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Gregor V. Sarkisian, PhD

Antioch University Los Angeles

In the 2005-2006 academic year, Dr. Sarkisian joined the AULA faculty and teaches primarily in the Applied Community Psychology (ACP) specialization of the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (MAP) program. Gregor’s current teaching interests include community psychology, social ecology, teaching community psychology practice, qualitative methods, social power, community change processes, social policy, and program evaluation.

Dr. Sarkisian has made significant contributions to the development and integration of community psychology practice competencies into Master’s level educational programs. Along with his colleague, Sylvie Taylor, PhD, they have published their work with students as coresearchers exploring empowering pedagogical approaches. In 2011-2012, Dr. Sarkisian was part of a working group that developed and published the first draft of community psychology practice competencies. Gregor has also worked at the national level through the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) (Div. 27 of the American Psychological Association) to promote community psychology education through his service and leadership on the Council of Education Programs (2008-2012) and his service as coeditor of The Community Psychologist (2012-2015).

In 2015, Dr. Sarkisian began a partnership with the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation that provides surf therapy to youth At-Promise, Veterans, and active-duty military service members. Gregor has served as a surf instructor with all three populations, and he currently serves as the Principal Investigator on two Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved studies – one with youth At-Promise and one with Veterans. Dr. Sarkisian has also been an active member of the International Surf Therapy Organization (ISTO) since 2018 and has served as a program evaluation consultant, collaborator, and coalition builder. Between 2018 and 2020, Gregor was the lead guest editor in publishing the first of its kind Special Focus Issue on Surf Therapy Around the Globe in the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice. In addition to publishing his work with the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, he coauthored a scoping review on surf therapy with an Antioch alumnus from the ACP specialization and coauthored the introductory and concluding articles with his coeditors.

Educational History

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Postdoctoral Fellow, January 2002 to August 2004, Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Services Research Training Program (CSRTP), University of California, San Francisco
PhD in Community Psychology, University of Missouri, Kansas City
MA in General Psychology, University of Missouri, Kansas City
MA in Clinical Psychology, California State University, Dominguez Hills
BA in Psychology, University of California, Irvine

Teaching Statement

Learning can take many forms. Freire (1970) has described differences between national educational models, labeling the traditional U.S. model as a “banking model,” where the student is seen as an empty vessel to have knowledge deposited by the instructor. He further argues, and I agree, that this process denies the student the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills because of reliance on authority and adherence to an assumption that the student enters the classroom with little value. Based on an empowerment philosophy, my experience teaching in undergraduate and graduate psychology courses in higher education since 1997, and my experience in using student feedback as a valued resource in the development of my teaching, I offer six value statements below which I apply in my teaching to facilitate opportunities for students to empower themselves through their education:

(1) Through engagement in active learning by linking contemporary social issues to course content, student interests, and student professional values, I have found that students are more confident, persistent, and committed when conducting research, writing, and in collaborating with peers.
(2) The integration of classroom and field-based learning serves as a vehicle for the development of critical awareness of social and political landscapes that directly impact student professional skill and values development.
(3) Within the classroom, experiential learning exercises can provide a structured process by which students can develop their critical awareness and deepen their understanding of course content.
(4) Through a syllabus which clearly communicates learning activities, expectations of student performance and sets achievable goals for student learning, students are in a better position to begin learning. Once the course begins, I have found that students’ critical awareness to the importance of writing can be raised through the provision of prompt, informative, and frequent feedback on written assignments.
(5) Students are empowered when they are able to apply theories and skills in community settings, collaborate successfully with peers and community partners, and, communicate the results of their work in written and presentation formats.
(6) Finally, through longer-term sustained efforts, students are able to refine their diverse talents and develop new ones through contributing to community well-being.

Scholarship of Teaching
Learning Community Psychology Practice
Surf Therapy Program Evaluation

Sarkisian, G. V., Walter, K. H., Martinez, G., & Ward, P. B. (2020). Introduction to the Special Issue on Surf Therapy Around the Globe. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 11(2), 1-10. Retrieved 01/05/2020, from (

Benninger, E., Curtis, C., Sarkisian, G. V., Rogers, C. M., Bender, K., & Comer, M. (2020). Surf Therapy: A Scoping Review of the Qualitative and Quantitative Research Evidence. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 11(2), 1-26. Retrieved 01/05/2020, from (

Sarkisian, G. V., Curtis, C., & Rogers, C. M. (2020). Emerging Hope: Outcomes of a One-Day Surf Therapy Program with Youth At-Promise. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 11(2), 1-16. Retrieved 01/05/2020, from (

Walter, K. H., Sarkisian, G. V., Martinez, G., & Ward, P. B. (2020). Surf Therapy Practice, Research, and Coalition Building: Future Directions. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 11(2), 1-11. Retrieved 01/05/2020, from (

Sarkisian, G. V. (2017). The System: A Multi-Level Social Service Simulation. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 8(1), 1-32. Retrieved 03/03/2017, from (

*Bayaa, H., Cahen, C., Doss, A., Fusco, R., Gordon, R., Sarkisian, G. V., & Taylor, S. (2017). Learning Community Psychology Practice Competencies: Student Pathways through the Applied Community Psychology (ACP) Specialization. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 8(1), 1-12. Retrieved 03/03/2017, from (

Sarkisian, G. V., & Taylor, S. (2016). Challenges and Strategies in Promoting Empowering Academic Settings for Learning Community Psychology Practice Competencies. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 7(4), 1-13. Retrieved 10/01/2017, from (

Sarkisian, G. V., & Taylor, S. (2013). A learning journey I: Curriculum mapping as a tool to assess and integrate community psychology practice competencies into graduate education programs. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 4(4), xx-xx. Retrieved 03/25/14, from (

Professional Development Award, Antioch University, Los Angeles, 2019
Educational Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2002

Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA), Division 27 of the American Psychological Association (APA)

Gregor Sarkisian Profile


MA in Psychology


Courses Taught

Community Psychology: Theories and Methods (PSY 5450A)
Community Consultation and Collaboration (PSY 5450D
Program Development and Evaluation (PSY 5450E)
Prevention and Promotion (PSY 5450F)
Empowerment in Community Practice (PSY 5450DD)                                                                      The Community Narration Approach in Organizational & Community Settings (PSY 5453)
Community Organizing (PSY 5450U)
Community Coalition Building (PSY 5451)
Qualitative Interviewing (PSY 5450GG)
Field Study/Advanced Field Study in Applied Community Psychology (PSY 5120B/C)
Field Study: Psychology and Society (On-Line) (PSY 5120A)
Research and Professional Writing (PSY 5360A)

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