Speakers

Gayle D. BeebeGayle D. Beebe became president of Westmont in 2007 after seven years as president of Spring Arbor University in Michigan. His many publications include two books: The Shaping of an Effective Leader: Eight Formative Principles of Leadership and Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion, which he co-wrote with Richard Foster. Studying with Peter Drucker has shaped his leadership philosophy and his 17 years as a college president. He received master’s degrees in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University, and in business administration in strategic management from the Peter F. Drucker School at Claremont. He completed his doctorate in philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont.

Mary DocterDavid Brooks, New York Times columnist and author of the best-selling book “The Road to Character,” is one of America’s most prominent political and social commentators. He writes a bi-weekly op-ed column for the New York Times and regularly appears on PBS News Hour and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” His previous books include “The Social Animal,” “On Paradise Drive,” and “Bobos in Paradise.” Brooks worked at the Wall Street Journal for nine years and has written for the New Yorker, Forbes, the Washington Post, and many other periodicals. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he has taught at Duke University and teaches a global affairs course on humility at Yale University.

Chris CallChris Call, vice president for administration and for research, planning and implementation, has served on Westmont’s executive team since 2001. Previously, he worked as executive assistant to then-President David Winter for five years. He serves as the president’s liaison with auxiliary services, legal affairs, procurement and contracts, public events, risk management/institutional resilience and supervises the directors of these areas. Westmont’s Title IX Officer, he also assists the president with institutional research, strategic planning, and trustee meetings. He graduated from Whitworth College and earned a law degree at Willamette University College of Law. After being a staff assistant for U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield, he worked for 11 years in the president’s office and development office at Willamette University.

Mary DocterMary Docter, professor of Spanish at Westmont, completed her undergraduate, master’s and doctoral work at UCLA. She is passionate about Hispanic culture and has traveled throughout Spain, South America, Central America, and Mexico, interviewing and recording oral history for a large cross-section of the population. Her principal research interest is 20th century Latin American literature, especially poetry. She received the Westmont Teacher of the year award in 1997 and 2005. She has led Westmont in Mexico, which she helped establish. She also helped develop Westmont’s Cycle of Global Learning: students learn ahead of time about the areas they visit, get immersed in different cultures under the guidance of a Westmont professor, and take a re-entry seminar after returning.

Theresa GoinesTeresa Goines, founder and director at Old Skool Café, graduated from Westmont and worked as a probation officer in Santa Barbara. She soon realized that much of the violence and crime committed by young people stem from desperate economic situations and that she needed to address the issue of poverty first. She moved to the Bay Area and continued to work with incarcerated youth. When she decided to step down as a probation officer, she continued to mentor and support 10 youth on her own time. She is the founder of The Old Skool Café, which offers sustainable employment to at-risk youth and teaches essential life skills in a supportive environment while providing excellent food and entertainment.

Carol HoustonCarol Houston, a Westmont trustee since 1997, serves the Watts community as senior pastor of Bethel Unspeakable Joy Church, a congregation she joined in 1993. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she graduated from the University of Denver and pursued post-graduate study in health education, recreation, gerontology, educational administration and speech communication. She also attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena to study missiology. Houston has been involved in business administration and has managed the business affairs of several Christian physicians and singing artists. She is a trustee of Helping Hands for Better Living and has served in various areas of ministry and taught in secondary schools. She is extensively involved with the Westmont community and speaks frequently in chapel.

Dane HowardDane Howard, chief experience officer at Trov Inc., built his career by helping companies design, prototype and build products. With a background in sequential media, he has focused on fast, agile prototyping while telling a story. He has played a principle design and leadership role in developing strategies for Microsoft, Designworks | BMW, Major League Baseball, Scient Corp., Quokka Sports, NBC Olympics, Alias/Wavefront, VUVOX and eBay. He co-founded VUVOX in 2006, and eBay acquired it in 2008. A Westmont alumnus, he is an author, painter, photographer, designer and father. A personal website for his kids spawned a book, The Future of Memories, to help people share their stories. He frequently speaks on innovation, design and surviving big companies.

Tom KnechtTom Knecht, associate professor of political science, graduated from Stanford and earned a master’s degree and doctorate at UC Santa Barbara. He came to Westmont in 2009. He has written a book, Paying Attention to Foreign Affairs: How Public Opinion Affects Presidential Decision Making, and published numerous papers in scholarly journals. He specializes in the role of public opinion in foreign policy. He refutes the idea of elections as a selection process in which individual votes help bring about a desired result because a single vote can’t affect the outcome. Instead, he believes in the expressive model of elections and the civic duty of voting to register an opinion with government whether or not that opinion prevails.

Doug McKennaDoug McKenna is CEO and executive director of the Center for Organizational Leadership at the Oceanside Institute. He brings a strong, diverse portfolio of experience to his leadership development practice. The original architect and general manager of executive and leadership development at Microsoft, Doug discovered that staying composed under pressure was the first step to leadership mastery. He believes executives need equanimity and self-control to lead effectively or emotion trumps the IQ of brilliant, driven people. Through his years of practice, research, and teaching, Doug has found that leaders can learn to control their reactivity, find their ground, and do what they think is best in the moment and “lead right where you stand.” He earned a doctorate in differential psychology at the University of Minnesota.

Kirsten MooreKirsten Moore led the Westmont women’s basketball team to the NAIA National Championship in 2013 and was named NAIA Coach of the Year. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in business administration, she earned an MBA there in marketing and sports business. She served as an assistant coach in the Duck’s women’s basketball program for three years, when Oregon won two PAC-10 championships and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament. She then coached as a women’s basketball assistant at UC Berkeley for four years. She became head women’s basketball coach at Westmont in 2005, where she has compiled an impressive 249-99 record and taken the team to the national tournament nearly every year.

Don PattersonDon Patterson, associate professor of computer science, studies the interface of ubiquitous computing, artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction. He researches applications, algorithms and systems that use intelligent context to support situated sustainable computing and has published numerous papers. He earned a doctorate in computer sciences at the University of Washington. Previously, he served in the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare officer in Italy and Japan. He has co-founded more than four start-up companies based on his research. Before coming to Westmont in 2015, he worked at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at UC at Irvine, where he received tenure and served as director of the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction.

Carmel SaadCarmel Saad, assistant professor of psychology, joined the Westmont faculty in 2012. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara and earned a Master of Arts degree and a doctorate in social and personality psychology at UC Davis. She has taught at Napa Valley College, UC Davis and the University of the Pacific. She is an Egyptian-American whose research focuses on bicultural identities and is interested in studying dual non-cultural identities and creativity. Her specialty is the experience of biculturalism, and she examines the relationship between bicultural identity integration and cultural frame switching. She explores cultural influences on emotion, creativity, self-concept, and mental health. She has also studied and published work on implicit bias.

Serah ShaniSerah Shani, assistant professor of anthropology, joined the Westmont faculty in 2016. She completed her doctorate at Columbia University and holds three master's degrees: one in the sociology of health and medicine from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, another in international and transcultural studies from Columbia, and a third in anthropology and education, also from Columbia. A native of Kenya, she graduated from Daystar University, concentrating on community development and music. She speaks five languages. She conducts research on African immigrant parents and schooling in the United States, focusing on Ghanaians in New York City, the subject of her forthcoming book from Lexington Books. She studies urban migration, transnational movements, identities, and sociocultural economic adaptation.

Felicia SongFelicia Song, associate professor of sociology, studies new media and technology, culture, consumerism, and public life. She graduated from Yale with a bachelor’s degree in history, earned a master’s degree in communication studies from Northwestern University, and completed a doctorate at the University of Virginia. She came to Westmont in 2013 and chairs the Sociology and Anthropology Department. Previously, she taught at Louisiana State University’s Manship School for Mass Communication. Her research interests include the rapidly evolving social media industry and how the adoption of social media fundamentally alters the landscape of the family, religion, education, advertising, social movements, and mass media. She also writes about “mommy bloggers,” women invested in blogging and social media as a profession.

Ron WhiteRonald C. White has written nine books, including three about Lincoln: A. Lincoln: A Biography, a New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times bestseller; Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural; and The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words. His comprehensive biography of Ulysses S. Grant, American Ulysses, was an instant New York Times bestseller. He will receive the 2017 award for excellence in Civil War biography from the Civil War Forum of New York, and he will speak at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in September. He has lectured at the White House and been interviewed on the PBS News Hour. White graduated from UCLA and Princeton Theological Seminary and earned a doctorate in religion and history from Princeton University.

Jane WilsonJane Wilson, associate professor of education, is a champion for the teaching-learning process and seeks to help students experience the joy of learning. She focuses on developing strategies and situations to enhance the intrinsic motivation to learn. She explores how the practice of gratitude affects students’ ability to focus and remain resilient as they learn. She graduated from the University of Washington, earned a teaching credential at Seattle Pacific University, and taught in elementary and junior high public schools. She then served as an educational consultant in the area of leadership training for high school student leaders and faculty advisers. She earned her doctorate in educational psychology at UC Santa Barbara and joined the Westmont faculty in 2008.