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ODEA Member School Spotlight: Alliant University

Each month, Network News features an academic partner of the OD Network, including member schools of the OD Education Association and university sponsors of the 2016 OD Network Annual Conference. Our special guest this month is Sherry Camden-Anders of The California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, MA in Organizational Behavior and PsyD in Organization Development programs.

Interview and edit by Alexandria Zalenski, MAOP


We know that your university has campuses in five major cities in California and offers undergrad and graduate degrees but could you provide us with an overview of the organizational psychology programs at the Fresno and San Francisco campuses?

The two Northern campuses in California, Fresno and San Francisco, offer two degrees in this field, a Master of Arts in Organizational Behavior (MAOB) and a Doctor of Psychology in Organization Development (PsyD).  Both degrees are tailored to fit the needs of professional full-time working students. Courses are offered once a month in an executive weekend format, therefore entailing pre work, interim and post work assignments. This preparation provides an opportunity for in-depth interactions on the topic and prepares students for the intensity of a weekend format.

Courses begin on Friday evening at 6pm and end on Sunday afternoon.  Many of our students at the Fresno campus commute from other states or drive from distant cities in California and the close proximity of the airport and hotels provides them easy access to the Fresno campus.

The scheduling of courses is throughout fall, summer and spring semesters. The Master of Arts may be completed in 1.5 years and the post-Master’s doctorate in 3 years; each degree has an option of spring and fall entry.

Starting this Fall, these two degrees will be offered at the San Francisco campus, located across from Pier 39. Offering a slightly different schedule, the degrees are designed to enable students to enter the programs at multiple entry points over the course of the year.  Degrees offered in Southern California on the Los Angeles and San Diego campuses include a Master’s degree and PhD in Organizational Psychology.  


What excites students about their learning in your programs?

Our students appreciate the hands-on training and flexibility our programs offer. I have provided a copy of the messages we have received from alumni and a current student about their experience at CSPP:

“The whole experience contributed to who I am in totality. I deliberately chose CSPP because it is a professional school, I knew I wanted to be a practitioner, and I went to CSPP for that unique model. The school provided a good balance for making you a good consumer of data and science, yet also preparing you to work as professional.”

-Mark Blankenship, Chief People, Culture & Corporate Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President of Jack in the Box Inc.

Working in South Africa, with the scars of Apartheid still visible in the workplace, has been quite challenging, specifically regarding employment equity and diversity. I have had the opportunity to employ one of the core tenets of organizational development and democratize the workplace, which has been wonderful although challenging in South Africa’s generally patriarchal workplace. Thank you for providing me with the education and skills to be successful in my consulting work!


-Dr. Moreen Mudenda, Senior Consultant, Organization Development Resolve Group, Johannesburg, South Africa.

“I knew the program was the right fit for me; I knew I could go to school, live my life, and have my career. I get to be in the classroom with other professionals. My cohorts have been in the field for years; they have so much experience in the field that I’m able to learn so much from them…they bring a lot to the classroom.”

-Joshua Emenike, current PsyD student and ODEA Member and Ambassador

Our programs embrace the values of the university in fostering international and multi-cultural education, addressing the needs of both individuals and organizations, and in supporting the underserved.  I really believe this all plays a large part in what draws a diverse population of students to our programs, domestically and internationally.


At the Fresno and San Francisco campuses, we offer practitioner-scholar degrees that emphasize the need for combining theory, research, and practice.  Students develop both academically and personally.  Courses are designed to provide students with opportunities to interact in shared learning, dialogue, and experiential activities with their peers and faculty; to attend seminars with distinguished guest faculty; to build multicultural/international awareness, and to complete real-time, applied learning.


We truly believe that building a climate of caring and a strong learning community is essential to preparing the next generation of practitioners. Modeling practitioner skills and demeanor, mentoring, and always being available are core characteristics of our faculty.  We treat our students the same as we would our prestigious clients and value their experience. All students bring work and life experience to the classroom, currently holding professional and responsible positions in organizations.  


Can you tell me something about your alumni?


Our alumni from these programs have established themselves in many different kinds of positions and industries throughout the world.  One of the wonderful things about this field is the vast opportunity to develop and excel in areas you are most interested in pursuing.  The skills learned in the practice of Organization Development, Organizational Behavior and Organizational Psychology are applicable to many diverse professional opportunities and job positions.  Both alumni and students, seeking a career or promotions in their jobs, have discovered and told us that the skills they learned have assisted them in achieving this goal.   


Tell me about your Alliant University faculty?

Alliant’s faculty, throughout the university, have distinguished academic credentials and professional experience from across the U.S. and around the world.  As practicing professionals, themselves, Alliant’s faculty have strong ties to the community and to their professional associations.

Since 2005, Alliant university faculty (often with student collaborators) have given over 2000 scholarly presentations, with more than half of these to national or international audiences. They have published over 700 books, chapters, journal articles, and other scholarly works, many of which have direct application to professional practice.  The university offers undergraduate degrees, clinical, educational, and organizational graduate level degrees.

Our faculty at the Fresno and San Francisco campuses develop key mentoring relationships with their students, helping them build their scholarship and professional experience, in addition to helping them build a relevant professional network.  This is why being members of the OD Network and ODEA are so important in helping us build this network for students and alumni. 

Faculty at these two campuses, work very closely with students and each other in a highly supportive manner and have practiced in the field of Organization Development for many years, bringing to their students consulting, management, and corporate experience.  


In closing, is there something you would like to add?


Here at Alliant, we have immense pride in what our students and alumni are able to accomplish with their education, and of the lasting impact they make in their profession as well as in communities worldwide.


Alliant university students contribute more than 1.2 million hours of community service each year as part of their professional education and we know that with each graduating class we are furthering our institution’s legacy and commitment to service and leadership. 


For more information on the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, please visit our website at

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