Raising Children of Color Amid Conversations About Police Involved Shootings, Implicit Bias & Self-Efficacy

By Dr. Jalin B. Johnson

National Center for Institutional Diversity – Spark series

As a mother raising a Black man in the United States, I frequently have discussions with our son about safety during police interactions, situational awareness, perceived behaviors, and implicit bias. While these conversations are meant to keep him aware of the reality he will face in life as a person of color, I strive to also encourage his self-efficacy, (confidence in the ability to have control over our own behaviors and social environment (Bandura, 1977), as he matures.

Like other parents to children of color, I know the emotional tax and ongoing concern from having conversations with our children that are intended to prepare them for a world that will judge them prematurely, and diminish the confidence they need to succeed as adults.

Critical Race Parenting says “parenting happens amidst contemporary societal contexts rife with unpunished police violence against Black and Brown youth, all occurring amidst contentions that we now live in a post-racial U.S. society” (Bonilla-Silva, 2006; Carter-Andrews & Truitt, 2013). The conversations we have with our son, about police involved shootings, implicit bias & self-efficacy, mirror what Critical Race Parenting outlines. Our discussions provide an example of how communities of color have long recognized the need for instilling in our children a critical understanding of institutional racism, as well as the strategies and identities essential to collective and individual health, safety, and endurance” (DePouw & Matias, 2016).

When we talk with our son, we touch on the statistics of police-involved shootings. To date, the Washington Post has documented over 780 people shot and killed by police this year, with a majority (530), identified as Black, Hispanic, and otherwise non-white. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) reported that “between 2014 and 2017, young Black and Latino males between 14 and 24 years-old account for only five percent of the city’s population, compared with 38 percent of reported stops. Young Black and Latino men were innocent 80 percent of the time.”

To add, the NYCLU found that the New York Police Department used force on over 21,000 Black and Latino people and over 2,200 white people. Subsequently, even among those stopped, Black and Latino people were more likely to have force used against them than white people (NYCLU, 2014). The American Civil Liberties Union Illinois 2015 Stop and Frisk report states: “[The stop and frisk] procedure is often invasive, humiliating and disturbing.” The deaths of Black and Latino men and women at the hands of police officers demonstrate that this and similar encounters with law enforcement, have proven to be more than “invasive, humiliating and disturbing,” they are too often, fatal.

Being aware of the statistics that document these realties also requires parents to pay attention to media reporting that covers police involved shootings. When Philando Castile and Walter Scott were killed by police during traffic stops, our discussion with our son about how to behave as a driver or passenger of a car in these situations intensified. Similarly, when Atatiana Jefferson and Botham Jean were murdered in their own homes by police officers in Texas, we revisited discussions about implicit bias, which describes how unconscious actions and decisions are influenced by stereotypes and attitudes.

Child wearing graduation robes

Photo by Jason Sackey on Pixabay

I learned not long ago that our son is beginning to better understand this reality. He shared an experience he had at the home of family friends. During a conversation with the friend’s father, a law enforcement officer, like most of the other guests in attendance, he told our son he considered him to be a positive influence on his own son and their friends.

During this interaction, our son was mindful of fatal encounters between Black men and women and police officers in this country and our many conversations about being respectful towards his elders, while maintaining his behavior, in a way he thought was ‘right.’

Although emotionally taxing, as parents raising children of color, it is critical that we continue to have conversations with our children that prepare them for a world that will judge them prematurely. We must have these imperative discussions while still encouraging their confidence as they mature to become the people they wish to be.

Courageous Conversations: Creating a Safe Space for Dialogue on Race, Gender and Ethnicity

December 11, 2019

Moderated by Dr. Carlos V. Guzman, panelists Dr. Jalin B. Johnson, Dr. Dustin Domingo, Dr. Ellen Belloumini and Dr. Julianne Zvalo-Martyn participated in the BU virtual branch of AAUW hosted session “Courageous Conversations: Creating a Safe Space for Dialogue on Race, Gender and Ethnicity.”

Dr. Guzman led participants in gauging “one’s understanding of biases, values, beliefs and attitudes about cultural diversity.”

Additionally, participants were able to “gain skills in terms of strategies for encouraging courageous conversations around cultural diversity.” This included discussion on gender, microagressions, ethnicity and self-awareness.

Panelists addressed important questions (along with participant Q&A) in the following areas;

  • How the current political/social environments impact the work done with our students.
  • Issues observed when working with students relating to race, gender and ethnicity.
  • Our role as educators, relating to these issues.
  • Strategies used to create an environment for courageous conversations among students.

The session was facilitated by BU AAUW 2019-2021 branch President, Dr. Lata Murti.

Equity and Intersectionality: Considering Student Identities and Experiences

Being invited to kick-off the Faculty Series coordinated by the Academic Advising Professional Development Committee, was truly an honor. I was proud to be joined this week by my esteemed colleague, Dr. Lata Murti, as we presented “Equity and Intersectionality: Considering Student Identities and Experiences,” at the inaugural Faculty Series event.

This follow up to the June 2019 Advising Summit (collaborative Keynote session) ‘Experience, Context and Perspective; Connecting with our students, hearing their stories & cherishing the narrative,’ was yet another effort by our pioneering Academic Advising team, to continue important discussions surrounding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice. Thank you all again for the gracious invitation and for all that you do for our community and to support our students & peers within the academy.

*A special thank you Courtney Crosta, Taylor Vartanian, Patricia Popovich, Dr. Donald B. Scott and Dr. Lata Murti for your scholarship and partnership.

Leadership & Mentoring – Tailored Workshops

  • ‘From Mentee to Mentor: Using CRM Solutions and Our Diverse Campus Community to Build a Successful Mentorship Pipeline Technology’
  • ‘Forum on Diversity and Inclusiveness’
  • ‘Leadership’ & Membership; Not-for-profit organization engagement’
  • ‘Engaging and Motivating Diverse Students across Multiple Learning Platforms’
  • ‘Innovative Pathways to Military Student Success’
  • ‘Competency Based Education:  A degree alternative that values the knowledge, skills and abilities of veterans’ 
  • ‘Equity and Intersectionality: Considering Student Identities and Experiences’

Inland Ivy Foundation hosts Dr. Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson for ‘You Can Lead’ Book Tour event

The Inland Ivy Foundation  hosts  Dr. Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, author of You Can Lead.

Wilson’s ‘You Can Lead‘ book signing event was held at the historic Mission Inn (Riverside, CA). Dr. Jalin was pleased to join noted scholars, community advocates & organizers, educators from k-12 and higher ed, in addition to local entrepreneurs and  representatives from the private and non-profit arenas, also in attendance.


Dr. Wilson (pictured here with Mrs. Linda Gaines-Brooks), addressed her book, ‘You Can Lead,’ via her ‘compelling storytelling & practical tips to walk the reader through 30 valuable leadership lessons gained during her 30 plus years of corporate, non-profit and civic experience.’
The event closed with an engaging Q&A session moderated by author, Stephanie Walton.

The event was co-sponsored by members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Southern CA Cluster Chapters, The San Bernardino Valley Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, Top Ladies of Distinction Incorporated,The Pressley (Moore) family, Streeter Realty, Gerri Foxall-Kater, Phyllis Chavis, Tillman Riverside Mortuary and other community sponsors.

What is organizational leadership? Breaking down the basics

What is organizational leadership? Breaking down the basics

June, 05, 2019

You have your sights set on climbing the ladder to play a more integral role in your company. But how do you proceed? It’s possible that an organizational leadership degree could be exactly what you need to hone your leadership skills, helping you learn how to be effective in implementing organizational change, promoting teamwork and empowering your team to achieve success.

What is organizational leadership, exactly? Dr. Jalin B. Johnson, associate professor of business and organizational leadership at Brandman University, offers clarification by explaining what relevant degree programs aim to do.

Effective is the key word,” Dr. Johnson offers. In organizational leadership programs, she says, “we are offering students the opportunity to look at leadership holistically. They leave with something tangible that can make them a more effective leader.”

You may be wondering whether a degree in the field can help propel you to new levels in your career. Read on as we explore the ins and outs of organizational leadership, while outlining what to expect at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

What is organizational leadership, exactly?

Generally speaking, organizational leadership takes traditional leadership skills to the next level by incorporating key aspects of human psychology. The basic premise of organizational leadership is to employ a management strategy that simultaneously works toward what is best for individuals and what is best for the company as a whole. Dr. Gale Mazur, associate professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies at Brandman University, recalls a former student explaining this idea perfectly.

“She said she came into the program as a good manager, but she was leaving the program as a very effective leader,” Dr. Mazur recounts. The student was already a good supervisor who ensured tasks were completed, but she left the program understanding how to provide vision that helped employees feel more engaged.

Dr. Mazur explains that the ability to align people with the goals of the organization can be paramount in motivating and inspiring employees to bring that vision to fruition. In essence, impactful leaders must set the tone and direction of the company while working toward achieving organizational goals.

In their commonly cited paper, “The Nature of Organizational Leadership,” researchers Stephen J. Zaccaro and Richard J. Klimoski suggest the success of the collective whole is a major criterion for effective leadership. Every organization is comprised of individual parts that assist one another to work together as a system. The tenets of organizational leadership call upon leaders to learn how to capitalize on the strengths of individuals, manage around any weaknesses and use this focused management approach to accomplish what is best for everyone.

Zaccaro and Klimoski pose the idea that great organizational leaders impact the routine activities of their companies, and also know how to use their leadership skills in response to or in anticipation of non-routine events. This means effective leaders gain such an in-depth understanding of their organization and its employees that they can manage change within the system without disrupting it.

What are your organizational leadership program options?

If you’re looking to advance your business and leadership skills, you might be wondering what type of program you should be looking for. Dr. Mazur suggests considering what it is you’re looking to gain from a degree.

“If you’re looking for the basic skills to get a job in the business world, you’d probably be better suited for a bachelor’s in business administration,” she says. “But if you’ve found your niche and want to gain the additional skills you need to move ahead as a leader, you might consider an organizational leadership program.”

Dr. Mazur further explains that people are often hired for their technical skills, but later transition to management or leadership roles where the capacity to work well with people becomes more important. Organizational leadership programs help professionals hone those impactful people skills that can help them make the jump from individual contributor to effective leader.

What to expect from a bachelor’s in organizational leadership

Simply put, the undergraduate route would be right for you if you’re interested in organizational leadership but have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. That’s true even if you have work experience.

“I find more often than not that undergraduate organizational leadership students are people who have been in their field or industry for some time,” Dr. Johnson says, “and they have come to the point where they need to enhance their qualifications to advance.” She explains that these professionals are often told by their company they’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree to move ahead.

At Brandman University in particular, professionals from just about any field who are seeking a bachelor’s degree can benefit from the Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership program.

“That’s part of the benefit of Brandman’s organizational leadership programs,” Dr. Johnson divulges. “We are not industry-specific. We have different backgrounds. Across the board, we’re looking at how organizational leadership tools can be applied no matter your industry.”

At the baccalaureate level, Brandman University offers professionals a comprehensive curriculum that includes marketing, human resources, economics, organizational behavior, ethics, team building, finance, accounting and leadership.

With emphasis options like supply chain systems and organizational administration, the vast course offerings include the following:

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Leadership and Professional Ethics
  • Leadership in Diverse and Multicultural Organizations
  • Research and Analytical Thinking
  • Organizational Development and Change
  • Theory and Practice of Leadership


Students who would prefer an online, self-paced program may find what they’re looking for in Brandman’s competency-based BBA in Management and Organizational Leadership program.

What to expect from a master’s in organizational leadership

When it comes to graduate-level programs, Dr. Mazur explains it’s common to see students who have several years of work experience and are now ready to take on additional leadership responsibilities. Some are even excited to take on executive roles.

“It’s not unusual to have students talk about being promoted midway through their program,” Dr. Mazur adds. “It’s because our program emphasizes putting what they’re learning into practice. It really does give them a competitive edge.”

Brandman University’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program is great for professionals who want to explore leadership styles and strengthen their ability to focus on individual growth that leads to company success. It includes emphasis options ranging from business administration to human resources.

At the graduate level, you can expect some of the following course options:

  • Organizational Research
  • Democracy, Ethics and Leadership
  • Self, Systems and Leadership
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Organizational Dynamics
  • Leadership and Team Development

The master’s program at Brandman University also enables military service members and veterans to apply their military experience toward their degree. In fact, those ranked E7 or above can earn their Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership in as few as seven classes.

Is an organizational leadership degree right for you?

As you analyze the possible ways you can move your career and your company forward, it’s clear you don’t need to wonder, “What is organizational leadership?” Perhaps you’re starting to see that a degree in this field can equip you with the skills you’ll need to achieve success. By learning how to meet challenges and accomplish goals — put forth both by individual employees and also by the organization as a whole — you can establish yourself as an impactful presence in just about any industry.

Looking at Leadereship: Father’s Day Edition

By Dr. Jalin B. Johnson

“When you’re young, you think your dad is Superman. Then you grow up, and you realize he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.” -Author unknown

Having always been thankful for the love of parents who taught my brother and I an array of life lessons, I am blessed to have also seen them model excellence. This Father’s Day, I considered all of the many leadership lessons my father has offered us through his own wisdom and insight. My Pops wears his cape well. Recently, I set aside my own bias and asked some of our Brandman faculty and leaders – who also happen to be dads and grandads – about the leadership examples and wisdom they have both shared and received through the years.

Honoring the 75th anniversary of D-Day; How Fathers Inspire Thoughts of Love & Leadership – Dr. Sam Bresler, Associate Dean of Student and Faculty Affairs/ Professor of Human Resources and Business Administration

My father participated in D-Day, and in the months of struggle that followed that day. He served in the Army Air Corps as a flight surgeon, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The decisions that he was required to make were challenging and at times heartrending. In addition to attending to the needs of those who were injured in combat, he was called upon to decide who would qualify for flight status and who would remain behind (until the next mission).

As I reached that point in my life where I was contending with the demands of my own military service, he often reminded me that modeling the behavior that you most wanted to see in others was the first requirement of leadership. I never forgot those words, or his continued commitment to them, and have attempted to follow his example in the years that I’ve been privileged to lead and influence others.

The Importance of Fatherhood – Dr. Alan Enomoto, Associate Dean of Multiple subject, Single subject, MAT programs, BA Early Childhood Education and BA Liberal Studies with Credential Programs/ Associate Professor

Amongst other things, I’ve encouraged fathers to become active in their children’s education and make it a point to consistently attend and actively participate in their child’s school activities and events. Through this behavior, fathers are sending a vital, unspoken message to their children that schooling is extremely important and is aligned to their family’s values. This is not always easy to do. In seemingly endless demands placed upon us in today’s society, it is often difficult to juggle the responsibilities of work, home, and education. However, it cannot be discounted how a father’s active involvement in school makes a tremendous difference in how children view education and the success they are able to achieve in school.

Living our Lives with Integrity – David Long, J.D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies

Interestingly enough, I only truly became a father after I was divorced. Still, I made every effort to involve myself in their lives in those early stages. No matter how “bumbling” that initial involvement was, it was important.  At 35, a divorce thrust me squarely into the role of being a father. My relationship with my children was no longer filtered through the relationship dynamics of being a husband and a father. Suddenly, it was my son, my daughter, and me. Over the past 20 years, I have noticed that leadership and success as a father to me has meant being available to my children as a sounding board. I listen to them without immediate judgment. We might not realize it at the time, but they value our ideas, as long as the feedback we give them comes from a place of love and caring. I have learned that we can lead our children through truly listening to them, asking questions, making time for them and living our own lives with integrity.

A Father’s Wisdom and Leadership –  Carlos V. Guzman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Education

My father played an important role in shaping me. He brought courage, safety, optimism and wisdom. I developed key leadership characteristics from my father. I learned to be confident no matter what the circumstances and to always speak up when a situation called for it. My father believed in never judging others and emphasized that respect was crucial and part of the Golden Rule. I was taught to always be a team player and contribute to the greater good. My father was a well-educated man but never flaunted it. He once said, “Even though you may have the most knowledge in the room, it is better to sit back and listen, you never know what more you can learn.”

Fatherhood as a Sociocultural Construct – Dr. Isa A Ribadu, Associate Dean of Psychology/ Assistant Professor of Psychology

It embodies multiple definitions and nuances that can cripple the understanding of it, or hide the simple elegance of the role. The practical elements of fatherhood require a father to be present. It asks a father to be who they are as they provide consistent guidance, nurturance, support, wisdom, love, and loyalty to a child; all while remaining present as a child triumphs, offering words of praise, showing love in its unconditional form. Fathers must willingly sacrifice themselves to enrich the life of a child. To have a father who understands this concept in its simplest form is to have a father who understands the value of life.

Sometimes the best guidance can happen without words – Glenn Worthington, Ed.D., Dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies, Professor of Organizational Leadership

Observing my father while I was growing up taught me about the value of family, education, service and work. He never had to say anything special to me to convey what was important. I just watched the things he did and the way he did them and learned from his actions. I wish everyone could have such a great role model. The world would be a better place.

This Father’s Day as you’re Looking at Leadership and considering how to reach out to a special father or grandfather you appreciate, I leave you with this closing thought:

“I am a princess, not because I have a prince, but because my father is a king.” –Author unknown

Happy Father’s Day!

Jalin B. Johnson, Ed.D., is an associate professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies at Brandman University, focusing on business and organizational leadership. She is a regular contributor on issues of leadership and current events.


How Our Course Developer Certification Program Transformed Faculty, Their Perception of Diversity Cognizant Curriculum and Their Efforts in Course Development

An Investment in Innovation Is an Investment in People: How Our Course Developer Certification Program Transformed Faculty, Their Perception of Diversity Cognizant Curriculum and Their Efforts in Course Development

April 2019

Eight members of Brandman’s faculty presented at the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ (WASC) conference. The WASC accreditation process aids institutions in developing and maintaining high standards of quality and effectiveness in student learning, and the conference is where Brandman showcases its leadership in best practices. The following faculty members presented:

  • Laurie Dodge, Ph.D., vice chancellor of institutional assessment and planning – Backward Design: The Secret Sauce to Building Relevant and Quality Programs
  • Marnie Elam. Ph.D., associate professor of psychology – A Simple Formula for Great Assignments and Rubric
  • Melanie Borrego, Ph.D., associate dean of undergraduate education and professor of english and Leigh Ann Wilson, Ph.D., associate professor of history and communications – Five Ideas for Creating Community with Online Adjunct Instructors
  • Helen Eckmann, Ed.D., associate professor of business administration and Laura Galloway, Ph.D., assistant professor of organizational leadership – Women, Money, and Self-Care
  • Jalin Johnson, Ed.D., associate professor of business and organizational leadership and J. Murphy, Ed.D., associate vice chancellor of instructional innovation – An Investment in Innovation Is an Investment in People: How Our Course Developer Certification Program Transformed Faculty, Their Perception of Diversity Cognizant Curriculum and Their Efforts in Course Development

Jalin B. Johnson, Ed.D., associate professor of business and organizational leadership and J. Murphy, Ed.D., vice chancellor of instructional innovation presented as part of the WASC “Designing Professional Development: Faculty and Courses” moderated session. The presentation focused on Brandman’s Course Developer Certification (BCDC) program and Diversity Cognizant Curriculum.


Operation Varsity Blues, accessibility and the tradition of placating privilege

Looking at leadership: Operation Varsity Blues, accessibility and the tradition of placating privilege

By Dr. Jalin B. Johnson


“Tradition has it that whenever a group of people has tasted the lovely fruits of wealth, security, and prestige, it begins to find it more comfortable to believe in the obvious lie and accept that it alone is entitled to privilege” —Steven Biko

Unfortunately, the reality of the recent college admissions scandal so dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by FBI officials on March 12 was not a surprise. It underlined a tradition of privilege that has purveyed the college admissions process, for generations; now highlighted by those charged for being involved in a conspiracy as a part of “the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”

Through my own diversity cognizance, like many in the community of parents and educators of children with special needs, I was disheartened to learn of the bribery enlisted to help falsify the need for college entrance exam disability and accessibility accommodations.

Motivated by a lifelong pursuit to seek and support equitableness and leadership, driven by ethics and integrity, I asked for feedback from advocates whose lived experiences have compelled them to work towards an equality that has yet to be sustained.

To Fairly Compete – Dustin Domingo, Ed.D.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was put forth to assure that individuals with disabilities “have the ability to fairly compete” for and pursue opportunities such as college and university admission. This is done by requiring test taking agencies to administer high stakes standardized exams in a manner which is accessible to students with disabilities. The operative phrase to keep in mind here is to fairly compete. Let us not forget that the playing field was uneven to begin with, giving advantages to individuals based on factors other than accessibility such as socioeconomic status, race, and language acquisition. In the US, education as an institution has had centuries to solidify systems that already give certain populations an upper hand. ADA exists to combat institutionalized barriers to education.

Educational attainment is the second greatest predictor of social mobility. Interestingly, this factor falls behind whether one is already born into wealth. The Varsity Blues scandal is so fascinating in the sense that the parents involved are already well-to-do folks with advantages across many variables that play into whether their child is able gain admission into a college or university through ethical means. It is gravely unfortunate for the Varsity Blues children, the students enrolled at these universities, and arguably more so for the students who were denied admission, that disability and accessibility accommodations were so heinously exploited.

Level the Playing Field  – Lynn Larsen, Ph.D.

There is a broad assumption that for students with learning disabilities, or invisible handicaps, that they are unfairly awarded accommodations that provide them with an advantage over other students. In reality, students with learning disabilities need these accommodations in order to “level the playing field” so the learning and assessment environments are equalized.

A perfect example is my college-aged son. He is twice-exceptional, meaning that he is highly gifted as well as having learning disabilities. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which impacts his ability to focus, and severe dysgraphia, which impacts his ability to handwrite any work. Since he is verbally gifted, many teachers and professors wrongly assume that his accommodations give him an unfair advantage over his peers. In actuality, without his accommodations, he would not have been able to score high on the ACT, nor would he be successful in his college courses. Those using accommodations unlawfully only perpetuate the myth that students use them in inappropriate ways to gain an advantage.

Refrain from Stigmatization – Anne Spillane, Ph.D.

Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) have long faced adversity when accessing the accommodations needed in Institutions of Higher Learning (IHE). Offices of Disability Services on college campuses have led to improved access. Likewise, advances in technology have amplified accommodations made available to those with ID.  As a result, we are seeing more people with ID able to access (and thrive within) these institutions.

The publicity given to the recent college admissions scandal has magnified the potential for stigma to return, for those utilizing accommodations in the IHE environment, particularly among educators.  While ensuring the process for identifying those who qualify for accommodations is thorough, it will be important for those in leadership roles to refrain from making the process too difficult or stigmatizing those who truly need (and qualify for) accommodations. It is important that they reiterate that providing accommodations for those who genuinely need them is not only appropriate, but also a way of ensuring diversity on our campuses. This helps to create environments in higher education where all have the ability to succeed and reach our highest potential.


Operation Varsity Blues may indeed continue to uncover gaps in the admissions process. Rebecca Cokley, Director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, concisely reminds us that “the experiences of 57 million Americans with disabilities are not just costumes to wear to get pre-boarding access to a plane or extended time on a test.”

As you’re Looking at Leadership, know that there is power in recognizing the significance of each individual’s lived experiences, and advocating for inclusion and equity. This allows us to rebuke the tradition of placating privilege and to support sustainable equality.

Jalin B. Johnson, Ed.D., is an associate professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies at Brandman University, focusing on business and organizational leadership. She is a regular contributor on issues of leadership and current events.


From Academic Integrity to Creating Inclusive Classrooms; Faculty training continues important discussions

March 2019

Inland Empire and High Desert-based full-time and adjunct faculty came together for their annual Professional Development Day (PDD). This was the 11th PDD representing multiple campuses and an interdisciplinary team that included 35 attendees from full-time and adjunct faculty, campus directors and representatives from Riverside (Kristin Plapis, campus director), Menifee (Miguel Aranda, campus director), Victorville (Susanne Eisenhart, campus director) and Ontario (Patrick Pierson, campus director), and teacher supervisors.

The planning and facilitation team included Jalin Johnson, Ed.D., Nakisha Castillo, DMFT, Lynn Larsen, Ph.D., Leticia Rojas, Ed.D., and Nicole Schneider, Ed.D.

During this St. Patrick’s Day themed event, hosted by the BU Riverside campus, facilitators and speakers discussed an array of topics including:

  • Systemwide updates and campus information via our area campus directors, Kristin Plapis and Miguel Aranda
  • Technology tools and updates including Zoom and the new Brandman website, led by Nicole Schneider, Ed.D. and Lynn Larsen, Ph.D.
  • An academic integrity session led by Brandman’s Governance and Appeals Committee members, Nakisha Castillo, DMFT and Lynn Larsen, Ph.D.
  • An interactive workshop on creating more inclusive spaces in our classrooms led by Nakisha Castillo, DMFT and Leticia Rojas, Ed.D.



Looking at Leadership: An International Women’s Day salute

By Dr. Jalin B. Johnson


Brandman University-connected leaders share inspiration for International Women’s Day. (Top row, from left: Dr. Jalin Johnson, Dr. Tess Breen, Dr. Felicia Haecker. Bottom row, from left: Kristen M. Grimes, Dr. Kathryn R. Taylor, Dr. Tiffany D. Ware.)

When I was first asked to consider contributing my thoughts this March to coincide with International Women’s Day, “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women,” I was reminded of some of the women whose journey I have been a part of as advocate, teacher, mentor and friend.

Representing a variety of backgrounds, areas of advocacy, and champions of those who serve, these Brandman alumna took a moment to share and recognize a woman that inspired them to achieve their goals and to be the change they wanted to see. These are their stories…

A Grandmother’s Legacy – Dr. Tess Breen

I am inspired by women who demonstrate their strength through self-sacrifice, determination, bravery, wisdom, and compassion. The most influential in my life is my very own grandmother, Charlotte DeRossett. Born in Tennessee during the Great Depression, her father was a kind and generous farmer who would set aside food each week to give to the poor. She recalls, “We were the poorest people we knew,” but her father instilled the importance of generosity from an early age.

Lesson #1: There is always someone who has it worse than we do. Be generous, always.

At the age of 15, she left home working two jobs to support her younger siblings. She always regretted not getting an education, but read every book she could get her hands on.

Lesson #2: Be a lifelong learner, hunger for knowledge, and be your own teacher.

My grandmother will never miss an opportunity to give a sincere compliment and tell you how special you are. She will be 90 this year, and attributes her health to the joy that comes from approaching life with gratitude and optimism.

Lesson #3: If you woke up today, be grateful. There is always something to be grateful for.

We celebrate Charlotte along with all the powerful female influencers who have opened the doors of possibility.

Fearless – Kristen M. Grimes

I am inspired by many women who have pushed the boundaries in fearless ways to create a world that doesn’t just accept what women have to offer, but appreciates it. One such woman that comes to the forefront is Kathrine Switzer. I often wonder if she knew the impact she would have, inspiring countless women in the pursuit of equality, the day she toed the line of the Boston Marathon in April 1967, a race that didn’t allow female participants at the time. Probably not, but she surely began to recognize the impact when the co-race director attempted to physically drag her out of the running. In that moment she stood strong and ran, most likely knowing that the world was watching and that if change was going to happen by crossing the finish line that day, she needed to find a way to keep going.

Following that race, Kathrine made it her mission to fight for equal rights for women in sports. She founded a non-profit organization, Fearless 261, with running clubs across the globe aiming to promote equality and female empowerment. Today, I am inspired by the countless women lining up for big and small races and I think of Kathrine. When I see Shalane Flanagan cross the NYC Marathon finish line with arms raised high and a cry of victory on her lips, I know she owes a debt to those who have run before her. In those moments, I know that I owe the same debt to these fearless warriors. I may not win a marathon, but I can teach my daughters and granddaughters that they are powerful in all they do; that together we can create a better future – arms raised high above our heads, a cry of victory on our lips, fearlessly moving forward across our own finish lines.

Finding my way – Dr. Felicia Haecker

As a female veteran living with PTSD, I can truly say I have been battle tested. I pride myself in being able to face difficult situations and see them through. After serving on active duty for 12 years, 6 months and 5 days, I decided to transition out of the Air Force. Imagine my surprise when the transition was much more difficult than I could have ever imagined.  Here I am, a warrior, and I cannot will my civilian self to overcome my transition issues. I found myself in the grips of depression. What was I thinking? Military life was all I have ever known. I was born into a military family, both parents were active duty at one point. My entire life had been prescribed for me and now it was up to me to decide which direction I wanted my life to take. This was completely overwhelming and I began to retreat from the world.

Dr. Janice Doucet-Thompson and I would meet two years after I transitioned out of the Air Force. I was trying to understand who I was and what I wanted from this life. She would invite me to attend women’s events and I would decline, which never deterred her. I did not think I was smart or good enough, to be amongst these women. Always with a smile she would say, “Okay maybe next time,” reminding me that my voice as a female veteran was needed.  She believed in me when I did not believe in myself.  It would take nearly four years for me to join her at one of these events.  I found myself providing new perspectives to others on the female veteran experience and people were listening. I found my confidence, my voice, and my path. Janice inspired me to launch my own company for female veterans. I hope to do for other female veterans what Janice did for me.

Shirley Chisholm: Dare to Change the World – Dr. Kathryn R. Taylor

This International Women’s Day comes on the heels of an unprecedented number of women announcing their intent to run for President of the United States. I am inspired by a woman who declared her intent to run for President, 47 years ago. Shirley Chisholm was able to catapult over societal limitations placed on people because of race, gender, religion, and economic status only to land standing firmly for social justice in America. Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm began as an educator that recognized the need to change her platform with a purpose to evoke transformational change in education.  She made history by becoming the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968, and the first woman & African American to seek the nomination for President, from one of two major political parties in 1972.  Known as “Fighting Shirley,” she introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and was a co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971.

As an educator and through my work mentoring young girls, I deem it necessary to educate young women of today about the trailblazing women of yesterday. Chisholm understood her true purpose to champion racial and gender equality. Her lived experience as an African American woman born to two immigrant parents, set the framework to channel her passion toward becoming an advocate for others oppressed by similar intersectionalities. I am encouraged to continue working as an agent of change by remembering the legacy of dynamic women from the past, celebrating phenomenal women of today, and preparing our young girls to lead the charge of social justice in the future.  Chisholm said, “I want to be remembered as a woman…who dared to be a catalyst of change.” As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I hope to inspire more woman to dare to change the world.

Inspirational Words from Jennifer Lopez – Dr. Tiffany D. Ware

As a woman of courage, ambition, and strength, Jennifer Lopez has inspired me throughout my life: “As women, we almost never give ourselves enough credit for what we’re capable of, for what we endure and how giving we are. Part of loving yourself is about forgiving yourself – which is something I’ve always struggled with. It’s the messy parts that make us human, so we should embrace them too – pat ourselves on the back for getting through them rather than being angry for having gotten into them in the first place. Because loving yourself is ultimately about self-acceptance, about embracing every part of who you are. And that’s never just one thing.”

Lopez was someone I could always identify with. Being Hispanic and seeing her flourish into a successful business-woman and leader; has given me the courage to never give up. Today, as a wife, mother, and combat Army veteran, I have seen so many things and learned so much throughout my life experiences. Her words resonate with me. I have made it my mission to own who I am, mold it, and create it into a beautiful leadership experience. I can say today, that I am the first in my family to accomplish many milestones; the greatest, becoming Dr. Tiffany Ware. Without Lopez’ words of encouragement and her ability to share her milestones, I would not have the momentum to do what I do now. Today we celebrate and honor all the wonderful women around the world who helped shaped us all.


On March 8, as you’re Looking at Leadership, consider supporting one of the many International Women’s Day events in your area. Whether we attend a panel discussion or book fair, support a GoFundme campaign (intended to raise money for young girls to see Captain Marvel), or share a story of an amazing woman in our lives, the opportunity to celebrate outstanding women who lead is something we can do year round.

Jalin B. Johnson, Ed.D., is an associate professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies at Brandman University, focusing on business and organizational leadership. She is a regular contributor on issues of leadership and current events.


When diversity cognizance allows the ‘lions to have their own historians’

Looking at Leadership: When diversity cognizance allows the ‘lions to have their own historians’

By Dr. Jalin B. Johnson

Over the last several decades, through my own work and research, I have shared one of my favorite African proverbs in a number of different contexts. This saying, “until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter,” reminds us that the narrative of the unseen and underrepresented is often skewed or untold.

This January, during the weekend where we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S., I, along with my esteemed colleague Dr. David Gonzalez, had the honor of presenting a keynote address titled “Diversity Cognizance,” to Brandman University EDOL Doctoral students, Faculty and alumni. We note that diversity cognizance “offers a pathway for transformational leaders to make room for diverse backgrounds and perspectives at the decision-making table.”

Each year during the 28 days that make up Black History Month (formerly ‘Negro History Week, circa 1926), many in the U.S. increase their diversity cognizance by revisiting many of the achievements and milestones attributed to men and women of African heritage in this part of the diaspora.

In 2019, awareness of the 400-year mark of the beginning of the U.S.-bound slave trade (1619 to 2019) will continue to add to the larger discussion of diversity, equity and inclusion. As February 2019 began, and remembrance of the first Dutch ship carrying enslaved African natives being brought to Jamestown, Virginia, took place, the current governor of Virginia found his ability to lead being questioned.

picture posted in the Eastern Virginia Medical School 1984 yearbook of two people, appearing on the page designated for (then medical student) Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia), made headlines. The image is of two people wearing “blackface” and dressed as a member of the KKK, respectively.

While the history of blackface in the U.S. is not new, and discussions around its effect on those of African descent from across the diaspora are not relegated to Black History Month, understanding its stain on western culture today, requires diversity cognizance and cultural competence. Each of these are often achieved when representatives of varied populations (this goes beyond ethnic diversity), the unseen and underrepresented, have a seat at the decision-making table and hold positions of influence, allowing for their narratives to be recognized.

Throughout the last three decades, while facilitating discussions surrounding multiculturalism, diversity cognizance, cultural competence, equity and inclusion, I have found that transformational leadership, like awareness, requires seeking guidance and having critical conversations in spaces dedicated to knowledge seeking. The decision makers and those who hold positions of influence must represent varying narratives, backgrounds and ideas.

Scenarios like what Gov. Northam and the Democratic caucuses in Virginia are currently navigating, and those much like what former NBC host Megyn Kelly experienced when she led a panel discussion where “painting one’s face to look like Diana Ross,” was mentioned (“Are These Halloween Costumes Too Controversial To Wear?” – October, 2018), can benefit from having diversity of thought and lived experiences, accessible to you.

Gov. Northam held a press conference on Feb. 2 to apologize to those who “may have been hurt” by the previously mentioned photo, which he first said included him but later said did not. He said that he was “not surprised” by the photo’s appearance, comparing it to other things that were “commonplace” at the time. He went on to share that he did however, “darken his face” when wearing a costume, in order to look like Michael Jackson, while at a 1984 dance party.

It is within these same facilitated discussions of cultural competency and diversity cognizance that those in leadership positions are afforded an opportunity to understand why the logic offered for similar actions, are historically received as offensive. In retrospect, we are left to wonder what influence these same discussions, or representation from those with varying narratives, could have had on the leadership of Eastern Virginia Medical School.

While the outcome of what surrounds Governor Northam is yet to be determined, in a state that will soon face the two-year anniversary of events related to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA (August 2017), what is evident is that this discussion surrounding awareness, will continue beyond the month of February. These discussions need targeted leadership in political, professional, familial and academic settings alike. Creating a space for those with experience and knowledge to both lead, and participate in, critical conversations is only part of the process.

Achieving equity is not possible when representation does not exist.

As you’re Looking at Leadership, remember that the narrative of the unseen and underrepresented can only be told when there is opportunity and a dedicated space to speak, to be acknowledged and to be heard.

Jalin B. Johnson, Ed.D., is an associate professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies at Brandman University, focusing on business and organizational leadership. She is a regular contributor on issues of leadership and current events.



Doctoral program students and guests expand their perceptions of diversity

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Brandman School of Business and Professional Studies faculty members Jalin Johnson and David Gonzalez.

The winter immersion session for Brandman University’s Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership first- and second-year students doesn’t just bring students from throughout the U.S. and faculty members together to learn from each other. It also provides an opportunity to introduce potential students to the program by inviting them to a keynote address.

This year’s keynote featured Brandman faculty members Jalin Johnson, Ed.D., and David Gonzalez, DPS, who spoke about “diversity cognizance” or the way that transformational leaders can make room for diverse backgrounds and perspectives at the decision-making table.

The talk focused on how the concept is “relevant across an array of fields, professional and personal settings,” reported Johnson, who used her experience-content-perspective (ECP) model to spark discussions about “how our lived experiences shape the context with which we view any given situation, and, in turn, influence the perspectives that we bring.”

Using facilitated sessions, some with the whole group and others broken into small groups, Johnson and Gonzalez walked participants through a key questions assessment and then gave attendees the opportunity to face their perceptions and assumption and share what they discussed with the larger group.

Johnson said the challenge is to consider the many different experiences and perspectives in the room while being mindful of diverse opinions and allowing those to each be valued.

Discussions about diversity encompassed socio-economic status, military status, disability and accessibility, ageism, equality, gender, implicit bias, sexuality and equity-centered themes.

Gonzalez and Johnson were told by one participant that they took “a difficult topic, adding a bit of humor and spice and creating a safe place for all to learn, grow and communicate.”

Students and visitors in a post-session survey praised both the choice of topics and the activities included. “I would have loved to spend the entire day on this topic. It is so needed in our communities and country right now!” wrote one.

Self-paced learning: Brandman MyPath™ launches new program for innovative leaders

January 04, 2019 by Brandman Career Services

MAOL MyPath word cloud The bell has rung on a new year – a time for reassessing the way things have always been done and trying something new.

At Brandman University, nobody waits for the turn of the calendar year to try a new approach. Take, for instance, how the university teaches organizational leadership, an academic topic that has been around for nearly a century.

Now Brandman University is adding a new twist with its competency-based approach to the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL).  The program is awaiting final approval, but the university is taking inquiries about enrollment.

The Brandman MyPath™ approach mirrors what faculty member and course creator Laura Galloway, Ph.D., calls some of the most important aspects of leadership, “self-reflection, self-inspection and self-control,” both in content and in what’s required of the students trying a new way of earning a degree.

Brandman MyPath™, an approach to competency-based learning, doesn’t just provide theories and examples of how leadership shapes organizations, it asks students to put those theories to use, demonstrate mastery and analyze the results for a students’ workplace or other organization.

Monica Shukla-Belmontes

Assistant Dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies Monica Shukla-Belmontes

We talked with Brandman University faculty members and course creators Monica Shukla-Belmontes, Ph.D., Jalin Johnson, Ed.D., and Galloway about what sets the competency-based education apart from Brandman’s blended and online courses, who might best fit this course design and what it takes to be a leader.

The MAOL program is the fourth competency-based program designed by Brandman University and the first to use a template created with knowledge gained from the first three programs (Bachelor of Business AdministrationB.S.I.T., and designed but still pending approvals Associate of Arts). Eager to complete the work to qualify for accreditation, all three faculty members said they relied on what they had learned while working on the original undergraduate Brandman MyPath™.  Backward design – working from how mastery of the competency could be demonstrated to the beginning – was used in each program.

“It’s a neat process. We work closely with (course) designers,” said Shukla-Belmontes. “We strongly focused on the takeaways for the students and how do we achieve those goals.”

Personalized learning

While innovations in course design are important, all three agreed that it’s the self-paced aspect of competency-based learning that sets this master’s program apart from any others, making it ideal for the motivated student.

Laura Galloway

Assistant Professor Laura Galloway

“A student who has had a lot of experience in the workplace can really through these competencies quickly,” said Galloway. “If they want to get through as many as they can in a year, have at it. That’s the great part about it.”

Unlike a traditional program that would have a start and end date for each course, the competency-based program is divided into areas to master, each with assessments along the way. Assessments come in the forms of everything from quizzes to papers to presentations.

“Content-wise, I think it is more robust than the traditional ones are,” said Galloway. “There is no way for students to progress without reading, using and referencing all of the content.”

“There’s a heightened sense of individual self-efficacy,” said Johnson. “Students can see that they understand the competency in their own environment. It’s really good for building a person’s confidence as well as competence.”

All-in-one learning

Content is cross-referenced to traditional MAOL courses, said Shukla-Belmontes, but in the Brandman MyPath™ approach, textbooks are replaced by content embedded into the course.

Each competency builds or scaffolds into the next one so that students are applying both their workplace knowledge and their newly gained academic knowledge as they progress.

Although Brandman MyPath™ is designed without in-person classroom interaction, it still requires and offers ways to interact with other people, a key component of leadership.

Jalin Johnson

Assistant Professor Jalin Johnson

“Once a month we hold a community meeting,” said Shukla-Belmontes. Those virtual meetings are open to everyone in the course and could address general topics, such as writing skills, or specific ones, such as strategies for being an effective leader. The tutorial faculty works one-on-one, providing feedback as a student works toward mastery. How often a student takes advantage of that is up to the student, another aspect of personalized learning.

For students who aren’t currently working, there are options to reflect on previous employment or volunteer activities. In one competency, a student has to demonstrate how he or she would lead a team through a team-building activity. “We ask people to videotape it, as much as possible, so it’s still hands-on even though it is individually based,” said Galloway.

Any graduate program, whether online, blended or competency-based, should be rigorous and encourage higher-level thinking, said Shukla-Belmontes. “Students like to be challenged.”

What’s great from beginning to end is you are clear and confident about what the student is going to learn,” said Galloway. “If you don’t pass (a competency), you’re redirected to learn it. You can’t say that about regular courses.”

Meet the faculty members

Shukla-Belmontes is the associate dean for corporate pathways and competency-based education in the School of Business and an assistant professor. She created two competencies, one addressing business functions and the other conflict and negotiations.

Johnson is an assistant professor of organizational leadership and created the capstone competency, the final assessment.

Galloway is also an assistant professor of organizational leadership and developed two competencies.