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Black History Month Spotlight on Dr. Janet Sims-Wood, conservator of Black history and heritage

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Dr. Janet Sims-Wood

Union alumna Dr. Janet Sims-Wood is a gifted and acclaimed historian, author, publisher, and reference librarian. The 1994 Ph.D. graduate, who focused her doctoral work on Women’s Studies, History, and Oral History, has made it her life’s work to preserve the rich legacy of Black history, especially Black women’s history.

Dr. Sims-Wood began her career in library science in 1972 as a Reader’s Advisor in the Black Studies Division of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. This experience led to her interest and specialization in Black history. “It’s so important to know our own history, heritage, and achievements. It’s also important to get the correct information to the general public. I’ve been recording and researching for over 45 years and I am still learning untold stories and facts,” said the retired assistant chief librarian for Reference/Reader Services at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Sims-Wood is the author of “Dorothy Porter Wesley at Howard University: Building a Legacy of Black History,” which highlights how Wesley helped to create a world-class archive, known today as the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard.

She is the author of Dorothy Porter Wesley at Howard University: Building a Legacy of Black History, which highlights how Wesley helped to create a world-class archive, known today as the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard. “Dorothy’s story is important. She was hired in 1928 and tasked with the job of building and preserving a repository of Black history that didn’t exist. One of the first people she contacted for guidance was Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), who in 1926 founded Negro History Week, the first week dedicated to Black heritage, culture, and achievements, the forerunner to the month-long celebration of Black History Month started in 1976. Dr. Woodson and Dorothy became friends and he helped her unearth material from around the country. Her enthusiasm for the work earned her the name of Shopping Bag Lady. People came from all over the world to use her collection for their research.” A feature on Ms. Porter in JSTOR Daily (August 22, 2018) said, “As a result of Porter’s vision and dedication, Black special collections began to occupy more prominent roles in their institutions, allowing engagement with historically marginalized narratives through the palpable past.” Dorothy Wesley was the first Black woman to receive a library science degree from Columbia.

Another area Dr. Sims-Wood has illuminated is Black women in the U.S. military. Her Union dissertation was titled, “We Served America, Too.” She recalls, “At that time, Union had an office in Washington D.C. I was searching for a novel dissertation topic. I interviewed several women who had served in the Women’s Army Corps (WACS) during World War II, and I decided on four women to conduct an oral history of their experiences.” Her work uncovered that for the first time during World War II, African-American women were allowed to enter the military. The first contingent trained in Fort Des Moines, Iowa. Despite being housed in segregated barracks and forced to use segregated dining and recreational facilities, 36 of the original group graduated and were assigned to Officers Candidate School, Cooks and Bakers School, the Transportation Pool, and the Clerical School.

Dr. Sims-Wood’s seminal research and oral history recordings led to several articles and the creation of the 1993 World War II Black WAC Calendar, the first of its kind. She received a $30,000 dissertation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete her oral history dissertation. She also earned a $1,500 grant from the D.C. Community Humanities Council to develop a presentation and public program on “Black Women in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) During World War II.”

Dr. Sims-Wood’s illustrious career includes her service as founding associate editor of SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women that published the anthology Double Stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers and Daughters. She is the founder of a small publishing company, Afro Resources, Inc., and also the founder of Cherishing Legacy. She has written numerous publications, including six book-length bibliographies, newspaper articles, print and online journal articles, and chapters in books.

Dr. Sims-Wood is a life member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH). She served as national vice president and chair of the Membership Committee of ASALH for nine years. She advises librarians who are entering the field to become involved in their communities and organizations. She credits her association with and service to ASALH, and ABWH with her drive and the opportunities she has had to share African American history with the public.

Her distinguished career preserving Black history has been recognized by many. She is the recipient of the Lorraine Anderson Williams Leadership Award from the Association of Black Women Historians. In 2012, she received the Mary McLeod Bethune Service Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. She was awarded the James Partridge Outstanding Award for African American Information Professionals in 2014. In 2015, she was awarded an Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for her book on Dorothy Wesley. In 2018, she received the Harriet Ross Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award from the Baltimore Black Heritage Tours (BAAT), along with a Proclamation from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
Her achievements are many and varied. Please visit The HistoryMakers profile on Dr. Sims-Wood for an outline of her remarkable career.

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Union Institute & University welcomes new trustees

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The Board of Trustees of Union Institute & University have elected Dr. Edwin C. Marshall and Mr. James A. Hyatt to the board effective January 28, 2021. The appointments are effective through January 2025.

Union President Dr. Karen Schuster Webb looks forward to the new trustees’ contributions. “Dr. Marshall and Mr. Hyatt are seasoned higher education administrators. They are both innovators in higher education with experience in diversity, financial management, and research. Their insights and knowledge will assist us as we continue to move forward in our mission to educate highly motivated adults who seek academic programs to engage, enlighten, and empower them to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.”

Dr. Edwin C. Marshall

Edwin C. Marshall, OD, MS, MPH, FAAO, FNAP is professor emeritus of Optometry at the Indiana University School of Optometry and professor emeritus of Public Health in the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and the Indiana University School of Public Health – Bloomington. Prior to retiring from Indiana University in 2013, Dr. Marshall also served Indiana University as vice president for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs. Before appointed vice president in 2007, he was the associate dean for Academic Affairs and Student Administration at the IU School of Optometry.

Dr. Marshall has served as chair of the National Commission on Vision and Health, chair of the Executive Board and vice president (USA) of the American Public Health Association, and chair of The Nation’s Health Editorial Advisory Committee. He is a past president of the National Optometric Association, the Indiana Optometric Association, and the Indiana Public Health Association. He also served as a United States Public Health Service Primary Care Policy Fellow and as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Public Health Approaches to Reduce Vision Impairment and Promote Eye Health and the National Eye Health Education Program Planning Committee of the National Eye Institute.

Dr. Marshall is a distinguished practitioner and fellow of the National Academies of Practice and a Diplomate in Public Health and Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. He is a recipient of the Tony and Mary Hulman Health Achievement Award in Public Health and Preventive Medicine from the Indiana Public Health Foundation, the Indiana State Health Commissioner Award for Excellence in Public Health, the Distinguished Service Award from the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association, the Distinguished Hoosier Award from the Office of the Governor, the Carel C. Koch Memorial Medal from the American Academy of Optometry, the Person of Vision Award from Prevent Blindness Indiana, and the William “Bill” Mays Minority Health Titan Award from the Indiana Minority Health Coalition.

Dr. Marshall was named the Indiana Optometrist of the Year (2006) by the Indiana Optometric Association and the National Optometrist of the Year by both the National Optometric Association (1976) and the American Optometric Association (2007). In 2009 he was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame. In 2017 the Indiana Optometric Association honored Dr. Marshall with the Indiana Optometry Lifetime Achievement Award.

Indiana University has honored Dr. Marshall with the President’s Medal for Excellence, the School of Public Health-Bloomington Founding Dean’s Medallion for meritorious contributions to public health, and the Bicentennial Medal. In 2019 he was honored with the Indiana University Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

James A. Hyatt

James A. Hyatt is a senior research associate and principal investigator at the Center for Studies in Higher Education, at the University of California, Berkeley. He has extensive experience both as a senior level executive at a number of the nation’s major research universities, including UC Berkeley; the University of Maryland, College Park; University of Arizona; and Virginia Tech. He has served as principal investigator on externally funded research projects in the areas of higher education financial management, financial reporting, pension reform and campus safety and security.

From 2008-2010, Mr. Hyatt served as president of the World Institute for Disaster Recovery Management. He is a recipient of the Berkeley Citation for distinguished achievement and service to UC Berkeley and is vice chancellor for Budget and Finance and CFO Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

During his tenure as vice chancellor for Budget and Finance at UC Berkeley, Mr. Hyatt implemented a new campus-wide financial management system and an interactive campus resource management reporting system (Cal. Profiles). While serving as executive vice president at Virginia Tech, Hyatt was actively involved in the passage of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Higher Education Restructuring Act that provided enhanced operating flexibility to Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

Mr. Hyatt received both his bachelor’s degree in English and his MBA in accounting and operations and systems analysis from the University of Washington. He is the author of several books on higher education financial management and is a recognized authority on college and university budgeting, financial management and cost accounting.

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A pastor puts love at the heart of his ministry and emulates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of forgiveness

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Dr. Clyde Posley Jr. has served as senior pastor at Antioch Baptist Church in Indianapolis for more than 20 years. The 2016 doctoral alumnus  (Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Humanities & Culture and a specialization in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Studies) is passionate in his fight for racial equality and social justice. He also evokes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of love and forgiveness in his work, always reminded of Dr. King’s words, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Dr. Clyde Posley

It was Union’s MLK Studies Specialization that attracted him to Union to pursue his doctoral degree. According to Dr. Posley, “Dr. Thomas Brown, the son of Dr. Andrew Brown Jr., a good friend of Dr. King, was instrumental in my selection of Union for doctoral studies. Dr. Andrew Brown was the face of social activism in the 1960s and 1970s in the greater Indianapolis area. He was a very prominent Black activist and leader in Indianapolis. Dr. King made his abode with him when in the city of Indianapolis. He was also a major catalyst for Operation Bread Basket, a tool of social activism around the country serving oppressed people of color. His son, Dr. Thomas Brown, was instrumental in the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) across the country. He encouraged me to expand my horizons and my leadership skills to advance social justice. Heeding the advice and urging of Dr. Thomas Brown proved extremely fruitful and thus my studies at Union exposed me to social and political philosophy, history, religious studies, literature, and aesthetics. Ultimately, it led to the deep exploration of Dr. King’s ideas, ideals, and creative and intellectual philosophy and how those philosophies intersect with theological principles.”

Dr. Posley explains that Dr. Nancy Boxill, 1998 Union alumna and doctoral faculty member, was also instrumental in helping him determine that Union was the right school for him. “She later became the chair of my dissertation committee. Her broad understanding of the social need to weave philosophy, public policy and theological principles into an intellectual garment for those seeking social justice for all made her presence invaluable to me.”

In addition to his position at Antioch Baptist Church, Dr. Posley serves as the executive chaplain for Pink-4Ever, a breast health education servicing organization. He leads fellow church members in R.E.D. Alliance (Reaching to End Disparities), a faith-based educational program that addresses systemic intervention and culturally sensitive health information related to health disparities and works to provide affordable and accessible breast health services and treatment of breast cancer among Black women in the greater Indianapolis area.
He also participated with 40 Indianapolis area churches to arrange transportation to voting polls in the recent presidential election of 2020. “We helped 20,000 people get to the polls in October and November,” he said. And, more recently, Dr. Posley has helped plan how the elderly can best get access to COVID-19 vaccination centers.

Another significant aspect of Dr. Posley’s work for social justice has resulted in substantive police reform in Indianapolis. Proposal 237, which he helped draft, may be the first of its kind in the nation. Proposal 237 adds four civilian members, to which Dr. Posley has been appointed, to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s General Orders Board. The board sets department policy such as procedures for investigations, arrests, use of force, searches, and seizures. (Source: Fox 59) “I have been instrumental in the new use of force policy implemented by the mayor of Indianapolis with Faith in Indiana, a comprehensive social justice organization that has resulted in the elimination of chokeholds.”

Dr. Posley has served as president of the Pastors and Ministers Division of Union District Baptist Association, located in Indianapolis. He currently coordinates the Racial and Social Justice division in addition to serving as the founding editor of the association’s newsletter, “The Union District Voice.” He authored a comprehensive ministerial training curriculum for Christian ministers titled, Union District Association Pastor’s and Minister’s Conference Ministerial Certificate Program. He is a former instructor in the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. Congress of Christian Education youth division.

Dr. Posley did not grow up thinking he was destined for the ministry. A standout in football, basketball, and baseball, lettering in two sports in college, he saw sports as his ticket to a better life. “I grew up in a rough neighborhood,” he recalls. “I saw sports and education as my way out.” But, at the age of 21, he says God called him to preach. “I had my first inkling that I was meant for the ministry at 15 after a conversation with my family’s pastor.” His mother was not surprised even though other family members had mixed reactions. “She told me my grandparents foretold my calling.”

Dr. Posley expanded his doctoral dissertation, The embodiment of the Black male student-athlete: A case study of the 1968 medal stand protest, into his 2018 book, More than Icons and Images: Uncovering the Hidden Protest Narrative of American Black Athlete in the 21st Century that was spotlighted on C-SPAN in January 2019.

Dr. Posley’s doctoral dissertation: The embodiment of the Black male student-athlete: A case study of the 1968 medal stand protest, is an exploration of the protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City when athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in protest as a symbol of black power and the human rights movement at large. His dissertation expanded into a 2018 book, More than Icons and Images: Uncovering the Hidden Protest Narrative of American Black Athlete in the 21st Century, spotlighted on C-SPAN in January 2019. Dr. Posley provides a historical context to current American socio/political protests among Black athletes and draws upon his knowledge of sports and racism to show the intersectionality between politics, race, and sports in America.

“Beginning with the Mandinka warriors who were forced to engage in slave fights by racist plantation owners for over 150 years, sports have consistently emerged as an inter-woven part of American society. Equally notable within sports’ social emergence throughout this time-span is the evolving intersectionality between politics, race, and sports. Racial disparity within front-office leadership, backlash for voicing political abstention from patriotic traditions, and salary inequity relating to gender are just a few of the political issues embedded in America’s extensive historic fascination with sports. It is … reasonable, and for many understandable, that the axioms of athletic struggle and social power struggle would intersect and create political theater in the U.S. Throughout the history of the American political landscape’s evolution, there has existed a type of interconnectivity tethering race, subjugation, and notions of political progress or cultural domination to class and culture,” says Dr. Posley.

“It is my hope that grappling with the nuances of the fascinating synergy between sports and political representation and studying the role of athletics and political achievement will forge new avenues of voice among Black athletes,” he says. “You can’t discuss today’s events, the George Floyd tragedy and Black Lives Matter, without the valuable role and influence of Black athletes. To this point, Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James stand at the forefront of Black athletic social activism, and in many ways both are the face and the voice of representation from the U.S. sports world. Oppression and its far-reaching effects and continued economic disparity continue. But to be sure, Black athletes are an undeniable bridge for healing this country.”

When asked what gives him the strength to maintain this fight every day, he credits his wife DiJeana. “My wife is a very accomplished woman with an outstanding corporate career. Yet she has always put her family first. Her love and support allows me to focus on my work.”
Dr. Posley knows the road to racial and economic equality will continue to be hard. He believes a livable minimum wage, increased access to jobs, and some reparation to fill the wealth gap are needed to make the playing fields equal.

But he is not discouraged. His faith sustains him. “Love is the weapon against defeat.”

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The Power of Art and Autism to Transform the World – Don’t Count Me Out

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Human creativity knows no bounds. This is a core belief held by Dr. Temple Grandin, the narrator for the new two-minute trailer for the documentary film, FIERCE LOVE and ART. Alumnus and autism advocate Laurence A. Becker, who earned his Ph.D. in 1980 from Union, with a concentration in Creative Learning Environments, produced the film and its trailer.

 

“FIERCE LOVE and ART” was produced by Union alumnus Laurence A. Becker, Ph.D. 1980. It’s directed by Ron Zimmerman, who first collaborated with Dr. Becker for the 1981 “With Eyes Wide Open” documentary. Tony DeBlois, who served as the musician for the film, is a savant artist with autism who didn’t speak until the age of 15. Today, Tony plays 23 instruments & has a repertoire of more than 20,000 songs. He sings with perfect pitch & perfect enunciation in 11 languages. He has produced a dozen albums, has his own jazz band, & regularly performs professionally.

Human creativity is woven throughout the film as the nine artists display their various art forms, ranging from music to painting, with the plea, “Don’t Count Me Out.” The film, originally released in 2018, has been re-edited to include a narration by Dr. Grandin, who is also autistic. Dr. Grandin, an expert on autism and animal behavior, describes her life’s work: “to understand her own autistic mind, and to share that knowledge with the world, and aid in the treatment of individuals with the condition.” Grandin is a professor of animal science, consultant to the livestock industry, and best-selling author. This film marks her debut as a narrator.

Dr. Becker, 84, has been compelled to share the human story of savant artists with autism and their devoted parents for more than 40 years. He refers to himself as an “educator aqueduct.” “I’m not the water or the source, but the instrument through which the education flows.” Throughout his career, Dr. Becker has seen how the creative process has transformed many with autism, particularly young adults. “To me, the parents are a real testament to what happens in the lives of children with autism. I have witnessed how families fiercely take charge of their child’s development. It is a testament to the power of art in all our lives,” said Dr. Becker. His mission is to bring awareness of the myriad gifts individuals with autism and other disabilities bring to the world. He plans to market the film to Vimeo, Netflix, and PBS. “We need to realize that all of us are related, and we can all make the world a better place. In the film, FIERCE LOVE and ART, we meet individuals with autism and other disabilities who have been able to transform their own lives, contribute to their communities through art, music, and words. It is because of powerful support and love from parents who bring their children home from what I refer to as solitary confinement on ‘Autism Island.’”

Laurence A. Becker, Ph.D.

Dr. Becker’s distinguished career includes producing the internationally and nationally award-winning film, “With Eyes Wide Open: Richard Wawro.” Wawro was a legally blind and non-verbal artist until age 11. He was misdiagnosed with severe intellectual disabilities and an IQ of 30 when he was a young child, severely limiting Richard’s opportunities to attend regular school and develop communication skills. At the age of three, he began drawing with chalk. He was self-taught and used the unusual medium of wax oil crayons. His work received worldwide acclaim. As seen in the film, Dr. Becker shows there is hope and emphasizes that individuals with unique abilities and the loving support of a family can make a difference in cognitive and emotional skills, and ultimately lead productive lives. Richard’s fans included British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the late Pope John Paul II, who both own one of his works.

“Until 1976, I had never heard the word autism,” says Dr. Becker. “By chance, I attended an international conference on psychiatry and culture and saw a 10-minute film about Richard Wawro that changed my life. That was the start. I knew I had to make a film about Richard. I went to Scotland, to meet him and was overwhelmed with his story, his art, and his family.”

Dr. Becker’s doctoral studies at Union inspired him. “Professor Roy Fairfield was my core professor. He coined a term I had never heard before, ReFIREment. That means to be creative all your life. I have always been inspired to live by that motto,” said Becker. “Union has always been an important part of my life. I have served on 15 Ph.D. committees as a peer and adjunct professor, served on several committees including admissions, and have just been elected once again to serve on the board of Union’s International Alumni Association.”
Since 1976, Dr. Becker has worked with several of the world’s most noted artists with autism. Currently, in addition to sharing the work of Richard Wawro, of Edinburgh, Scotland, Dr. Becker works with the art of Christophe Pillault, of France, Ping Lian, of Malaysia/Australia, Kimberly Dixon of Texas, Erik Warren of Kansas, Grant Manier of Houston, and Seth Chwast, of Ohio.

Dr. Becker, a prolific writer and sought-after workshop presenter and consultant, is the author of numerous publications, poems, essays, books, and films, including writing the foreword for a book on the prodigy Marshall Ball, author of Kiss of God: The Wisdom of a Silent Child. Recently, Dr. Becker was a presenter at the Global Autism Summit.

Prior to earning his Ph.D. at Union, Dr. Becker served for ten years as chair of the English Department at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, where he founded and directed the Texas Student Film Festival, at the time one of the largest and most successful student film festivals in the United States. He also served as an Artist-in-Schools in Filmmaking in rural Maine while working with the Washington County Handicapped Children’s Program as a film and video consultant. In addition, he worked with Bill Coperthwaite at the Yurt Foundation, an educational foundation that collects folk wisdom from throughout the world. In 1980, he co-authored with Dr. Frederick B. Tuttle Jr., two books published by the National Education Association on gifted education. The indefatigable Dr. Becker was a lifelong tournament tennis player, coach, and bicyclist. He and his wife of 60 years, Rosanne, have three children. Dr. Becker lives his PFE: (Purpose for Existing) that says, “To Experience, To Embody, To Express ReFIREment Each and Every Day of my Life!”
To learn more about Dr. Becker and his work, visit his website at FierceLoveParents.com.

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Museum Internship Offers Multifaceted Experience

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You would imagine that a doctoral student– particularly a Union learner – has enough to do with balancing career, family, and community commitments, but two Union students took the extra step of participating in a Professional Museum Internship as a part of their Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies Programs.

Tamara White

Tamara White

Kathryn Turley-Sonne and Tamara White interned at specialized museums to enhance their studies and their experience.

Instituted by Union in 2018, the Museum Studies Certificate was developed by Dr. Anu Mitra, a professor in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program, and facilitator of the Museum Studies certificate. Mitra is active with numerous museums and is a specialist in visual culture, arts-based practices, art, and leadership development. In addition to her full-time load as a professor at Union, she is a trustee at the Cincinnati Art Museum and sits on the Ohio Advisory Board of the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. She is also a long-time docent at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati.

This innovative 12-credit certificate, one of the few at the doctoral level in the world, provides students with a formal recognition of their scholarly practice in graduate-level coursework. It also provides them with a more robust experience and familiarity with the museum field. Students examine reflective practices of reasoning and skill-based critical thinking to explore alternative, refreshing, and new solutions to old problems.

Turley-Sonne and White found their internships to be enriching and invaluable in real-world experience.

Kathryn Turley-Sonne

Kathryn Turley-Sonne

Turley-Sonne, a Union 2020 Ph.D. Humanities & Culture graduate with a Certificate in Museum Studies, completed her internship at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, England.

“My dissertation “Curating the Contemporary Art Witch Movement” went hand-in-hand with my interest in visual culture, protest art, and gender studies,” said Turley-Sonne. “I wanted to discover whether there was a traceable connection to images of witches in art from historical artists like Francisco Goya to contemporary artists working with similar images.” Of note is that Dr. Turley-Sonne received the coveted 2020 Marvin B. Sussman Award given to the best doctoral dissertation of the year.

Kathryn in front of the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic (MWM) with Dir. Simon Costin & Mgr. Fergus Moffat.

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic has the largest collection of magical art and artifacts in the world, having opened more than 50 years ago.

“I was able to study and work on exhibitions and newly donated artifacts, and learn how to prepare items to be sent to other museums on loan. I also sat in on museum meetings, helped with the annual Equinox Conference, developed a draft internship program, and became familiar with the daily rituals of running a small museum,” said Turley-Sonne. “Perhaps the most thrilling participation was to archive the condition of the 8,000 books in the museum’s library. It was an exceptional experience to work with this special and rare collection of texts.”

White is also a 2020 graduate in the Ph.D. Humanities & Culture program with a Certificate in Museum Studies and Design Thinking. Her dissertation focuses on the intersection of diabetes and incarceration. White also has an interest in visual storytelling.

Flying by the seat of my pants by Tamara White

Flying by the seat of my pants by Tamara White. Flying by the seat of my pants depicts the supplies that a person with diabetes must leave the house with every day. It is not as simple as grabbing your phone and keys.

Twenty-Six by Tamara White. Insulin bottles on antique shelf. Twenty-Six represents the age when young adults are ineligible to remain on their parents’ insurance, which has proven deadly for many.

She completed her internship at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

“My exposure to the museum field through the Contemporary Arts Center was enlightening and the behind-the-scenes experience was both illuminating and invaluable,” said White. “I worked on the Robert Colescott retrospective by assisting with the educational guide that is created for visiting school groups,” said White. Colescott is an African American artist whose art exposes gender and racial stereotypes throughout America. “I am an artist interested in social justice. This participation expanded my visual storytelling skills and enriched my understanding of museum studies. I learned that putting up new exhibitions is not as simple as it seems. There are various facets involved, including conception, board approval, curation, and financial realities.”

White serves on the board of directors at three art institutions and is a practicing artist herself.

“I now have a different perspective of what it takes to run a museum,” said White. “I learned there are many layers to the operation of a museum not seen by the visitor. I will be a more effective board member because of this background.”

Dr. Mitra explains the benefits of a certificate in this growing field. “A Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies combined with the Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies can definitely enhance a career by providing a deeper understanding of what it takes to be an agile museum practitioner for the 21st-century museum – one who is always making connections and finding new possibilities in order to keep operations smooth, collections relevant, and visitors inspired.”

Dr. Mitra designed the certificate to focus on the importance of developing new problem-solving skills through visual cognitive skills, as well as developing novel social justice theories through the lens of art – and even leadership principles through visual culture. In addition, her goal is that students learn the skills and knowledge that are the basis for many aspects of museum work. Areas covered include museum management, collection care and maintenance, as well as exhibition and educational program development.

Turley-Sonne and White revere Dr. Mitra’s knowledge.

“Dr. Mitra has so many connections working with curators and museums around the world,” said Turley-Sonne. “I attended Union because of Dr. Mitra and her reputation as a scholar in the discipline. I am a university English professor and I wanted to expand my teaching to include art history and curation. A doctorate in the field would enable me to continue what I love at an expanded level. I also had to have a flexible program because I work full-time. Most museum programs are master’s programs and require you to be in residence. Dr. Mitra responded to my need and created the Museum Studies Certificate. That is the absolute definition of responding to a student’s needs.”

White agrees. “Dr. Mitra’s skill to link art, social justice, and leadership development has had a profound impact on me. I will be forever grateful for her mentorship.”

How will Turley-Sonne and White incorporate their studies in their future plans?

“I am working on a curriculum to start a museum studies program where I currently teach,” said Turley-Sonne. “Because of my studies, I have become involved with my college gallery and hope to work on gallery education and curation and to increase student and faculty engagement. My post-retirement plans include museum education, writing, and arts-based research projects.”

White is interested in creating informative exhibitions that can heighten awareness about diabetes and incarceration for the purpose of creating policy changes in prison medical protocols. Additionally, she has an interest in working on a book that visually compares the American and Norway prison systems.

The Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies offers students the opportunity to combine their passion for art and social justice into a career pathway. In addition to the benefits of an internship, the integrated program of study consists of courses on The Nature of Museums, Design Thinking, Education, and Leadership, Visual Culture, The Art of Social Justice and Leadership, and Leadership for a Complex World. A Special Topics course is also designed for students.

An excellent opportunity to learn more about the Museum Studies Certificate is available in an upcoming webinar with museum expert Deborah Richardson, a native of Atlanta, GA, facilitated by Dr. Mitra on Wednesday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. The hour-long discussion including a Q&A will examine the lessons Ms. Richardson learned in creating the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA. The discussion will also include the unique role museums need to play today as they strive to educate and address issues of equity, inclusion, diversity, and reconciliation. Please join us on Wednesday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. EST for this informative and free webinar. Register today at this link.

If your career dream is to combine your passion for art and social justice into a career, enroll today in the Union Institute & University Ph.D. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies. Learn more at this link.

Alumna wins the National Book Award for Poetry

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Congratulations are going out from all corners to Dr. Don Mee Choi (Ph.D. 2003), poet and translator, on being named the winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Poetry.

Her collection, “DMZ Colony,” explores lives affected by colonization and war and is described as “a collage of survivor accounts, prose, and quotations with photographs and drawings that takes its name from Korea’s Demilitarized Zone.”

Dr. Don Mee Choi- Photo was taken from poetryfoundation.org

Choi, born in South Korea and now based in Seattle, deftly explores the histories of South Korea and the United States via her return from the U.S. to South Korea in 2016. Powell’s City of Books reported, “Woven from poems, prose, photographs, and drawings, Don Mee Choi’s DMZ Colony is a tour de force of personal and political reckoning set over eight acts. Like its sister book, Hardly War, it holds history accountable, its very presence a resistance to empire and a hope in humankind.”

In an emotional speech at the virtual awards ceremony on November 18, Choi dedicated the award to her father, a photojournalist. “Poetry and translation have changed my life,” she said. “For me, they are inseparable.” (Source: Youtube.)

Dr. Carol Barrett, creative writing faculty in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, herself a published poet and a 1998 Union doctoral alumna, shared comments from Dr. Choi’s core faculty member, former Union professor, Dr. Minnie Bruce Pratt, who said about Dr. Choi’s prestigious award:

“Don Mee earned her Ph.D. from Union Institute & University in Modern Korean Culture and Translation, with a distinguished essay on and translation of modern feminist Korean poets. In addition to the National Book Award, she recently received a Whiting Writers Award, another note of honor in the poetry world, and has received many other awards since her Union days.”

The highly prized National Book Award for Poetry is one of five annual awards given by the National Book Foundation to recognize outstanding literary work by U.S. citizens. They are awards “by writers to writers,” with nominations provided only by publishers. Dr. Pratt noted that Don Mee’s books have all been published by small experimental presses, rather than larger houses.

“She set her path clearly when she defined the work she wanted to do when she was at Union,” continued Dr. Pratt, “and she has followed it faithfully and brilliantly. It is gratifying to see her reaping this national recognition.”

You too can follow your dreams with a UI&U Ph.D. program that incorporates interdisciplinary study. Learn more at this link.

 

A must read: Students write short stories about life’s most tender experiences

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Dr. Tom Frederick holds a copy of LITBITS 101: Little Bits of Life written by students from Union Institute & University. Available on Amazon Marketplace.

“Anyone can be a writer. That includes you. Every person has some great idea or experience that is so unique that it can become an excellent story. To become a writer, a person just needs to find that special story, that story that has never been told in that exact way, and birth it into art.”

So says Dr. Tom Frederick, professor and National Chair of Union’s General Education program, in the preface of LITBITS 101: Little Bits of Life, a compilation of 46 short stories written over the last five years by Dr. Frederick’s students. The collection, edited and published by Dr. Frederick, is now available in Kindle or paperback through Amazon Marketplace.

The project is the culmination of a vision and some hard work by both students and Dr. Frederick.

“I invite every reader to immerse themselves in these treasured universal memories,” he says. “My students are very special. They are predominately adult learners… average age of 37, and each is juggling work, family, and school. What they have in common is experience. Life has given each of them … a unique perspective on life. As you read these stories, you will relate. Humanity is so diverse, yet so similar.”

Dr. Frederick has been thinking about writing a book for some time.

“At first, I wanted to publish my own collection. Then I realized I was sitting on a treasure of student essays from my classes.”

Dr. Frederick sees these stories as “mind movies,” allowing you to picture the events communicated through the written word, where you substitute the character’s names with the names of your own friends and family. The book will also serve as a handbook of “mentor texts” for future students.

Two other aspects make this opportunity stand out. First, Dr. Frederick has ensured that all proceeds from the sale of the publication will go to scholarships for future students in this class. Second, he was proud to tell each of the 40 student writers included that they are now published authors.

Monica Pugh, a former student in the class and 2018 Union graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Maternal Child Health, is honored that her work “Grandma’s House” was included. Her offering is a loving remembrance of the cherished summers spent visiting her grandmother. “Not a year passed that she did not bestow some pearl of wisdom upon me…Now as I return to pay my respects, I drive by the vastly aged house and tell my children the stories of my youth.”

“I am grateful for the tutelage received from Dr. Frederick.  My stories are as I remember them, cherished memories,” said Pugh.

Former student Kathrina Currie said, “Honestly, I couldn’t have been more surprised. I genuinely experienced more excitement and pride when I was contacted about this amazing honor than I was when I received my B.A. I never thought ‘published author’ would be something I could say about myself one day, and I am so grateful for Union Institute & University, and the phenomenal educators I was lucky to learn from every day.

Cover of LITBITS 101: Little Bits of Life

I have three stories in LITBITS 101, and I would like people to know how nervous I was when planning, creating, and writing these stories. I placed a piece of myself in each one, and I feel that they came out as well as they did because of it. Not to mention the guidance of my professor. If you write about what you know and what you love, it is always an accomplishment.”

Alicia Jones an addictions specialist and mom said, “I feel honored. I would write on my lunchbreaks. I am 55 years old and I am proud of myself. Being a published author is a big accomplishment for me.”

Kevin Burden, a 2016 Bachelor of Science with a Criminal Justice Management major graduate, said the book is something to be proud of forever. “Having a publication of your work is an accomplishment that lives on.”

Kristen Quick, said, “My reaction? I am still in shock, I think, but it is such an exciting opportunity. I am happy my story is out there and has the potential to help someone.”

James Tidwell, a 2020 Bachelor of Science with a Criminal Justice Management major, now a police officer, said he had always struggled with writing. “My supervisors frequently criticized my reports. Therefore, I consistently worked hard to improve my writing skills. I remember how frustrated it felt at times because my supervisors did not acknowledge my efforts. Since earning my degree, I no longer have my reports returned for corrections. When I heard my story was chosen, I felt overwhelmed with a tremendous amount of excitement, pride, and a sense of accomplishment because I did it! Being published made the pain, sweat, and tears I had endured to improve my writing worth every minute. It was emotional because I know how far I had come, and being published was the product of my hard work. I am incredibly proud of myself for never giving up.

Simply put, I felt humbled and grateful because I know how easy it is to go through life without acknowledgment for one’s effort. Thank you, Union Institute & University.”

Dr. Frederick was so inspired by his students that he decided to include one of his own stories in the collection. “Ham Balls,” dedicated to his mother, affectionately recalls the memories this unusual recipe awakens in him. More importantly, his memory evokes the wonderful recipe of love his mother had for her children. Like his students’ stories, these memories are universal and speak to our inner souls, he says.

Dr. Frederick challenges other universities to publish student work.

“All of us now challenge other universities to publish their own similar books,” he said. “This is just the beginning for our Union students. We expect to publish sequels in the future.”

Be sure to include “LITBITS 101: Little Bits of Life” as stocking stuffer for that special budding author in your life this holiday season. Remember that all proceeds will provide much needed scholarship funds for future writers.

You can complete your bachelor’s degree by taking general education courses designed for adult learners that match majors and life experience. Find out more at this link.

Civil Rights and the Experiential Museum Experience – Join museum expert Deborah Richardson on Dec. 2, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

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Join museum professional Deborah Richardson as she shares her experiences while creating the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR), a one-of-a-kind institution in Atlanta, Georgia. The center connects the American civil rights movement to modern-day human rights and the lessons learned to create a story-telling, experiential museum. Richardson will explore the unique role museums play to educate and explore issues of equity, inclusion, diversity, and reconciliation. Register for this informative and free webinar at this link.

Richardson is working towards her doctorate with a concentration in Public Policy & Social Change a specialization in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s & Gender Studies. She currently serves as executive director of the Atlanta-based International Human Trafficking Institute and was former executive vice president of NCCHR. She is a nationally recognized leader on social justice for women and girls and an advocate to end child sex trafficking. Throughout her career, she has witnessed the power museums like NCCHR have to educate, empower, and inspire. She is cognizant of the significant role the NCCHR has made in bridging the progress made during the civil rights movement with current challenges. She helped to steward exhibitions that illustrate the work achieved by ordinary people as they participated in segregated lunch counter sit-ins, the March on Washington, and voter registration drives. Richardson believes that “everyday people have the power to inspire us to do great things … ordinary people who do extraordinary things.”

Nancy A. Boxill, Ph.D., faculty in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, admires Richardson’s work in social justice. Boxill leads the program’s Public Policy and Social Change concentration and has seen Richardson’s work in action. “Deborah is a soft-spoken giant in the work of and for social justice. She is known across the country and many parts of the globe for her kindness, her skills, and her press to the future. One of Deborah’s most perfect gifts to the ongoing and protracted struggle for freedoms of many sorts is her ability to lead individuals and groups in crafting their own paths toward justice, while connecting those same people and groups to the power of collaboration. Deborah knits together the strengths of one into the work of many.”

Richardson grew up in Atlanta on the same street as Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr. and other early leaders of the civil rights movement, including Donald Lee Hollowell and the Ralph Abernathy family. What she experienced growing up, she says, had a direct impact on the work she does now.

“My advocacy work in addressing human trafficking has been significantly informed by both Dr. King and my public policy courses at UI&U,” said Richardson. “Union’s MLK program examines Dr. King’s teachings and how his legacy continues to inform social change. In his last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Community or Chaos, Dr. King predicts a time when we will forget the principles of nonviolent social justice — the efforts to eliminate racism, militarism, and poverty. Now, many years since his death, one has only to read a newspaper or listen to any local or national media outlet and affirm the truth of his predictions has come to fruition.”

Dr. Anu Mitra, faculty in the Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies Program and certificate facilitator for the program’s Design Thinking and Museum Studies certificates, will moderate the webinar. Mitra is active with numerous museums and is a specialist in visual culture, arts-based practices, art, and leadership development. She is a trustee at the Cincinnati Art Museum and sits on the Ohio Advisory Board of the National Museum for Women in the Arts. She is also a long-time docent at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati.

Mitra believes museums must embrace their roles as cultural and community institutions and play a pivotal role in social justice by exhibiting art and collections that reflect the changing demographics of their communities and America in the 21st century. “Museums everywhere need to address issues of equity, inclusion, diversity, and reconciliation. They must look for pathways to change and refocus their priorities to meet these shifts. Now is the time for institutions to enrich and exhibit under-represented artists of a variety of societal groups and modes of artistic expression.”

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) whose mission is to champion museums and nurture excellence echoes Dr. Mitra’s beliefs. In the AAM strategic plan, the organization urges members to focus on diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in all aspects of museum structure and programming for the sustainability of museums.” (Source: AAM)

For example, a museum might conduct community forums or surveys to find better ways to engage with underrepresented peoples or cultures. Based on those discussions new dialogues to embrace and enhance understanding with honesty and compassion through exhibits, art, or discussions may lead to implementation.

Please join Deborah Richardson and Dr. Anu Mitra for an hour-long discussion. They will examine the lessons learned in creating the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the unique role museums need to play today in overcoming cultural bias, racial discrimination, divergent opinions, acknowledgment of past injustices, and respect for similarities and differences.

Register today for this informative and free webinar at this link.

If you are interested in combining your passion for art and social justice into a career, the Union Institute & University Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies may be the right educational avenue for you. It is one of few offerings at the doctoral level in the world, and is available to all students enrolled in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program. Find out more here: link.

Congratulations to the 2020 Distinguished Alumni winner

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Rudolph C. Ryser, Ph.D., (1996) is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award bestowed by Union’s International Alumni Association.

Dr.  Ryser is the founder and CEO of the Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS). The CWIS is a global community of activist scholars advancing the rights of indigenous peoples through the application of traditional knowledge through activist scholarship. Dr. Ryser is internationally recognized as the principal architect and spokesperson of theories and principles of Fourth World Geopolitics.

Throughout his career, Dr. Ryser has contributed to policies and laws affecting American Indians in the United States and Indigenous peoples internationally, including the development of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recommendations for decisions of the United Nation’s World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014. He is the author of several seminal books on indigenous nations and the Fourth World Geopolitical Reader.

Dr. Ryser credits his Union doctoral degree for giving him the courage of his convictions.

“Union opened doors that had long been closed to my world in Indian Affairs. Union’s doctoral program was a breath of fresh air. With the support and help of my mentor, Dr. Marjorie Bell Chambers, I was given the freedom to explore and explain what I had for 25 years observed in relations between Indian Nations and the United States—what I later dubbed “Fourth World Geopolitics.” My book, Indigenous Nations and Modern States published in 2012 is a direct product of my studies at Union and I am thankful for the Union’s commitment to the principle “application of theory and practice.”

Ryser’s efforts have resulted in stronger tribal governments in Canada, the United States, and Australia, and the establishment of new tribal governments based on historical traditions with tribes in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Palestine and Iran, Nigeria, Mexico and Kenya. His work was instrumental with many other Indigenous Peoples’ leaders in the development of treaty language concerning Indigenous Peoples in the Convention on Biodiversity, protocols for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He drafted key language for international resolutions adopted by the World Council of Indigenous Peoples in the topic areas of transnational corporation extraction of raw materials from indigenous peoples’ territories and worked in support of the Miskito, Sumo and Rama nations to negotiate the early stages of a peace agreement with the Nicaraguan government.

His mother instilled a fierce pride in his heritage.

“My mother was powerfully influential in the development of my career from my earliest years,” said Dr. Ryser. “She revealed that my ancestry extended to the Cree, Oneidas and Waskarini in what is now southeastern Canada—my true heritage. I grew up in the Cowlitz Culture, but that only came about because my mother and her sisters wanted us (my brothers and sisters) to have a connection to an Indian Community. She knew that her relatives arrived in Cowlitz Country in 1841 on a wagon train that took a year to travel from Red River village on Hudson Bay through to the west and dropping down into the Columbia River Basin and then across to Cowlitz Country.”

The pivotal moment that signaled he would have a life of research, investigation, negotiation, communication and consultation with indigenous leaders and with their interlocutors took place at an Affiliated Tribes Meeting when Dr. Ryser was a first-year college student.

“I was in a room with other young Indian people. An elder approached us from the bigger meeting and asked, ‘Who here can write in English?’ I raised my hand and he quickly scooped me up. While we were walking toward the bigger meeting, he said, ‘I want you to listen to what we say in front of the meeting and write down our words. Then give the paper to those guys over there (U.S. government officials in the back of the room).’ I realized that the task given me was very important to communicate between Indian elders and U.S. government officials. It turned out I would translate “English into English.” I had to listen, learn, translate, and then communicate. That is when I realized the importance of this role that later became the basis for my work before, during and after the doctoral program at Union.”

Dr. Ryser was nominated for the alumni award by fellow Union alumna, Dr. Leslie Korn, MPH, LMHC who graduated with her Ph.D. in1996, concentrating her work in Behavioral Medicine. She too has had an illustrious career as a renowned integrative medicine clinician and educator specializing in the use of nutritional, herbal and culinary medicine for the treatment of trauma and emotional and chronic physical illness. Dr. Korn remembers their first meeting.

“We were at a colloquium cohort meeting of about 20 doctoral candidates in 1994. His quiet and humble style coupled with his thoughtful, measured responses made an impression on me. He illuminated a problem, proposed theories and responses, and above all every one of his responses to his colleagues as they presented, offered intellectual substance, delivered gently, so it could be digested and applied. Later when he and I talked about our work during breaks, I discovered that his work among indigenous communities and in American Indian affairs was very similar to my own work in indigenous communities in rural Mexico. We were also both authors and while his work was in international relations and mine in behavioral medicine, we envisioned collaborating on a number of projects.”

They wrote two books together, Preventing and Treating Diabetes Type 2, Naturally, Preventing and Treating Diabetes Naturally The Native Way, and Preventing and Treating Diabetes Type 2, Naturally. Dr. Korn also works at CWIS as Director of Research and Education designing culinary and herbal medicine programs with tribal communities engaged in developing integrative medicine programs.

Dr. Korn explains his influence this way. “He is known for his commitment to mentoring students as future leaders and activist scholars. He has had significant influence on countless students and interns since he graduated from Union. Each of them, whether teachers’ professors, lawyers, or diplomats have experienced a shift in their intellectual axis a result of learning from Dr Ryser.”

Dr. Ryser is humbled and surprised by the award.

“I am thankful for Union’s commitment to the principle of “application of theory to practice.” In the organization I created to advance the healing arts and sciences and Fourth World Geopolitics through the application of traditional knowledge, we say: we do this work through activist scholarship.”

Today is the day to explore how a Union degree can change your career path. Click here to learn

In the Line of Duty

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Union Institute & University’s 2020 Mark Dunakin Memorial Awards for Extraordinary Achievement recipients are Sergeant/Detective Marya Mason of the Los Angeles Police Department and Detective James Tidwell with the Sacramento County Sheriff Department.

The award honors the memory of Sergeant Dunakin, a UI&U student who tragically lost his life in 2009, at the age of 40, when he and three other Oakland police officers were killed in the line of duty. The award was established by the university to honor his memory and those of other UI&U students and alumni who risk their lives every day. The award is presented to new graduates of the UI&U Criminal Justice Management major who serve in law enforcement and who emulate Sergeant Dunakin’s commitment to community service, academic success, and enthusiasm for Union’s Criminal Justice Management major.

Mason is a 23-year veteran of the LAPD and was nominated by the Los Angeles Academic Center. She is currently assigned as the Officer-in-Charge of the Operations-South Bureau Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement Unit (HOPE) unit. The HOPE unit works with homeless individuals and community stakeholders and coordinates with the Unified Homeless Response Center to make a positive impact with resources and fundamental services.

Marya Mason

Mason strives to make a difference. “I listen to the homeless person and work to build that individual’s trust. Often that person has lost faith. Too often the person is mentally ill or addicted to narcotics. There is a lot of work to be done to solve the homeless problem, but I am committed to helping.”

Before her assignment to the HOPE unit, Mason was a sexual assault detective for five years.  “Working with sexual assault victims is vital work in society and not easy to do. The job requires you to be victim-impactful. It is not easy for a person to report an assault. But it is satisfying to take a predator out of the community and off the streets for everyone’s safety.”

Mason has been honored with 108 commendations for service to her department and the communities that she serves. In 2018, she was awarded the LAPD Police Star and Life Saving Medal for her quick action to save the life of a man who had doused himself with lighter fluid. She was able to diffuse the situation, save his life, and assist him in receiving the mental health treatment he needed.

She experienced a difficult situation in 2017 when she was present as a fan at the Route 91 Las Vegas Concert when a gunman fired upon the crowd, killing 60 and wounding 411. “I decided the best course of action was to help anyone and everyone I could. I have since spoken to a few victims and built life relationships with them. I would do it again; you never know when you are going to be needed in life.”

“I am grateful to do this job and help people,” said Mason. “I am also humbled to receive the Mark Dunakin Award.”

Detective James Tidwell is a 14-year law enforcement veteran with the Sacramento County Sheriff Department and was nominated by the Sacramento Academic Center.  He loves giving back to his community and acknowledges he could have ended up on the wrong side of the law.

James Tidwell

“I grew up in a drug-infested and crime-ridden neighborhood of Oakland and experienced bad policing. I could have ended up in a gang. It was the School Resource Officers in my school who showed me what good policing was. They had a huge impact on me. They cared and encouraged me. Because of them, I saw another path. I thought I would go into law but because of their influence, I chose the law enforcement profession,” said Tidwell.

Tidwell says the best part of his job is helping people. “I love what I do. Often when I am called to a scene, I find a state of panic. When I can turn a situation from doom to good for that person, it is very satisfying.”

Tidwell acknowledges the challenges of the profession. “The job is never boring. I wear many hats. One day I am a counselor or a father figure or trying to help find a support system for those in need. The hardest part of the job is the split second decisions that have to be made.”

He is especially touched to receive the Mark Dunakin award, especially because he grew up in Oakland. “Receiving this award makes me want to contribute more to the community. I will always be honored to be part of this legacy.”

Union Institute & University’s faculty and administration commends Sergeant/Detective Marya Mason and Detective James Tidwell for their public service and commitment to fulfill Union’s beloved mission to engage, enlighten, and empower others to a life of service and social responsibility.

Today is the day to explore how a Union degree can change your career path. Click here to learn more.