SOLES Annual Report


A Note from Dean Ladany

Ten years ago, Mother Rosalie Hill Hall became the home of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) at USD. Since that time, more than two thousand degrees have been awarded to our graduates, who have gone on to impact our local communities and beyond.

Our SOLES community has much to be grateful for over the past year. SOLES was ranked in the top 100 among graduate schools of education, and our online graduate education program was ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News and World Report. Our alumni, faculty, students, centers and institutes were awarded numerous accolades. I invite you to experience SOLES first hand by viewing the stories of our SOLES community members. These individuals truly embody our core values by making meaningful change in our diverse society.

Thank you for your continued support of SOLES!


Nicholas Ladany
Dean, School of Leadership and Education Sciences
University of San Diego

2016-2017 Highlights

Celebrating 10 years in Mother Rosalie Hill Hall! In the 10 years we've been in Mother Rosalie Hill Hall....

2,204 MA degrees have been awarded

183 PhD degrees have been awarded

That makes 2,387 counselors, educators, leaders, teachers, and therapists out in the community making a difference!

Click here to learn more.

As of 2017

987 Total Students

5,987 Total Alumni


48.6% White

23.9% Hispanic/Latino

6.8% Unknown

6.3% Asian

5.1% Black/African-American

4.8% International

4.2% Two or More Races

0.2% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander

0.2% American Indian/Alaska Native

Financial Aid & Scholarship

77% of Students on Financial Aid

49% of Students Earning Scholarships

$2.8 Million in Financial Aid and Scholarships

Degrees Awarded

15 PhD

273 MA

288 Graduates

32 Commissioning Officers, NROTC San Diego

Notable Rankings

Top 100 Graduate Schools of Education, 4th year in a row

#89 Graduate Schools of Education

#22 Best Online Graduate Education Program

-U.S. News & World Report

#1 Most Beautiful Campus

-Princeton Review


2,000+ Events Hosted at Mother Rosalie Hill Hall

76 Major Events Hosted by SOLES

12 SOLES Alumni Events

International Experience

Since 2009 all SOLES students have been required to full fill an international experience as part of their program.

178 students took part in one of our 15 international experiences offered in the following 12 different countries:

Soles Core Values

Core Value:

Multiculturalism & Social Justice

Profile: Dr. Joi Spencer

The IEE & Monarch School: A Collaboration for Success

Core Value:

Care for the Whole Person

Profile: Victor Baez

Student Mentoring

Core Value:

Community Engagement

Profile: Dr. Emily Young

The Nonprofit Institute

Core Value:

Excellence in Scholarship

Profile: Dr. Corinne Brion

SOLES International Experience

Core Value:

Excellence in Teaching

Profile: Dr. Ann Garland

Profile: Dr. Sarina Molina

Profile: Dr. Christopher Newman

New Faculty & New Roles

New Faculty

Suzanne Stolz

Assistant Professor, Department of Learning and Teaching

Sara Hass

Professor-of-Practice, Department of Counseling & Marital and Family Therapy

Nedeljko Golubovic

Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling & Marital and Family Therapy

Rebekka Jez

Assistant Professor, Department of Learning and Teaching

James Fabionar

Assistant Professor, Department of Learning and Teaching

New Roles

Sarina Molina

Associate Professor, Department of Learning and Teaching

Heather Lattimer

Full Professor, Department of Learning and Teaching

Michele McConnell

Academic Director for Online MEd Program, Department of Learning and Teaching

Mariko Peshon

Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, Department of Leadership Studies

Serena Pariser

Assistant Director of Field Experiences, Department of Learning and Teaching

Christopher Newman

Associate Professor, Department of Leadership Studies

Erika Cameron

Associate Professor, Department of Counseling & Marital and Family Therapy

Ian Martin

Director of Counseling Program, Department of Counseling & Marital and Family Therapy

Joshua Grant

NROTC Logistics Supply Chief

Kim Hunt

Research Assistant, Caster Center

NROTC Highlight

In April at the 2017 Change of Command ceremony, CAPT Mark S. Johnson retired after 30 years of Naval Service and CAPT Edwin D. Kaiser took command of NROTC San Diego Consortium.

2016-2017 Award Highlights

Faculty Scholastic Accomplishments

SOLES faculty are regularly writing books and book chapters, contributing articles to journals, and sharing their expertise as editors or presenters.

In 2016-2017 academic year, SOLES faculty were published more than 50 times.


2016-2017 Donors

Lifetime Giving
Annual Giving


Frank Alessio

Moises Baron

Victoria Baron '94

William Barulich

Rafaela Belanich '61, '77

Dana Black '14

Sandra Brue '66

Christopher Carstens

Sandra Cassell Farrell '61

Paula Cordeiro

Rodney Dammeyer

Richard Davis

Bert Degheri '61

Kim Fletcher

Ron Fowler

John Guido

Alice Hayes

Robert Hoehn

Robert Infantino

Irwin and Joan Jacobs

Amelia Johnson '59

Keith Johnson

Fredrick Kleinbub

Angelina Kleinbub '59

Carol Lattimer

Douglas Manchester

Paul Marshall '78

Joseph Matranga '82

Mary Orradre '61

Rosalie Parkman '58

Willa Ramsay '66, '70

Mary Scherr

Darlene Shiley

Ruth Westreich

Mary Wiesler


Michael Auerbach

Robert Baker

Jeffrey Carlstead '04

Daniel Derbes '07

Edward DeRoche

Glenn Ferguson

Norm Hapke

Philip Hwang

Ginger Infantino '81, '85

Charles King, ’62 and Maureen King, ’64

C. Edward Miller '69

Paul Nierman

Michael Pinto

Patricia Seiber '57

Robert Swanson

Carol Vassiliadis

Pamela Volker

Raymond Volker

Patricia Whalen

Terry Whitcomb


R. Donna Baytop

Allen Baytop

Jacquelyn Borck

Elizabeth Bradley Helmick '61, '89

Sandra Chew Phillips '68

Gloria De Ment '76

Peter Dunn

Cheryl Getz '88

Jeffrey Glazer '94

Robert Gleason

Tony Hsu

Janie Mangus

John Martin

Kenneth Miller

David O'Brien '16

M. Constance Salerno Dillon '55

Peter Sibley

Pamela Snyder '67

Richard Sulpizio


Jennifer Anklesaria '88

Jimmy Anklesaria '85

Karen Berger '97

Josh Billauer

Rachel Borgatti

Cathe Burnham '13

Freda Callahan '62

Ian Campbell

Isobel Degnan

Fran Dolan '63

Jacqueline Fitzpatrick '89, '96

James Gase '73, '81

William Geddes

Wendy Gillespie

Rick Hagan

Suzanne Hagan '81, '94

Timothy Haidinger

Eunsook Hong

Jennifer Jeffries '94

Pat Libby

Teresa Liberatore Gase '73

Luis Maizel

Mary McDonald

Rowena Naidl '59

Coreen Petti

Joseph Preimesberger '84, '96

George Reed

Lonnie Rowell

Laura Stoia '09

Catherine Velotta '79

John Velotta

Sheryl White

John Yochelson


Robert Andrzejewski

Michael Antieri

Henri Ardantz

Sally Bennett-Schmidt '84, '97

Ernest Borunda '66

Alfred Bowden '02

William Brandt

Diane Canedo '67

Alberta Casey '55

Thomas Cesarini '07, '16

Mary Olive Chambers Lien '63

Manuel Cordeiro

Diana Craft '72

Renee Fitzgerald '06

Evelyn Francuz

Joan Friedenberg

David Friedenberg '77

Augustine Gallego

Ann Garland

Steven Gelb

Edith Glassey '05

Debbie Gough '82

Stuart Grauer '89

Kai Haber

Kirsten Hanson Garcia '07

Leslie Hennessy '78, '14

Peggy Hetherington

Lea Hubbard

Karen Johnson '87

Christopher Kozo

Edward Kujawa

Elaine Lewis '16

Valerie Livesay '06, '13

Patricia Lowry '81, '84

Mary Lyons

Bernadette Maldonado '10, '16

Judy Mantle

Susan Mitchell '94

Michael Mona

M. Ruth Mulvaney

Afsaneh Nahavandi

Christopher Newman '04

Scott O'Mara '70

Kevin Petti '06

Vanessa Praggastis '12

Mary Scott '90

Karen Semler '71

Susanne Stanford '75

Rondi Stein '94, '06

Mark Thompson '08

Joan Zinser

Richard Vorst

Carolyn Walker

Christina Wilson

Emily Young

Kelly Zastrow '12

Susan Zgliczynski

James Zgliczynski

Sally Ann Zoll '76, '90


Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund

Fred J. Hansen Foundation

Irwin and Joan Jacobs



Kasperick Family Charitable Gift Account

Carol A. Lattimer

NOYCE Foundation


Michael D. Auerbach

The Corley Foundation

Raymond J. Volker '82


Robert L. & Ginger '81, '85 Infantino

San Diego Foundation

San Diego Gas & Electric Company


Ernest Borunda '66

Mary Lyons



Linda Acosta '08

Chris Adams

Ashley C. Adams '10, '17

Deena Aladray-Holcomb '88

Patricia Alvarez De Los Cobos

Nicole Assisi '02, '06

Tania Fatima Azevedo '02

Gary R. Birkenbeuel

Carol Bos '13

Amy Brothers '11

Michael Angelo A Camacho '16

Molly Marie Carlson '14

Elizabeth A. Castillo '85, '10

Mary Olive Chambers Lien '63

Belinda L. Christensen '89, '93

Amanda Elise Cisneros

Maribel Compagnone '93

Amanda J. Corona '17

Gino Correa

Diana M. Craft '72

Chad J. Czerniak '95

Carli A. Danaher

Kevin W. Dooley '93

Judith Ann Dowdy '04

Brian Duffy

Pamela Evenden

Jenny K. Ferrone '03

Fitz Nonprofit Consulting

Laura K. Fleming '96

Stacie M. Freasier '09

Beth Garofalo '05

Olivia Gil-Guevara '06

Marina Gil '08

Aimee L. Glotz '09, '10

Robert J. Gravina '89

David Haimovich

Becky L. Hames '08

Robert B. Hardaway Jr.

Jeanne M. Heaphy '83

Leah M. Hearnsberger '96

William L. Hennrikus

Steven D. Hernandez '88

Minh-Ha T. Hoang '96, '01

Jamie E. Hobart '95

Brent M. Hodges '93

Marci C. Hubal '91, '93

LaPorcha M. Ingram '15

Danny G. Johnson

Nicholas Kajimoto '11

Andrew Kasiske

David Lang

Patricia A. LaVoire '05

Persephone D Lewis '09

Teresa A. Liberatore Gase '73

Valerie T. Livesay '06, '13

Lotus Leadership Institute

Brittany Love

Atlantide Maria Mangin '17

Peter Maribei '16

Mary H. Matteucci '91

Julia McBride

Kalena M Michalec

Kathleen F. Mikitka-Gomez

Lauri A. Miville '94

Sonya A. Mohamed '17

Anthony J. Morales Torres '07

Adrienne Y. Moreland '78, '79

Nani J. Naish '05

Reyes L. Quezada '83

Adriana Rivas-Sandoval

Daisy Rodriguez '13

Olivia A. Romero '76, '77

Janice Rowland

Anita M. Ruesterholtz '76, '77

Roberto Santillan '85

Cynthia R. Short '88

Linda P. Spuck

Eleni Mary Stang '16

Gregory G. Stump '03

Richard Sulpizio

Jessica Szumski

Alyssa Thompson

Kimdinh Tran

Adina Veen '10

Nhi Tuong Vu

Shanelle A. Watkins

Andrew D. Westfall

Holly N. Whalen '08

Ebony R. Wiley

Glenn Wilhite

10 years in Mother Rosalie Hill Hall


The beautiful building we moved into in 2007 bears the name of one of the University's founders, Mother Rosalie Hill. Mother Rosalie Hill is more than just a name on our building; she embodied the compassionate service and dedication to educational equity that is foundational to the mission and vision of SOLES. She's also the co-founder of what is now the University of San Diego.

In 1945, Bishop Charles F. Buddy and Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill, RSCJ stood on a hilltop and envisioned establishing a university in San Diego that would provide the best in sacred and secular learning. A few years later, their plans came to life. Mother Hill was the founding president of our precursor, the San Diego College for Women, and served as an honorary president until her death on Dec. 12, 1964. Without their commitment, perseverance and unquestionable genius, the University of San Diego and SOLES would not be what it is today.

Faculty & Alumni Awards


Marsha McDonald, MA '86, was a 2017 Honoree for the Author E. Hughes Career Achievement Award.

Ann Garland, PhD, professor and department chair, was this year's recipient of the University Professorship. University Professors are those who have demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievements in teaching and research supporting the mission and goals of the university.

Jaime Brown, MED '05, was named one of five County Teachers of the Year at the 27th Annual Salute to Teachers event hosted by the San Diego County Office of Education and Cox Communications.

The City of San Diego and The Nonprofit Institute received the 2017 International Economic Development Council Gold Award for city partnerships with educational institutions, for their unique and innovative Nonprofit Academy.

Sandra Buczynski, PhD, associate professor, was presented with the "Best Research Paper" award at the sixth annual International Conference on Education and E-Learning held in Singapore in Sept. 2016. The awarded paper, titled, "An Urban School District's 21st Century Teaching Vision: Integration and Readiness to Incorporate Technology," was co-authored with Kai Mathews, a recent PhD graduate of SOLES.

Outstanding Student Awards


Department of Learning and Teaching

Duc Le, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Jannelle Marquez, Online Master of Education

Molly Powell, Master's Credential Cohort Program: Special Education

Sarah Hicks, Master's Credential Cohort 2-year program

Tess Nunn Eves, Curriculum & Instruction

Outstanding Action Research

Madison O'Mara, Master's Credential Cohort

Sharon Goldstein, Online Master of Education

Xian Ling, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Department of Counseling & Marital and Family Therapy

Jodie Spanos, Marital and Family Therapy

Miguel Martinez, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Taylor Wagonseller, School Counseling

Excellence in a Research Project

Lilia Salas, School Counseling

Department of Leadership Studies

Ashley Adams, Master's in Leadership Studies

Marcus Carrigan, Higher Education Leadership

Trinh Le, Nonprofit Leadership and Management

Outstanding Action Research and Capstone

Ana Barbara Rogerio, Higher Education Leadership-Action Research Project of the Year

Justin Maidenberg, Leadership Studies-Capstone Project of the Year

Corinne Brion, William P. Foster Outstanding Dissertation Award

2017 Grants


Maya Kalyanpur, PhD, professor and department chair, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship grant for 2017 - 2018 to pursue her research on "Understanding Learning Disability and Dyslexia in the Indian Educational Context."

Odesma Dalrymple, PhD (Engineering), Yaoran Li, PhD (Mathematics), Perla Myers, PhD (Mathematics), Vitaliy Popov, PhD (SOLES), and Joi Spencer, PhD (SOLES), were awarded a National Science Foundation AISL (Advancing Informal STEM Learning) grant for their study, "Bridging the World of Work and Informal STEM Education." The project seeks to promote sustained science, technology, engineering, and mathematics interest among middle school students in primarily Hispanic-serving areas.

Laura Deitrick, PhD, Associate Director of The Nonprofit Institute, received a San Diego Workforce Partnership grant to conduct a pre-and post-labor market analysis regarding San Diego County's nonprofit sector jobs.

Mary Jo Schumann, PhD, Director of Research at the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research, received grants from the following:

MUFG Union Bank Foundation to supplement the ongoing evaluation of their grant making

Military Transition Support Project to supplement the ongoing 3-year program evaluation of zero8hundred, a San Diego nonprofit that helps veterans and their families successfully transition to civilian life.

Salvation Army – Sierra Del Mar Division to conduct a formal and systematic assessment of the "Club 60" Senior Nutrition Program

Nash and Associates to conduct teen pregnancy prevention research

Blue Star Families to assist in creating a "Military Funder Roadmap" that will identify best practices and keys for success when funding

The Institute for Entrepreneurship in Education, received sponsorship from the Microsoft program TEALS for the Spark Speaker Series, Fostering Innovation & Equity in our Schools.

The University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) and the College of Arts and Sciences received a grant from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to create an innovative teaching credential program on campus. In partnership with the San Diego Community College District, the Integrated Teacher Preparation Program will address the shortage of mathematics and science teachers throughout the state of California.

Profile: Dr. Joi Spencer


When Dr. Joi Spencer, associate dean at SOLES and associate professor in the Department of Learning and Teaching, thinks about multiculturalism and social justice, she travels back to her first time reading through the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

"I remember him writing about the danger he was in just by knowing how to read," she said. "The key to his liberation was in his literacy, and that's still true for students today, whether it's literacy in math or the printed word."

An advocate of both education and opportunity, Spencer sees these things as paramount to the promotion of diversity, equality, and justice, and brings this advocacy to her work both in and out of the classroom. As a professor in SOLES, she helps her students learn how to teach math well--a concept that's steadily in decline and having major repercussions.

"Math is taught poorly in our country," said Spencer. "Layer on top of that the fact that math is a lever to creating equality. People who have access to good math instruction, have a leg up and access to more opportunities, and the reverse is true for those who don't. So as teachers, we have to not only teach math in a way that kids can understand, but we also have to systematically understand the disadvantages students face and constantly strive to improve pedagogy."

Spencer's other involvements reflect the same passion, especially her work as the founder of USD's STEAM Academy. This camp, which helps demonstrate and promote the symbiotic relationship between the arts and sciences, is a weeklong event that offers children from all communities and socioeconomic backgrounds the chance to learn and play on USD's campus. Spencer's efforts haven't stopped there, prompting her to help apply for a grant connected to the STEAM academy in partnership with the National Science Foundation. This grant will go toward funding a two-week academy where kids from minority and low-income populations will engage with STEAM-based learning at USD.

This labor of love is just the tip of the iceberg for Spencer, with her other extracurriculars including serving as president of the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE) and a board member of the Elementary Institute of Science and Nativity Prep Academy, as well as designing and delivering professional development modules for school leaders in low-fee schools in Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia and Rwanda. With each year, each class, each project, Spencer's driving force is always a hope for progress. But true change, she says, isn't merely a matter of altering behavior.

"In order to move toward justice, we have to understand what injustice is and where it's rooted," she said. "We have socially engineered injustice and lack of opportunity through our systems and policies and structures, and now we have to reverse those things. And if we do, if we offer everyone access to the same opportunities and resources, I truly believe it would change the course of people's lives; it would change our entire landscape."

Fortunately, the classroom is exactly where Spencer believes this change can start. As a professor of aspiring mathematics teachers, she challenges her students to create a classroom that promotes equity and encourages them to think through the obstacles keeping equality at bay.

"Hopefully, everyone in education cares about these things," said Spencer. "Education is a lever in society that can be used to bring about social justice. Teachers are on the front lines; there is no more important work."

Profile: Victor Baez


Much of Victor Baez's motivation as a school counselor comes from his experience with his own high school counselor. As a first generation college student, Baez sought her advice on college applications and scholarship opportunities, which helped him find full funding for his undergraduate degree. But in addition to the educational resources she provided, she offered the emotional support he needed as the first in his family to attend a university. That balance of caring for the whole person is what he now aims to bring to his own students.

"I want to encourage my students to be their authentic selves and provide a space where we can work through things together," he said. "There are a lot of underlying issues that affect academics, so I have to check in on how students are doing physically, mentally and emotionally to really understand what all is influencing their time at school."

Baez hopes to bring his own high school experience full circle, one day working with first generation college-bound students, as well as high school students seeking to go directly into the workforce. By emphasizing the impact education can have on their well-being and helping them access opportunities available to them, he hopes to set them up for success, no matter what path they choose to pursue.

"I want to help my students learn to find the answers to their challenges, advocate for themselves and develop skills that will help them socially and professionally," said Baez. "Watching them work through those things, even if it's just one student, makes my efforts worth it."

Among the many methods Baez uses to connect with his students is humor. While he knows it's important to be mindful of each student's mood, he also knows how much a smile or a good laugh, even in the midst of tough times, can ease the burden of whatever load they may be carrying. It's this positive outlook that not only helps him with his work, but also with his own well-being.

"I can't support someone else if I'm not taking care of myself," he said. "I have to take time to recharge and reconnect, stay aware of my limits, and always try to keep a positive attitude."

On the other hand, Baez also knows the importance of being willing to try new things and embrace the uncomfortable, as it's in these experiences, he says, that he's seen the most growth personally and professionally. In addition to encouraging his students to do likewise, he wants them to feel confident when it comes to asking for help - something he still does daily as both a school counselor and a student finishing up his coursework in clinical mental health counseling. In fact, it's the encouragement he has received through his classes to practice vulnerability and seek guidance that continues to give him confidence in his work.

"My classes weren't just about how my work was going; they were about how I was doing as a person - I was sleeping, eating and connecting with people in my life on a personal level" said Baez. "My professors at USD cared for me as a whole person, not just my academic success, and that's helped equip me to do the same for my students."

The IEE & Monarch Schoool: A Collaboration for Success


Over the course of the 2016-2017 school year, the Institute for Entrepreneurship in Education (IEE) proudly partnered with the Monarch School, whose mission is to educate students impacted by homelessness. Their work and innovative approach in supporting homeless youth is celebrated throughout the San Diego community.

In the coming 2017-2018 school year, the IEE will build upon this work by helping the Monarch School develop a comprehensive system for collecting and analyzing data, facilitate professional learning about data-driven practice, strengthen communication of progress and outcomes, and enhance the “life skills” pillars with a focus on the College and Career Readiness lab.

Facts about IEE

IEE has worked with 10 districts/orgs, serving 60 schools, impacting 599 educators and 43,292 students.

Profile: Dr. Emily Young


Helping the community isn't just part of Dr. Emily Young's job--it's what wakes her up in the morning. As executive director of the Nonprofit Institute at SOLES, Young works to find new ways of engaging with local nonprofits in an effort to improve the quality of life for people all across San Diego county.

"Nonprofits often do what government and corporate entities either cannot or will not do, taking on society's most pressing challenges, ranging from poverty and homelessness to educational disparities and climate change. At the Nonprofit Institute, we are committed to developing leaders and strengthening the organizations that are meeting those critical community needs," said Young.

Young and the Institute partner with the community in a myriad of ways, working together with SOLES faculty and graduate students to enhance the capacity of nonprofits serving the region.Through its leadership development programs, the Institute prepares students to not only take their in-class learning and apply it to meet various needs of local nonprofits, but also to meet the complex challenges they face in their own communities and social circles. The Institute's nonprofit training and consulting programs, such as the Nonprofit Academy, open the door for students to access over 100 local organizations, helping them build stronger board-staff relations, manage program-related data and effectively implement strategic planning initiatives. And academic events hosted by the Nonprofit Institute each year invite the San Diego community in to talk about big issues, the implications of those issues and the role of nonprofits to address those issues. These lines of interaction, which only cover a few of the efforts Young oversees, are all aimed at one ultimate outcome.

"Our dream is that every nonprofit leader in San Diego benefits from the training, education and research we provide, and that the organizations they lead are stronger and better able to make a broad impact in our neighborhoods, enhancing the quality of life for future generations in all communities of San Diego," she said.

Young's involvement in the community isn't just limited to her professional life. Outside of work, she stays involved in her own neighborhood, Imperial Beach, where she has helped raise money for school programs and the local skate park, and contributes to beautification projects in partnership with other residents. She also serves on the boards of the International Community Foundation, Environmental Grantmakers Association, Price Scholarships and the San Diego International Airports Advisory Committee.

A geographer by training, Young has long been interested in the relationship between people and the environment and creating a better shared home. This interest, coupled with her family's history of dedication to public service, is what continually drives her to work with nonprofits to not only steward San Diego's natural resources well, but also to strengthen the communities using those resources. And it is the values behind this work, she says, that keeps her and the organizations she partners with on the front lines of addressing the county's and region's most critical needs.

The Nonprofit Institute


2016-2017 Highlights:

  • 700+ attendees at the State of Nonprofit Governance Symposium and Nonprofits and Philanthropy Summit
  • 120+ nonprofit organizations participating in The Nonprofit Academy
  • 300+ fellows and other participants in the Institute's Leadership Development Programs through the Conscious Leadership Academy, Encuentros, Hansen Summer Institute, MAAC, National Community College Hispanic Leaders Fellowship Program, and RISE
  • 15+ partnerships with nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to provide data and analysis of key trends, as well as assist with program design and evaluation

Profile: Dr. Corinne Brion


For Dr. Corinne Brion, finishing her doctorate in leadership studies was hardly the end of her scholarly journey. Rather, it opened the door to apply her knowledge where it intersects with her heart.

As a postdoctoral student with the Global Center at SOLES, Brion works with the nonprofit organization Edify to bring leadership training and needs assessments to low-fee private schools throughout Africa. Working primarily in the countries of Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burkina Faso, she helps train local school and community leaders to improve learning conditions by creating a safe and inviting classroom culture and recruiting and retaining quality teachers. In addition to conducting trainings, Brion gathers research on the impact of these trainings on school administration, infrastructure and resources. And, in perhaps her favorite part of her role, she is able to work with schools as they take this knowledge and put it into action.

This idea of applied learning is a concept close to Brion's heart. So close, in fact, it is actually the focus of her dissertation, which received the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Department of Leadership Studies. Her research, focusing on the challenges associated with learning transfer, has had practical application of its own, helping Brion identify financial, political and cultural hardships that threaten progress, and better equip communities for the hard work that begins after training ends.

"At the end of each training module, we ask each school to create an action plan, and I follow up to see how the implementation process is going," she said. "The reward is when they send me those plans to change their schools and then share testimonies of how things have improved; the reward is in hearing their stories of passion and struggle and sacrifice and helping them however I can."

While Brion's dream of working in Africa started long ago, it was through her graduate assistantship with the Global Center that she was able to start seeing that dream come to life. Working on a part-time basis with Edify and having the opportunity to travel to Africa every few months, she immediately felt a kinship with the land and the people.

"On my first trip to Africa, something changed," she said. "I can't really explain it, but I knew it was my calling to work with the people there. Since then, everytime I go back, I fall in love with it a little bit more. I learn so much from the people there. I see their smiles and their thirst for knowledge, and it steals my heart. I can't get enough of it."

The feeling is mutual, earning Brion the African nickname Wend Kuuni, or "God's gift." Her opportunity to bless and be blessed by the people of Africa is something that she largely attributes to the support she received while a student at SOLES. More than the classes that helped equip her with knowledge and resources, Brion recognizes the team of peers, advisors and mentors all championing her to play her strengths and pursue her passion.

"I've found that It really does take a village - to teach a kid or help someone get a PhD," she said. "And I'm incredibly thankful for my village at USD."

Profile: Dr. Ann Garland


Dr. Ann Garland was this year's recipient of the University Professorship. University Professors are those who have demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievements in teaching and research supporting the mission and goals of the university. One tenured faculty member from SOLES is eligible to receive this award once every three years.

"I have been fortunate to have Dr. Garland as one of my teachers for a class on therapeutic interventions for children and adolescents, which is one of her areas of expertise. Dr. Garland presents information to the class in a way that is both engaging and accessible. She is clear in her presentations and provides concrete examples from her own practice and from her extensive research background. She frequently checks in with students to see if we have questions and asks for our thoughts and opinions along the way. Dr. Garland also provides us with the opportunity to practice our therapy skills through class exercises that simulate real therapy sessions. She is an effective coach, providing us with practical tips and suggestions in real time. She is clearly invested in our learning, and passionate about the subject matters she teaches."
-Jami Rosenthal, Marital and Family Therapy Student

"Dr. Ann Garland has been an outstanding professor to have in class. She creates opportunities to work on real life scenarios through role playing, where she gives immediate feedback to help better our skills. Incorporating these types of activities in class helps me feel better prepared for my work as a future clinician. Dr. Garland's lectures are not only thoughtfully created but are presented in a way that keeps us all engaged, giving us the ability to open a dialogue on concepts we want to know more about. I feel really lucky to have her as a professor."
-Gloria Saldana, Marital and Family Therapy Student

Profile: Sarina Molina, PhD


"Dr. Molina has, over the past three years, been an important and relevant figure to me. Her mentorship during my two years as a masters' student at the University of San Diego was fundamental in preparing me to be a versatile professional in the education and TESOL fields. She also paved the way for my being on a path toward further study and research. As an instructor, PhD student, and a USD alumna, I have more than once sought her counseling, expertise and suggestions, and her response was always prompt, constructive and encouraging. I firmly believe this sentiment is extensive to my other colleagues who have also been exposed to her. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with Dr. Molina."
-Carolina Rostworowski Stocco, '16, MEd TESOL, Literacy and Culture

"Dr. Molina likes to tell her students a story about a time she asked a young Thai girl what she wanted to be when she grew up. The Thai girl responded, "A ladder." When prompted, she explained that she wanted to help lift people to the places they are trying to reach. Dr. Molina strives to be the strongest, sturdiest ladder for those around her - her goal being that she helps her students on their way to success. She epitomizes everything a good teacher is: selfless, humble, hardworking, innovative, supportive, and loving. I cannot imagine a more perfect educator that represents the "Excellence in Teaching" core value."
-Emily Meyers, '15, MEd TESOL, Literacy and Culture

Profile: Dr. Christopher Newman, PhD


"Dr. Newman is a phenomenal educator because he orchestrates a culture of connection in the classroom. This unique culture encourages students to be vulnerable, think outside the box, engage in respectful discourse, and be supportive of fellow students. He invests in the individuality of students and helps them explore their passion areas. I felt intimidated by and insecure about my action research project, but Dr. Newman made me believe in my work by helping me dig deeper, refine my strategies, and find my voice in the project. He innovates to design new courses or to reinvent existing courses in order to keep raising the bar to benefit his students. Most importantly, Dr. Newman doesn't stop at his investment in us as students, but rather he keeps going to invest in us as human beings. Dr. Newman is a truly sensational professor and advisor and I feel very fortunate to have been a beneficiary of his compassion and expertise."
-Devin Gregory, '13, MA Higher Education Leadership

"Throughout my time in the Higher Education Leadership program, I admired Dr. Newman for his ability to lead in an authentic way, as he was able to do so effectively and effortlessly. I went to Dr. Newman whenever I needed advice with academics, as a paraprofessional, or personal matters. He did a excellent job at drawing out the bigger picture and helping me understand my role and purpose. He pushed and challenged me to do things I would never consider doing and go places I would never imagine going. But most importantly, his non-judgmental demeanor and personality always made me feel welcomed, comfortable and appreciated, which is why I believe Dr. Newman is a living example of excellence in teaching."
-Carrington Lemon '17, MA Higher Education Leadership