of response to toxic workplace behavior among intelligence officers in the U.S. intelligence community that centers on a single goal: Holding Self. Using grounded theory methodology and situational analysis in two segments, the study examines how intelligence officers responded and the role that efforts to hold onto self-concepts played in those responses. The findings included three psychological dimensions, three action dimensions, and two inter-dimensions of response. The findings also included identification of the broader ecological situation conditioning response and how those choices operationalized into the business of being intelligence officers. The final model serves as a foundation for future empirical research on the topic.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Greta E. Creech, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in Leadership and Change from Antioch University in Ohio (USA) in 2021. She leveraged a 20-year career leading U.S. intelligence teams at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and in broader national security roles at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in her studies. In her dissertation, Dr. Creech explored the sociopsychological reasons for response to toxic workplace behavior among U.S. intelligence officers and the impact of those response patterns on the intelligence mission. She is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies at The Citadel (the Military College of South Carolina). She also consults with senior leaders of U.S.-based start-ups and high-growth businesses on strategic planning and workforce development through her firm, Tundra Star, LLC. Ms. Creech is the recipient of 13 professional awards, including NGA’s agency-wide “Program Office Administration Exemplary Leadership Award.”

Read more about Dr. Greta Creech and download this dissertation at

Brad Levenberg, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2021

Applying the Present to the Past: The Experiences of Five Civil Rights Rabbis in Context of Contemporary Leadership Theory



From the abstract: 

"This dissertation examines the experiences of five civil rights-era rabbis (William Silverman, Randall Falk, Alfred Goodman, Irving Bloom, and Burton Padoll) to highlight their contributions, leadership approaches, struggles, and achievements with a particular emphasis on social justice. As each of the rabbis drew from their understanding of the richness of the Jewish textual canon, the study includes a survey of Biblical, Talmudic, and contemporary Jewish sources that laid the groundwork for their rabbinic activism and which compel rabbis today. The study dramatically highlights those texts as providing applicable strategies with regard to leading a congregation with a “prophetic” voice, knowing when to speak out, and how to do so, strategies that inspired—and inspire—rabbis to engage in work intended to make their communities more just and equitable. Each of the five rabbis featured in the dissertation produced vast amounts of correspondence, sermonic materials, and other writings, making archival research a particularly useful methodology to explore the volumes of primary sources and provide insight into the individual and collective experiences of these rabbis. Particular attention is further paid to context as a means of highlighting and distinguishing the choices that these rabbis made as leaders of and within their communities. The dissertation contributes to the leadership legacy of these rabbis by contributing new and relevant materials to scholarship around the civil rights movement, the American Jewish experience, and the intersection of the two.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Brad Levenberg grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where he was regularly sent to the office of the Sunday School Principal for incessantly talking during class. Embracing that “talent” and realizing that all that was missing was a larger audience and a microphone, Brad decided to pursue the congregational rabbinate at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion following his undergraduate education at Antioch College. He embraced opportunities while in seminary to work as a student rabbi in New Jersey, Virginia, and Ohio, and in chaplaincy settings in New York, but credits his role as a Youth Advisor, working with sarcastic and unruly teens, as the experience that best prepared him for congregational work. An innovator who embraces the mandate to “create positive Jewish memories”, Rabbi Levenberg came to Temple Sinai in Sandy Springs following his ordination in 2006. He utilized his conversational style of teaching and overly-verbose sermons to win the hearts of the congregation and was promoted from Assistant Rabbi to Associate Rabbi in 2009, a position he still holds to this day. Rabbi Levenberg has served on many boards throughout his career in Atlanta. Because his opinions are not welcomed by his family at home, he serves at present on the boards of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, the Anti-Defamation League, and Neranena (formerly the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival). He co-chairs the AJC’s Black-Jewish Coalition and serves as chair of the Sandy Springs Interfaith Clergy Association. In May, 2021, he completed his doctorate from Antioch University in Leadership and Change. Rabbi Dr. Levenberg (as he is known by his very proud mother) published a dissertation titled Applying the present to the past: The experiences of five civil rights rabbis in context of contemporary leadership theory in which he explores the leadership legacy of five social justice rabbis. He enjoys sharing his findings as Scholar in Residence, in various sermons, at dinner parties and cocktail receptions, and with his friends and family. Truth be told, Rabbi Dr. Levenberg does not need an audience to be entertained by his own whimsy. Rabbi Dr. Levenberg is married to Rebecca Levenberg, a defender of the arts through her work at the Woodruff Art’s Center as the Director of Foundations and Grants, and is the parent of Ilana, a high school student who is deeply invested in Black Rights, and Evan, a middle school student who is struggling with determining whether he will become a YouTube star or a professional NBA player. Rabbi Dr. Levenberg’s family contributes greatly to his sense of optimism and appreciation of joy as well as to an increasing collection of grey hair.

Read more about Rabbi Dr. Brad Levenberg and download this dissertation at

Hays Moulton, Ph.D.  [C 13]  2021

Novice Teachers' Sensemaking in an era of Accountability: Implications for school Leaders



From the abstract: 

"The purpose of this research study was to examine how novice teachers make sense of the realities of their chosen profession, given their initial motivations for entering the profession. My research into teacher motivation and retention provided evidence that teachers did enter the field for altruistic reasons and that as many as 50% of all new teachers in urban schools did not last beyond five years. When they begin teaching, they find a field that is heavily impacted by strict accountability standards and required mandated testing. I used Sensemaking Theory and Self-Determination Theory to examine how beginning teachers make sense of their chosen profession, how the principles of Self-Determination Theory interact with sensemaking to influence teachers’ decisions to stay or leave teaching, and whether teachers would indicate points of influence that school leaders had used to help them decide to keep teaching. I used narrative inquiry to interview 21 teachers who were in their 3rd to 6th year of teaching from public schools at different grade levels and specializations. My interviews suggest that teachers who decide early in their lives to become teachers were more likely to have trouble making sense of the urban school classroom compared to teachers who decided to become teachers as adults, especially after working in a different field. This suggests that school leaders should consider teachers’ motivation to enter teaching as they design professional development opportunities and assign teachers to teams.”

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Moulton started teaching in public schools as a way to effect change one person at a time. He has taught special needs children, middle schoolers, and served for ten years as a school building administrator. Since 2012 he has been on the faculty at Antioch University, first in the school administration and teacher licensure program, then in the Masters in Change Leadership and MBA programs, and currently as Chair of Undergraduate Studies for Antioch University Online. As a public school teacher and administrator he was exposed to “research” of all kinds, usually associated with an expensive textbook series or professional development being offered. He was assessed annually on the scores that his students received on standardized tests and tried to understand how to use that data to improve his own classroom and the schools he was a part of. Somehow the numbers never told the whole story of how his students were doing in school. As a faculty member at Antioch University for the last nine years, he has worked with teachers, administrators, and people from many other fields, coming to understand that his definition of “data” was far too narrow, and did not express the stories of his students’ lives. His passion now lies in trying to understand individual stories that tell about their experiences and how that can inform all of our lives, helping to celebrate the diversity of our existence.

Read more about Dr. Hays Moulton and download this dissertation at

Sara Frost, Ph.D.  [C 15]  2021

Optimism at Work: Measuring and Validating Scales to Measure Workplace Optimism



From the abstract: 

A growing body of research has shown the benefits of optimism on health, socioeconomic status, and at work. This two-phase mixed-method study revised and validated an instrument to measure an employee’s personal experience with optimism in their workplace. This study also developed two additional scales to measure the degree to which individuals engage in optimistic leadership skills, and an organization’s readiness to cultivate optimism. In Phase 1, 697 responses from an online survey were analyzed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Regression analysis indicated that an employee’s personal experience of factors associated with optimism at work influenced their perception of their workplace’s readiness to cultivate optimism. Regression analysis also indicated that an individual’s personal tendency toward optimism influenced their personal experience with optimism at work. The study also validated the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey and the Life Orientation Test-Revised for this study’s sample. In Phase 2, the measures developed in Phase 1 were piloted with the 30-person office staff of a Midwestern paper manufacturing company to provide feedback on the accuracy of the scales. The findings help to advance research on optimism at work and support future studies to explore more deeply the impact of optimism at work."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Sara Frost is an eternal optimist who loves helping nonprofit organizations improve their operations and make life better for both their employees and the people they serve. She currently works as the Program Operations Manager for the Life is Good Playmakers, a nonprofit dedicated to helping childcare professionals build life-changing relationships for the kids in their care. Sara has spent her career working in education-based nonprofits and with social entrepreneurs. Working for mission driven social entrepreneurs is a key priority for Sara as she sees social entrepreneurs as a vehicle for addressing the wicked problems of the world. A recent graduate of the Doctoral program in leadership and Change at Antioch University, Sara holds an M.S. in Human Service Administration focusing on nonprofit management and fundraising from Louisiana State University Shreveport, and an ED.S. in Special Education from Bay Path University. Sara is a perpetual student who enjoys trying new hobbies, creating art, and spending time with her family in Hudson, MA. She hopes to leave the world a little better than she found it.

Read more about Dr. Sara Frost and download this dissertation at

Sara Safari

Sara Safari, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2021

Virtual Empowerment: The Exploration of Leadership Aspirations of Young Nepali Girls Using Virtual Participatory Action Research



From the abstract: 

Adolescent girls in developing countries, especially those from impoverished backgrounds, face many challenges, such as cultural preference for sons, child marriage, and gender-based violence and harassment, which limit their access, opportunities, and leadership skills. The purpose of this study was to create a virtual empowerment and leadership program for young women based on extant literature, as well as best practices empowerment programs from South East Asia and empirical data. The main goal of the study using Virtual Participatory Action Research (V-PAR) was to organically create a leadership development program where the participants are the developers of the program. The goal of this approach is not only to create a sense of ownership among the participants, but also to empower them with culturally compatible knowledge and skill-sets. The workshop’s objective was designed and conducted by, and for, female college students to empower themselves to take on leadership roles in their personal and professional lives. What separated this research from similar leadership workshops and women’s empowerment programs was using the emergent methodology V-PAR, which became essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited research has been conducted on marginalized communities virtually by collaboration with local facilitators from the same culture. Furthermore, using V-PAR methodology supported the creation of a virtual environment for young women who live in underprivileged areas in Nepal and who lack accessibility and facilities needed to gain knowledge and competencies. The workshop generated a dynamic, iterative, and interactive setting that fostered continuous learning, support, feedback, and mentoring between the participants, and served as an ongoing incubator for development of leadership skills."


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Sara Safari is originally from Iran. She now lives in Irvine, California. She is an author, speaker, mountain climber, college professor, Electrical Engineer and advocate for women empowerment. She has received the award for The Global Citizen from United Nations Association in 2015. She is a board member and director of development in Empower Nepali Girls foundation. She also has received the award for Outstanding Practice with Broad Impact in the area of women and leadership from International Leadership Association in 2017. Sara is climbing the Seven Summits, the seven highest peaks in each continent, to raise funds for seven organizations who are empowering women. She published her books “Follow my Footsteps”,  “Above the Mountain Shadow” and “Making a Difference” to share her story with the world to inspire people to climb their own Everests. She is also working on a featured film and a documentary with a team of producers who have extensive experience working on complex social justice issues.

Read more about Dr. Sara Safari and download this dissertation at

Rachel Lucy

Rachel Lucy, Ph.D.  [Healthcare C 2]  2021

Amplifying Community Voice in Multi-Sector Health Collaboration: Case Study Exploring Meaningful Inclusion



From the abstract: 

There has been recognition in a consistent and long-term way that the most complex health issues of our time cannot be solved by one sector alone. Actions of funders and new policy spanning the last two decades have successfully attracted a diversity of sectors into planning circles. Many multi-sector collaborations (MSCs) aiming to improve community health have the desire to include the voices of those with lived experience in collaborative efforts, but they are challenged by conditions that are inevitably disengaging because of continued power imbalances, excessive bureaucratic process, and lack of action for change. A collaboration operating in the Gorge region of Oregon offers insight on how to rise above these challenges to inclusively engage those with lived experience. The Gorge has earned national notoriety as a result of improved community health indicators and the structure for collaboration and engagement make it a positive outlier. This exploratory case study asked the central question of what shapes inclusive engagement of participants with lived or living experience in MSCs working towards community health improvement. The study offers insight into (a) conditions that nurture a culture of collaboration and empowerment; (b) the role formal sector participants play in equitably sharing power; (c) how power viewed through an empowerment frame resonated most for those with lived experience; and (d) the ways collaborations can intentionally create meaningful inclusion through structure and informality. The study concludes with implications for future research and researcher reflections."


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Rachel Lucy is the Northwest Director of Community Health for PeaceHealth, a non-profit healthcare system serving 10 communities in the Pacific Northwest. Her career has focused on advocating for the underserved, community wellness, and caregiver engagement. Rachel served as the previous Director of Learning and Development launching the PeaceHealth Leadership Institute and is an experienced planner and facilitator of large group learning forums and programs, including leadership summits. Rachel finds inspiration in partnering with leaders and teams who share a deep commitment to enhancing community health and wellbeing. Always fascinated by the power of collaboration, Rachel knows that to be successful, community health organizations must engender trustworthiness, be consistent, take action and speak the truth to one another, policy makers, and community leaders. She believes each of these is vital to success. She served two consecutive terms on the Whatcom County Public Health Advisory Board and was nominated for the 2017 Professional Woman of the year by Whatcom Women in Business. In 2017, Rachel was named one of the Tomorrow’s Leaders of the Catholic Health Ministry by the Catholic Health Association and was the PeaceHealth Spirit of Healing overall recipient in 2014. She holds a degree in Community Health from Western Washington University, a Master’s in Organizational Psychology from Antioch University Seattle and a Master’s in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Rachel also received her Mastering Professional Management certificate from the Institute of Generative Leadership. Rachel and her partner, Jason live in the Pacific Northwest and keep busy raising their two active daughters.

Read more about Dr. Rachel Lucy and download this dissertation at

Adoum K Ey Moussa

Adoum K Ey Moussa, Ph.D.  [C 13]  2021

The Challenge of Tribal Relations in Chad: Impacts on Socioeconomic Development



From the abstract: 

The multitude of different tribes in Africa is what makes the continent rich and diverse. At the same time, this diversity, when combined with self-centered and exclusive behaviors, can yield detrimental impact on the economy and society. This dissertation examined tribalism, defined as favoritism based on kinship, and its impacts on socioeconomic development on the Republic of Chad. Specially, this research investigated tribalism and its direct and indirect influence on corruption, human capital potential, social justice, and socioeconomic development in Chad. This mixed-methods study comprised a two-phase design. The first phase was mainly a quantitative survey that was administered to 161 participants, followed by a qualitative approach comprised of semi-structured interviews. Finally, an integrated analysis, synthesizing findings from the two phases, provided a comprehensive view on tribalism and its impact on socioeconomic development in Chad. Findings from this study demonstrated that while tangible progress has been made on many fronts in Chad, participants’ perception about tribalism, corruption, human capital potential, social justice, and socioeconomic development indicated that more work remains to be done. The study also highlighted the existence of multiple linkages among tribalism, corruption, human capital potential, social justice, and socioeconomic development. The findings further indicated that in addition to direct linkages with socioeconomic development, tribalism indirectly influenced development goals through corruption, human capital potential, and social justice. Finally, the results and insights informed the creation of an emergent model on tribalism and its impacts on socioeconomic development.”


Read more about Dr. Adoum K Ey Moussa and download this dissertation at

Maria A. Caban Alizondo

Maria A. Caban Alizondo, Ph.D.  [Healthcare C 1]  2021

Dialogic Identity Construction: The Influence of Latinx Women's Identities in their Health Information Management Practice



From the abstract: 

The purpose of this qualitative research was to study the experiences of Latinx women who lead in health information management in the United States. Latinx health information management professionals are faced with everchanging workplace dynamics and biases in which they are repeatedly reminded of their individual and ethnic differences that require them to construct and co-construct new facets to their identities in social contexts. By grounding this work in narrative inquiry and viewing identities critically, space is given for delving deeper into the specifics of how gender, ethnicity, culture, and class influenced Latinx women’s leadership practice. Interviews offered the opportunity for discussion about how the Latinx women in this study navigated various faultlines and engaged in internal dialogues that contributed to their ability to construct, co-construct, and refuse identities on offer in two social contexts, family and the workplace. A Model of Dialogic Identity Construction in Practice emerged as a result of the participants' stories. While this study shines a light on Latinx women, it also creates awareness and discussion for all ethnic minorities who are often underrepresented and overlooked in the workplace."


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Maria Caban Alizondo is a practicing health information professional and is the Director of health information management at a large academic health system. Leading healthcare teams for over twenty-five years, she has served as President of the California Health Information Association, and as a Board Director for the national association, AHIMA. She holds a graduate degree in Organizational Leadership with a focus in Servant Leadership from Gonzaga University and is a Fellow of the American Health Information Management Association. Her professional practice is focused on strategic organization change and leadership development with minority women. Maria speaks and presents nationally and internationally to the health information, information technology, and healthcare services sectors about regulatory and operational impacts in healthcare with a focus on the importance of understanding the intersections of diversity that includes an appreciation of the value that ethnic minorities, and in particular Latinx women bring the workforce. Maria is a dedicated thoughtful–disruptor and change agent committed to advocacy and leader development in her work as a scholar–practitioner.

Read more about Dr. Maria A. Caban Alizondo and download this dissertation at

Betty Johnson

Betty J. Johnson, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2021

Video Meetings in a Pandemic Era: Emotional Exhaustion, Stressors, and Coping



From the abstract: 

In the first quarter of 2020, societal upheavals related to the COVID-19 pandemic included employers’ work-from-home mandates and an almost overnight adoption of video meetings to replace in-person meetings no longer possible due to contagion fears and social distancing requirements. This exploratory study aimed to address, in part, the scientific knowledge gap about video meetings as a source of emotional labor. The study used mixed methods to explore three hypotheses concerning how the contemporary use of video meetings related to emotional exhaustion, stressors, and coping. Findings based on a series of linear regression analyses and qualitative data thematic analysis showed video meeting hours and surface acting significantly related to a higher level of emotional exhaustion. Extrovertism, nonwork video gatherings, and social support from another adult in the home were nonsignificant in their relationships with emotional exhaustion. Perceptions that video meetings were too many for participants to accomplish their overall job responsibilities were significantly related to a higher emotional exhaustion level. Perceptions that video meetings were useful to the participant significantly related to a lower emotional exhaustion level. Perceptions that family, household, and personal responsibilities competed for the energy participants needed to do their jobs successfully were also significantly related to a higher emotional exhaustion level. Qualitative data analysis also revealed emergent themes that suggest implications for practitioners and direction for future research.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Betty J. Johnson is a leadership and change consultant. At the heart of her work is the wellbeing principle that people thrive at work when they accomplish their goals while building positive relationships. Her 30 years’ experience includes all levels of an organization—senior executive, practice leader, frontline manager, trainer, and sales professional roles—and is enriched by her international consulting with business, government, and non-profit organizations. After receiving a B.A. in English from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Johnson participated in a national security program at the U.S. Army War College where she discovered her professional purpose: to help leaders generate engagement, high performance, positive relationships, and meaning for themselves and others. Dr. Johnson’s firm, Bridging the Difference, LLC, applies scientific research-based practices, real-work practical lessons, and an empathetic process to help leaders recognize behavior-goal misalignments that create churn. She helps them develop their ability to get the results they want: deep-level diversity, equity, and inclusion; empathy as a performance enabler; participatory management and employee empowerment; high-performance teams; change and resilience, and; problem resolution. Dr. Johnson’s doctorate from Antioch University concentrates on Leadership and Change. Her doctoral research illuminates significant relationships between video meetings, stressors, coping resources, and cognitive coping in the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Through this research, she provides straightforward, results-based recommendations for researchers and practitioners..

Read more about Dr. Betty Johnson and download this dissertation at

Brittany Motley

Brittany Motley, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2021

Higher Education's Immunity to Change: Understanding How Leaders Make Meaning of Their Student Success Landscape



From the abstract: 

Closing equity gaps in the higher education sector is a long-standing issue. This issue has become exacerbated with the impact of COVID-19 and racial injustices happening across America. Now more than ever it has become imperative to use participatory action research to understand how leaders make meaning of their student success landscape and use that meaning to influence their strategic action for equity. I engaged two student success stakeholders from one university as co-researchers to help identify a problem in practice as it relates to equity gaps in student success. We used a modified approach to immunity to change (ITC) coaching coupled with an action inquiry framework to assist student success stakeholders with processing and reflecting on this problem to enact change. Co-researchers identified groups of stakeholders, referred to as “ITC participants,” based on their problem in practice to complete modified ITC mapping. I then used the findings from the modified ITC mapping to ask co-researchers to develop a plan of action to sustain momentum around resolving the Problem in Practice. This qualitative research project revealed three key findings: (a) understanding problems that relate to equity requires disaggregating data; (b) staff who are on the ground are key in understanding student success and creating a student-centered culture; and (c) leaders’ beliefs are translated into actions and demonstrated in structures and policies created.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Brittany Motley is a Director and Principal Consultant at the Education Advisory Board (EAB) in Washington, DC. In this capacity, she works with regional partnerships to execute best practices to close equity gaps within regions. She helps cultivate regional partnerships between higher education institutions to optimize their student success efforts to close equity gaps. Nothing excites Dr. Motley’s passion more than finding innovative ways to create access and remove barriers for underserved students. She has spent her career working in the higher education sector cultivating her expertise in holistic student support, change management in higher education, and advancing equity and creating inclusive cultures. In addition to earning her bachelor’s degree in Pure Mathematics and two master’s degrees in business and Computer Science from Kentucky State University, Dr. Motley serves as a widely traveled action researcher working with many institutions across the US to help institutions attain their student success outcomes. Dr. Motley is committed to her research agenda of understanding how leaders make meaning of their student success landscape to enact appropriate strategies to transform the higher education sector.

Read more about Dr. Brittany Motley and download this dissertation at

Shandell Maxwell

Shandell Maxwell, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2021

Religious Racial Socialization: The Approach of a Black Pastor at an Historic Black Baptist Church in Orange County, California



From the abstract: 

This case study explored and developed the religious racial socialization (RRS) approach of a Black Baptist pastor in Orange County, California. The aim was to assess how the pastor’s direct messages about race influenced and transformed members’ racial and social views and actions and examined the message alignment between what the pastor said and what church members and the leadership team heard. This study took a multimethod exploratory approach, examining multiple sources of data gathered from a Likert scale members’ survey, leadership team interviews, and archival materials. To support triangulation of the data, a word query and emergent thematic analysis was conducted on all qualitative data and a descriptive analysis based on closed-ended questions from the member survey. Results indicated that members perceived the pastor as a Coach when talking about racial and social justice matters and an Inclusive Leader because of his encouragement to love everyone. Additionally, archival findings revealed the church culture as Righteous because of the pastor and members’ desire for morality and justice. Moreover, findings suggest that a Pastor who coaches and educates on racial matters, and advocates for justice in and outside of the church, is progressive and effective in transforming how members respond to racism and social injustice. The study provides examples on how to approach and manage racial discussions in the church, how to create an inclusive environment where diverse groups feel safe to talk about race, and how to prepare for and manage cultural change.


From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Shandell Maxwell is a multitalented professional and community activist from Southern California. Shandell uses her experience and knowledge in people development, education, business, change management, activism, and artistic expression to inspire positive change in any environment she enters. As an artist and social activist, Shandell has produced film-work and given talks expressing the importance of sharing personal stories to bridge communities and build empathy. In Orange County, Shandell is most known for her film Black Behind the Orange Curtain launched in 2013. This short documentary highlighted the Black experience in Orange County, in addition to the need for story sharing between diverse groups. It was Shandell’s community work that led her to pursue a doctorate in leadership and change. Her goal was to explore the role of Black Pastors' in supporting the Black community and race relations in Orange County. ´╗┐Shandell’s mentor in community activism through storytelling is civil rights activist Joseph Jackson Jr., leader of the Tougaloo Nine (1961) who was mentored by Medgar Evers. Shandell's mission is to help people, communities, and organizations thrive by recognizing the true value of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Read more about Dr. Shandell Maxwell and download this dissertation at