Tag Archives: Woodbury University

Muir Outdoor Classroom Supports Outside The Box Learning

Burbank Unified and City of Burbank officials, middle school students, Nickelodeon Studios and Woodbury University personnel gathered on Friday, October 21, to dedicate the John Muir Outdoor Classroom.

“In the space where a condemned bungalow once stood, there is now a beautiful outdoor classroom on the campus of John Muir Middle School,” commented Principal Dr. Greg Miller. “The project came together through a wonderful partnership with Woodbury University and Nickelodeon.”

(Photo by Brandon Buckley)

(Photo by Brandon Buckley)

Miller specifically thanked Woodbury School of Architecture Professors Jeanine Centouri and Oscar Corletto, for their efforts and their students’ efforts creating the design for the Muir Outdoor Classroom.

(Photo by Brandon Buckley)

(Photo by Brandon Buckley)

He also thanked Carson Smith from Nickelodeon for allocating resources and focusing volunteer efforts of several studio employees and interns.

Miller recognizes the work of several employees of BUSD Facilities including Pedro Mejia, John Uribe, Mark Clarke, Randy Ogawa and Kurt Hauffe, who have been instrumental in the building and beautification of the project.

He noted the efforts of the Mosaic Tile Team of Erica Bootchk, Kristina Panfilova and Yukako Inoue, as their mosaic art installation for the space continues to develop.

The previous occupant of the space, an aging bungalow which had not been able to be used for several years, was removed in the summer of 2015. Muir Middle School contacted Woodbury University’s School of Architecture and asked for help to design an outdoor classroom, explained Miller and were connected with Centouri, the director of the University’s Architecture and Civic Engagement (ACE) Center.

“The design and, most importantly, the installation of the outdoor classroom at Muir became the spring semester project for a group of nine upper class students in the School of Architecture,” said Miller.

(Photo by Brandon Buckley)

(Photo by Brandon Buckley)

Centouri and Corletto, along with their student team, interviewed Muir teachers, staff and parents to get an understanding of what they envisioned for the space.

“After several options were presented to the Muir stakeholders, a singular design was agreed upon.”

The team started building the wall, stage and seating in January. All told, the 40-seat, 2,000 square foot structure took four months to construct.

In May, as part of the company’s annual Viacommunity Day, Nickelodeon sent over 50 volunteers to dig holes, plant hedges, trees and greenery and fill in the space with over 25 cubic yards of mulch, added Miller.

The space is now enjoyed on a daily basis by Muir’s 1,400 students. English, science, math and enrichment classes have all been held in the Muir Outdoor Classroom since students returned to school in August.

“It’s a great place for 11, 12 and 13 -year-olds to hang out,” he said.

(Photo by Brandon Buckley)

(Photo by Brandon Buckley)

BUSD College And Career Fair Draws Thousands

The 23rd annual Burbank Unified School District’s College and Career Fair drew nearly 2700 people to the three-hour event on the Woodbury University campus on Saturday morning, September 26. A financial aid workshop was also held concurrently during the BUSD College and Career Fair at the adjacent Kirby Hall Entertainment Media Building.

More than 120 different colleges, universities and trade schools from throughout the United States were represented at the Fair, from large public state universities to Ivy League schools to small private Liberal Arts colleges and more. The Burbank Police Department and various branches of the U.S. military were also represented.

Thousands of students and parents learned about college and career opportunities at the 23rd annual BUSD College and Career Fair. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Thousands of students and parents learned about college and career opportunities at the 23rd annual BUSD College and Career Fair. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“Since it was so hot, I thought it would be a quiet event, but it was the opposite,” commented John Burroughs High School College and Career Center Technician Jeani Chambers, who organized the event. “It was very crowded from 9 a.m. until noon, which surprised me, due to the weather this year.”

Chambers invited more than 600 different colleges to participate in the event; she said the annual BUSD College and Career Fair averages between 110 and 125 participants every year.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“I am told by the participants every year that they love this fair because of the location, organization and mainly the quality of the students that come to our fair,” added Chambers. “They feel that they are coming well prepared, and know what questions to ask of the representatives about their schools.”

In addition to high school students in the Burbank Unified School District, students from local private high schools in the surrounding area are also invited to the event.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The BUSD College and Career Fair has been held on the Woodbury campus for many years. Chambers has been organizing the event mostly on her own for the past six year since the retirement of the Burbank High School College and Career Tech.

“Fortunately for us, this College Fair has been successful for a very long time,” Chambers also said. “Woodbury University has been very generous by hosting this event for Burbank Unified for a very long time.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

McKinley Faculty Lounge Gets A Makeover

McKinley Elementary School teachers and staff have a newly renovated Faculty Lounge in which to enjoy breaks and lunch during the school day. Michael Cusumano of the Cusumano Real Estate Group, who is Principal Liz Costella’s business partner as part of a BUSD school/business partnership, donated the funds and supplies.

“In one of our meetings, I told him I wanted to make over the lounge as a gift for the staff,” explained Costella. “I was hoping for some new tables and maybe some chairs but never dreamed the outcome would be this wonderful and such a wonderful partnership. Michael ran with the idea and enlisted Tim Nelson from his office to be the project manager.”

Michael Cusumano and Liz Costella in the new McKinleyFaculty Lounge. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Michael Cusumano and Liz Costella in the new McKinleyFaculty Lounge. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Nelson set up a design competition with Woodbury University students, led by Woodbury faculty Catherine Roussel and Annie Chu, who organized and mentored the students’ work.

“The William McKinley Faculty Lounge project became a collaboration with Woodbury University and Michael Cusumano,” commented Nelson. “We wanted to offer a real-world project to the students at Woodbury and came up with a design competition partnered with the two student groups.”

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

“AIAS (American Institute of Architectural Students) and IIDS (International Interior Design Association) student organizations helped me come up with a design charrette that required students to form groups of at least four students (two architecture students and two interior design students) to collaborate and present their design to a panel that consisted of Michael Cusumano, Liz Costella and a few Woodbury faculty,” explained Nelson.

“The groups were given a budget for the project which they had to expense out in their proposal just like one would have to for a real-world project.”

The winning team consisted of Dylan Bachar, Cory Pham, Marieam Alhamody and Cynthia Nyirinkwaya. They were then tasked with working with Nelson to source vendors and revise the design to Costella’s recommendations.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Cusumano also donated 21 chairs, that were not part of the overall budget, which were then stripped, sanded, re-stained and reupholstered to fit the design. Cusumano Group employees donated their time to assemble the furniture and arrange the room.

The overall project from competition to completion took 4 months and cost $10,000, according to Nelson.

“Tim and his team worked all summer to buy the items and put the lounge together,” Costella said. “He personally stripped and stained all 21 chairs every night after work for over a month. This was also possible with the help of my office manager who was here during his time off to help let in the crew as well as help.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“Not only did he help with the final touches but he donated his time installing ceiling tiles and anything else that was needed,” she added.

“This project was truly a collaboration between many participants and we are so grateful to be a part of it. The lounge is amazing and such a gift for our staff everyone loves it and feels so fortunate to have this incredible room at McKinley.”

“I am forever grateful to Michael for his support and helping me accomplish this,” Costella also said. “It is beyond my wildest dreams and we are so lucky to have this opportunity.”

Woodbury Summer Classes Draw Motivated High School Students

Nearly 200 high school students from Burbank and nearby areas are finishing up classes next week through Woodbury University’s Initial Credit summer program.

Students from Burroughs and Burbank High, Bellarmine-Jefferson, Immaculate Heart, Village Christian and other area schools are waking up early in the morning to get to class on time, completing a year’s worth of work in six, four-day weeks of study at Woodbury.

Burroughs teacher Carolina Almanzar and her class learn Spanish 3. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burroughs teacher Carolina Almanzar and her class learn Spanish 3. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The program was developed in 2009 and has grown in number of students each year. Woodbury University’s then Vice President  Dr. David Rosen worked with Woodbury’s Mauro Diaz and BUSD’s Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn to develop multiple programs with Burbank Unified, including the Woodbury Initial Credit Summer Program.

“The state budget crisis impacted districts throughout California, including the elimination of many summer programs,” explained Flynn. “Burbank Unified was still able to offer summer school to students who failed a course and had to recover credit but students who had a D or wanted to earn initial credit had extremely few and very expensive options locally.”

“BUSD administration approached Woodbury in 2009 to see if they might be interested in creating a program that offered options to students who wanted to bring up a low grade to improve their GPA and/or take a course for the first time,” added Flynn.

Burbank High School teacher Robert Hammell helps a student in Algebra 2. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank High School teacher Robert Hammell helps a student in Algebra 2. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“Completing an initial credit course in the summer allows students to make room in their regular school year for electives, athletics, and the arts,” she also said. “It also allows students to complete course prerequisites with greater ease – for example, by taking Pre-Calculus in the summer, the student can enroll in Calculus or AP Calculus during the next school year.”

“A wonderful bonus is that our high school students are able to experience taking courses on a real college campus – an experience we hope will inspire them to dream big and work hard,” Flynn concluded.

“We wanted to engage with not only BUSD but with the community as well,” said Diaz, Interim Vice President of Enrollment Management at Woodbury. “We provide not only a camp environment but a learning experience through programs like Initial Credit, Burbank Youth Summer Theatre institute, and architecture and fashion camps. Our programs are affordable and engage elementary, middle and high school students in the community.”

Burroughs High School Health teacher Oakley Gillett discusses student projects in Health class. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burroughs High School Health teacher Oakley Gillett discusses student projects in Health class. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Eight summer classes for initial credit are being taught by BUSD teachers on the Woodbury campus this summer: Spanish 2 and 3, Health, U.S. and World History, Algebra 2, Geometry and PreCalculus. Woodbury also offers a Fashion Camp (for grades 4-8), Art of Architecture (for grades 5-9) and other programs aimed at high school students during the summer.

“I wanted to take Pre-Calc in the summer so I can take AP Calculus in my junior year and BC Calculus in my senior year,” said Michael Huynh,  a junior at Burbank High School.

Since Woodbury uses BUSD curriculum and teachers and rents the same textbooks used in BUSD-approved courses, students easily transfer credit for the class to their transcripts. Students from other schools work with their district or administration and registrar to verify acceptance of course credit before enrolling in the courses.

Burroughs math teacher Jessica Barcellano goes over concepts in PreCalculus. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burroughs math teacher Jessica Barcellano goes over concepts in PreCalculus. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“We are especially grateful to Cartoon Network for providing 20 student scholarships this year!” commented Flynn. “Because of CN, we have students completing courses in Algebra 2, Spanish, Health, Pre-Calculus, US History and World History.”

“Peggy told me about the summer scholarship program, and it fit perfectly into the gifting program that Cartoon Network has established in Burbank,” said  Zita Lefebvre, Director of Operations and Community Relations for the studio. “We have supported it for several years.”

“We are pleased to be able to send 20 students to summer programs to enhance their education in the arts. Perhaps one day we will have one of these kids working at Cartoon Network,” Lefebvre added. “As a business in Burbank we are happy to be included in these programs that support the youth of the community.”

Students at work in Jordan teacher Wayne Tipton's World History class. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Students at work in Jordan teacher Wayne Tipton’s World History class. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“BUSD admin continues to work closely with Mauro Diaz, Kelly Nittoli, Don St. Clair from Woodbury to ensure the courses are aligned, the teachers are top notch and that the cost was the lowest in the region,” added Flynn.

“I think that many of the more motivated students realize that it is a really good thing to be able to get a class out of the way,” commented World History teacher Wayne Tipton, who also teaches Social Studies at Jordan Middle School during the regular school year.

“Many of the kids are in the vocal or instrumental departments in high school. Some are athletes or dancers, so we have a fairly eclectic group. When they take a class in the summer, they are able to take an extra elective class during the year,” he added.

“I think that my former students who take my class in the summer remember that I tried to make it fun for them. They may have a more nostalgic take on it, but I try to keep it similar to what they remember,” Tipton also said.

Woodbury's grounds are a well-maintained oasis in the busy city. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Woodbury’s grounds are a well-maintained oasis in the busy city. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“History is not exactly the favorite subject for many, so I try to make it as interesting and painless as possible. Since I get to teach them at kind of an awkward age in middle school, it is nice to see them at an older age.”

“I try to make the class as interesting as possible. We all realize that we are in the same boat, five and one-half hours a day, so we try to make the best of it,” Tipton continued.

“The students are bright and interested and know quite a bit about a lot of topics. I learn things every day from them. The summer classes here at Woodbury are so much less stressful. I have always liked teaching in the summer and the classes I have taught at Woodbury are really a great gig.”

Students pay attention in PreCalculus. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Students pay attention in PreCalculus. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“I wanted to get ahead so that I can take the more of the classes I love during the regular school year.” said Maddie Seiffert, a junior at Burroughs High School who is taking World History. “Now I will be able to fit Musical Theatre and Play Production into my schedule in addition to my English, science and math classes next school year. Plus I get to spend the summer at Woodbury – I love this place!”

“I wanted to take Health this summer because I want to play golf and be in the Burbank High School marching band next year. This is a great option for me to be able to fit both into my schedule as a freshman,”said Adam Barnfather. “I’m glad I did it. The homework isn’t that bad – I can finish it in class most days or bring it home. It’s only four days a week and we get out at 1:00 p.m. so it still feels like summer.”


Burbank Philharmonic Offers Free Concert For Community

The Burbank Philharmonic presents Symphonic Favorites, their spring concert featuring two winners of the orchestra’s Hennings-Fischer Young Artists Competition, violist Elizabeth Beilman and clarinetist Joseph Morris, on Saturday, May 10.

The free concert program includes Bartok’s Viola Concerto, Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra, Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra, Smetana’s The Moldau and Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov.

Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra. (Courtesy of Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra)

Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra. (Courtesy of Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra)

“From the beginning, our mission has been to make great works of music accessible to everyone, which is why we have never charged for admission,” commented Music Director and conductor Steven Kerstein, who founded the Burbank Philharmonic in 1991.

(Photo Courtesy of Joe Morris)

(Photo Courtesy of Joe Morris)

“But we are equally committed to helping not only those members of our community who love to attend concerts but those who make them happen,” Kerstein continued. “The Hennings-Fischer Young Artists Competition is one very important way we achieve this goal.”

“It was thrilling to win but completely unexpected,” commented Morris. “The first winner Steve [Kerstein] announced was Elizabeth Beilman – who was my girlfriend then and is now my fiancée. I was ecstatic that she won.”

“At that point, of course, I had also completely resigned myself to not winning the competition,” Morris continued. “But then, Steve explained that the jury had decided to choose two instrumental winners that year.”

Beilman will wear a gown decorated with Swarovski crystals and designed especially for this concert by college student Angie Ortiz, as part of the “Fashion Meets the Phil” project through Woodbury University’s Department of Design.

Steven Kerstein conducts. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra)

Steven Kerstein conducts. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra)

“We are performing the Smetana Moldau in tribute to the late Dr. Milo Pelc, who was one of the founding members of the board of the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra,” said Kerstein. “He was also a very notable conductor in the Czech Republic and was one of the top conductors in Hollywood for many years. We will miss him greatly.”

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol showcases “the many talented solo principals of the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra,” added Kerstein.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday with an instrumental petting zoo outside Forest Lawn’s Hall of Liberty. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Print out courtesy admission tickets here. For more information on the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra, visit their website.

Woodbury University Leadership Program Graduates First Class

Giving tomorrow’s leaders an appropriate send-off, Woodbury University and the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley Leadership Excellence and Development (L.E.A.D.) Certification Program today graduated its first class.  The five-month certification program covered a range of organizational leadership topics.

The program is the brainchild of Woodbury University’s Paul Decker, Coordinator of Organizational Leadership Programs; Woodbury Professor Armond Aghakhanian; and Shanna Warren, Boys & Girls Club’s Chief Executive Officer.  The program was designed and taught by Prof. Aghakhanian, Boys & Girls Club Director of Operations Brittany Vaughan and three Woodbury University Masters in Organizational Leadership program students: Garett Monroe, Kandece Bennett and Sigfredo “Sig” Villegas. This project was operated by volunteers from both organizations.

In addition to parents and friends, attendees included Warren; Eric Schockman, PhD, new chair of Woodbury University’s Organizational Leadership Program & Center for Leadership; and Mary Manoukian, representative for state Assemblymember Mike Gatto, who presented each with a certificate of recognition.  Graduates also received certificates of recognition from the offices of U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff, State Sen. Carol Liu, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes.

“As the new Chair of the Center for Leadership, it gives me great pleasure to inherit the professionally run, top-notch leadership program of Woodbury University and the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley Leadership Excellence and Development,” said Schockman.  “I applaud Prof. Aghakhanian, Paul Decker and Shanna Warren, for making this program happen. It truly marries the stellar academic work of Woodbury’s Masters of Organizational Leadership graduate students with mentoring and guiding a new crop of younger and dedicated leaders.  I am delighted that this has inspired a new effort, in the form of the L.E.A.D. Teen Academy, which will work with teenagers on leadership development.  I hopeful that this will become a model for other collaborations in the future.”

“I am very proud of our dedicated staff members who completed Woodbury University’s L.E.A.D. program,” said Warren.  “I look forward to seeing their leadership skills put in action every day within their roles at the Boys & Girls Club.  I am grateful for Woodbury and their belief in our organization and for wanting to engage our staff members in this program.”


Woodbury University teams up with Boys & Girls Club of Burbank

A group of young emerging leaders currently employed by the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley attended the first Leadership Excellence and Development (L.E.A.D.) certification program at Woodbury University.

IMG_7806The program is a partnership between Woodbury University & Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley.

The program is the brain child of Woodbury University’s Paul Decker, Coordinator of Organizational Leadership Programs, Professor Armond Aghakhanian and Boys & Girls Club’s Chief Executive Officer, Shanna Warren. The certification program is a five-month program, and it covers a range of organizational leadership topics. Topics include: leadership and its history, psychology of organizations, ethics, communications and personal leadership development.

The program is designed and taught by Woodbury University Professor Armond Aghakhanian, Boys & Girls Club Director of Operations Brittany Vaughan and three Woodbury University Masters in Organizational Leadership program students: Garett Monroe, Kandece Bennett and Sigfredo “Sig” Villegas.

“This is a great opportunity for our two learning organizations to collaborate in the leadership training of young professionals,” said Paul Decker, Coordinator of Organizational Leadership Programs at Woodbury University. We look forward to an ongoing relationship.”

“Boys & Girls Club is proud to be partnering with Woodbury’s Masters in Organizational Leadership program. As a graduate of the Master’s program myself, I know the value of what Woodbury has to offer our staff. This partnership is a true reflection of the University’s commitment to the community and the Club’s commitment to leadership excellence,” said Shanna Warren, CEO Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley.

Dr. Luis Calingo Becomes 13th President of Woodbury University

Luis Ma. R. Calingo, Ph.D., today became the 13th President of Woodbury University, succeeding the retiring Kenneth R. Nielsen, Ed.D. He will be officially installed as the president of the 128-year-old university during an inauguration ceremony in October.

Dr. Luis Calingo Becomes 13th President of Woodbury University. (PRNewsFoto/Woodbury University)

“Woodbury University is a place that believes the best way to predict your future is to create it,” says Dr. Calingo. “I am honored to lead Woodbury and to work with students, faculty, staff, and the community to honor this institution’s rich tradition of transforming lives through education, while embracing the many opportunities of tomorrow.”

Dr. Calingo joins Woodbury from Dominican University, where he was executive vice president and chief academic officer since 2009 and earlier was dean of the School of Business and Leadership. Dr. Calingo previously served as dean of the Boler School of Business at John Carroll University in Cleveland. Prior to Boler, Dr. Calingo was dean of the College of Business Administration and professor of international business at California State University, Long Beach and past chair of the California State University Association of Business Deans, which coordinates the academic leadership initiatives of the 23 business schools in the CSU system.

Dr. Calingo holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of the Philippines, and a B.S. in industrial engineering from the University of the Philippines. Dr. Calingo’s professional interests are servant leadership, strategic planning, total quality management, and international business with a focus on Southeast Asia. He has served as a member of the Board of Examiners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the country’s highest award for quality and performance excellence, since 1997.

An international expert in strategic planning and quality management, Dr. Calingo has assisted the governments of Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam on the establishment and implementation of their Baldrige-based national awards for quality and business excellence, as well as the infusion of quality assurance into their higher education systems. Dr. Calingo has made more than 80 intellectual contributions (including books, journal articles, book chapters, and conference presentations) and served as a reviewer for various scholarly journals and professional associations. He also wrote the first internationally distributed textbook in Asian business strategy, Strategic Management in the Asian Context (John Wiley & Sons, 1997).

Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Woodbury offers bachelor’s degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, along with an MBA program, Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch), and Master of Organizational Leadership. A San Diego campus offers bachelor of architecture, Master of Real Estate Development for Architects (MRED), and Master of Science in Architecture, Landscape, and Urbanism degrees.