Robert 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. 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.
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.”
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.
The 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.”
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.”
Sacramento State has been awarded a grant of nearly $900,000 to research barriers facing underrepresented students as they go from high school into community college and/or a four-year university. Only four universities in the nation received funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to create training programs that will develop a more diverse field of education researchers.
The principal investigators for the Sacramento State grant are Su Jin Jez, Associate Professor in Public Policy and Administration and a member of the core faculty of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program. Her co-PIs are Jana Noel, Director of Educational and Community Research Partnerships and Professor of Graduate and Professional Studies in Education, and Tim Fong, Professor of Ethnic Studies.
The five-year, $895,326 grant will support a project for student researchers called Pathways: Successful Transitions To and Through Higher Education. The Pathways program was launched in 2015 to increase the number of students who are prepared to pursue doctoral study in the education sciences, including those who are racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, economically disadvantaged, veterans, and students with disabilities.
The fellows will work closely with a group of faculty mentors for two semesters and apprentice at a policy-and-research center over the summer. The experience will prepare them to apply for doctoral programs in education research.
Research mentors for the students will include faculty from the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program: Rose Borunda, Julian Vasquez Heilig, Frank Lilly, Porfirio Loeza, Maiyoua Vang, and Rob Wassmer. Additionally, other faculty members from the College of Education and Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies programs will mentor the students.
The University’s role as a minority-serving institution – 28 percent of Sac State students are Hispanic/Latino; 21 percent are Asian American/Pacific Islander – was instrumental in being selected for the grant, Dr. Noel says.
The upper-level undergraduate and master’s degree students chosen for Pathways, which will get underway in January, will spend a year researching the barriers faced by underrepresented students as they go from high school into community college and/or a four-year university.
The grant will allow for as many as 60 fellows, primarily drawn from organizations and programs that support minority populations at Sac State.
Students may pursue their own research interests or work alongside their mentors on current faculty projects.
“The most pressing issue in education today is the ‘achievement gap’ or the disparity in academic performance between different groups of students,” says Fong. “The Department of Education is focusing greater attention on gender and racial gaps in college enrollment, and on success rates.”