Local doctoral student named Nobel Peace Scholar

Cohort 10 student Suzie Dollesin recently had the honor of being invited to the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Forum brings together Nobel laureates, world leaders, and accomplished peacemakers with students and community members to work on building a world in which people can live full, rich, meaningful lives. This year’s Forum focused on dialogue and strengthening democracy in divided societies.

“The theme of this year’s forum revolved around dialogue, and we were provided with ample opportunity to engage in rich discussion with all of the guests,” says Dollesin. “My biggest take-away is that all roads lead to the power of education, but not in the simplistic sense that knowledge is power. Knowledge is not given nor is it received. Knowledge is developed through dialogue because the negotiation of meaning enhances understanding, and this is what education promotes.”

The delegates included, in part:

  • Hassine Abassi, Mohamed Mahfoudh, and Abdesattar Ben Moussa – three of the original four members of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet that succeeded in forging a new democracy for which they received the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015.
  • The Honorable Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, who are currently leading efforts to reduce gun violence
  • Native American Leaders who continue the fight against the Keystone Pipeline across protected Native-American lands, including Standing Rock

Dollesin and the other Peace Scholars were selected through a rigorous application and interview process. This year, students from Sacramento State were invited to apply along with students from  Augsburg College, Augustana University (Sioux Falls), Concordia (Moorhead), Luther College, Pacific Lutheran University, St. Olaf  College and University of Hawaii, Manoa. The Peace Scholars will further be invited for a seven-week academic experience in Norway.

Hassine Abassi, Mohamed Mahfoudh, and Abdesattar Ben Moussa – three of the original four members of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet that succeeded in forging a new democracy for which they received the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015.
Dr. Elijah Anderson, Professor of Sociology at Yale University and author of recent ethnographic work entitled “The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life”; and Doualy Xaykaothao, Hmong-Texan, born in Laos and raised in Texas – NPR journalist and session moderator
Native American Leaders who continue the fight against the Keystone Pipeline across protected Native-American lands, including Standing Rock
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Dr. Tammy Sinkfield-Morey who developed a project to address victims of physical and emotional trauma entitled “StoryCare: Connecting Across Cultures Through Story”
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The 2017 Sac State Social Science and Interdisciplinary Studies (SSIS) Peace Scholar Awardees
Erica Ford, Executive Director of LIFE Camp, Inc. and TED Talk presenter of “From Angry Peacemaker to Heart Leader”; with scholar Morgan Summers
The Honorable Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, who are currently leading efforts to reduce gun violence; with scholar Keely Adams
Ann Bancroft, founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation and internationally recognized leader dedicated to inspiring women and young girls around the world to “unleash the power of their dreams”, and Dr. David Andersen-Rodgers, Associate Professor of Government and coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Resolution minor at California State University, Sacramento



To grant or not? Tax abatements subject of professor’s research cited in national journal

A recent article about property tax incentives for business in Land Lines, a magazine published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, cites research by Sacramento State Professor Robert Wassmer in “suggesting that incentives erode tax bases while spawning additional roads, sewers, and public services that governments must maintain and finance for the foreseeable future.”

Rob WassmerPhoto by Steve McKay
Robert Wassmer

Dr. Wassmer is Director of the Master’s in Urban Land Development Program and Acting Chairperson and Professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration, as well as a core faculty member of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program.

The writer cites Dr. Wassmer’s research published In a 2009 Lincoln Institute report, where he offers four questions for public officials to consider when deciding whether or not to grant a tax abatement to a business:

  1. Will the business actually relocate its operations if its tax abatement request is denied?
  2. Will the tax incentive make the business more profitable in your town than in other towns that are also offering similar subsidies?
  3. Will the firm still be responsible for taxes or fees that exceed the cost of providing new public services, once the tax deal is in place, so that government funds aren’t depleted?
  4. If not, is the fiscal stress generated by the tax deal worth the benefits of jobs generation, potential neighborhood revitalization, and shot at additional businesses as a result of the multiplier effect?

Dr. Wassmer was recently awarded the 2017 Chester A. Newland Academic Excellence award from the Sacramento Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

Read “GASB 77: Revealing the Cost of Property Tax Incentives for Business” from Land Lines Magazine.

Celebrating 2017 Doctoral Graduates

The highlight of the year is a Graduation Celebration for doctoral candidates who will be hooded at the spring commencement ceremony.

During the celebration on May 11, after introductory remarks by the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, nine of the graduating students offered insights about their transformational doctoral journey.

Sally Monical: Keep your eyes open and look at the path

Malika Hollinside: I needed a program that would allow me to maintain my integrity and my desire for change, my edge to be radical and to impact the system in dramatic ways

Roderick Hayes: Gratitude is the word I would use to reflect on my experience

Daniel DeVere: Having other cohort members to bond with, socialize with, and sometimes commiserate with certainly helped to lighten the load

Robert Johnson: Anything can be achieved with hard work

Bouchaib Benmira: I’m looking forward to making change in people’s life

Steve Roberson: Helping young men and women change their lives

Katrina Pimentel: Always room for improvement, even with a doctoral degree

Nazia Mostafa: My work in the field of education is most certainly not over

Special screening of Beyond Measure for Sacramento educators April 20

The makers of Beyond Measure believe children’s health and success hinges on changing school culture from the ground up – 
ensuring that it’s centered around student wellness at every turn.

That’s why you are invited to a special screening of Beyond Measure from 7-9 pm April 20 at Sierra 2 Theater, 2791 24th Street, Sacramento. We need leaders in every community who can engage diverse stakeholders, assess individual school needs, and create space for localized conversation and action about childhood health and learning.

Since 2009, more than 8000 schools have shown either Race to Nowhere or Beyond Measure to facilitate meaningful conversations about creating healthy learning environments for our children.

The Sacramento screening on April 20 is sponsored by the School Psychology Program and the Doctorate in Educational Leadership in the College of Education at Sacramento State. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $15 at the door. Proceeds of the event go to support doctoral students. Purchase advance tickets at bit.ly/BMSierra2.


Professor Wassmer wins public policy award for academic excellence

Rob Wassmer Photo by Steve McKayRobert Wassmer, Ph.D., Sacramento State Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Director of the Master’s Program in Urban Land Development, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership faculty member, is the winner of the 2017 Chester A. Newland Academic Excellence award from the Sacramento Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

The award is presented to a college student, teacher, administrator, or organization who has demonstrated scholarship and leadership in public administration or a closely related field of study, or has made a noteworthy contribution to the education of public administrators. The awards will be presented at the ASPA Annual Dinner on May 4.


Governor appoints EdD Alumnus to Community College Board of Governors

phanGov. Jerry Brown has appointed Man Phan, Ed.D., a cohort 4 alumnus of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program, to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

His two-year term ends January 15, 2019. He is a faculty member at Cosumnes River College in Elk Grove, working directly with our students as a professor of business and marketing since 2012.

“We are thrilled the governor has selected Man Phan to join the Board of Governors,” said CCC Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley in a statement. “Man is highly regarded by colleagues and students alike and is dedicated to our system’s mission of expanding access, improving graduation rates and increasing our students’ social mobility. He will be a strong leader for our system and advocate for our 2.1 million students. I am pleased to welcome him to our board.”

In addition to Phan’s work at Cosumnes River College, he was a business development manager at Steinberg Architects from 2008 to 2012 and at Carrier Johnson and Culture from 2004 to 2008. Phan also served as a legislative assistant with the San Diego County Board of Supervisors from 2001 to 2003 and the San Diego City Council in 1998. Prior to receiving his doctorate at Sacramento State, Phan earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego School of Business.

Outstanding dissertations showcased April 7

Honoring the authors of three outstanding dissertations completed as part of the requirements for the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) degree, the College of Education and the College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies will host the Fourth Annual Outstanding Dissertation Showcase Panel from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, April 7, in the Foothill Suite of the University Union. The event showcases the critical research being done by doctoral candidates and graduates, and is open to the public.

The 2016 awardees are: Rachelle Cypher, Ed.D.; Jeffrey Mrizek, Ed.D.; and Joseph Williams, Ed.D. Dissertations were chosen based on the quality of the research design, the written analysis and summary, and the potential of the dissertation results to transform schools or colleges.

RachelleFoxDr. Cypher’s dissertation, “An Analysis of How Teacher Education Programs Prepare Teachers to Meet the Instructional Needs of English Learners,” which found that more is needed than just “good teaching” preparation if teachers are to enter the classroom able to understand how to instruct English learners.

Dr. Rachelle Cypher worked at the Center for Teacher Quality for ten years analyzing survey data regarding teacher preparation at the university level. After completing her dissertation, she wanted to learn more about the K-12 system and accepted a position as Coordinator of Research and Data at Natomas Unified School District. Still in her first year at NUSD, she is excited to continue sharing her dissertation findings with site and district leaders to help close the achievement gap.

JeffreyMrizekIn the research for his dissertation, “Assessing Collective Impact for the Emergence of Competency Based Statewide ‘Public to Public’ Civil Service Career Pathways,” Dr. Mrizek found that a shared meaning of “career readiness” through policy and curriculum alignment is still needed to form competency-based career pathways as a strategy to overcome the growing skills gap due to the rising tide of retiring Baby Boomers.

Dr. Jeffrey Mrizek is a passionate educational leader focused on developing all student’s competency to both teach and learn for social mobility and success in the 21st Century workforce. His unique experiences as a civil service manager, professor, and entrepreneur supports his leadership calling to act as a systems integrator. As Dean of Career Technical Education for the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, where he leads the internal operations, a team of grant monitors, develops educational policy, and ensures prudent fiscal management of the Workforce Economic Development Division’s $900 million budget of State and Federal funds.

Joseph Williams

Joseph Williams, Ed.D., in “California Superintendents: Leading District-Wide Change to Advance Student Success,” examined the leadership training gaps of California Superintendents and recommended policy changes that must be made to better prepare California school leaders to engage the change process and advance student success.

Dr. Joseph Williams is the Founding Principal of Benjamin Holt Middle School in Stockton, CA. As founding principal, his school will continue to experience growth, which includes two sections of students for the next two years. With this growth also comes leading a growing staff and an expanding campus that is still undergoing construction. Joseph is currently working on writing a book review for the Teacher’s College Record at Columbia University and hopes to expand upon his dissertation when things gradual slow down with the number of challenges that accompany leading a new school.

Read more about the outstanding dissertations and RSVP.

Faculty, student and alumni perspectives about the Sacramento State Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program