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Hawthorn University's BPPE Annual Report - 2015

Click Here to download a copy of Hawthorn's 2015 BPPE Annual Report.  If document does not show below, install Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Mission Statement

Hawthorn University is dedicated to providing supportive, comprehensive, and professional education in the fields of holistic health, nutrition, and the health sciences through the utilization of distance education methods. Hawthorn offers online certificates, graduate and postgraduate degrees, and continuing education programs to a diverse community of adult learners working to enhance health and wellness around the world.


• Provide high quality, comprehensive education that prepares students for careers in the field of holistic nutrition, health, and the health sciences;
• Develop the knowledge and skills of students to achieve their educational, professional, and personal objectives;
• Prepare students for higher educational levels in the United States and internationally;
• Take a collective responsibility for a student-centered approach;
• Provide student support services;
• Enhance communication and critical thinking skills of students;
• Cultivate among students a routine critical analysis toward the review and research of scientific theories;
• Maintain a current and industry-relevant curriculum;
• Maintain a culture that supports verification of improved teaching and learning;
• Provide an active, responsive, engaging, and challenging learning experience for geographically dispersed students;
• Produce graduates that make a positive impact on their communities through leadership and service;
• Limit attrition and encourage continued matriculation to achieve high graduation rates;
• Encourage students to engage in life-long learning as scholar-practitioners;
• Graduate ethical and responsible citizens with strong decision-making skills;
•Encourage faculty development;
•Become a school of choice in the area of holistic nutrition and wellness.


• Maintain a current and industry-relevant curriculum including current scientific information;
• Provide a stable and reliable online environment conducive to student learning that is available 365 days a year;
• Provide research opportunities for students through online library resources;
• Remain cognizant of the needs of distance learners through the systematic collection of survey data;
• Recruit, hire, and retain faculty and staff that are highly qualified and dedicated to the mission and goals of the University;
• Effectively manage fiscal and educational resources to remain affordable while maintaining excellence in educational delivery;
• Remain committed to the mission and goals of the University by continuous assessment to ensure the quality, currency, and relevance of course materials;
• Recognize and respond to problems and issues among student, faculty, or staff;
• Evaluate and systematically assess student learning in each course via assignments and proctored environments;
• Increase student awareness of the quantity, quality, and accuracy of existing and emerging research findings;
• Improve graduation and completion rates by identifying and supporting at risk students.


University Administration

Dorothy Germano, Ph.D., President & Chief Academic Officer

Beth Maizes, B.A., Executive Vice President

Allen Zilbert, Ed.D., Chief Information Officer

Janet Ludwig, Ph.D., Education Director & Director of Doctoral Studies

Paula Bartholomy, M.S., C.H.N., N.C., Director of Online Events and Registrar

Joe Pedreira, B.B.A., Chief Operating OfficerBursar

Kathleen McDermott, B.A., Director of Admissions & Student Management

James Bernardinelli, B.F.A., Web Services Manager

Aleksandra Jaksic, B.S.Assistant Registrar


Board Of Govenors

Bernard Esrig, Ed.D., Chairman of the Board

Jay Fox, J.D., Member of the Board

Beth Maizes, B.A., Member of the Board

Overview & History

Hawthorn University is a not-for-profit online institution devoted to holistic health and nutrition education. Hawthorn believes that education should be within reach. We strive to keep tuition prices low and affordable. The pay-as-you go policy encourages graduation without debt.

Hawthorn University has chosen to focus exclusively on online education. Students connect with faculty and other students via the online portal, in forums, and in live webinars. Archived events and lectures are part of the extensive library of learning materials.

Utilizing guided independent study, professional development, and personal health are core to the University's mission. Students are provided with nutritional tools that can be applied in everyday life to increase vitality, energy, and well being while developing written concepts and oral presentations that can serve expanding nutrition careers.

A stable and responsive staff and reflective, credentialed instructors help students to evolve, connect, and attain goals.

Ongoing development of new educational and holistic programs help us to maintain a current and industry-relevant science based curriculum.

Hawthorn was founded in December 2002 as Hawthorn Health and Nutrition Institute and began offering the Nutrition Consultant certificate program. Hawthorn is approved to operate programs in holistic nutrition by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), school code #48441699. 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95833, P.O. Box 980818, West Sacramento, CA 95798-0808, Web Address:; Telephone: (888) 370-7589 or (916) 431-6959 or by fax (916) 263-1897. On September 7, 2016, the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education renewed Hawthorn University's (Institution Code: 48441699) approval to operate for 5 years, contingent upon the institution's ability to comply with the mandatory provisions of Senate Bill (SB) 1247 and achieve accreditation by the July 1, 2020 deadline. Hawthorn does NOT have a pending petition in bankruptcy or is operating as a debtor in possession nor have we filed a petition within the preceding five years, or has had a petition in bankruptcy filed against us within the preceding five years that resulted in reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. Sec. 1101 et.seq.).

Hawthorn's Degree Programs:

Master of Science in Health & Nutrition Education
Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition
Master of Science in Traditional Nutrition
Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition

Hawthorn's Certificate Programs:

Scientific Foundations of Holistic Nutrition Certificate
Nutrition Consultant Certificate
Holistic Health Certificate
WISE Traditions Nutrition Certificate

In 2010 Hawthorn University announced a new initiative in Continuing Education: an ongoing series of educational, professional development, and webinar certificate courses. These courses are short and focused. Many are independent study courses.

Bright Conduit Corporation is the legal name of the not-for-profit corporation doing business as Hawthorn University.

University Policies

Hawthorn University values the privacy of all its constituents, including faculty, staff and students by maintaining a trusted user environment. We are dedicated to protecting the confidentiality and personally identifiable information and privacy of our community and have established applicable professional codes of ethics. We adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which is a Federal law for the protection and privacy of student education records.

Personal information is collected and stored on the Hawthorn University portal in a secure computing environment secured by firewalls and password protection to prevent unauthorized access. All files are backed up on a daily basis. The information provided by an applicant to the University includes, but is not limited to, name, address, email addresses, phone numbers, place of employment, and previous education history. Any other required documentation for acceptance is listed in the Admission section of the University's website. It is our policy not to distribute any personal information submitted during the enrollment process to any third parties. We may promote relevant organizations and career events in newsletters and in other social media but we do not provide outside companies or individuals with the personal information of our students. Personal information is shared only with the student's consent or if we are required by law, to protect the interests of the University or in the discharge of public duty.

Credit Cards are accepted for tuition and fees. Credit card numbers are not stored on our server. Credit card information is only available to Hawthorn staff with security access to our payment processing center.

Email accounts are given to enrolled students. Once a student is enrolled, all announcements, including scholastic and administrative communications from members of administration or the faculty must be sent to a Hawthorn University email account. This includes information about webinars, updates, opportunities and may include occasional advertisements from vendors who may benefit your personal growth and professional development. Should a student suspect any unauthorized use of their email or personal information they must notify the chief information officer immediately. All email received from students or other members of Hawthorn who are no longer associated with the institution may be deleted and non-user accounts may be disabled.

Links to other websites may appear in course syllabi or in faculty to student email that we believe might offer you useful educational information. However, those sites may not follow the same privacy policies as Hawthorn and are not intended to be an endorsement of the site. Therefore, we are not responsible for the privacy policies or the actions of any third parties. Students must abide by all copyright notices contained in the websites and in the course materials. Downloading any content from a website or portal is solely for the student's educational, and non-commercial use.

Hawthorn reserves the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time; notice of changes will be published.

We use student IP addresses to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our website by identifying the parts of our site that are most heavily used. We do not link IP addresses to anything personally identifiable. This means that user sessions will be tracked, but the users will remain anonymous.

The Hawthorn University IT staff uses the information gathered above to tailor site content to user needs, and to generate aggregate statistical reports. At no time do we disclose site usage by individual IP addresses. Web server logs are retained on a temporary basis and then deleted completely from our systems.

This site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control.

The purpose of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is to protect the privacy of information concerning individual students by placing restrictions on the disclosure of information contained in a student's University records. In order for Hawthorn University to honor a verbal or written request for non-directory information by anyone other than an individual student, a signed authorization must be on file.

Hawthorn University has defined directory information as any or all of the following:

  • Name.
  • Address.
  • Phone number and email address.
  • Dates of attendance.
  • Degree(s) awarded.

All students, faculty, and staff have freely associated themselves with Hawthorn University and in so doing have affirmed their commitment to a culture of mutual tolerance and respect. Physical restriction, coercion, or intimidation directed towards or by any member of the community is contrary to Hawthorn’s basic principles. It is also a violation of these principles for any instructor, administrator, or student to impede, prevent or otherwise interfere with the orderly conduct of an institutional function or activity.

Information about student views, beliefs, personal health matters, and political associations which are revealed as a result of or arising out of any discussions by instructors, advisors, and/or other counselors should be considered confidential, and are covered under the Disclosure of Educational Records statement.

Protection against the improper disclosure of such information is a serious professional obligation. Judgments of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances, normally with the knowledge or consent of the student, and when properly documented and filed as part of the permanent records of the institution.

Violations of this policy are brought to the attention of the School Director who will follow up on the inquiry within seven (7) calendar days. An incident report is generated and all communications pertinent to the matter are recorded. All incident reports must conclude in a final resolution and include appropriate acknowledgements by all interested parties.

Notice of Acceptable Content and Conduct and Description of Prohibited Behaviors on the Message Boards

The message boards are intended to provide a forum for discussions related to the posted topic. Course specific message boards are provided primarily for students and faculty actively engaged in the course, but posts from others are welcomed, provided that they remain on topic. Email is provided primarily as a way for all students, faculty, and staff to communicate with respect to assignments, questions on student progress, policy and procedure issues, and other information covered under other University Policies.

As professionals, we expect our users to refrain from posting:

  • personal editorials on others;
  • chain letters;
  • harassing materials;
  • advertisements or other solicitations;
  • personal information about others including names, physical and email addresses, or other contact information.

Under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Hawthorn University is committed to the premise that all students, including those with disabilities have equal access to its programs and services, and that the rights of students with disabilities are not denied.

A disability, defined as a “handicap” under Federal law, is any significant disabling condition that interferes with any substantial life activity. Substantial life activities include: the ability to care for oneself, the ability to walk, the ability to hear or see, or any other ability considered to be a major life activity. Examples of disabilities include, but are not limited to: spinal cord injuries, visual impairments, specific learning disabilities, head injuries, hearing impairments, arthritis, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, mental/emotional disabilities, seizure disorders, and communication disorders.

Hawthorn University does not operate separate recruitment, admission, or educational programs designed specifically for students with disabilities. Disclosure of a disability, including self-identification on the admissions application, is entirely voluntary. All applicants are evaluated by the same admissions standards and are governed under a single student code of conduct adopted by the University.

Participation under Section 504 and the ADA is voluntary. In order to qualify for reasonable accommodations from Hawthorn University, a student must self-identify and present up-to-date disability verification from an appropriate, qualified professional. This will consist of documentation describing the nature of the disability, the functional limitations resulting from the disability, and information specific to the accommodations and/or auxiliary aids needed to promote full participation in the educational program. All documentation is regarded with the strictest confidentiality: no information will be shared without permission. Accommodations are not automatic and a student must identify that they are entitled to special services with their instructor(s), who will verify this with the President or his/her designee.

Reasonable accommodations are defined by Hawthorn University as those that: do not compromise integrity of the curriculum; do not impose an unreasonable financial or administrative burden upon the University; are within the boundaries of University control.

Some book publishers offer large print, Braille, and/or electronic versions of their books. Students needing such special volumes are encouraged to contact the publisher or their designated representative ahead of time to arrange for these to be delivered and agree to follow all of the copyright terms and conditions as per the publisher. Some publishers indicate that turn around time for such special items is between 4 to 6 weeks.

Hawthorn University is a private, not-for-profit institution that does not discriminate in any of its programs, procedures, or practices against any person for any reason, including race, sex, color, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, marital status, veteran status, status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era, status as a victim or perceived victim of domestic or sexual violence, mental, medical or physical disability or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications. This policy, effective January 1, 2008 is applicable to all faculty, professional support staff, operating staff, and students without regard to geographical location. The University reasonably accommodates qualified individuals with disabilities under the law.

Hawthorn University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which students, faculty, and staff can work together in an atmosphere free of all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation.

Specifically, everyone associated with the University should be aware that Hawthorn is strongly opposed to sexual harassment and that such behavior is prohibited both by federal and state law. It is the intention of Hawthorn University to take whatever action may be needed to correct, and, if necessary, discipline behavior that violates this policy. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in a Hawthorn activity; submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual; such verbal or physical conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individuals’ work or academic performance, by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. The School Director will receive and work to resolve incidents involving sexual harassment. The President will review all reports and is the final authority on issues of sexual harassment.

Students may request a one time extension for twenty-one (21) days in any course if circumstances prevent them from completing and submitting their final assignment by the due date. An extension must be requested on or before the actual due date for the course. Students who request an extension will be given an Incomplete “I” grade which will be changed to the earned letter grade upon submission of their work. If assignments are not received on or before the extension due date, a second extension of twenty-one (21) days may be requested and an extension fee of $75 will apply. A maximum of three paid 21 day extensions will be allowed per course. If, at the end of the last approved extension students have not completed the course, they will receive the appropriate grade for the number of assignments completed. Students who require more time than the total number of extensions allowed (first extension plus three (3) additional extensions) may wish to consider taking a Leave of Absence.

An extension is not granted for an individual assignment. Students who are unable to submit an individual assignment due to emergencies or unavoidable life factors, must contact their instructor or the director of student management to receive permission for extra time. Keeping open lines of communication with an instructor is important and supportive in an online environment.

Midterm and Final Examinations do not qualify for an extension.

Students taking Continuing Education (CE) courses may request a two week (14 day) extension through their student portal. If additional time is needed, the director of student management should be contacted.

Thesis/Dissertation Course

Completion of a thesis or dissertation is a requirement in the MSHN, MHNE, and DSC programs. In the event that students are unable to complete their thesis or complete and defend their dissertation at the conclusion of the course, they must register for Thesis Continuation or Dissertation Continuation courses up to the time they have completed their thesis or dissertation. A grade of PR (In Progress) will appear on the students’ transcript for Thesis Continuation and Dissertation Continuation courses but will not be calculated in the final GPA. Upon completion and approval, the final earned grade will be recorded on the students’ transcript. Enrollment must be continuous as a candidate for a degree must be enrolled during the semester in which the degree is conferred.

Maintaining Matriculation During Thesis or Dissertation Course

Students are required to maintain an active enrolled status until they have successfully completed all the requirements of their program. Enrollment must be continuous as a candidate for a degree must be enrolled during the term in which the degree is conferred. Students who are not able to complete their thesis or dissertation requirement in the allotted time must register for a continuation course to maintain matriculation. The tuition for each continuation course will be one-half (1/2) the cost of the course. Additional information is provided in the Thesis or Dissertation course specific to each program.

Hawthorn University is aware that there are situations when a student may wish to interrupt his or her course of study. The University is committed to reasonable evaluation and responsible handling of such cases. A student may not be on a leave for more than 180 days in a calendar year.

There are two types of LOAs

  • Personal Leave of Absence (LOA)
  • Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA)

A personal leave may include travel, increased work responsibilities, jury duty for a sustained period, a family crisis, or a need to redirect oneself towards desired goals.

A medical leave may include surgery, pregnancy, illness, rehabilitation, and other health-related issues. Documentation for a MLOA must be submitted with the application when the leave is requested.

Students who require a leave from the University should attempt to complete their current course to avoid having to repeat it and pay additional tuition. Once the course is complete, students should fill out and submit the appropriate Leave of Absence form, located on the student website, and send it to the registrar.

Students may request a three (3) month personal Leave of Absence. No more than three personal LOAs may be requested in a program.

A Medical Leave of Absence may be considered for a six (6) month period.

If a second leave is required, students must check in prior to the expiration date of the LOA to ensure that their absence from the University does not exceed 180 days. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of the student. Students returning from a Leave of Absence should request written reinstatement from the registrar. A Reinstatement Form can be found on the student website. A reinstatement fee of $100 will be charged. Students are expected to request and pay for their next course as soon as possible.

Should it be necessary for a student to take a LOA at any time prior to the completion of their course, the student must withdraw from the course prior to requesting a LOA or MLOA. If applicable, a refund will be mailed to the student. When the student is ready to return, a request for reinstatement must be made on the student portal. The fee for reinstatement is $100. Failure to return from an approved leave will result in the student's dismissal from the University.

The University reserves the right to limit access to any and all of its proprietary materials to students on an official Leave of Absence.

In order to maximize the quality of the learning experience offered at Hawthorn and maintain the quality of our academic program and success of our students, Hawthorn has adopted the following break between courses policy:

  • A Hawthorn student will be allowed a break for a period of ten (10) days between courses; The break between courses begins on the day the student receives their final graded assignment. Students do not have to wait for a conference (if required) or for the course to be finalized.
  • Students who do not request and pay for the subsequent course within 10 days of receiving their final graded assignment and who wish to register for their next course after the allowed break will be subject to a $25 late registration fee. If more time is needed, each additional 10 days will add $25 to the total cost incurred for late registration.
  • Students who do not register for a subsequent course within the break and who do not request additional time may wish to consider a Leave of Absence;
  • Failure to communicate intentions to a member of Hawthorn's administration may result in the student being withdrawn from the University.

Hawthorn may, from time to time, introduce students to an outside vendor whose course offerings may add to the educational experience received at Hawthorn. Hawthorn enters into a relationship with another person or organization after careful review. Hawthorn does not share personal information with affiliates and discloses affiliate relationships.

Students are strongly encouraged to actively and regularly participate in all instructional activities including readings, forums, submission of written assignments, and participation in the webinars when able. Online courses differ from campus-based instruction and attendance is defined as active participation in the course as indicated above and in the course syllabus. Hawthorn can track online attendance through the submission and completion of assignments and communications with the instructor. When active participation is met with obstacles, students must communicate with the director of student management or their instructor for guidance.


By enrolling in or otherwise affiliating with Hawthorn University, all system users agree to the terms and conditions summarized throughout this website and in the dropdown menu on this page. Hawthorn University's website contains links to other independently run websites outside the Hawthorn University domain. Hawthorn University is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such websites.

University Policies are subject to revision and change. The President/ Chief Academic Officer and the Executive Vice President of Hawthorn University will use their authority to grant exceptions to the policies of the institution in extraordinary circumstances when it is determined to be in the best interest of the school and its students.

Contacting Hawthorn University
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this site, please contact us:

Hawthorn University
475 Hungry Gulch Road, Suite C
PO Box 275
Whitethorn, CA 95589

or email our Help Desk.