Gregor V. Sarkisian, PhD

Antioch University
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Dr. Sarkisian holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California Irvine, an MA in Clinical Psychology from California State University Dominguez Hills, and a doctorate in Community Psychology from the University of Missouri Kansas City. Dr. Sarkisian was the recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) postdoctoral fellowship in the Clinical Services Research Training Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where he served as the principal evaluator of programs administered through the UCSF, Center for Science Education and Outreach.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Sarkisian has consulted with for-profit and nonprofit organizations, government organizations, and institutions of higher education. Largely based on his doctoral training in community psychology and experience developing and evaluating social programs, Dr. Sarkisian utilizes a strengths-based empowerment approach grounded in social science theory and supported by research. In all consultations, a collaborative process guides the development of clear goals and expectations that are developed into a contract. Because each consultation is unique, a goal-driven process is used to develop the criteria for a successful consultation before it begins. Dr. Sarkisian’s extensive training and experience in applied research, community practice, and consultation have equipped him with the tools to facilitate sustainable solutions to problems in organizations, promote organizational improvement, and the achievement organizational goals.

Dr. Sarkisian is a Professor of Psychology at Antioch University Los Angeles, where he directs the Applied Community Psychology specialization. He has been an active member of the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA), Division 27 of the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1997. Dr. Sarkisian has worked on grants funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the French Foundation for Medical Research and Education, the San Francisco Unified School District, the California Student Aid Commission, EdFund, and the SCRA totaling over $475,000.

While his early applied research focused on academic program development and student mentorship, Dr. Sarkisian has played an influential role in the development of research and program evaluation in the Surf Therapy sector since 2015. In addition to serving as a surf instructor and program evaluator, Dr. Sarkisian was the special editor and contributing author to the first-ever special focus issue on Surf Therapy around the Globe in the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice (2020). Currently, Dr. Sarkisian is a consultant to the Board of the International Surf Therapy Organization (ISTO), leading initiatives to build collaborative capacity among contributing ISTO organizations, providing pro-bono executive coaching to the CEO, and supporting international research projects.

Gregor Sarkisian Profile


MA in Psychology

  • 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

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)
  • 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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