Gary L. Railsback, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Educational Leadership
Phone: (626) 815-5456
Fax: (626) 387-5739
Office Location: Building One, Room 132
Photo of Gary L. Railsback, Ph.D.


Gary L. Railsback, Ph.D., serves as Chair and Professor of the Department of Educational Leadership in the School of Education. Prior to coming to APU, Railsback served at his undergraduate alma mater, Northwest Christian University, as a member of the president’s cabinet and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, with responsibility for the School of Professional Studies.

He has extensive experience in assessment and accreditation, having brought both George Fox University and Point Loma Nazarene University through initial NCATE accreditation, and was involved in APU’s NCATE visit in 2015. He has served as a consultant for a number of institutions preparing for NCATE/CTC in California and NCATE-only visits in North Carolina and Ohio. Railsback has also served on NCATE site-visit teams in California, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

His research interests are in higher education, with published articles on faculty perceptions of tenure, a qualitative case study focused on “Why George Fox Grew” from a small institution to a larger institution, and student religious beliefs based on his initial doctoral dissertation, which was later replicated using data from the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute. In the last few years, he has worked with a research team of faculty from Point Loma, Whitworth, Sonoma State, and the University of Southern California analyzing new teacher feedback on the Teacher Performance Assessment.

His commitment to work with doctoral students comes from frustrations in his own doctoral program where feedback on his dissertation was limited, infrequent, and discouraging. Because of this, he commits himself to work passionately with students on their dissertation so that they feel supported and encouraged throughout the process.


  • Ph.D., Education (Specialization in Higher Education and Cognate in Social Psychology), University of California, Los Angeles
  • MBA, (Concentration in Organizational Leadership), Point Loma Nazarene University
  • M.A., Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • B.S., Christian Education, Northwest Christian College


  • Certificate in Secondary Education (Psychology)

Academic Area

  • School of Education
    • Department of Educational Leadership


  • Higher Education Assessment
  • Organizational Structure and Performance
  • Teacher Education Accreditation

Courses Taught

  • EDUC705 – Ethical Dilemmas in Educational Leadership