School of Leadership Studies

The Scholar-Practitioner at Fielding: Leadership for Individual and Social Transformation

In the School of Leadership Studies, students learn theory, engage in research, and create new knowledge to shed light on today’s most pressing issues. Our school offers students the opportunity to become effective change agents. Recognizing the interconnections between individual, educational, organizational, and community development, we take a systemic, multidisciplinary approach to the study and practice of leadership.

Fielding Graduate University

2020 De la Vina Street
Santa Barbara, California 93105
Admissions: 805-898-4026

Washington DC Offices
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20003

Valerie Malhotra Bentz, PhD, MSSW

Summer Session 2021 / Valerie Malhotra Bentz, PhD, MSSW

Valerie Malhotra Bentz, PhD, MSSW


Valerie Malhotra Bentz, PhD, MSSW, is a Professor in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University, where she served as Associate Dean for Research. Her current interests include somatics, phenomenology, social theory, consciousness development, and Vedantic theories of knowledge. Her books include: Transformative Phenomenology: Changing Ourselves; Lifeworlds and Professional Practice (with David Rehorick); Mindful Inquiry in Social Research (with Jeremy Shapiro); and Becoming Mature: Childhood Ghosts and Spirits in Adult Life. She is the also the author of a philosophical novel, Flesh and Mind: The Time Travels of Dr. Victoria Von Dietz.

She is a Fellow in Contemplative Practice of the American Association of Learned Societies. Valerie was editor of Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (1994-1998). She has served as president and board member of the Clinical Sociology Association, the Sociological Practice Association and the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences. She founded and co-directed an action research team and center in Mizoram, India.

Valerie was co-founder of the Creative Longevity and Wisdom program at Fielding. She has 20 experience as a psychotherapist, and is a certified yoga teacher and certified massage therapist. She is a member of the board of the Carpinteria Valley Association, an environmental activist group over 50 years old. She supports numerous environmental organizations and plays bassoon and piano.

She is currently writing an article for a book of international scholars who are pushing the boundaries of the social and human sciences. Her article will bring in somatic and phenomenological ways of knowing. She is also working on a book on human development over a 35-year span using data to follow up on her first book, Becoming Mature: Childhood Ghosts and Spirits in Adult Life.