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Doctoral Degree

A Perspective on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Noted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. biographer, historian, and UI&U doctoral faculty member Stewart Burns recently gave an interview on Dr. King’s civil rights activism. The Sojourner’s Truth, Toledo, Ohio’s African American newspaper, ran it as a two-part series. Burns reflects on lesser known aspects of Dr. King’s inner struggles and the angst and depression he suffered as he traveled the often solitary road as a civil rights leader. You can read part 1 of the interview here, and part 2 here

 

Dr. Burns Describes Dr. King

Burns served as editor of the King Papers at Stanford University, and developed a documentary history of the Montgomery bus boycott (made into an HBO feature). Thus, he has unique perspectives on Dr. King’s life. He points out that, as a servant leader, Dr. King acutely felt the suffering of others. He withstood the daily onslaught of criticism for his stands on the Vietnam War and economic inequality.

Burns describes Dr. King’s last years: “For the last four and a half years of his life he was a wounded warrior. It does seem that from a psychological or emotional perspective, it is very often the case that activists or people who are leaders for social change find themselves not only on the edge of society in the sense that they’re really pushing for significant change in the society, but also that their minds and consciousness and spirits are somewhat on the edge of what’s considered normal.”

And yet, Burns says, “King himself was a real role model. He wanted a united movement of people of color and poor whites, which was the idea for the poor people’s campaign, but above all he wanted black people to be united.”

 

About Dr. Burns

Dr. Burns chairs UI&U’s Ethical & Creative Leadership concentration in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program and shares leadership of its Martin Luther King Jr. Studies specialization. He is a highly regarded historian of the civil rights movement, author or editor of eight books, former editor of the King Papers at Stanford University, where he also taught U.S. History before joining Union. He has been a nonviolent activist for most of his life, and for over a quarter century engaged in interracial healing in higher education. Learn more about Dr. Burns and his commitment to connect Dr. King’s legacy to current issues at this link.

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thoughts on notre dame

A Union Ph.D Student Shares Thoughts on Notre Dame

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thoughts on notre dame

On April 15, 2019, the world watched in shock and dismay as flames engulfed Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, burning the building’s delicate and recognizable spire and most of its roof. Luckily, the interior avoided extensive damage thanks to its stone vaulted ceiling. Also, many works of art and religious relics were moved to safety. With rebuilding already underway, interest in the structure and its history has increased. Art historian and Ph.D. student Bruce Maggi shares some thoughts on Notre Dame the significance of the iconic structure.

 

Q & A with Bruce Maggi

Q: Can you give us a brief history of the cathedral? 

A: Notre Dame de Paris is more than 800 years old. It sits on a small island called the Ile de la Cite in the middle of the River Seine in the heart of Paris. The cathedral was built over the course of 200 years; it was started in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII and was completed in 1345. It was built on the ruins of two earlier churches, which were themselves predated by a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to the Roman god, Jupiter.

Notre Dame was, at one time, in a stage of total disrepair and close to the point of being demolished, but was later saved by Napoleon who himself was crowned Emperor in 1804 inside the cathedral.

The cathedral was one of the earliest structures built with exterior flying buttresses. These buttresses allow for the tall walls and large amount of stained glass windows. The buttresses act basically as an exoskeleton that takes the weight of the room off the walls and directs it out of the main building.

 

Q: What attracts people to visit the cathedral? 

A: Notre Dame de Paris is visited by approximately 14 million visitors per year, even more than the Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame has been visited since its completion. It falls as part of the Reliquary route that worshipers would use across Europe during the Middle Ages. The cathedral houses numerous relics that are very important to the Catholic Church, including the Crown of Thorns of Christ and piece of wood said to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

 

Q: What should people know about the cathedral that they don’t know?

A: Numerous cathedrals and churches share the name Notre Dame. Notre Dame means “Our Lady,” for the Virgin Mary.

The cathedral contains one of the oldest surviving wood timber frames in Paris, involving around 52 acres of trees that were cut down in the 12th century. Each beam is made from an individual tree. For this reason, the lattice of historic woodwork that burned in the fire was nicknamed “the Forest.”

If you look at a photo of the cathedral from before the fire, you’ll see a rooster on top of the spire. This rooster was not a purely decorative bird. In 1935, three tiny relics—an alleged piece of the Crown of Thorns and some bits of Saint Denis and Saint Genevieve (the city’s patron saints) were secured inside the metal bird’s body. The idea, the story goes, was to create a sort of spiritual lightning rod to protect the parishioners within.

All 20 of the bells in the cathedral except for Emmanuel (weighing 13 tons) were melted down to make canons during the French Revolution.

 

About Bruce Maggi

Maggi is a Ph.D. student with a concentration in Humanities & Culture at Union Institute & University. He is also an art history professor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Conway, SC. Maggi earned a M.Ed. in 2006 and a M.A. in 2014, both from Union Institute & University.

 

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

“What Are You Doing For Others?”

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Dr. Marlon A. Smith

Dr. Marlon A. Smith, Founder, Black Greeks Speak (BGS) Social Justice and Human Rights Council and Senior Manager of Policy and Engagement at BakerRipley.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 21, 2019, is a national holiday that honors the life and work of Dr. King. He often posed the question, “What Are You Doing For Others?” Read how Dr. Marlon Smith, 2016 graduate of the Ph.D. Humanities & Culture major, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies Specialization, whose dissertation is now a book, is answering that call.

Q: What is the Black Greeks Speak (BGS) Social Justice and Human Rights Council?
A:
We are a member based policy and education studies organization that brings together Black Greek Letter Organizational (BGLO) members with the larger community in order to build a stronger coalition of civically engaged men and women that will help make real Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Beloved Community.

Q: What is the significance of a BGLO and BGO?
A: BGLO stands for Black Greek Letter Organizations and BGO is Black Greek Organizations. They were formed by African American college students in the early 1900s when segregation denied Black people entry into the broader college, university and public life.

Many famous African Americans have been members of BGO’s including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Shirley Chisolm, Colin Kaepernick, Alicia Keys, Omari Hardwick, Jada Pinkett Smith, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Maya Angelou, and many, many more.

Q: What is the purpose of the Black Greeks Speak Social Justice and Human Rights Council?
A:
The purpose is to bring together BGLO members with the larger community in order to build a stronger coalition of civically engaged men and women. The hope is to build stronger institutions that can more effectively address issues in communities of color. That means we have to help create a world wherein all people have the ability to exist as equally free moral agents without concern for racial, gender, and religious discrimination and hatred.

Q: What is the vision of the Black Greeks Speak?
A:
BGS is dedicated to transforming a 19th Century Black Greek Letter Organizational member model for social justice and human rights engagement into a 21st century model that more effectively addresses contemporary justice and human rights issues in our world. In other words, we want to create a more innovate approach for BGLO members and our allies to build models for civic engagement.

Q: How did the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies Specialization, affect you?
A:
The MLK program has provided me the opportunity to think deeply about ways that I might unite theories of social justice to real world advocacy and activism. Most importantly, it has distinguished my academic course work among others who study theories within black intellectual traditions.

Q: Your dissertation was entitled, “Reshaping King’s Beloved Community: The Experiences of Black Male Felons and their Impact on the Black Radical Intellectual Traditions.” What do you want people to know about this subject?
A: First, I want people to know the dissertation is now a book, published by Lexington Books. Second, I want people to understand that every human being has value, and simply placing labels on people such as the label “felon” doesn’t take away or lessen that human value.

Q: If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?
A:
I think the advice I would give a Union student is to seek new knowledge and experiences where you can find it. If you are not careful going to school online can isolate you. So take much care to extend your network and experiences so you can truly become an interdisciplinary scholar.

 

About Dr. Marlon A. Smith

Dr. Smith is a servant leader dedicated to Union’s mission to transform lives and communities. He is known for his ability to bring together community leaders for dialogue on issues ranging from social justice and public policy issues.

His leadership on reentry and criminal justice reforms, with particular focus on the collateral consequences of incarceration on communities and families, has led to a new focus on the intellectual and political contributions Black male felons offer to the Black radical intellectual traditions. He has served as a minister in many capacities and in 2001, became program director for United Nations Advocacy for the General Board of Church and Society for the United Methodist Church where he researched and participated in international justice projects on race and poverty.

His civic involvement encompasses leadership roles with a wide range of local, state and national organizations including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., NAACP, Houston’s My Brothers’ Keeper, and the American Leadership Forum. He is also an Encore Public Voices Fellow. He is the author of two books: Black Lives Houston: Voices of Our Generations and Reshaping Beloved Community: The Experiences of Black Male Felons and Their Impact on Black Radical Traditions.

Read more about Dr. Smith and his work at this link.

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Union Leaders – Dr. Glenn Kendall

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Dr. Glenn Kendall
Founder and Executive Director of Youthaven Public Ecovillage, Inc.

Union Institute & University’s historical commitment to ethical and creative leadership and the insights gained over the past 50 years as a leader in adult learning is the inspiration for the monthly series, Union Leaders.

This month’s Union Leader is Dr. Glenn Kendall. Dr. Kendall founded Youthaven Public Ecovillage, Inc. based on his UI&U Ph.D. study, “Understanding effective models of group care: enhancing group home services for homeless, abused, and runaway children.” This new group care model is for residential and non-residential foster care, homeless, and vulnerable youths. The innovative model is a public ecovillage, which means that the organization will expand the traditional group home model to include an edible landscape, an organic urban farming-to-plate program, and renewable and sustainable energy systems. Another central feature is an entrepreneurial and job development program (a modest business incubator). The Youthaven Board wants to offer something new and exciting in the field of group home services to residential and non-residential foster care, homeless, and vulnerable youths. Learn how Dr. Kendall has used his leadership skills to help children in the Q & A below.

Q: How do you define leadership?
A: I define leadership as the ability to establish a meaningful and sustainable relationship (you can say a type of sacred contract) among staff, clients, and stakeholders. Staff must dynamically involve stakeholders so that both serve as the guardians of the mission benefiting children most in need. Many people may think of leading in front; however, followership demonstrates that effective leadership is a synergistic and accountable process dynamically involving leaders and followers. All stakeholders must harmoniously work together to achieve the vision of the organization that lifts the hopes among some of the most traumatized children in our society.

Q: When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?
A: 
My leadership journey began when I was working for the Job Corps Program in Brooklyn, New York. One day I went to the center director and explained that staff needed more time to effectuate the desired evaluation results of corps members, or at least slow down the rate to early termination from the Center. In my judgment, the center director approved the dismissals of far too many Job Corps members who needed safe bedding; job training, placement, and G.E.D.; and a secure program to learn to become responsible adults. I said to myself, if given a chance, I will provide future adolescents opportunities to become successful adults without the burden of unwarranted early terminations.

Q: Share an example of how you have put leadership in action.
A: Founding Youthaven Public Ecovillage, Inc. is an example of putting leadership into action. I want to use an evidence-based model to change the paradigm for group homes, which focuses on respecting clients, expanding their horizons through enriched programs, and connecting their lives to the importance about nature. Young people can learn how to live in an ecological type of program or community, and thereby grow to better care for each other, our immediate environment, and the residence of nature–trees, animals, etc. Although funding and money are clearly necessary, on the global and local scales, money is less important when compared to having clean water, clean air, and healthy produce, the required elements needed to sustain all life. One example to put this type of leadership in action is to incorporate the use of solar panels, greenhouses, and edible landscapes on all our sites. Furthermore, Cincinnati has one of the highest percentages of children in poverty in the nation and a large number of former foster care and homeless children in the Ohio prison system. Foster care and homeless adolescents are much more susceptible to be incarcerated than other adolescents living in the general population. We have to find better ways to help vulnerable youths; a public ecovillage may be one solution.

Q: What leader do you admire most and why?
A: 
There are many leaders that I admire. A partial list includes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandala, Michael Moore, and political commentator Rachel Maddow. However, it is difficult to pick only one. But four leaders rise to the top for me. They are:

  1. President Obama: The first African-American President who won two terms of office.
  2. Abraham Lincoln: He kept the union together and created a model for abolishing slavery.
  3. Shirley Anita Chisholm: The first African American woman elected to Congress (representing Brooklyn, New York) and to run for the President of the United States during the Democratic primary during the 1970’s.
  4. Katherine Coleman Gable Johnson: A NASA mathematician. She was directly responsible for the safe trajectory and return landing for astronauts Alan Shepard and John Glenn. She did it without the use of computers. Without the calculation this African-American genius and the Black women who worked for the NASA, the space program would have significantly been impeded.

Q: What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?
A: 
The quote closest to my heart is one articulated by Martin Luther Kings, Jr., but the original author is no doubt Unitarian minister Theodore Parker addressing slavery in (and even outside) the United States during the 19th century: Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.


About Dr. Glenn Kendall

Glenn Kendall, Ph.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of Youthaven Public Ecovillage, Inc. His passion has always been to help children and teens who are most in need of safe and caring homes. Throughout his thirty-five years of public service, he only worked for three employers. The last two were the City of New York as its Head Start Contract Manager to ensure mandated compliance affecting services for 12,000 children, and ten years later with the National Park Services, which included working as the Residential Supervisor and Clinical Director of a Job Corps Program in Brooklyn New York for 225 young people.

Dr. Kendall attended four graduate schools. He qualified for a Master’s from Teachers College, Columbia University. Later, he earned three degrees: A Master’s in Humane Education from Cambridge College, a Master’s in Theological Studies from Drew University, and a Ph.D. from Union Institute & University. All of his studies were designed to improve the group home model for homeless, abused, and foster care youths. He was a nominee for the UI&U Marvin B. Sussman Doctoral Award.

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“A More Perfect Union” Dr. Webb Is Inaugurated

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Inauguration of Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, Nov. 8, 2018. Photo by Chocolate Paper Studios

“A More Perfect Union” Dr. Karen Schuster Webb Is Inaugurated as Union Institute & University Sixth President

The inauguration of Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, the sixth president of Union Institute & University and the first African American woman to hold the office, took place on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, at 4 p.m. at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

Drums for Peace led the procession of university delegates, faculty, staff, administration, students, and alumni followed by a rendition from Ragtime, “Let Them Hear You,” by Mr. Kent Overshown, accompanied on the piano by Mr. Billy Larkin. Christine van Duelmen, chair of the Board of Trustees, gave welcome and introductions. The Honorable Tamaya Dennard, Cincinnati City Council, President Pro Tem proclaimed November 8, 2018 as President Karen Schuster Webb Day.

Dr. Dr. Karen Schuster Webb delivers her inaugural address, “A More Perfect Union”. Photo by Chocolate Paper Studios

Ramona Laughing Brook Webb, daughter of Dr. and Mr. Wallace Webb, recited “Remember,” a poem by Joy Harjo of the Msvkoke/Creek Nation in honor Dr. Webb’s Creek Nation heritage. Members of the academic community and representatives from Southwestern Ohio Consortium for Higher Education, GC3, American Council on Education’s Women’s Network of Ohio, and others gave greetings and welcomed President Webb to her new position. Union’s Board of Trustees issued the presidential charges, and presented the presidential medallion and the university mace to Dr. Webb.

Dr. Webb’s “A More Perfect Union” inaugural address outlined her vision to continue Union’s distinguished social justice legacy as a world-class university. She urged the community to seek out Union, not only for academic degrees and certificates, but to engage with Union faculty, staff, alumni, and students to seek solutions to the world’s challenges.

Her Excellency, Dr. Hassana Alidou, ambassador from the Republic of Niger to the United States delivered the keynote address at the dinner following the installation ceremony. The dinner launched the new Union Institute for Social Justice, being developed to provide innovative and practical solutions that advance four broad goals: secure change through civil discourse; foster economic and social equity through education; defend opportunity and social justice in all our communities; and promote a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international community through engagement. Dr. Alidou urged the audience to continue Union’s mission of transforming lives and communities, and spoke of her personal journey, mentored and encouraged by Dr. Webb.

Drums for Peace. Photo by Chocolate Paper Studios

President Webb took office as president on July 1, 2018. She is a visionary leader with a passion for community and mentoring women in leadership, having dedicated her career to the equity of access to educational excellence in the United States, as well as around the world. She brings more than 20 years of executive leadership and an impressive career in higher education, most recently as the Midwest campus president and senior advisor for Academic Innovation to the Chancellor at the Antioch University System. She also served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Antioch University Midwest Campus. Prior to her work at Antioch University, Webb served at Alliant International University System from 2000 to 2013, where she was founding university dean of the California School of Education, overseeing programs in California, Mexico, and the Far East, as well as online programs. She was also associate provost for Community Engagement at Alliant from 2009 to 2013.

Dr. Hassana Alidou, ambassador from the Republic of Niger to the United States and keynote speaker with Dr. Webb. Photo by Chocolate Paper Studios

Dr. Webb is chair of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Council (WNEC), Washington, D.C. She also served on the ACE Northern California Women’s Network for more than 10 years and held both vice chair and chair positions there. She has earned numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year by the California School of Education doctoral students at Alliant International University, and was selected in 2016 as one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond by Diverse Issues In Higher Education Magazine, honoring her commitment to and advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and mentoring. Dayton Magazine profiled her for their leadership series. Moreover, she serves on the Advisory Board of William V. S. Tubman University Foundation in Harper, Liberia, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

Dr. Webb earned her B.A. degree in Spanish, her M.S. in Education: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages/Applied Linguistics, and her Ph.D. in English Education: Second Language Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Dr. Webb succeeds President Roger H. Sublett who was president of Union Institute & University from 2003 until June 2018 when he retired.

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A Special Hooding Ceremony

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It’s not every day that your mother hoods you for graduation, but that is what Gustav A. Otto will experience at national commencement on October 6, 2018 when Gus graduates with a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a major in Ethical & Creative Leadership. The Ph.D. candidate’s mother, Dr. Sharon E. Trekell, just happens to be a Union Ph.D. alumna.

Both were attracted to Union for its interdisciplinary program and commitment to social justice.

“Mom suggested that I look at Union because I was having little success in finding what I wanted in a graduate program,” said Gus, former professor of practice at National Defense University, Distinguished Chair for Defense Intelligence at Army University, and adjunct for the National Intelligence University. After retiring from the United States Air Force Reserves, in consultation with his wife, he knew it was time to pursue his Ph.D. “I was also impressed with the focus on social justice. I always say, I came to Union for the curriculum, but stayed for the culture of social justice.”

Gus’s mother, Dr. Trekell, a professor of psychology, and founder and director of Inner Well Institute, echoes that sentiment. “Gus and I share the quest to improve lives. I enjoyed the diversity and background of my committee. I also remember the deep and profound learning I experienced at Union.”
Sharon has been healing society for 50 years. Gus is just starting that path. “My journey is just beginning. I hope I can be a paradigm of healing through the understanding of diversity and equality,” said Gus. “I see my mom in that trail.”

Their advice to Union students is to follow their passion and don’t procrastinate. Get it done!

What will it be like for mother to watch her son graduate? “The thrill of a lifetime. I have always been incredibly proud of Gus as a son and a scholar. I don’t think I will be able to keep from crying.”

Gus says he will cry. “Commencement is a cry worthy event.”

Follow your passion towards lifelong learning!

Leadership Spotlight – At 64, James Blake McHenry Follows His Passion

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Blake McHenry

Spotlight: Leadership Spotlight on James Blake McHenry (B.S. Business Management 2012 and current student in the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling major.

Title/Profession: Professional coach and clinical counselor trainee

Union Institute & University’s historical commitment to ethical and creative leadership and the insights gained over the past 50 years as a leader in adult learning is the inspiration for the monthly series, Union Leaders.

This month James Blake McHenry shares his leadership insights. Blake is a Union alumni and current student who says he started his career backward. After 30 plus years in corporate America as a sales and human resources executive, he decided at the age of 55 that he wanted to be a life coach and counselor. He came back to Union and enrolled in the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling major. He is now in his internship phase and graduates in the spring of 2019 at the age of 64. This spotlight completes our focus on the passion and purpose of the students and faculty in Union’s CMHC and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate programs for National Recovery Month.

Q. How do you define leadership?

A. Leadership is the ability to lead teams to develop results. You know you are doing a good job when the team members model the leader’s behavior. That development differentiates a leader.

Q. Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.

A. I always looked for the potential in others, almost before they could see potential in themselves. I wanted to know the aspirations of the people who worked for me. Many times, I gave the chance for new opportunities to people who were not deemed manager material and I watched them flourish.

Q. What leader do you admire most and why?

A. I admire many leaders. In my professional life, I admire Mark King, former CEO at TaylorMade Golf Company. Mark is a remarkable person and leader who told us to enjoy the tough days as well as the bad days because there is always opportunity.

On a global scale, I admire Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi.

Q. What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?

A. My personal mantra is to make meaningful contributions daily.

Q. When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?

A. When I was head of sales, I had a series of moments when I realized this is a tough job. There is so much complexity in the job. I thought WOW. Yet, I knew I could do the job.

Combine your passion and purpose to help others.

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Spotlight on Ana Elisa Baratta

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Dr. Ana Baratta

Spotlight: Dr. Ana Elisa Baratta

Title/Profession: Learning Specialist Coordinator Rinella Learning Center’s Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program at Miami University and student in the Union M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC).

Union is proud to serve a more than 25% undergraduate Hispanic adult learner population and to be the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division.

This celebration is an opportune time to shine the spotlight on Dr. Ana Elisa Baratta. Ana is a native of El Salvador and a licensed psychologist in El Salvador. She earned her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Educational Psychology with a minor in Counseling from Indiana University in 2003 and 2012 respectively.

Ana is enrolled at Union to follow her dream to help individuals recover and sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders? Find out more in the Q&A below.

Q. What do you plan to do with your degree?

A. My degree will allow me to reach three goals. 1. To work in the Latino community counseling in Spanish. 2. Create mental health awareness programs for schools and other entities. 3. Work in private practice.

Q. What led you to this program?

A. I was led to this program because of Union’s commitment to social justice. Every course includes a social justice component. Also, the personalized study that Union offers can’t be matched.

Q. Why did you choose Union for your studies?

A. Union has been a godsend. I am a wife, mother, and fulltime employee. Only Union respected my many commitments and understood I had to have flexibility with my courses.

Q. If you could give a piece of advice to your 20 something, what would it be?

A. Don’t worry about what other people think.

Q. Who has influenced you the most in your life, and how have they influenced you?

A. My parents never went to college but they instilled in me the importance of education. They supported all of my dreams. My husband has always been very supportive and understanding.

If you have a deep desire to help individuals recover and sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders, enroll today in the M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and/or Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate Program.

A Life of Purpose

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Amy Stenger-Sullivan

Spotlight: Union Alumna Amy Stenger-Sullivan M.A., L.P.C.

Title/Profession: Affiliated Faculty, Union Institute & University, Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice at Restoring Hope Counseling and Coaching, Inc.

Welcome to the “Alumni Spotlight” monthly series. Amy Stenger-Sullivan is living the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment through her commitment to help individuals recover and sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders. September is also National Recovery Month and offers the opportunity to highlight the passion and purpose of the students, alumni and faculty in the M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate.

Learn why Amy says her job fills her heart in the Q & A below.

Q. What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?

A. Earning my master’s degree at this stage of my life while working full time in a job, which required travel, was a big feat for me! I feel a great sense of accomplishment. Professionally, I am grateful to be working at a job that fills my heart and contributes to the well-being of others. My advisor and professors at Union supported and encouraged me, which has led to an increase in my confidence. I am forever grateful for that.

Q. What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?

A. I admire the commitment of my professors and Union’s support of the nontraditional learner.

Q. If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?

A. Take advantage of everything Union has to offer. Union gathers wonderful people together, both educators and learners, to advance all.

Q. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

A. I am grateful I get to live what I feel is my life’s purpose: to listen to another with deep compassion. This seems to open up a space for them to begin their healing journey in earnest. I’m glad I listened to that little nudge to make a career shift in the half time of my life.

Q. What is your passion away from work?

A. Spending time with my family, kayaking, cooking and reading.

Today is the day to discover a career as a professional counselor. A Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is within your reach.

Union Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and Diversity

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The spotlight is on National Hispanic Heritage Month and Union’s commitment to diversity. Union is proud to serve a more than 25% undergraduate Hispanic adult learner population and to be the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15, highlighting the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. (https://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about/)

Union is committed to diversity and social justice. We recognize that with knowledge comes the responsibility to serve in advancing a culturally pluralistic, equitable, and interdependent world. During this month, Union will highlight the students, staff, and faculty of Hispanic heritage with features, social media posts, and more. In addition, Union is active in Hispanic Chamber of Commerce associations across the nation.

In case you missed past spotlights, enjoy the two below.

Guillermina Hernandez is an early childhood expert who teaches in the Child & Adolescent Development (CHAD). She was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at age three. Read more about Guillermina and her passion for teaching adult learners here.

Dr. Raul Manzano is an artist and professor of art. Last year he used art to celebrate La Ruza. Read more here.

Guillermina Hernandez

Dr. Raul Manzano

Union Institute & University is committed to providing diversity among its academic world and in the world at large. Learn more about Union’s mission below.