Category Archives: Faculty

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.


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.


Dr. Lascher receives Livingston Faculty Lecture Award

lascher_dsc4848_printDr. Edward Lascher, professor of Public Policy and Administration and a member of the EdD program faculty, has been selected as the 2016-2017 recipient of the John C. Livingston Faculty Lecture Award. As part of the honor, conferred by the Sacramento State Faculty Senate, Dr. Lascher will deliver a lecture at 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 in the University Union Redwood Room.

The Livingston Award and Annual Lecture dates back to 1959 when the first Distinguished Faculty Convocation Address was given by John C. Livingston, a professor in the Department of Government from 1954 to 1982. In 1985 the Faculty Convocation was renamed in Professor Livingston’s honor. Recipients of this award are recognized for having transcended their disciplines and in so doing having positively affected the life of the University through their teaching, service, and or their creative and scholarly activities. In the process, the recipients must have also displayed a consistent, engaging collegiality and a strong commitment to students throughout their careers at California State University, Sacramento.

Dr. Lascher received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1989 and was an associate Professor of Public Policy in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 1990 to 1995.  In 1996, he joined the faculty at Sacramento State as one of the foundational members in the recently formed Masters Program in Public Policy and Administration. Professor Lascher’s research interests include insurance economics and policy and the effects of direct democracy on political outcomes—topics on which he has authored or coedited three books and numerous articles.

Dr. Lascher has served on the faculty senate, been a member of its executive committee, and chaired several of Senate’s ad hoc committees and working groups. He has been the recipient of his College’s Outstanding Teaching (2002) and Outstanding Research & Creative Activity (2016) Awards.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Lascher and joining us for the annual Livingston Lecture on Feb. 20. A reception in Professor Lascher’s honor will be held immediately following the lecture.

Efforts to adopt California Indian Vetted Curriculum gaining support statewide

Pictured (l-r) are: Juliana Liebke, K-12 History-Social Science Curriculum Specialist, San Diego Unified School District; Rose Borunda, Professor, Sacramento State; Cathleen Chilcote Wallace, storytelling and California Indian education program author, Luiseno/San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians; Maureen Lorimer, Professor, Cal Lutheran; Michelle Lorimer, Lecturer, CSU San Bernardino; Matt Hayes, History-Social Science Coordinator, San Diego County Office of Education.

Progress toward adopting California Indian vetted curriculum for California students is gaining momentum, thanks to the collaborative efforts of California Indian cultural experts across the state.

With the engaged support and collaboration of Sacramento State’s Native American Faculty/Staff Advisory Council, including Professor Brian Baker of Ethnic Studies, David Ortega of Educational Opportunity Program, and Cecilia Chavez of ENIT (Ensuring Native Indian Traditions), Dr. Rose Borunda and Dr. Mimi Coughlin hosted California Indian experts and public school educators on September 26 for the purpose of introducing California Indian vetted curriculum. Opening the event was Thomas Lozano of the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of Enterprise Rancheria followed by the originator of this effort, Gregg Castro, t’rowt’raahl Salinan/ rumsien Ohlone. Other key presenters included Dr. Dale Allender and Dr. Margarita Berta-Avila; Dr. Maureen Lorimer of Cal Lutheran; Dr. Michelle Lorimer of CSU San Bernardino; Richard Johnson, Tribal Council Chairman of Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe; Dr. Beverly R. Ortiz, Cultural Services Coordinator, East Bay Regional Park District; Chelsea Gaynor, Individuals & Societies teacher, Student Council Advisor, Mitchell Middle; and concluded with a presentation by Connie Reitman-Solas, Executive Director of the Inter-tribal Council of California.

Another Curriculum Summit was held under the umbrella of the statewide California Indian Conference (CIC) at San Diego State on October 21. Dr. Borunda said the keynote speaker Merri Lopez-Keifer, a Gov. Brown appointee, as Commissioner to the Native American Heritage Commission, brought tears to her eyes when she noted that the California Indian Summits denote progress and speak to the resilience of California Indians who continue to make change in today’s world. For the first time, the Summits are being conducted in a groundswell of local support, where California Indians are providing school districts with curriculum and having an exchange with curriculum experts and teachers.

“It’s changing the way people talk about California Indians,” said Dr. Borunda, “infusing California Indian perspectives and curriculum so that all children can benefit from the depth of knowledge and wisdom of California Indians.”

Sacramento State Ed.D. Candidate Susan Olsen was one of the presenters at the San Diego summit, which also included local California Indian experts Michael Connolly Miskwish of the Kumeyaay Nation, Cathleen Chilcote Wallace of the Luiseño/San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, and author Gary Robinson, who introduced his new historical novel, “Lands of our Ancestors.” Dr. Borunda’s new Research Assistant, Saima Nazir, promoted the San Diego CIC Summit and was successful in getting many educators to the event.

By request, Dr. Borunda and Dr. Coughlin previously presented at the invitation of Adam Jacobs, Student Coordinator of Diversity for Rudolph Steiner College (a Waldorf School). There were over 50 attendees at the April Curriculum Summit representing Waldorf teachers from Arizona, California, and Oregon. “We hope to do more regionalized trainings, given availability of funds, to connect educators with regional California Indian cultural experts,” said Dr. Borunda.

The proposed curriculum framework was prepared by Drs. Borunda and Coughlin from Sacramento State; Gregg Castro, Co-Coordinator of the Curriculum Summit; Michelle Lorimer of California State University, San Bernardino; Crystal Martinez-Alire, Elk Grove USD trustee; and author Beverly Ortiz.

“This collaboration is so important,” said Dr. Coughlin. “K-12 teachers are often eager to teach more accurate and complete information about California Indians but may not know how.  Building teacher capacity through dialogue with Native Elders and content experts is a powerful reform strategy.”

(l-r): Gregg Castro, t’rowt’raah Salinan/ rumsien Ohlone, Co-Coordinator of Curriculum Summit; Elonda Castro, supporter and wife of Gregg; Beverly Neddeau, sister of  Dr. Browning Neddeau; Cathleen Chilcote Wallace, Luiseno/San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians & presenter; Dr. Browning Neddeau, Assistant Professor at CSU Monterey Bay;  Dr. Rose Borunda, Professor at Sacramento State and Co-Coordinator of Curriculum Summit; Monica White, Patrick White’s daughter; Patrick White, Jefferson Elementary School.

Sac State contributes to STEM education for under-represented youth

Fellowship participants from Northern California with Dr. Angelo Williams.

Several representatives of the Sacramento State Ed.D. program led workshops sponsored by the NAACP this summer to introduce students to STEM fields, social justice and public policy. Instructors and coordinators of the Northern California workshops at the Hayward branch of the NAACP included Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, Ed.D. Program Director, and Education Chair of the California NAACP; Ed.D. faculty member Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration; Cohort 1 alumnus Dr. Angelo Williams, now Legislative Director for the California Student Aid Commission; Cohort 8 doctoral candidate Steve Roberson, founder of The Graduation Code.

The fellowship gave us — as graduates of and instructors in the Ed Doctorate program — an opportunity to reach the next generation now with information to guide them into STEM and STEAM careers and into the CSU system as future students and graduates,” said Dr. Williams. 

The workshops were part of the 2016 Alice Huffman Fellows program, sponsored by AT&T. The purpose of the program is to expose underrepresented youth to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) along with various concepts of social justice.

Ten underrepresented secondary students from the southern and northern California were selected to participate in the fellowship. Four-hour workshops were held once a month during June, July and August in Los Angeles and Hayward.

The curriculum helped students gain a fuller understanding of the various STEM fields, career possibilities, and the concepts and importance of social justice. Writing exercises were designed to empower the young people to gain an understanding of the concept of social justice and their potential to play a role in creating change.


Dr. Alex Gonzalez to join Ed.D. faculty

Gonzalez_Eureka2_croppedThe Doctorate in Educational Leadership program welcomes to its faculty Dr. Alexander Gonzalez, who retired from the presidency of Sacramento State in 2015. Beginning in the spring semester, Dr. Gonzalez will teach EDD 607, Community and Communication in Educational Leadership.

“I hope to convey the fundamentals of good theory and good communication, and an applied, hands-on approach based on experience,” Dr. Gonzalez says. “Hopefully, the experiences that I’ve had over a 24-year administrative career – 18 as a president – will be useful and applicable to what our doctoral students are doing and hope to do in the future.”

It was during Gonzalez’ tenure as president that the Ed.D. program was first established at Sacramento State. Dr. Gonzalez served nearly four decades as a professor and education leader, including 12 years as president of California State University, Sacramento, six years as president of CSU, San Marcos, and 18 years at Fresno State as a faculty member and administrator. He holds a doctorate and master’s degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz.

As the first person in his family to graduate from college, Dr. Gonzalez has devoted his career to ensuring greater opportunities for all students. He has been recognized for his contributions by the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Hispanic Colleges and Universities, and even the Mexican government for his work with students and families of Mexican descent.

After decades as an administrator, Gonzalez says returning to the classroom to teach the communication class in the doctorate program is a natural fit for him.

“It feels good. That’s where I began,” he says. “It will be interesting to get back into it after all these years.”

UCLA journal reviewer lauds 2nd edition of Chicana studies primer by Sac State professor

SFTH-2_coverDescribing it as perhaps “the most accessible, woman-focused introduction to Chicana/o histories available,” Linda Heidenreich from Washington State University, Pullman reviews the second edition of “Speaking from the Heart: Herstories of Chicana, Latina, and Amerindian Women” by Sacramento State professor Rose M. Borunda and Melissa Moreno, a professor at Woodland Community College.

Heidenreich’s review in Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies from UCLA introduces students to major events in Chicano/a history and reminds readers to “deconstruct the master narrative, the history we have often been taught in schools and society.”

By setting Dr. Borunda’s family narrative against historical events, such as the Bracero Program and the United Farm Workers boycott, along with and census data and formally refereed sources, “Speaking from the Heart” is a good example of the interdisciplinary research that many professors require of their students.

“Speaking from the Heart is clearly a teacher’s text,” Heidenreich writes. “Its careful framing, accessible historical narratives, and discussion questions make it uniquely suitable for lower-division college and university classrooms.”

The second edition of Speaking from the Heart is available from Kendall Hunt Publishing.