Lifelong Learner: Sharon Woodlief, Class of 2005

This month we feature Antioch University Santa Barbara graduate Sharon Woodlief (M.A. Class of 2005) in our spotlight on alumni.

Sharon Woodlief's interest in lifelong learning began in her hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After moving to Santa Barbara to pursue a graduate study program in Political Science she found herself drawn to Psychology.

Sharon researched graduate programs that could provide a course of study that was rigorous yet consistent with her personal philosophy of Social Justice and Experiential Learning. Once she found Antioch University Santa Barbara, Sharon knew she would be on the right course both academically and personally (an added bonus was the University was located around the corner from where she lived downtown).

Woodlief graduated from Antioch University Santa Barbara, in 2005 with a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. The photo is of Sharon Woodlief from her graduation from Louisiana State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree. It was significant time for her as it was at that graduation that she confirmed her objective to go to graduate school and ultimately find a path that would allow Sharon to continue to enrich her life as well as to encourage Ms. Woodlief to appreciate the world around her.
 
When asked about her experience at AUSB, Sharon Woodlief said:

"My classes at Antioch consisted of an array of diverse students, and the class environments were open to allowing all of those hungry and thoughtful scholars to think and challenge one another as well as being encouraged to challenge the brilliant faculty. I felt my knowledge base grow academically because the faculty was prepared to teach with skill and competence. Moreover, I felt my sense of intellect and self-confidence intensify, as I applied theories and ideas not only in my school work but in my community, and even with my family and friends."

 
Sharon shares this message for prospective students of Antioch University Santa Barbara:

"There is so much that I learned at Antioch that I still find myself routinely recalling themes and lessons, and in all manner of circumstances in my life. That is what education at Antioch is: taking what is learned in the classroom and applying what is learned throughout one’s life."

Since graduating from Antioch Santa Barbara in 2005, Woodlief has gone on to earn a Ph.D. in Education from the UCSB, with an emphasis in educational leadership and organizations. Her dissertation research was focused on multicultural awareness education. Sharon worked in Admissions at Fielding Graduate University’s School of Psychology. It was there that she began work with Antioch University Santa Barbara’s current President, Dr. Nancy Leffert
 
Sharon Woodlief is an Editor at Out of the Woods Publishing, Inc. She has just finished work on editing a novel titled: "The Farmhand" authored by former Louisiana correctional officer David Bruce. Woodlief's role in editing this tale on the psychology of people in the Louisiana prison system was based on her background in Clinical Psychology. Sharon Woodlief states, "When you see this book on the New York Times bestseller list and on the silver screen, you heard about it here first, from an Antioch Grad! I am so honored to have been chosen to participate in this work, and I am excited about what the future holds for me." For more information on this Antioch Alumni please visit her LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sharon-woodlief-ba-ma-phd/3/84b/8ab

Antioch University Receives Top Honor for Community Service

USA Today has named Antioch University one of the “Top 20 Colleges Most Committed to Community Service,” the second such major honor the college has received this year.

USA Today, the second largest circulation newspaper in the nation, cited Antioch in a July 2011 report it released on its web site in partnership with OnlineColleges, a leading internet education service. The report highlighted Antioch University’s service projects locally, around the country, and throughout the world, calling it “one of the more inspiring schools” in the U.S. for its community activities.
 
The honor follows the national recognition Antioch University received in May 2011, when the college was admitted to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, for the strong institutional commitment and support of its campuses for volunteerism, service learning and community partnerships that produce measurable results.
 
Dr. Nancy Leffert, President of Antioch University Santa Barbara (AUSB), said she was proud of the honors because they reflect the emphasis the institution places on community service as a core element of its educational philosophy.

“Civic engagement is a key component of our educational values and deeply-held philosophy,” said Dr. Leffert. “We teach our students the importance of service learning in the classroom and the community. Being recognized as an educational institution for our service commitment is especially meaningful to us.”

Locally, Antioch University Santa Barbara collaborates with non-profit organizations, community programs and businesses, including the Fund for Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, around the region’s issues of importance. Students connect with community groups and leaders through service learning that includes internships, practica and independent studies, plus a social justice film series and a lecture series on environmental issues. Antioch is one of the few universities in the U.S. to award academic credit for learning gained outside of the classroom.
 
BACKGROUND:
AUSB has offered quality undergraduate and graduate degree programs locally for 34 years. All AUSB students are required to participate in community service, serving locally on average one year in schools and more than 100 social service agencies and non-profit organizations. Experiential learning opportunities are created both in the classroom as well as in the community through internships, practica, and independent studies. AUSB is also one of the growing number of universities in the U.S. to award academic credit for prior learning gained outside of the classroom, earned for example in the military, corporate training and other non-classroom settings.
 
Antioch University serves more than 4,000 adult students around the world and across the country, online and at its five campuses in four states. Each campus offers degree programs that meet—and often anticipate—the pressing needs of its region and the wider world. The University is also home to the landmark PhD in Leadership and Change; Antioch Education Abroad, an exceptional opportunity of immersive service and study programs; and WYSO, a leading public radio affiliate and an essential source of global news and opinion.
 
AUSB is particularly distinguished with its unique undergraduate degree completion program in liberal studies and graduate master’s and doctoral programs in clinical psychology and education that integrate students’ academic experience and experiential learning. Additionally, students in all of AUSB’s programs can specialize in relevant and applied specialized concentrations. OnlineColleges offers features, news items and trivia about college traditions, campus life, and practical tips for thriving at school. Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the presidential Honor Roll, admitted colleges and universities on the basis of their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at risk youth. “Congratulations to Antioch University and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick A. Corvington, Chief Executive Officer of CNCS. “We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service.”

Karen Cator Speaks in Santa Barbara on Transforming Education with Technology

Antioch University Santa Barbara is proud to host Karen Cator, the Obama Administration's Director of Educational Technology, US Department of Education. Cator's address to the Santa Barbara community is titled Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, and the event was held on Wednesday, March 2, 6:00 – 7:30 pm, at the Canary Hotel.

Karen Cator has been instrumental in shaping the Obama administration's vision of 21st century opportunities for students using technology to transform teaching and learning. She has been a leading voice at the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers, students and administrators. Prior to joining the Department of Education, Ms. Cator directed Apple's leadership and advocacy efforts in education. She has been a leading voice at the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers, students and administrators.

KEYT "Key News" Channel 3 was on the scene to cover the event – Here is the News Story on Karen Cator's visit to Santa Barbara.

Below is a video from the evenings presentation.

The event is a continuation of AUSB’s community collaboration surrounding the presidential inauguration of Dr. Nancy Leffert.

New President, New Era for AUSB

AUSB is proud to announce President Nancy Leffert was inaugurated on February 26, 2011. Watch the inauguration ceremony to hear Dr. Leffert's vision for a new era at AUSB and integral role in the Santa Barbara community.

Dr. Leffert’s inaugural comes at a time of dramatic change for AUSB. As resources for public education continue to decline, the 34-year old institution is moving aggressively to strengthen its curriculum and faculty, to revitalize its governance and leadership and to upgrade its physical facilities to better serve the rapidly changing needs of its students and the community.

The formal academic installation of Dr. Leffert is the first in a month-long series of public events hosted by AUSB that will highlight the theme of her inaugural – “access, engage, and collaborate.”

"Antioch has an important role to play in providing access to educational dreams. Students tell us they want and need flexibility," said Dr. Leffert in her inaugural address. "I am determined to ensure that motivated and qualified students have increased access to that transformative education experience."

Dr. Leffert had been Provost and Chief Executive Officer of AUSB for only three months when was asked to step into the role of Chief Executif Officer in 2009. She quickly met the challenge of her new role, and the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint her president as of July 2010.

Prior to joining AUSB as its top administrator, President Leffert was the Associate Dean for Student Services and Program Evaluation in the School of Psychology at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara. She is a nationally-known scholar of adolescent development, known particularly for her work delineating factors that contribute to the positive development of young people. One aspect of this work was the creation of the Developmental Assets framework, which is currently used across the country in over 500 communities as a tool to help mobilize around raising healthy children and adolescents. In addition to her lengthy list of published books and scientific articles, President Leffert has authored many reports and technical manuals, and has frequently been invited to give scholarly and community presentations.

“Dr. Leffert was unanimously selected by the Antioch University Santa Barbara Board of Trustees to become the new President,” said Victoria Riskin, chair of the AUSB Board of Trustees, noting the new president’s 35 years of experience in research, social service and higher education administration. The Trustees cited her impressive academic background, dynamic energy and passionate commitment to the growth of our campus in pledging their full and enthusiastic support.”

READ:  Noozhawk.com published Dr. Leffert's op-ed piece titled "A Vision for Antioch University Santa Barbara."

Many thanks to the Santa Barbara Independent and Journalist Avery Hardy for her piece on AUSB's Inauguration titled "Springtime at Antioch" – University Elects Nancy Leffert as New President to Usher in a New Era.

Local News coverage of the Inauguration and colorful photos of the event were featured on Noozhawk.com in an article by contributing writer, Sonia Fernandez titled "Nancy Leffert Puts Own Touch on Inauguration as Antioch University's New President"

WATCH:  Hosts Cathy Murillo and David Pritchett of the "Off-Leash Public Affairs" Program on Cable TV 17 & 21: The Santa Barbara Channels, documented the AUSB Inauguration Event at the Museum of Natural History with video footage and an interview with Dr. Nancy Leffert.

LISTEN:  The University of California at Santa Barbara's Radio Station, KCSB 91.9-FM ran two news-story's covering the AUSB Inauguration and an Interview with Dr. Nancy Leffert. 

Here is the link to the full podcast: http://www.kcsb.org/news/kcsb-community-news-march-1-2011

Dr. Nancy Leffert was interviewed on the Mark Macintire, “Minds That Matter” Radio Program. She explains her vision for Antioch Santa Barbara's future and her philosophy of education.

To hear the interview click on the link: