All posts by SacStateEdD

Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Sacramento State

Cuádraz, Flores to discuss transformative power of higher education on the working class Dec. 1

Book cover

Visiting scholars Gloria H. Cuádraz and Yolanda Flores come to Sacramento State’s Hinde Auditorium at 4:00pm on Friday, December 1, to discuss the transformative power of higher education on the working class. Their talk is based on their new book, “Claiming Home, Shaping Community: Testimonios de los Valles: Underscoring the importance of access to higher education,” published by University of Arizona Press. They will be joined by chapter contributors Manuel Barajas and Caroline Turner.

To offer testimonio, the authors say, is inherently political, a vehicle that counters the hegemony of the state and illuminates the repression and denial of human rights. The book tells the stories of Mexican-descent people who left rural agricultural valleys to pursue higher education at a University of California campus, seeking to empower others on their journeys to and through higher education.

350x505_CuadrazGloria Holguín Cuádraz is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies at Arizona State University. She publishes in the areas of Chicana/os and higher education, theory and methods of oral history, Chicano labor history, feminist methods and testimonio. With Dr. Luis Plascencia, she is co-editor of a forthcoming anthology,Mexican Workers in Arizona: The Making of an ‘Elastic Supply of Labor’” (Tucson: University of Arizona Press). She is a member of the Latina Feminist Group, co-authors of “Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios,” (Duke University Press, 2001). In 2013, she was awarded the Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar of the Year Award by the Arizona Humanities Council. From 2014-2017, she was Co-Lead Editor of Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social.

Yolanda FloresYolanda Flores is an Associate Professor at the University of Vermont where she teaches U.S. Latino and Latin American Literatures and Cultures with an emphasis on the intersections of race, gender, class, language, sexuality, and citizenship.  “The Drama of Gender:  Feminist Theater by Women of the Americas” is her first book.  In addition to articles published in the fields cited above, Professor Flores has also published on performance studies, cultural politics, and Latino farmworker activism in Vermont.  She is a native of Bakersfield, California.

Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner, Ph.D.Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner is Professor of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program at the Sacramento State College of Education, is Past President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and is Lincoln Professor Emerita of Higher Education and Ethics at Arizona State University (ASU). Her research interests focus on access and equity in higher education. An award-winning scholar, Turner is the recipient of numerous recognitions including the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Scholars of Color in Education Career Contribution Award, the 2016 University of California, Davis School of Education Distinguished Alumna Award, and the 2016 Yolo County Mexican American Concilio Pilar Andrade Award for community service. Turner received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of California, Davis and her Ph.D. from Stanford University.

280x351_barajasManuel Barajas was born in Michoacán, Mexico, and he was raised in Stockton, California from the age of four.  He attended UC Davis for his Bachelor’s degree and obtained his MA and Ph.D. at UC Riverside.  He is a professor of Sociology at Sacramento State, and since 2002 he has been successful teaching, serving on- and off-campus communities, and publishing research in peer-reviewed and popular publication outlets.  He teaches both undergraduate and graduate students the subjects of Chicana/o Sociology, Immigration Studies, and Ethnic & Race Relations.  His research has focused on Indigenous Mexican migration and farm workers.  He is the author of “The Xaripu Community across Borders: Labor Migration, Community, and Family” (with Notre Dame University Press) that received a Distinguished Book Award Honorable Mention from the Latino Section, American Sociological Association.  Manuel greatly enjoys working with students and the community, and believes in producing knowledge/advocacy that makes a difference in improving the lives of all marginalized communities.


E-Week at Sac State spotlights school-community engagement

In a TED-talk style presentation and panel discussion Nov. 14 during Entrepreneurship Week at Sacramento State, Dr. Terrance Green, Associate Professor from University of Texas-Austin, and a panel of community innovators had a lively discussion about the ways school-community partnerships are invigorating students and families.

Dr. Green urged reformers to shift their thinking away from the “achievement gap,” to exploring broader perspectives about ways in which opportunity gaps shape people’s lives. “Thinking about the achievement gap emphasizes symptoms, but thinking about opportunities highlights the causes,” he said, making a passionate appeal to those who would reform education to transform their own thinking about the needs of the children and families in the community, beginning with a profound love for people.

Dr. Green’s talk, “Leading for Equity in School-Community Engagement,” can be seen on the Sacramento State EDD YouTube channel.

A panel of educational entrepreneurs discussed “Closing Opportunity & Equity Gaps via Community-Based Innovation.” The panelists included Katie McCleary, Founding Executive Director of 916 Ink; Nicholas Haystings, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Square Root Academy; and Sisters of Nia Executive Director Synthia Smith & co-founder Malika Hollinside, the winners of the 2017 ReinventEd competition.


Terrance Green pairs equity with innovation in E-week events

Professional Pic (tgreen)BDr. Terrance Green, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin, comes to Sacramento State Nov. 14 for an evening of discussion about innovative partnerships between schools and communities. The event, which runs from 5:30-8:00 p.m. in Hinde Auditorium within the University Union, is the College of Education’s contribution to Entrepreneurship Week, which features lively discussions focused on entrepreneurship, creativity and fresh ideas.

Dr. Green’s talk, “Leading for Equity in School-Community Engagement,” will be followed by a panel discussion, “Closing Opportunity & Equity Gaps via Community-Based Innovation,” which he will moderate. Joining him on the panel will be Katie McCleary, Founding Executive Director of 916 Ink and a recent Better Together Community Award Winner; Nicholas Haystings, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Square Root Academy; and Sisters of Nia Executive Director Synthia Smith & co-founder Malika Hollinside, the winners of this year’s ReinventEd competition.

The evening concludes with a sneak peek at next year’s ReinventEd competition, which spotlights teams with innovative educational approaches vying for a $5,000 grand prize. Entries open in January.

Dr. Green’s approach to school-community partnerships will, as he says in the following Q&A, seeks to challenge the traditional engagement model.

You’ve said that the research you’ll be sharing in your talk deals with actions of school principals that support more equitable forms of school-community engagement and partnerships. What do you mean by “more equitable”?

I will be challenging and attempting to turn the traditional models of engaging with families and communities via schools on their head. However, I want people to think about ways to engage families and communities more authentically and more equitably. That means highlighting and illuminating the role of the school principal and those who occupy educational leadership positions, not only in the school, but also in the community. Community leaders, community partners, principals, teachers, students, and families all have a part in doing the creative work that contextualizes the framework (i.e., Community-Based Equity Audit) for their unique setting. Part of the beauty is the creative part, when the people within that local context wrestle and grapple with and problematize and strategize around principles of equity, justice, anti-racism, and anti-oppression. People have to ask, “How do we make this organically work within our unique context?”

This work sounds like a big job for already-busy principals. Would they need to have any special qualities or personality traits to do this work?

That’s a great question. Historically, in the educational leadership literature, particularly around school principals, there was this idea of the charismatic, heroic leader. But I would say over the last 10 or 15 years there has really been a shift in the literature to begin talking about a “post-heroic leader.” In other words, this work may begin or be championed by one individual, but the ultimate goal is to build an infrastructure around supporting families and supporting schools and communities. Karen Mapp and Paul Kuttner at Harvard write about this idea of a Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family–School Partnerships. One of the things they argue, and to an extent my work also, is that infrastructure has to be built, and that infrastructure has to be predicated on a number of things:

  1. It has to be systematic. It has to be infused throughout the entire school or the entire organization. Traditionally, we look at school and family engagement as an add-on: schools are about teaching and learning and that’s it. Well, we’re starting to realize that it’s more than teaching and learning – that teaching and learning encompasses engaging with families, with communities, and with parents.
  2. It has to be coordinated. We have to figure out who is doing what, where is the overlap, and where are the gaps? The idea is that school, community and family partnerships are something that are not only systemic, but they’re also coordinated.
  3. It’s integrated and interwoven throughout everything that happens in the organization – from the person who serves lunch, to an administrative assistant, to a teacher, to a principal. It becomes systemic, integrated and coordinated across the entire organization.
  4. It’s linked to learning. Traditionally, on back-to-school night you go to the auditorium or the cafeteria and they talk at you. They give you rules. Then you go to your child’s class and the teacher talks to you about rules and expectations. Not that any of those things are bad per se, but they’re not linked to mutually beneficial learning. Rather, it could be an avenue whereby parents learn about the school, but the school also learns about the parents.

So, a principal understanding of the infrastructure and framework for doing this work as being systemic, integrated, coordinated and linked to learning takes the sole responsibility off one individual. Because you’re right – there are so many things to do it’s impossible for a principal to do and be in the community. So we make this a school-wide initiative. It’s not an add-on, but what we do at our school.

Are there times when community-based organizations are resistant to the idea of partnering with the school?

Yes, there are organizations that don’t want to partner, or organizations who want to partner for the wrong reasons. One of the things I’ve learned in working with principals is the idea of a rule of three. Look for organizations who really want to partner with the school, and if they can make three tangible connections to the students in the school, that becomes important. They’re not just there serving one population, or one group of students.

There’s also the idea of being place-conscious instead of place-based. In other words, not just being focused on community organizations within your local geography or proximity. The idea of being place-conscious is to look for those partners, either in the city or regionally, that can connect and bring opportunities and support families and children. There will be those folks who don’t want to partner and they’re resistant to it, and that’s fine. We just start looking for those folks who are not only in our proximity where the school is located, but we’re looking for those partners across the city and across the region we can also connect to. I’ve found that to be a way to find other partners who are not resistant and who really want to engage in the work of supporting families in particular communities.

We need to make sure that the work we do is beneficial, for the community, for the children who live in the community, and the families. It’s thinking through some of those ideas and working through the dynamics of a school, particularly communities that have traditionally been underserved and marginalized. We really want to approach it from a place of being genuine, really wanting to do work that is equitable for schools and communities.

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
IMG_5293 copy
Dr. Tammy Sinkfield-Morey who developed a project to address victims of physical and emotional trauma entitled “StoryCare: Connecting Across Cultures Through Story”
IMG_5308 copy
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