Avakian directs graduate leadership program at Fresno Pacific University

Peggy Avakian has been appointed director of the graduate leadership program at Fresno Pacific University.

A member of the faculty since 1996, Avakian brings 20 years of experience to the graduate school. Her organization development work, in California and across the United States, has focused on a value-centered, systems approach to strategic planning for individuals and organizations in transition. Avakian received her M.S. degree in human and organization development from the University of San Francisco and is licensed to administer individual and organizational assessments and interventions by companies such as Zenger-Miller, Leritz Corporation and Carlson Learning Company.

Active as a community leader, Avakian was appointed to the United States 19th Congressional District Education Advisory Council and has been named one of San Joaquin Valley's “Top 10 Business and Professional Women.” Avakian has presented and published in the field of Internet technology in education and her current research involves individual and community leadership that tends to the soul.

The degree is called the master of arts in leadership and organizational studies—formerly known as the master of arts in administrative leadership or MAAL program. The revamped curriculum offers concentrations in management and peacemaking, human resources and organization development, financial management, community development and leadership in multicultural settings. The emphases and relatively high number of electives (12 units out of a total of 40) allow the program to avoid a one-size-fits-all philosophy of education while remaining convenient enough to be completed in as little as 16 months. “This program has flexibility that a lot of similar programs lack,” she said.

Students may also continue to take a variety of approved individual classes instead of a concentration, or may work with faculty to create an area of emphasis of their own.

Several new adjunct faculty bring breadth and depth in profit and non-profit leadership, as well as commitment to the goals of the program. “We have a nice blend of academic folks and we also have this other expertise in the community,” Avakian said. That blend allows all the leaders to use their experiences and show students their approach. “As a leader, you can only take people as far as you’ve gone yourself,” she said.