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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fielding Graduate University’s Institute for Social Innovation announces new Project Manager

With a BA in English specializing in Literature and the Mind from the University of California Santa Barbara, and an MA in teaching from the University of Southern California, Joanna Burns has the background and experience to fully support the mission of the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University as the newly appointed Project Manager.


Joanna Burns
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Joanna Burns

Institute for Social Innovation (ISI) supports local research, professional development, and organizational consulting projects that build human capital and sustainable change. ISI supports three program areas – Frontiers for Research, Professional Development, and Organizational Consulting. Fielding faculty, students and alumni staff these efforts in locations across North America, Europe and Asia. ISI’s vision is to create opportunities for professionals to make significant contributions in their workplaces and communities. ISI’s goal is to provide research, professional education, and organizational development for sustainable results. ISI’s passion is turning knowledge into action. As a result of these efforts, the Carnegie Foundation designated Fielding as an institution of community engagement. Fielding is the first stand-alone graduate institution in the US with this distinction.

ISI Director, Charles McClintock, PhD, stated “Joanna stood out in several ways including her varied professional background, educational accomplishment, and commitment to high quality work.”

In addition, the experience and knowledge she gained during her active duty enlistment with the U.S. Army instilled in her the importance of teamwork, which is essential to the principles of collaborative learning that Fielding University endeavors to uphold.

Since moving to Santa Barbara from Fort Bragg, NC in 2006, Joanna earned her BA and MA, and gained professional experience working as an administrative assistant for Tetra Tech, Inc., office assistant for Santa Barbara County Veterans Services, head teacher for the Boys & Girls after school program, behavioral therapist for children with Autism and related disorders, and executive assistant and grant writer for Sanctuary Psychiatric Centers of Santa Barbara, where she was able to secure a capital grant of $50,000 within her first year of employment. She also completed her student teaching practicum at Dos Pueblos Senior High and Santa Barbara Junior High School.

Q & A

What interested you most about Fielding to apply for this particular job?

What interested me most about Fielding were the programs offered. After browsing their website, I came to the conclusion that Fielding was a learning institution that valued social progress and innovation, collaborative learning, and research. These values are aligned with what I believe should be the overall goals of higher education.

What is it about ISI that interests you?

ISI is an interesting creature. This branch of Fielding offers Evidence Based Coaching certification programs, supports research, professional development, and organizational consulting projects that build human capital and sustainable change. For me, ISI is like a living, breathing, and growing organism that endeavors to stay attuned to the changing nature of higher education.

What do you look forward to in this new position?

I look forward to learning as much as there is to know about the Institute for Social Innovation and being a source of support for students and faculty. I’m also excited about being a part of current and future projects.

Anything interesting/unique about your background you would like to share about what makes you a great fit for this position?

I know that an important part of this position is the ability to be able to communicate well, especially in writing, and to be able to think critically. Along with a BA in English I also received a Student Achievement Award. These academic accomplishments show that writing well is a skill that I value and will continue to cultivate.

I am a lifelong learner that can see educational value through all my experiences, both in the classroom and out. With this philosophy in mind, I am appreciative of being able to work in an environment where academic language fills the air because it helps to keep my mind active, and my passion for education strong.

Through the MAT program at USC, I became knowledgeable of various learning theories and developed an acute understanding of the learning process. In addition, I received my MAT from USC through a distance learning platform. My experience with distance learning with a prominent university such as USC at a graduate level will be beneficial to both ISI and Fielding.

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