Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- May 31, 2002

Local School District Administrator recognized at the CSUB School of Education's Commencement Ceremonies for Completion of Doctoral Degree Program

Vivian Gayles - now addressed as "Dr. Gayles" by the students of Emerson Middle School in Bakersfield - is a member of California State University, Bakersfield's first doctoral graduating class. She and eight other students, who are all local school district administrators, will be recognized at the CSUB School of Education's commencement ceremonies for completion of the CSUB/University of the Pacific collaborative education administration doctoral degree program. The ceremony will be held Friday, June 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Icardo Center on the CSUB campus.

Gayles, who began as a school clerk for the Bakersfield School District in 1984, has worked her way through school and the school district. She's already the principal of Emerson Middle School but now that she completed the final phase of her education, believes she's a living example and inspiration to her students.

"It really hasn't hit me yet but I'm getting so much recognition from my students, it's already showing how much it was worth it to get my doctorate," Gayles said. "Most of my students are minorities and I want them to see that it is possible to reach their highest dream if they stay focused and keep on the path they're starting."

Gayles added that she wouldn't have been able to complete her doctorate without the CSUB/UOP collaborative program.

"I feel as though I got the best that there is offered in this city by taking the UOP program. I wanted a program that was from a highly accredited school so I researched it and the Cal State/UOP program met all of my criteria. Other programs require a lot of traveling. As a principal, I wouldn't have been able to work and the complete the program," she said.

The CSUB/UOP collaborate doctoral program began in 1999 under the direction of Louis Wildman, chairman of CSUB's Department of Advanced Educational Studies. It was designed for educational professionals who wanted to work and complete a legitimate doctoral program.

Students were able to complete classes on the weekends in Bakersfield and receive their degree from UOP, which has been granting doctorates in educational administration since 1950. Both schools are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and offer credential programs accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

UOP is the official degree granting institution and the students were recognized and received their degrees at the UOP commencement exercises in May. At that ceremony, UOP dean John Nagle described the cooperative arrangement as an "ideal partnership, combining the resources of a fine state public university with the nationally recognized private university."

The students will also be recognized at CSUB. The other eight graduates are Lawrence Michael Friese, Bea Gibbons, Clare Denise Gist, Janie Herndon, Shelly Danette Long, Randy Schultz, Barbara Shahid and Jim Wallick. Each of them currently work as school administrators in various districts from Porterville to Lancaster.

Wildman said another important component of the collaborative program is to provide the region with research that will assist local schools. In their dissertation research, the students examined regional issues and searched for answers to problems they see in local schoolyards.

"We believe that much of the research findings will be helpful to local educators," Wildman said. "This is one of the benefits a doctoral program can provide to a community. We're able to investigate the impacts of local mandates while not under the same pressure as school administrators. As a regional university, that's one of the things we hope to provide."

To further that mission, the doctoral graduates will present their findings at a doctoral workshop, June 14 at 9:30 a.m. in the recently opened Rayburn S. Dezember Leadership Development Center in the new CSUB School of Business and Public Administration complex, 9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield. Pre-registration is required. The fee is $50 per person and includes lunch. For reservations or more information, call (661) 664-3047.

For Wildman, seeing CSUB's first graduating class of doctoral students receive their diplomas is "a dream come true."

"It's very satisfying to have seen these people move from the application process to receiving their degrees," he said. "This is a real sacrifice these people have made. Their work and commitment to education, along with the philosophic perspective they've gained by completing the doctoral program is a great benefit to themselves, their students and their communities."

Contact: Becky Zelinski, 661/664-2138,
or Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456,

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