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

Suzanne Atkins, Teaching Faculty

Suzanne Atkin's education started on the job 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, she became aware of the power 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 MS 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.

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.

Erin Berman, Teaching Faculty

Erin M. Berman holds advanced degrees in both Corporate and Professional Communication (MS) and Instructional Design (MEd) and has been working in higher education for more than seventeen years as both an instructor and an instructional designer. She demonstrates the

ability to blend research from the learning sciences with student-facing application to create an enriching and equitable learning experience, with a focus in the online space. Erin serves on the board of her local community garden and leads mindfulness and yoga events in the community.

As a fun fact, she, and her family live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA and foster farm animals in support of the local ASPCA.

Dr. Elise Chatelain, Ph.D.

Elise Chatelain, PhD, spent several years as a full-time university educator before branching out to develop other avenues for creative education and outreach. Now, in addition to teaching at CLU, she runs a publication and writing agency with a longtime colleague. With an MA in sociology and a doctorate in cultural studies, she is invested in exploring different ways to answer questions about important social issues. Her teaching and professional practice are driven by a purpose: to tell creative, engaging stories about the world that are grounded in data and can generate positive social change.

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. 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.

Sean Hobdell

Sean Hobdell is an accomplished educator with over 15 years experience. He has taught at the secondary and higher education levels with a passion for history, culture, international relations, and philosophy. He holds a BS in Education and History from the University of Scranton in addition to his MS in Education from Wilkes University. Hobdell served and continues to serve in various leadership roles including coordinating educational committees, past service as president of his local, and is currently working toward completion of his second MS in Educational Leadership.

Christine Lustik, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Dr. Lustik is the 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.

Dr. Rob Razzante, Ph.D.

Rob Razzante (PhD, Arizona State University) is a learning and development professional, consultant, and Faculty Associate. As a pracademic, Rob seeks to weave together his community engagement, teaching, and research to co-create resilient people and communities who grow from transformative conflict. As part of his efforts, Rob has coordinated and facilitated over 100 Civil Dialogues® for community groups and college students since 2016. He also worked with Cleveland Clinic’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion to design and conduct a participant-driven study for strategic planning around what pathways the organization can take for creating an inclusive workplace. As part of the Claremont Core® Faculty, Rob teaches the research methods course and he finds great joy in witnessing students design their own studies with the intention of transforming their own communities and workplaces through research and collaborative learning.

Rev. Dr. Kathleen Rudoff, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

The Reverend Dr. Kathleen Rudoff currently serves as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, CT. She previously was the Executive Director for the Yale Humanist Community. She received a Doctor of Ministry in Multifaith Studies from New York Theological Seminary. She has written for the Journal of Religious Humanism and has authored a series of daily meditation journals. Dr. Rudoff teaches courses in interfaith relations, social justice, and mindfulness.

Dr. Tisha Shipley, Ed.D.

Tisha Shipley, EdD, has been in the world of education for over 19 years. Dr. Shipley's Bachelors of Arts degree is from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Early Childhood Education. Her Master’s degree is also from NWOSU in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Administration. Dr. Shipley holds her Doctorate degree from NorthCentral University in Curriculum and Instruction. Tisha has worn many hats including classroom teacher, principal, academic department chair, and full professor. She has worked in online education for over ten years. Dr. Shipley's students can expect to be highly engaged in their coursework and use hands-on, real world experiences to learn in her courses.

Jason Waldow, Teaching Faculty

Professor 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 regard 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.

Dr. Kadri Webb

Dr. Kadri Webb is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and currently serves as the Senior Pastor/Teacher of the St. John Church of Oceanside, CA. He has served in this capacity since October 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a Master of Divinity Degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at the Virginia Union University, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Prior to being called to St. John Church, Dr. Webb held an extensive career in the corporate sector, working in various federal agencies over 15 years to include: Social Security Administration, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Homeland Security, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since his arrival to California, Dr. Webb has opened the doors of St. John to the entire community, served numerous special meals, completed two major renovations of the church facility, and invited local clergy to join together to combat homelessness, food insecurity, and other challenges that impact the local community. Dr. Webb serves in numerous civic capacities to include: Chair of the Board of Directors at Interfaith Community Services, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors at the San Diego Organizing Project, and Co-Chair of the North Inland Faith Partnership. He also serves as Teaching Faculty at Claremont Lincoln University and as an Affiliate Assistant Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, teaching both graduate and doctoral students respectively. He is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Dr. Kadri Webb is a man of action who lives and believes that “only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Ph.D, Dean of Teaching, Learning & Leadership

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, PhD, is the Dean of Teaching, Learning & Leadership, and an award winning public school teacher and community educator. Dr. 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 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. Her research interests include mindfulness, resilience, and equipping communities to build programs and policies that promote justice and flourishing.

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