ULM logo


rabbit with peas in a pod

Consortium Of Distinguished Scholars

These distinguished scholars are exemplars of creative systemic studies. Each year, these scholars may participate in the specialty classes on creative systemic studies in the online doctoral program.  Some of the distinguished scholars also serve as adjunct faculty and as dissertation committee members.  Our distinguished scholars are listed here:

Barbara Anger-Díaz, Ph.D. is a Brief Therapist, trained by John Weakland and Richard Fisch, with a long-time friendship association with Paul Watzlawick and, of very special significance in her thinking, with Heinz von Foerster.  She is a Senior Research Fellow at MRI, gained through her dedication to MRI’s Brief Therapy Center (BTC) and her co-founding and co-directing (together with Karin Schlanger) for over ten years of its Latino Brief Therapy and Training Center while living in California. Born in Germany, raised in Mexico City, and living much of her life in the United States, although with a short interval in the Germany of the 1960’s, and a 9-year experience of working, studying and teaching in Mexico City in the 1980’s – she was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel all over the world, this kaleidoscopic exposure enabling a careful and attuned sensibility to ways that are intrinsically cultural, but also personal. In Miami she coaches and supervises students in their first efforts directed at counseling and doing therapy with clients.  Together with Katharina Anger she has continued to articulate aspects of the Brief Therapy Model developed at the BTC, illustrating it with cases from their own work. They write about it and train and present together here and abroad.  In training people they more and more distinguish between basic steps (epistemologically grounded in constructivism and cybernetics) helpful in giving structure to the therapy, and an ensuing dance with clients, open to creative expression, in the true belief that through the interactional building of something new, other, change that is significant for the client can take place. 

Nora Bateson is an educator and media producer concerned with dialogues on how to bring about cultural understanding, social justice and environmental awareness. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, she is producer of the film, An Ecology of Mind, a documentary about Gregory Bateson; and compiling a book of Gregory’s unpublished works. Her three essays in Kybernetes helped create a portrait of Bateson that addresses his transdisciplinary philosophy for a broad audience. With a steadfast dedication to the possibilities of human evolution, she encourages young children to strengthen their ability to see the interrelatedness of the natural world, continuing the process through cross generational storytelling, and using all media. Nora has developed curricula for several schools in Northern California based on the formation of teenage identity that integrates self-discovery, relationships, social justice, mythology, environmentalism, and sex education through accountability, interconnectedness, and personal evolution. One principal wrote, “Nora’s Human Relations course gave our students an opening to an unshakable sense of belonging in a profound and sacred world. Not only was this one of the most important courses they will ever take, but they also loved it...” Her present projects include a documentary about Dave Brubeck, creative direction of the acclaimed CD-ROM 4 Paws of Crab (a narrative Thai cookbook), and a series of storytelling videos entitled, Stories Across Generations. Her multimedia work was reviewed by Mark Potts of the Washington Post as “one of the best looking new products at Mac world... an example of how good CD- ROM design can create a new medium that’s hard to categorize in traditional terms.” 

Megan Biesele, Ph.D., helped found one of the first US anthropological advocacy organizations, the Kalahari Peoples Fund (KPF) in 1973 and currently serves as its Director. KPF provides information on the indigenous peoples of the Kalahari, maintains two websites (www.kalaharipeoples.net and www.kalaharipeoples.org), and raises funds for community-generated projects, one of which is documentation and promotion of Ju/’hoan healing, called the N/om-kxaosi (“Healers”) Project, with Brad Keeney. During the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Megan worked with Ju/’hoan San communities in Botswana and Namibia as an advocate and documentarian, and served as director of a nongovernmental organization, the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia, during the years spanning Namibia’s transition to independence (1987-92). She is a past elected member of the Committee for Human Rights (CfHR) of the American Anthropological Association. She was the recipient in 2000 of the Lucy Mair Medal for Applied Anthropology from the Royal Anthropological Institute, London. Dr. Biesele received her Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard University in 1975. Her main interest is the way transformation is achieved through the religions, belief systems, and verbal and visual art of hunting- gathering societies. She also works in the areas of cognitive systems and environmental resource use, and contemporary political, economic, and human rights of indigenous peoples. Biesele has taught anthropology at The University of Texas, Texas A&M University (College Station), Rice University (Houston), and the University of Cape Town, South Africa; and has served as co-founder, president, board member, and research advisor of the Shumla School, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and public education in the study of indigenous expressive forms such as rock art and folklore. Her publications include Shaken Roots: Bushmen of Namibia Today, “Women Like Meat”: The Folklore and Foraging Ideology of the Kalahari Ju/’hoan, and the forthcoming book with Robert K. Hitchcock, The Ju/’hoan San of Nyae Nyae since Independence: Development, Democracy, and Indigenous Voices in Namibia. 

Monika Broecker, M.S., has held positions in learning and leadership development in companies such as BMW, Designworks/USA, HP, VERITAS Software (now: Symantec), PA Consulting Group, EA and Google. She built and led the School of Personal Growth within Google University, and developed its mission, strategy, curricula and programs. Originally from Germany, Monika was given permanent residency in the US based on her extraordinary abilities as a systemic and cybernetic management consultant and coach. She has published 6 books and numerous articles in the field of human development and personal growth. She is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the scientific journal Kybernetes and was for several years editor of the journal Lernende Organisation (Learning Organization), published by the Institute for Systemic Coaching and Training, Vienna, Austria.

Ronald Chenail, Ph.D., is Professor of Family Therapy, Director of the Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research program, and Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness at Nova Southeastern University. Twenty years ago he created the world's first online, open-access qualitative research journal, The Qualitative Report, and last year he launched its sister publication, The Weekly Qualitative Report. Professor Chenail is also editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the flagship journal of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and Associate Editor of the Family Business Review. In addition he serves on the editorial boards of Qualitative Research in Psychology; Qualitative Social Work, International Journal of Collaborative Practices; Inonu University Journal of the Faculty of Education; Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Health; and Sistemas Familiares. His books include Medical Discourse and Systemic Frames of Comprehension, Practicing Therapy: Exercises for Growing Therapists (with Anne Rambo and Anthony Heath), The Talk of the Clinic:Explorations in the Analysis of Medical and Therapeutic Discourse (with Bud Morris), and Qualitative Research Proposals and Reports: A Guide (with Patricia Munhall).

Armando M. Perez De Nucci, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Medical Humanities at the University of Tucuman Medical School, Argentina. He also serves as Director of the Department of Medical Humanities and Director of the Center for Research in Medical Humanities. He is a member of the National Academies of Medicine, History and Ethics in Medicine of Argentina, and numerous humanistic institutions throughout the world. Dr. De Nucci is the author of 18 books including Magic and Shamanism in Popular Medicine of Argentina, Bioethics, Anthropoetics in Medical Act, Traditional Medicine in the Northwest of Argentine, Jesus and Medicine, History of Medicine of Tucumán, XIX Century, and Crossing Knowledges. He has presented over 200 major addresses on topics in medical humanities. He formerly served as a Senator of Argentina. 

Betty Alice Erickson, MS, LPC, LMFT, is an internationally renowned teacher of psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis. Once a hypnotic demonstration subject for her father, Dr. Milton H. Erickson, Betty Alice became one of the leading teachers and practitioners of Ericksonian hypnosis. Editor of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter for over 10 years, Ms. Erickson teaches Ericksonian methods throughout the world. She was the first recipient of the Franco Granone Prize. Her latest books are Hope and Resiliency (with Dan Short) and Milton H. Erickson, M.D.: An American Healer (with Bradford Keeney).


Craig Foster and his brother Damon are widely regarded as South Africa’s top documentary filmmakers. They have received 50 international awards and are pioneers of an organic style of filmmaking that brings new life to the screen. With a passion and commitment to the natural world and to the preservation of African indigenous heritage, their work has reached an audience of over 200 million. Their films include The Great Dance, Antarctica, Africa Unbottled, and Cosmic Africa.


Paul Gibney, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and family therapist in private practice in Brisbane. Paul graduated in Social Work from the University of Queensland in 1980 and gained a doctorate from the same institution in 1993. From 1995 to 2005, he had a senior lectureship in the Social Work Department at the University of Queensland, where he taught advanced case work, family therapy theory and practice, and advanced skills in interpersonal helping. Paul, over the last seven years, has consulted extensively to government and non-government organizations in the areas of staff supervision, child protection, residential care, youth and adult mental health, and complex case supervisions.  Paul has lectured and presented workshops throughout Australia and New Zealand. His 2003 text, The Pragmatics of Therapeutic Practice is a set text in five Masters of Counseling Courses in Australia and he is the author of over 20 academic papers.

Carl Hammerschlag, M.D., is an internationally recognized inspirational speaker, author, physician and healer. Using the language of science, the power of legends, and his vast clinical experience, Dr. Hammerschlag tells fascinating stories that help people become the principal agents in their own lives. Carl Hammerschlag's work with Native Americans has been chronicled in three critically acclaimed books: The Dancing Healers, The Theft of the Spirit and Healing Ceremonies. A Yale-trained psychiatrist, Carl Hammerschlag is an expert on how to survive in rapidly changing cultures. Dr. Hammerschlag is a faculty member at the University of Arizona Medical School and holds the highest honor given in the speaking profession, the CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame Award.

Jeremy Hollmann, Ph.D., is presently curator of rock art at the Natal Museum in kwa-Zulu-Natal province, South Africa, but he has been and done many other things previously in his life. The museum job requires him to visit and document rock art sites throughout the country. These places are disappearing and they need to be visited and documented and written about to bring them to life again. Current research for his doctorate is on an engraved landscape that was probably an ancient religious centre for Khoe-San people and the locale for ceremonial activities regarding women’s initiation. Jeremy’s interest in breathing life into these now largely deserted places drives his research agenda and led him into the world of ancient and modern Khoi-San religious beliefs, a world in which he is an avid explorer. Jeremy enjoys working with people who live in close proximity to the art and who are responsible for the well-being of these places. He has produced several site specific pamphlets and documents to share his enthusiasm and interest in the rock art in a tangible form. In 2004 he edited Customs and Beliefs of the /Xam Bushmen a re-issue of important work undertaken in the 19th century. He has published several research papers on southern African rock art. 

Tony Labriola, M.F.A., is Director and Senior Producer of Video Digital Learning and Media Design at Governors State University, University Park, Illinois. He has directed over 50 series for PBS, The Learning Channel, and Mind Extension University. Labriola has been awarded numerous awards and Emmys for his productions that include Knock-Knock, The Magic Door Television Theatre, The $200 Willie Mays, Corporate America and the Environment, and Racism on Campus. He also serves as the artistic director of The Drama Group in Chicago Heights, one of the oldest community theatres in the United States, where he produces six plays a season. Working with actors in the use of new technology and consulting to all aspects of theatrical and television production, he makes presentations to professional organizations throughout the world. He has been a delegate and organizer for the World Summit for Children and Media.

Chris Low, D.O., Ph.D., draws on his professional and personal background in complementary medicine to inform his ethnographic work amongst the Bushmen and Khoekhoe of southern Africa. Currently a postdoctoral Research Fellow at Oxford University, he is interested in how environmental relationships are traceable through Khoisan healing ideas and practices. His work on ‘potency’ holds significant implications for how we think about healing in recent and ancient contexts. He maintains a website: www.thinkingthreads.com that hosts his published work and selected film and audio fieldwork material.

William A. Metcalfe, Ph.D., LICSW has worked in public and private human service agencies since 1972, serving in executive leadership positions in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa. Bill Metcalfe holds a Ph.D. in Human Development from North Dakota State University and a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa, and is a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Bill has been instrumental in the development of family based services and related programs throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and nationally. Bill has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from the North Dakota Family Based Services Association. The family-based services programs he developed have been honored by Minnesota and North Dakota Family Based Service Associations for outstanding services and impact. Bill has been part of pioneering family therapy and systemic views in treatment foster care, reunification, and programming utilizing family as a core therapeutic experience. He has also taught and provided family therapy supervision with North Dakota State University at the Family Studies Institute and in private practice. He is currently CEO of PATH, a multistate family service and treatment foster care organization and also maintains a private therapy practice. Bill lives with wife Glenace in the lake country of Northern Minnesota.

Seth Miller, Ph.D., has been a teacher of physics, projective geometry, philosophy, and other subjects in Waldorf high schools across the Western U.S. With a broad background in Eastern and Western philosophies, anthroposophy, alchemy, Goethean phenomenology, the sciences, and a master’s degree in Consciousness Studies, he attempts to foster and embody a complex and subtle awareness of the wondrous mysteries of inner and outer transformation. He has been exploring a working archetype of transformative process in the four elements of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire for more than ten years, culminating in his master’s thesis and spurring him towards further development as he works for his doctorate degree. His work, including original poetry, photography, fractal animations, essays, and more are available at http://www.spiritalchemy.com.

Robert Morgan has enjoyed an eclectic career that has helped establish Canada as one of the world’s foremost producers of theatre for children and their families. He has written more than 20 professionally produced plays, acted in and directed more than 40 productions, won the prestigious Chalmers Award for outstanding play writing six times and his work, which has received a total of ten Dora Mavor Moore nominations with four winning best production has been performed around the world. Robert founded the Children’s Peace Theatre in Toronto, delivering two official presentations to the United Nations in New York and recognized with several awards including the Leonardo Da Vinci Award for creativity and innovation in 2007. His solo show, Morgan’s Journey, co-created with director David S. Craig, which has become the longest touring play in Canadian history, has been internationally acclaimed as “a true classic.” In 2006 Robert was honoured for his “vision, commitment, creativity and leadership within his field and beyond” as an inaugural recipient of Trent University’s Distinguished Alumnae Award.

William Morris, Ph.D., DAOM, is the President and CEO of the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, Texas (www.aoma.edu). He also serves as President Emeritus to the AAAOM, the nation’s professional association for acupuncture and Oriental medicine. His efforts toward the acculturation of Chinese medicine in America and the development of two doctoral programs gained him recognition as “Acupuncturist of the Year” in 2007. He also received the Founders and Leaders award. Dr. Morris has served as Editor in Chief of the American Acupuncturist and has published numerous scholarly articles, particularly on the topic of Chinese pulse diagnosis. His current research interest is in the area of medical epistemology.

James Nelson, Ph.D., D. Min., developed one of the few inner-city programs focusing on families during the '70's and from 1979 to 1993 was President of The City, Inc. in Minneapolis.  The City, Inc. provided comprehensive educational, social, and advocacy services to adjudicated young people and families, annually serving 3,000 program participants with 90 full-time staff. Nelson has held academic positions ranging from adjunct, assistant, associate professor, and department head at various university graduate programs in the Twin Cities.  Currently, he is a principal in Change Inc., an inner-city community development organization. In this capacity, Nelson facilitated the development of the Institute for Urban Education at Hamline University, the High School Mental Health Collaboratives, and the Relational Climate Assessment, utilizing relational dynamics in creating effective organizational cultures. His primary interests are in fostering relational competence and utilizing the cultural functions of healing and teaching in building community.

Edward Prevost is the founder and president of 222 Entertainment, a production company devoted to developing the highest quality music for recording artists. A multi-talented musical producer, keyboardist, composer, vocalist of gospel, jazz, hip hop, and R &B, Eddie P was born and raised in New Orleans. His love for music began early on in the church and quickly grew into a career as a gospel organist and music director. He has been in wide demand all over the country for his ability to “work the spirit” on the Hammond B-3. His devotion to jazz piano and the liveliness of New Orleans is always an influence on what he expresses in his arrangements and productions.

Kim Prevost won the 1999 “BET ON JAZZ” Discovery Award and has since toured the world performing with musical greats from Arturo Sandoval to George Howard, Walter Payton, and Bobby McFerrin. She is featured on a release of Nine Inch Nails. Kim is from New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, and her life in both jazz and gospel music was chronicled in the feature documentary film, Full Circle. Regarded as one of the extraordinary voices and improvisationalists of our time, Kim’s recordings include Talk to Me, Just in Time, I Would Give All My Love, On Canal Street, and Precious is His Love.

Aparna Ramaswamy, Ph.D.,  is a psychotherapist, dancer and teacher with over 40 years of training in Bharatha Natyam (Classical Indian dance). In the words of her guru, she is "dancer, teacher and communicator par excellence." Aparna is founder of Natya Yoga Therapy - an integrative healing method that is a direct outcome of her Ph.D. research and lifetime practice of Natya Yoga. Natya Yoga Therapy combines movement, music and meditation with conventional psychotherapy. These restorative practices maintain a body’s natural rhythm and balance, free from psychiatric medication. As a dancer and psychotherapist, Aparna's passion is to re-vision expressive arts as healing traditions, and teach each person who seeks help to become their own center of calm and strength.

Betsy Robinson was managing editor of Spirituality & Health magazine for six and a half years. She attended a four-year healing school and has been a columnist for UPI’s Religion & Spirituality Forum, but she still isn’t sure what she believes . . . And that’s okay. While she’s figuring it out, she writes stories. Her first novel, Plan Z by Leslie Kove, was published by Mid-List Press in 2001 and was winner of their First Novel Award Series. For over a decade she was an actor (Return of the Secaucus 7; Lianna; and assorted fools, clowns and sexy wenches all over Off-off Broadway). She is also a playwright and her scripts have been produced at the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Theatre in the Works (Amherst, MA), in Los Angeles, off-off Broadway, on cable TV, and in Iowa where she won first prize in the Dubuque Fine Arts 1-Act Contest. A Bennington College and National Theater Institute graduate, she is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre where she's had many workshop productions and performed her one-woman 1-act, Darleen Dances (excerpt published in Moving Parts, Viking Penguin 1992, complete play published in Girl Stories & Game Plays).

Chip Simons is a self-described “influential oddity” in the world of photography. He has been doing his own thing for the past 20 years. A style pioneer in his unconventional use of wide-angle lenses and pop, arty, color strobes, his work runs the gamut. “I don’t fit in and that is just the way I like it.” His first series of work, “I Am a Dog,” was initially published in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. Subsequent publications included the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, and Forbes, among many others. His work is shown at www.chipsimons.com   

Bill Softky, Ph.D., is a high-energy disruptive thinker who has invented algorithms for Microsoft and other major corporations, received numerous patents, produced leading software architecture and design, while trying to solve the riddle of how the brain works. A physicist, computer scientist, neuroscientist, and inventor, he creates elegant solutions crossing technology disciplines and rescues “stuck” projects in user interface, optimization, display advertising, search marketing, and brain theory. He argues that understanding the basic elements of neural functioning is less productive than finding the mathematical logic underlying neural circuitry. He is pursuing the “general algorithm” that explains all neural activity, arguably the next great breakthrough in science. Rather than being a set of equations, he proposes it will be an overall architecture wherein the brain is governed by a unitary algorithm. This has radical implications for addressing how we learn. In the everyday practice of teaching, Softky taught physics to West African high school students who then earned the highest exam scores in the country. 

Frederick Steier, Ph.D., is Professor, Department of Communication, University of South Florida, where he has served as Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. He was formerly Director of the Graduate Doctoral Program in Engineering Management at Old Dominion University, the Carl Riggs Scientist in Residence at the Museum of Science and Industry, Tampa, and a King Olav V Fellow of the American Scandinavian Foundation. Professor Steier has been past President of the American Society of Cybernetics and Editor of The Newsletter of the American Society of Cybernetics. The principal investigator on numerous research grants, he specializes in constructivist research methodologies that emphasize reflexivity and relational knowledge. His other interests include systems theory and cybernetics, the public understanding of science, and relationships between new information and communication technologies and systems change (particularly organizational dialogue and organizational learning). He is the author of numerous scientific papers and the books, Research and Reflexivity and Gregory Bateson: Essays for an Ecology of Ideas.

William Sutherland, M.D., has taught diverse Japanese martial arts (Karate, Kendo, Judo, Aikido) and been a scholar practitioner of medical science, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, and traditional healing (Anishinabe/Ojibway ceremony, Japanese Seiki-jitsu, the dance of the Kalahari Bushmen and the shaking medicine work of Bradford Keeney). William enjoys musing about healing, homebirth, home schooling, cross-cultural ways of knowing, sustainable architecture, permaculture, art, aesthetics, the mystery of relationship and generally being a composer of patterns that connect.

Frank Thomas, Ph.D., LMFT, is an Associate Professor of Counseling at Texas Christian University. He was the inaugural Humor Editor for The Journal of Systemic Therapies and serves on the editorial boards of six national and international professional journals. An author of four books and scores of professional chapters and articles, Professor Thomas has presented over 100 workshops and university lectures on brief and systemic therapy, ethics, and clinical artistry in 11 countries, and his work has been translated into six languages. Most recently he was named as the foundational Archivist for the Brief Family Therapy Center (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA), the original center that created solution-focused brief therapy. Professor Thomas has received three awards for outstanding service from the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy as well as one from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Having achieved the rank of shodan (black belt) in aikido, Thomas Sensei teaches and practices this art and is an internationally published amateur photographer.

Stephen A. Tyler, Ph.D. is presently Hubert S. Autrey Professor of Anthropology at Rice University. He has made significant contributions to rhetoric, postmodern inquiry, Asian studies, cultural studies, cognitive science, linguistics, and anthropology. He is presently involved in a joint project with Ivo Strecker at Mainz Germany that is funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung. They are exploring the organization of discourse across different disciplines. In addition, he and Matt Shibatani, with funding from the Shell Sustainability Project, are investigating "language death" and how marginal languages can persist in the contemporary world where only a few written languages are hegemonic. His published works include Cognitive Anthropology, India: An Anthropological Perspective,The Unspeakable, and The Said and the Unsaid: Mind, Meaning, and Culture. His pioneer contributions have been honored in the collection, Writing in the Field: Festschrift for Stephen Tyler.

Jay Walljasper is a Fellow and editor at On the Commons.org, an organization devoted to restoring an appreciation of common purpose and common assets to contemporary life. He is a Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces, a New York-based organization that helps citizens enliven their communities by improving public places. He reports on sustainable tourism initiatives for National Geographic Traveler, and is also editor-at-large at Ode magazine. Walljasper is author of The Great Neighborhood Book (2007, New Society). He was editor of Utne Reader for fifteen years, during which time the magazine was nominated three times for a National Magazine Award for General Excellence. He has been interviewed and quoted on contemporary issues in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and NPR. For more than a decade he was the American columnist for the British magazine Resurgence, and also wrote a column about American affairs for the Belgian magazine Enjeux Internationaux. His articles have appeared in Mother Jones, Huffington Post, Preservation,The Nation, New Statesman (London), Chicago Tribune magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer magazine, Toronto Star, Tikkun, L.A. Weekly, Yes!, E magazine, Courrier (Paris), Australian Financial Review, and Planeta Humano perspectives in urban planning, sustainability, travel spirituality, politics and cultural issues.