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Center for Professional Development

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About Us

Meet Our Experts

Robin Amadei, J.D.

Robin Amadei

Robin N. Amadei is a mediator, facilitator, trainer, coach and conflict coach for Common Ground Mediation and Coaching, LLC. She has mediated and facilitated hundreds of workplace, family and civil practice cases and has conducted dozens of workshops on mediation, conflict coaching, facilitation, conflict management and negotiation. Robin serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver teaching mediation, negotiation and related classes. Further, Robin serves as an assessor and executive coach for the Federal Office of Personnel Management’s Senior Executive Assessment Program, where GS-15s aspiring to the Senior Executive Service are assessed and provided with developmental coaching.

Anuradha Bhosale

Anuradha Bhosale

Anuradha’s Bhosale is a renowned grassroots women’s rights and anti-child labor activist based in the Kolhapur district, Maharashtra, India where more than 35,000 children are involved in daily labor for local industries. A former child-laborer herself at the age of six, she has spent the past 20 years fighting for the prevention of child exploitation, labor, trafficking, and female infanticide. As director of AVANI organization, she has facilitated the rescue of 341 child laborers, provided 5,604 migrant children the right to health care and education, organized the construction of schools inside the brickyards and established a residential home for migrant children. View Anuradha's full biography.

 

Peter Buirski, Ph.D., ABPP

Peter Buirski

Peter Buirski holds two diplomats from the American Board of Professional Psychology: ABPP: Diplomate in Clinical Psychology and Diplomate in Psychoanalysis. He received his psychoanalytic training at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health in New York City. As a clinician, his scholarly work has focused on the exploration and elaboration of Intersubjective Systems Theory, a rich clinical perspective that informs his clinical teaching and supervision. Dr. Buirski authored Practicing Intersubjectively and co-authored Making Sense Together and edited or co-edited three other volumes. He moved to Denver in 1991 and served as Dean of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver until 2012, when he returned to the GSPP faculty. He is a member of the faculty of the Denver Institute for Psychoanalysis and a member of the Denver Psychoanalytic Society.

mICHAEL deMario

Mike DeMario

Michael DeMario is a certified special educator who has dedicated his time to working with students with emotional disabilities on Long Island, NY. He has over 10 years of classroom experience working in a variety of special education settings. He is a professional development course developer for school teachers and has been teaching in this capacity for the past four years. Much of his research and focus has surrounded the Common Core State Standards and blended learning models. He is an adjunct professor at Ashland University and has been teaching graduate level courses there since 2012. He is a member of the Long Island Social Studies Council and has been recognized as a Highly Effective Teacher in New York State.

Lynn Fitzhugh, Ph.D.

Lynne Fitzhugh

Lynn Fitzhugh earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Southern Methodist University with a concentration in learning disabilities. Dr. Fitzhugh is a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) and Qualified Instructor (QI), and a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist in the State of Texas. An expert in dyslexia and related learning disabilities, she has been a featured speaker at both local and national conferences. Her publications include various articles on dyslexia, writing disabilities, teacher preparation and education issues. Dr. Fitzhugh is an Associate Professor and Director of the Reading Institute at Colorado College. She serves on the national boards of the International Dyslexia Association and the Academic Language Therapy Association.

Allison Friederichs, Ph.D.

Dr. Friederich

Allison Friederichs serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and an assistant professor at the University of Denver’s college of professional and continuing studies, University College. Allison collaborates with faculty, academic directors and other internal stakeholders to deliver a high-quality, value-driven academic experience to busy adults pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees and certificates. Allison has taught communication courses for more than a decade at a wide array of institutions including the University of Denver, Regis University and University College. In addition to teaching, Allison works as a curriculum design consultant and her work has appeared in several publications, most recently The Chronicle of Higher Education. She is the recipient of an outstanding teaching award from the International Communication Association and has earned University College's Master Teacher designation for continued professional development. In addition to her role in academia, Allison is a communication consultant, providing training across sectors from government to small businesses in areas such as business-writing and communication skills. Allison is a member of the Women’s Leadership Council of the University of Denver and the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce, and she serves her community by volunteering for the Denver Dumb Friends League as a copywriter and photographer.

Erin Gazelka, JD, MA, LPC, LAC

Erin Gazelka

Erin Gazelka is a therapist and clinician in Denver, Colorado. Ms. Gazelka earned her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver in 2009. She also earned her Juris Doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 2007 and is a licensed, inactive attorney in both Minnesota and Colorado. Ms. Gazelka is currently practicing as both a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Addiction Counselor. She has primarily practiced in the context of forensic issues for the past seven years, providing therapy and assessment services to adult offenders in the community corrections and parole systems. She has provided acute mental health care and suicide and violence risk assessment in Jefferson County Jail for six years. She has extensive experience facilitating a variety of groups and individual therapy, including inpatient and outpatient substance abuse groups. Ms. Gazelka is currently a provider for Kaiser Permanente and has helped develop and facilitate the Intensive Outpatient Program for severe and persistent mental illness at Highline Behavioral Health. Prior experience has included work as a guardian ad litem and drug treatment counselor for juveniles on probation. She also wrote proposed changes to legislation and developed curricula for teaching legal and psychological issues while working as a legal research for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Greg Giesen

greg geisen

Greg "Geese" Giesen is an award-winning author, leadership coach, trainer and one of the most sought-after speakers in the country on authentic leadership. With over 25 years of experience in corporate consulting, training, facilitation and conflict mediation, Greg has brought his wide array of skills to corporate and non-profit industries across the country. Currently, as Manager of Employee Development at the University of Denver, he helps faculty, staff and departments assess, address and resolve workplace issues. Greg is also a graduate school professor at DU and the author of three books on Creating Authenticity, including his latest, Mondays at 3: A Story for Managers Learning to Lead. For the past 18 years, Greg has been leading and facilitating the award-winning program, Leading from Within, an indoor/outdoor experiential leadership and personal empowerment workshop.

Jeanne Jacobs, Ph.D.

Jeanne Jacobs, PhD.

Jeanne Jacobs received a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from University of Denver in 2012. Over the past eight years, Dr. Jacobs has taught a variety of communication and qualitative research courses to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Denver. Her research and teaching commitments are synergistic and steeped in the emergent field of affect theory that is currently unfolding in the communication discipline. Dr. Jacobs is a critical ethnographer whose primary passion is classroom interactions between and among teachers and students. In her dissertation, titled Fostering and Foreclosing Student Learning Potential: Portraits of Performativity, Emotion, and Relationality in the Classroom, Dr. Jacobs breaks new ground by crafting a nuanced conceptual framework of the relationship among communication, affect and the development of learning potential. Dr. Jacobs is currently a freelance workshop facilitator, curriculum writer and graduate coach assisting MCE graduate students who are completing their master's theses and doctoral dissertations.

Sam Kamin, j.d.

Sam Kamin, Ph.D., JD

Sam Kamin has emerged as an expert voice on marijuana law reform in Colorado and throughout the country. He sat on Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force and worked with the ACLU and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom to formulate a set of best practices for marijuana regulation in that state. In addition, he has written more than a dozen scholarly articles on the subject of marijuana law reform and is the co-author of the series “Altered State: Inside Colorado’s Marijuana Economy” for Slate Magazine, chronicling the impact of Colorado’s marijuana regulations on lawmakers, businesses and citizens. In the spring of 2015 he taught the nation’s first law school course on representing marijuana clients and was named the Vicente Sederberg Professor of Marijuana Law and Policy.

Michael Karson, Ph.D., J.D.

Michael Karson

Michael Karson, Ph.D., J.D., is a professor at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology, but he practiced clinical and forensic psychology for 25 years before entering academia. He is the sole or first author of five books, including Patterns of Child Abuse: How Dysfunctional Transactions are Replicated in Individuals, Families, and the Child Welfare System; Deadly Therapy: Lessons in Liveliness from Theater and Performance Theory; and Using Early Memories in Psychotherapy: Roadmaps to Presenting Problems and Treatment Impasses. Visit Dr. Karsons blog Feeling Our Way and find out more about him at his online portfolio.

Paul Michalec, Ph.D.

Paul Michalec

Paul Michalec is a Clinical Professor in Teaching and Learning Sciences at the University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education. He has been teaching in formal and informal settings for over 30 years and was recently named the Distinguished Teacher of the Year for the University of Denver. Paul is a nationally trained Courage to Teach facilitator and has led retreats designed to reconnect soul-with-role for public school teachers, clergy, lay leaders, community leaders and physicians. Paul is the former director of student teaching at Skidmore College, serves on editorial boards for the newsletter EnCouragement and the journal Democracy and Education, leads professional development for religious communities, and is a founding member of Colorado Courage and Renewal. His research interests include teacher education, effective instruction in higher education, spiritual dimensions of teaching and teacher renewal/formation.

Victoria O'Malley

Victoria O'Malley

Victoria O’Malley is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the University of Denver’s college of professional and continuing studies, University College. She teaches social media strategy, web analytics, media and communication courses at University College, Johnson & Wales University, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and the Enrichment Program at DU. Victoria works with clients to develop and deliver effective social media and web content to advance their brand.

Doug Pearson

Doug Pearson

Doug Pearson is a police officer with the Aurora Police Department and is assigned to the department's Gang Intervention Unit and also assigned to the Denver field office of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as an ATF Task Force Officer. Doug has a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership from Colorado State University and has been in law enforcement for 23 years. Prior to working for the Aurora Police Department, he was a detective with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and assigned to an ATF Task Force working Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMG) exclusively. Doug has worked several major OMG runs including the Laughlin River Run, Sturgis motorcycle rally, Mongols and Bandido national runs, and the Hells Angels USA run. He has extensive experience in utilizing confidential informants in these OMGs. Along with Chris Schaefer, Doug has been presenting courses on OMGs for the past 10 years in several different states to thousands of local, state and federal law enforcement officers.

Saj Razvi

Saj Razvi

Saj Razvi is the Executive Director of Trauma Dynamics and a sub-investigator for the Boulder, CO Phase 2 trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He leads Trauma Dynamics trainings at the University of Colorado Hospital, the University of Denver and nationally for graduate students, professional therapists and medical professionals. Saj is also an expert on complex PTSD, and he is the co-author of a soon-to-be-released text on the Trauma Dynamics treatment protocol.

Chris Schaefer

Schaefer

Chris Schaefer is an Agent in Charge and polygraph examiner with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Chris has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a minor in speech communications. He has been working for the State of Colorado both as a Trooper and CBI Agent for over 21 years, 20 of those working on outlaw motorcycle gangs. Agent in Charge Schaefer has worked three Hells Angels world runs, two Bandido national runs, Sturgis for 10 years as well as numerous other rallies and events throughout the country. He has taught Outlaw Motorcycle Gang classes in the United States and Canada to an estimated 7,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers. He is also currently a motorcycle gang instructor for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) and the Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training (MCTFT). Agent Schaefer is a member of the International Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Investigators Association (IOMGIA) and has been deemed by the courts and testified as an expert witness in the area of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D.

Shedler

U.S. psychologist Jonathan Shedler, PhD, is known internationally as a consultant, author, researcher and therapist. His article The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy won worldwide acclaim for firmly establishing psychodynamic therapy as an evidence-based treatment. Dr. Shedler’s research and writing are shaping contemporary views of personality patterns and disorders. He is author of the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP) and numerous scholarly and scientific articles. He has over 20 years’ experience teaching and supervising psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. Dr. Shedler lectures and leads workshops for professional audiences around the globe, consults to U.S. and international government agencies and provides expert clinical consultation by videoconference to mental health professionals worldwide. Dr. Shedler is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and was formerly Director of Psychology at the University of Colorado Hospital Outpatient Psychiatry Department.

Andy Sherbo, Ph.D.Sherbo

Andy Sherbo has more than 35 years of experience in financial management, cost/economic analysis and accounting. He is currently the Director of the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Center for Cost and Financial Analysis and the SAIC Center for Nonprofit Financial Management and Analysis. He previously served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Pacific Air Forces, culminating a career of 26 years of active duty in the United States Air Force. He has over 140 classes of teaching experience over the last 35 years at the undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. levels in economics, corporate finance, public finance, international finance, capital planning/budgeting, managerial accounting, nonprofit financial management, statistics, investments and taxation. He has served on 23 dissertation committees as either the chairperson or committee member and as an advisor for 32 graduate-level public policy memorandums. He is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®).

Shelly Smith-Acuña, Ph.D.

Shelly Smith-Acuna

Shelly Smith-Acuña is dean of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology, where she has been on the faculty for 23 years. Prior to becoming Dean, she served as Associate Dean, Director of the Clinical Doctoral Program, and Director of Clinical Training. Her areas of specialty include couple and family therapy with a particular emphasis on gender, culture and multigenerational issues. She is the author of Systems Theory in Action, and is interested in the application of psychological systems theory to improve the human condition in a variety of organizations and settings.

Ragnar Storaasli, Ph.D.

Ragnar Storaasli

Ragnar Storaasli, Ph.D., is an applied behavior analyst, recognized trainer in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and a research methodologist with a long association and commitment to teaching, training and supervising doctoral students at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology, where he serves as a clinical associate professor. Ragnar has a proven track record in developing and implementing various types of curricula in areas of philosophy and theory, research and statistics, and applied clinical work, as well as the development of clinical seminars and workshops, life skill and process groups. He has published in several areas of psychology, including behavior psychology and behavioral medicine, marital psychology and diversity issues, and has also done cartooning with work appearing in books on Marital Psychology, Money and Marriage, and Sex Education. Ragnar’s background includes extensive training, evaluative, supervisory and consultative experience in working with students, staff and colleagues within and outside the academic environment. Ragnar’s commitment is to help individuals heal the past, empower the present, and achieve a future that is vital and lived according to their personal values. In a very deep sense, Ragnar believes that all human beings are in the same boat. What unites us can trap us all, but every human being has the ability to live a life that truly matters.

Peter J Weinberg, Ph.D.

Weinberg

Peter Weinberg, Ph.D. is the Principal Consultant and Owner of Lītigāre, a trial consulting firm steeped in the use of research-based psychology to assist trail lawyers with civil and criminal litigations. Peter has accepted requests from leading trial lawyers in Illinois, Colorado and California to assist with state and federal litigations. He has worked for the defense and plaintiff on bench and jury trials, which gives him a distinct and holistic understanding of the psychology of litigation and settlement. His extensive skill and expertise with specialties like psychological profiling, behaviorism, linguistics, focus group facilitation / analysis, theming and framing, the psychology of storytelling along with numerous research-based trial techniques have helped him to develop key strategies for winning litigations. Further, Dr. Weinberg holds over 20 years of experience as a treating professional in psychology. He has developed and directed mental health programs in Vermont, Connecticut and Colorado. His leadership and reputation led to a gubernatorial appointment to the Colorado Autism Commission by Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.

Thea Wessel, M.A., LPC, LAC, MAC

Thea Wessel

Thea Wessel is an addictions counselor with her own private practice in Colorado. She has been working in the criminal and addictions fields for seven years. Ms. Wessel earned her master’s degree in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and has also earned her LPC, LAC and MAC. She is currently the president of the Colorado Association of Addictions Professionals (CAAP) and also teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver. Ms. Wessel continually challenges herself and others to provide quality addictions treatment and to educate the community about addictions issues.

Travis White, Ph.D.

Travis White

As a teacher, executive, blogger and consultant, Travis White has worked in marketing and organizational development since 1978. As an executive, he has helped lead companies through myriad transitions including mergers, acquisitions, technology migrations, spin-offs and IPOs. He has held C-level positions at several technology companies, including J.D. Edwards, Lawson Software, Datria and Solbourne Computer. Travis produces articles on strategy, innovation, branding and critical thinking for his website. His consulting clients include small to medium software companies that are experiencing growth pains as well as a broad range of companies that wish to innovate more effectively. Travis enjoys outdoor sports, including bicycling, snowshoeing and hiking. He has climbed some of the highest mountains in Colorado, Mexico and Ecuador. In 2011, he bicycled across America, starting in Astoria, Oregon and finishing, seven weeks later, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He used the ride to raise $31,000 for the National MS Society. Travis holds a Ph.D. in information science and education from the University of Denver where he is now an Adjunct Professor.

Rex Whisman

Rex Whisman

Rex Whisman is founder and chief strategist for the BrandED Consultants Group, a Denver-based consultancy that helps organizations and people develop sustainable brands based on mission, core values and stakeholder engagement. In 2005, Rex founded the company to meet the increasing need for organizations and people to take a sustainable approach to brand-building. Prior to founding the BrandED Consultants Group, Rex served as assistant vice chancellor for communications and marketing at the University of Denver, where he introduced and led the university’s first brand development efforts. Rex has over 20 years of experience and is a recognized international thought leader on branding, communications and marketing. He has published several papers and has presented at conferences around the world, including keynote addresses in Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the United States. Rex is on the experts guide for several media outlets providing points of view on trends in branding and communications.