Faculty Profiles for the Ph.D. Program

John Austin

Dr. John Austin works at the intersection of scholarship and practice as a professor in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University. He has been a Principal at Decision Strategies International and management professor at Penn State University and The University of Washington and taught executives at Georgetown University, Thunderbird School of International Management, Duke CE, and The Wharton School. He continues to teach executives at The University of North Carolina. John has worked with numerous Global Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and business schools as an executive development resource and is a frequent conference speaker.

He is a thought leader in the areas of team leadership, organizational change implementation, and strategic decision-making. His research on knowledge-based decision-making teams is widely cited in the academic literature, as is his work on the strategic actions of internal change agents. Dr. Austin’s research has been published in leading management and applied psychology journals, recognized with three Best Paper awards from the Academy of Management, and mentioned by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and Barron’s. He is the author of Leading Effective Change: A Primer for the HR Professional published as part of the SHRM Foundation’s Effective Practice Guidelines Series (2015). Dr. Austin’s book, Unquestioned Brilliance: Navigating a Fundamental Leadership Trap, was published in 2015.

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Dean Sabine O'Hara

Dr. Sabine O’Hara is a teacher, mentor, researcher, and administrator committed to improving lives in underserved communities. She currently leads an innovative Ph.D. program in Urban Leadership & Entrepreneurship at the University of the District of Columbia, which is the only public university in Washington DC and the only exclusively urban Land-grant University in the United States. Prior to her current appointment, she served as the founding Dean of the College of Agriculture Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) and led the University’s efforts to build a cutting-edge model for urban agriculture and urban sustainability that integrates training in the agricultural, environmental and health sciences with the practical aspirations of students and residents to embark on successful careers in the green innovation economy.

Dr. O’Hara’s work has focused consistently on the quality of life and economic opportunity of local communities through multi-dimensional intellectual, social, and physical capacity development. A foundation of her work is her belief that education should not only answer our questions but also question our answers. This search for new answers has guided her work as the 10th President of Roanoke College in Virginia; provost of Green Mountain College in Vermont; faculty member at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York; and executive director of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), which administers the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Program.

Dr. O’Hara holds Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Economics from the University of Göttingen, Germany. She holds an Affiliated Faculty appointment with the Working Group on Institutional Analysis of Socio-Ecological Systems at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany; is the past President of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) and the US Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE); is a member of the International Advisory Board of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, and served on the editorial board of several academic journals.

For a full CV of Dr. O’Hara and her publications and accomplishments, click here


Matthew Richardson
Dr. Matthew Richardson is the Interim Director of the Center for Urban Research, Engagement and Scholarship at UDC. His research interests include improving urban agricultural production systems, identifying high-value crops that are adapted to urban heat islands, quantifying differences in a crop’s nutrients across different production systems, and understanding human knowledge about natural resources, climate change, food production, and nutrition and the effectiveness of interventions.





Karmran ZendehdelDr. Kamran Zendehdel 
is the Interim Director of the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience. His research interests emphasize the application of community-based decision-making in environmental sustainability. Prior to joining UDC, he served as an Environmental Scientist at Tetra Tech Inc. in Fairfax, Virginia, where he managed the Chesapeake Bay non-point source pollution control project. As a Post-Doc Researcher at Social Science Research Unit in Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research in Merilbeke, Belgium, he focused on developing participatory decision-making models for land-use planners. He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Policy Making from Ghent University, Belgium. Prior to his Ph.D. study, he served as an expert in natural resources conservation for seven years in Iran. He received the Excellence award for Ph.D. in program evaluation and the Best Expert of the year 2000 from the Ministry of Agriculture, Iran.


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