2012: The Year in Review

Jan 18, 2013 by Tom Dellner

The year 2012 will go down as a momentous and pivotal one for CalSouthern. The year’s most significant event undoubtedly was the university’s application for regional accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The official announcement—originally published on September 12—is as follows:

WASCCalifornia Southern University has applied for Eligibility from the Senior College Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. WASC has reviewed the application and determined that California Southern University is eligible to proceed with its self-study and application for Candidacy for Accreditation.

A determination of Eligibility is not a formal status with the Accrediting Commission, nor does it ensure eventual accreditation; it is a preliminary finding that the institution is potentially accreditable and can proceed within four years of its Eligibility determination to be reviewed for Candidacy status with the Accrediting Commission. Questions about Eligibility may be directed to CalSouthern or to WASC at wascsenior.org or by calling 510-748-9001.

Of course this news is important on its face and an extremely critical step in the university’s continued growth and development. But it’s also significant in that it reflects CalSouthern’s commitment to academic excellence and student services and success—a commitment evident throughout 2012.


Additions to the CalSouthern Team

Tommy TunsonTommy Tunson, CalSouthern’s new Chairman of the Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Department, brings a wealth of experience to the position. He retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after a distinguished 33-year military career. He also has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in every facet of police work from patrol to investigations, narcotics and homicide. He eventually rose to the rank of chief of police for three different communities. He’s also been involved in education, teaching and developing criminal justice and leadership courses for more than a decade.

Also joining CalSouthern’s academic team in 2012 are two Academic Advisors in the School of Behavioral Sciences Dr. Greg Western and Dr. Alpa Bajaj. Both are gifted educators, as well as talented and experienced practitioners.

In other staff developments of note to current and prospective learners, Dr. John Minchin—outgoing Dean of the School of Business—has been named Director of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment, in which role he will be responsible for evaluating every aspect of university operations and following through to make sure that any necessary changes are made. And Michael Godow, MLIS, was hired as Coordinator of Learner and Alumni services. He joins the university to develop any resources necessary to make sure learners successfully complete their programs of study, as well as to enhance CalSouthern’s relationships with its growing alumni community.


New Academic Programs

New degree and certificate programs were added in 2012, too. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice combines foundational courses such as legal procedure and criminal law with specialized and cutting-edge topics such as digital crime, forensic psychology, terrorism response, substance abuse and white-collar crime, among many other exciting subjects.

NAADAC CertificateThe School of Behavioral Sciences has recently added the pre-baccalaureate Certificate in Addiction Studies, which integrates theory and the practical application of skills necessary to work with the alcohol and drug abuse populations. Dr. Barbara Grimes is especially pleased to announce that she recently has been notified that this certificate has been approved by and meets the educational requirements for both the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) and the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).

In addition, the MA degree program was enhanced in 2012, and now satisfies the educational requirements for licensure as a professional clinical counselor (LPCC) as well as a marriage and family therapist (MFT) in the state of California. Also, the acclaimed Taylor Study Method was implemented to the PsyD program to not only complement the curriculum, but to help learners prepare for the EPPP examination from the moment they begin their PsyD coursework.


CalSouthern Lectures

CalSouthern LectureIn 2012, the university’s popular Master Lecture Series entered its fourth year. This year, more than one thousand current and prospective students registered to attend 12 lectures. Guest speakers included Dr. Jeffrey Zeig, internationally acclaimed scholar, author, psychotherapist and the architect of the Evolution of Psychotherapy conferences; Drs. Edward Teyber and Faith Holmes McClure, nationally respected educators and co-authors of the groundbreaking Interpersonal Process in Therapy: An Integrated Model; and Esther Perel, one of the world’s most respected voices on couples and sexuality and the author of the international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. Look for more great speakers—and the launch of the Master Lecture Series Business Track—in 2012


The 2012 CalSouthern Commencement Ceremony

CalSouthern President, Dr. Caroll Ryan presents John Galaska, PsyD with the President’s Award for Doctoral Project Excellence

Once again, graduation day was perhaps the highlight of the university calendar. Approximately 500 graduates, family members, friends and other honored guests gathered at the Irvine Barclay Theatre for CalSouthern’s 34th annual commencement ceremony. Dr. Zeig (mentioned above) and the Honorable Sukhee Kang, Mayor of the City of Irvine, California gave thoughtful and inspirational addresses, as did the dynamic student speaker, 2012 JD graduate James Belisario.

Of course, University President Dr. Caroll Ryan addressed the graduates, as well. In her heartfelt remarks, she recognized many CalSouthern students for their character and academic and professional achievement, including military graduates—Captain Kenneth Okeze, MA and Captain Gregory Mabry, PsyD—who completed part of their coursework while on active duty. (In fact, Captain Okeze had returned from deployment in Afghanistan mere days before the ceremony.)

PsyD graduates Bradley Lord, Penny Marcus and John Galaska were also honored at commencement. The three were nominated for the inaugural President’s Award recognizing doctoral project excellence. Dr. Galaska was presented the award for his doctoral project, “Neurofeedback: At the Juncture of Psychology and Physiology.”

Dr. Ryan also took a moment at graduation to recognize another award recipient from earlier in the year. Dr. Mara Leigh Taylor—a 2011 PsyD graduate—was presented with the first annual CalSouthern Difference Award, which will be given each year to a CalSouthern student or alumnus who makes a difference in his or her area of practice, field of study, or local community through distinguished scholarship, innovation, or service. Dr. Taylor was honored for her work with incarcerated men, women, and children around the world.

The CalSouthern Difference Award

Dr. Mara Leigh TaylorKnown as “Coach” by the individuals with whom she works, Dr. Taylor is the founder of the non-profit organization Getting Out by Going In (GOGI), which has helped many thousands of current and former inmates across the globe learn positive decision-making skills through GOGI’s innovative 12 tools. CalSouthern made a donation of $2,500 to GOGI on behalf of Coach Taylor, who recently informed us that the donation helped volunteers respond to more than 10,000 prisoner letters “asking for help to become better people.”


It was a monumental year, perhaps the best in the university’s 34-year history. But despite this long heritage, in many respects, we’re just getting started. And whether you’re a current or prospective learner or a member of our alumni family, we look forward to working with and for you as we continue CalSouthern’s commitment to excellence and continuous improvement.



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