Visually-impaired Baldwin Park Resident Achieves Doctorate Degree

Robert Black will be conferred the first Ed.D. in educational leadership during an official hooding ceremony at Cal State L.A. Commencement.

Even the loss of his vision seven years ago has not deterred Robert David Black, a Baldwin Park resident and a recipient of CSU Trustee Ali C. Razi Scholarship from pursuing his goals and dreams. 

He already earned a master’s degree in counseling at CSU Los Angeles in 2008, and now Black will be conferred the University’s first Ed.D. in educational leadership during an official hooding ceremony at Cal State L.A.’s Friday Commencement next June 15th.

According to Margie Low, from the Office of Public Affairs of CSULA, the independent Ed.D. program was launched at CSULA in fall 2009 with an inaugural cohort of 20 students.

The title of his doctoral dissertation is “Universal Design for Learning for a More Inclusive Environment in Higher Education.” 

A certified rehabilitation counselor, Black focuses on students with special needs and working in support services. He plans to help students with disabilities and other special needs gain access to and advance in higher education.

“While my blindness has presented—and will always present—unique challenges,” said Black, “it has also led me to meet some remarkable individuals whose perspectives have helped me to see life and opportunities in new ways.”

While considering graduate programs, Black’s eyesight began to fail, and after six operations, the end result was blindness. Undaunted, Black was determined to pursue his career in counseling and education.

Wasting little time, Black immersed himself in studying Braille and learning other tools and techniques designed for visually-impaired. Within two months, he enrolled at CSULA in a graduate program to study rehabilitation counseling, according to Low.

In 2008, Black earned his master’s degree in counseling with a 4.0 GPA. While in graduate school, he was inducted into the University’s Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and served as its student vice president, said Low.

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