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About the Claremont Core | Compassionate Leadership
About the
Claremont Core®
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About the Claremont Core | Compassionate Leadership A longer, more complete description.
About the
Claremont Core®
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The Claremont Core®

Engagement Skills for Creating a Sustainable Impact — In an increasingly interconnected world, leaders who want to make positive, sustainable change need to develop the critical perspectives and collaborative skills necessary to reach across traditional barriers of ideology, culture, economics and faith. At CLU, we put development of these capabilities at the center of our degree programs. The result is the Claremont Core®. Progress through the Core takes you through a process of self-awareness and steadily evolves towards engagement with others and society at large. With the Claremont Core, you will have the advanced knowledge, skills and capabilities to be a more effective change-maker in our new globalized world.

The Distinctiveness of the Core

From Inner to Outer: The Core leads you through an integrated process of personal and professional development. It begins with skills for self-development in the Mindfulness class and works steadily toward more outward engagement in the Dialogue, Collaboration and Change.

Portfolio: Along with The Core skills, you will be keeping a public portfolio outlining the progress toward your Capstone Action Project which classmates, faculty, friends, family and coworkers can follow. This will help enhance your professional persona and expand opportunities for dialogue and engagement beyond your current situation.

Contextualizing the Core: You will be expected to draw on your own background and interests in your discussions and assignments, thereby applying the knowledge and skills for your own self-improvement.

Collaboration across Degrees: You will have the opportunity to study alongside, and learn from, peers from the other degree programs who may be working in other sectors. This intentional opportunity for cross-sector interaction allows for creative possibilities for collaboration, perhaps even on the Capstone Action Project.

Claremont Core Skills

Develop your capacity to have focused awareness in the present moment and the cultivation of compassion in yourself and others. We believe that in order to effectively lead positive change in the world, we must first cultivate the practice of mindfulness in ourselves.
Effective dialogue is mindful communication that facilitates a shared understanding among diverse perspectives. This skill helps you reframe conflict and provides creative activities to increase your teams ability for effective communication.
Collaboration is the co-creative dialogue among key stakeholders to develop strategies for positive change. You will learn how to articulate contemporary understandings of cultural diversity and social privilege that exist in any collaborative effort. You will also be able to better manage interpersonal and organizational conflict and lead in a way that leverages intelligence and self-organization.
Change is effective collaboration that generates positive and sustainable impact in society. You will develop the capacity to analyze the need for change and effectively design a project that addresses the need for change. You will then learn to evaluate the impact of a project in order to improve it.

The Claremont Core Faculty

Claremont Core

Joanna Bauer, Dean of Organizational Leadership

Suzanne Atkin, Teaching Faculty

Suzanne Atkin's education started on the job including at organizations as diverse as the World Bank, the Department of Defense, and high tech companies. She is also owner of Workplace Harmony, a training and consulting firm. As an executive secretary, she became aware of communication and how it can be less or more effective. After returning to higher education as an adult learner, she earned two Bachelor of Science degrees: in Social Science and Communication Studies. After earning her MA in Communication Studies, she now teaches in the social sciences for several universities. Her interests include the change process, identity, relationships, and communicating in the digital age.

Ludmila Battista, Teaching Faculty

Ludmila Battista has been an online college professor for over 16 years in the education and professional studies field, most recently focusing on the increasingly ubiquitous area of mindfulness and meditation in enhancing personal and professional development. She has served as a faculty advisor for student organizations, lead curriculum and course development and facilitated outcomes-based assessment integration into courses. Her research/interests include project-based learning, motivating and engaging students in higher education and supporting special needs students.

Shanelle Benson Reid, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Dr. Shanelle Benson Reid is President and CEO of ACCESS Global Group and ACCESS Global Enterprises is a Consultant, Coach, Author and Professional Speaker. Her expertise is in areas of Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Cultural Competency, Social Awareness, Equity and Community/Individual Empowerment. Her consulting focuses on cultural competency, social awareness and equity in education and employment. Dr. Benson Reid earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) and a Master of Arts in Education from CSUSB as well. Dr. Benson Reid earned her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne. Her personal motto is "inspire individuals to pursue self-discovery, empower them to be innovative, progressive and revolutionary in thought and motivate them to be global activists.” Dr. Benson Reid’s work is changing the landscape of society by empowering individuals, families, and organizations. Here at the ACCESS Global Family of Companies, “we encourage self-assessment and self-discovery while promoting innovative and progressive designs for change and implementing strategies for sustained success.

Lyvonne Briggs, Teaching Faculty

Lyvonne "Proverbs" Briggs is a preacher, poet, educator, and creative social entrepreneur. She is the founder of beautiful scars, a storytelling agency focused on addressing sexual trauma, healing, and resiliency. Lyvonne graduated from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity and Columbia Theological Seminary with a Master of Theology. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and teaches spin classes for fitness and fun!

Melissa Carter

The first decade of Melissa Carter’s career began in the music business at Violator management which managed artists such as Missy Elliott, Q-Tip, Mobb Deep, and 50 Cent before moving into digital sales and marketing as a music business executive for Warner Music Group and then the top music company in the world, Universal Music Group. Melissa embarked on a spiritual journey that inspired transformations in both her career and daily life. For the last ten years, she has served as a meditation teacher and holistic wellness coach and consultant. In the last four, her private practice brought her to 16 different countries to facilitate workshops and seminars focused on intuitive and emotional intelligence, personal narrative, self-care, mindfulness and now belonging. Melissa has also coached various companies, colleges, and C+ executives to identify gaps and needs within their company cultures to cultivate stronger mindfulness tools, connections and leadership. She currently serves as the Associate Director for Global Spiritual Life at New York University and is the Head of Mindfulness Education and Programming. She offers a course through the Silver School of Social Work entitled; "Answering the Call: Spirituality, Service and Social Change." Melissa also serves as the New York facilitator for Connection Coalition, a non-profit organization offering Trauma Informed Outreach Mindfulness and Yoga training. She is a birth/death doula and in her spare time volunteers for the Sean Casey Animal Rescue and New Sanctuary Coalition. Melissa has been featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine, Billboard Magazine as one of their "Top 30 Under 30 Executives" and various mindfulness blogs and podcasts including “The Naked Podcast,” and “The Trailblazer Podcast.” Brooklyn now serves as her home.

Dr. Manuel De La Torre, MBA, Ed.D., Teaching Faculty

Manuel De La Torre, MBA, EdD, has over 15 years of multidisciplinary experience in architecture, real estate, urban planning, project management, military human resources, university administration, and organizational development. After receiving his doctorate in Organizational Leadership with a focus on entrepreneurship and transformational change, he became a business consultant supporting change management, value creation and sustainable growth practices in small to global organizations.

Donna DiMatteo-Gibson, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Donna DiMatteo-Gibson received her Bachelor of Arts in both Speech Communications and Psychology from the University of San Diego. She also has two Masters of Science degrees in the areas of psychology and industrial-organizational psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) which is now called Alliant International University. In June of 1999, she graduated from CSPP with a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Dr. DiMatteo-Gibson has been teaching online graduate and undergraduate courses since 2001 and enjoys it immensely. She also has own consulting practice where I work with different organizations to improve organizational effectiveness and employee satisfaction.

Dr. Matthew Donovan, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Matthew Donovan holds a PhD from Arizona State University in Organizational Communication; his MS is from Illinois State University in Interpersonal Communication and BA is from Anderson University. In addition to being a member of the CLU CORE teaching faculty, Donovan works as a senior manager in corporate innovation for a pharmacy benefits management company. His research interests span investigative pedagogy, transformational leadership, organizational culture, and health justice. He has led strategic organizational culture efforts at a Fortune 50 company, has published in Communication Education, serves as an advisor to the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, and is an inventor on four U.S. patents. Donovan’s areas of expertise include: Organizational Communication; Corporate Innovation; Health Justice and Policy; Discourse of Medicine; Critical Studies; Hacktivism; Alternative Forms of Organizing; and Transformational Leadership.

Dr. Cecelia Doyle, Teaching Faculty

Dr. Cecelia Doyle is currently the Early Learning Coordinator at South Washington County Schools where she coaches more than 50 Teachers in best practices to close the achievement gap. She was Dean of the School of Education at Rasmussen College where she grew the program from 4 to 24 campuses and national online while innovating a workforce program that celebrated 3,000 graduates. While there she was selected Master Leader in Education in recognition of leadership in making a difference for children, families and communities (Exchange Magazine). Dr. Doyle has served as a Professor at the University of Minnesota, Concordia University and Metropolitan State University. She earned her Doctorate in Education – Adult Learning from the University of Minnesota where she studied young immigrants' experiences and the impact on mainstream educators. She leads a hiking group year-round in Minnesota as a way to savor the beauty of the great outdoors.

Carlos V. Guzman, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Carlos Guzman has a PhD in Psychology from Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco, an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and a BA in Psychology from California State University Fullerton. He primarily teaches mindfulness and doctoral courses in diversity, research and statistics. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, as well as Saybrook and California State University Fullerton Alumni Associations and a contributing scholar for the Journal of Children and Schools for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Christine Lustik, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Christine Lustik, PhD is owner of Mindfulness in Organizations, LLC. Christine trains individuals and groups within education, non-profit, healthcare, government, and corporate organizations how to practice Mindfulness with the goal of increasing focus and resilience and decreasing stress and chaos. Christine thrives on creating training for each individual organization to introduce Mindfulness in a way that works with their culture and goals.

Previously, Christine spent 14 years in the online education arena of higher education, as Director of Distance Education, instructional designer, and faculty member. Much of that time was spent at Western Wyoming Community College supporting the education and community needs of a very large rural area in Southwest Wyoming.

Christine earned her Masters and Doctorate in Education from Capella University, with a focus on leadership and online education. She has also completed two Mindfulness Teacher Training programs, with a focus on bringing the practice of Mindfulness into organizations in a sustainable way and connecting Mindfulness with nature whenever possible.

EbonyJanice Moore, Teaching Faculty

EbonyJanice Moore is a Hip Hop Womanist, scholar, and activist doing community-organizing work, most specifically around decolonizing authority and black women's body ownership as a justice issue. She is the founder of a multi-platform think-space: Black Girl Mixtape, an online black women lead school: BGM Institute, and a professional training intensive: BGM Accelerator.

Nancy Moretti, Teaching Faculty

Nancy Moretti has been teaching in higher education since April of 2004. As a previous business owner, department chair, and associate dean, Nancy shares real-life examples related to course content with her students. Nancy believes in delivering a robust cognitive presence in the classroom, and she exhibits this as she shares in threaded discussions, shares feedback in the grade book, writes announcements, and as she shares with students via telephone calls, emails, and via webinars. Nancy has two undergraduate degrees, two graduate degrees and is currently a doctoral candidate, and when not teaching, she is working on writing her dissertation.

Sue Park, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Sue K. Park holds a PhD in Practical Theology and ordination in Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad. Deeply rooted in faith communities, Sue's research interests include interfaith relations, spirituality, Asian American theology, and feminist theories/theology. She also holds a BA from University of Florida, an MDiv from Duke University, and an STM from Union Theological Seminary.

Dr. David Ross, Teaching Faculty

David Ross has over 20 years' experience in higher education administration and teaching. David is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Claremont Lincoln University, Thomas Edison State University and National Louis University. David has graduate taught courses in industrial/organizational psychology, organization leadership and measuring individual differences. He believes the missing components in today's leadership training programs are mindfulness, fostering productive dialogue and collaboration among organizational members. David earned a PhD in Organizational Psychology from Walden University, an MA in Counseling and a BA in Latin from Montclair State University. David has consulted with companies such as Jet Blue and private educational organizations on their employee training and development programs. David is a member of the American Psychological Association, Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and the Association for Talent Development. His research interests including mindfulness training for employees and the use of AI mindfulness apps to increase mindfulness in college students and employees. Outside of his career, he is an avid street hockey player, baritone saxophone player, and enjoys spending time at the beach with his family.

Dr. Nandita Sabnis, Teaching Faculty

Nandita Sabnis received her PhD from Arizona State University in Human Communication. Her research has focused on how marginalized groups use technology to produce autonomy and equity. Prior to working in academia, she worked in various industries focusing on achieving racial, socio-economic, gender, education, and environmental equity. Additionally, she is a trained dialogue facilitator and conflict mediator.

Shaun Saunders, Teaching Faculty

Shaun Saunders has been a professor of writing and literature for 13 years. The author of 5 books, Shaun is currently an Adjunct faculty member at Claremont Lincoln University and Bloomfield College, and holds degrees from Seton Hall University (B.A./M.A. English), Duke University (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.M.).

Chris Trevett, Teaching Faculty

Chris Trevett comes to Claremont Lincoln after four years teaching public speaking and rhetoric, and assisting in communication courses at Portland State University, four and a half years teaching philosophy at Global Ministries University, and a one-year stint with Warner Pacific University teaching human development. He developed and continues to teach the graduate, online course “the Philosophical Christian Mind” for GMU, which he describes as a “critical examination of the confluence of philosophy, psychology, and theology.” He has also participated as a guest lecturer in a series at Rose Schnitzer Manor in Portland, OR, called “Let’s Talk,” on the topic of intercultural communication. In 2018, he volunteered in tutoring at Portland State’s Intensive English Language Program; also in that year he acquired a TEFL/TESOL certificate from the International TEFL Academy in Chicago. He feels that the tremendous diversity of his face-to-face classes at PSU has been a “life-altering” event that has enlivened all his subsequent teaching experiences and solidified his multi-disciplinary approach to teaching—and his own continuing education. His professional career outside of academia includes ten years as both a curriculum development associate and international sales manager for Canter & Associates, an educational publisher in Los Angeles, now known as Laureate Education. He also served in the US Navy from 1985 to 1988, aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61), as a Religious Program Specialist, a position that was described at the time as a “glorified librarian.”

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Ph.D, Director of Claremont Core

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, PhD, is the Director of the Claremont Core at Claremont Lincoln University, and an award winning teacher and interfaith leader. She is the host of the religion & culture podcast In Times Like These and author of Interfaith Grit: How Uncertainty Will Save Us. Varnon-Hughes was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, a peer reviewed journal, and its sister publication, State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. She holds a PhD from Claremont Lincoln University, an MA and STM from Union Theological Seminary and her undergraduate degrees are in English and Education, from Webster University.

Jason Waldow, Teaching Faculty

Jason Waldow has a Master’s degree in Business Leadership Communications and a Master's of Science in Communications education. He has been teaching Communications for over fifteen years in both on-ground and online settings. His current research centers on executive function in regards to the communication process. This involves TBIs and learning obstacles. Recently, he has started to explore research involving communication and environment, specifically focusing on young learners. The majority of his studies focus on cultural and educational communications. Professor Waldow has served as a team leadership consultant for Boeing executives which allows his research and studies to interconnect in the private sector. He has also utilized his Communications background to help create crisis management strategies for organizations. He enjoys working with local non-profits that help "at-risk" youth and has been involved with the Big Brother Big Sister organization for many years.

Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this list of faculty for the current and upcoming terms. However, teacher departures, changes, and substitutions may be made without notice.