Lessons from Having a Research Assistant

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— By Laura Dumin, Ph.D., Associate Professor in English

During winter break 2016-2017, I began a research project that I had been talking about for years—learning about women’s relationship with breastfeeding knowledge. I asked a local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Ashley Barrett, for help and then I did what any novice researcher does, I dove right in without really knowing what to expect. I hoped that around 100 women would respond. Imagine my surprise when one day later I had over 1,000 responses. Within three weeks, we closed the survey with over 4,000 responses. I was flooded with a whirlwind of emotions, including crawling into a hole and pretending that I had never received this data. . . .  read more

Attending the Transformative Learning Conference as a First-Time Attendee

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Written by Therese Williams, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UCO College of Business ISOM – 

As a first-year Assistant Professor at UCO, I received a wonderful opportunity to attend the 2018 Transformative Learning Conference in Oklahoma City.  In exchange for volunteering one day of the conference I was able to attend one day with the registration fee waived.  I worked at the registration desk for the first day on Thursday.  I believe that I enjoyed that as much as I did attending the conference on Friday!  I met wonderful people who volunteer their time to make sure that the conference runs smoothly.  I was able to meet and visit with many other attendees at times registration was not slammed with those picking up name tags and programs.  It was a great experience. . . .  read more

Launching Heroic Journeys of Transformation for Our Students and Ourselves

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Wesch_YouTubeScreenshot10.12.2007You’ve heard of Michael Wesch. (Here’s a YouTube reminder from a decade ago; Wesch, 2007.) In an intensely reflective keynote presentation in the spring of 2017, he examined what he and Ken Bain (2004) both call “big questions.” Bain discusses the big questions a college class might help students answer that relate to the larger issues of the class. In Wesch’s keynote, his self-reflection on the big questions in his life leads to empathy made explicit for the student experience. . . .  read more

No More Millennials Entering College: How Can We Facilitate Gen Z Transformation?

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These students don’t view the world in 50-minute, three-credit classes. If our mission is to prepare kids to be successful, the thing you have to prepare them for more than anything is adaptability. No one knows what the world is going to look like in the next 10 years. — Craig Chanoff, VP Education Services, Blackboard (as quoted in Kaplan, 2017, June, p. 32) . . .  read more

“Engaged, Participatory Rethinking” to Transform Our Classrooms and Higher Education

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We do a poor job helping students translate the specific content or knowledge gained in our classrooms into a tool (informational, conceptual, methodological, epistemological or affective) that will help them thrive in life. If higher education doesn’t do that — if it isn’t geared to helping students succeed beyond the final exam and after graduation — then why bother? (Davidson, 2017a) . . .  read more

Student Engagement, Critical Reflection, Transformative Learning: What’s the Key?

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Student engagement is a good thing. We’ve heard that for decades. Alexander Astin asked the question, “What matters in college?” then answered by saying a big percentage of what matters is student engagement (Astin, 1997). Pike & Kuh (2005, p. 186) agree in a summary statement about this issue, saying, “. . . students learn from what they do in college.” . . .  read more

Scaffolding Eats Coddling for Lunch

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[W]hy would we expect students who have come of age in neighborhoods and schools surrounded by people who largely look and think as they do to be highly skilled at handling personal insults hurled by those with different, yet similarly narrowly shaped, experiences and beliefs? Why should we expect that people who have experienced different outcomes of a society still struggling with racial and class issues will magically know how to get along? Why would we expect students to arrive a[t] college skilled at civil discourse when their only understanding of political debate consists of well-compensated people on opposing sides shouting to drown one another out? (J. C. & C. K. Cavanaugh, 2017) . . .  read more

The Transformative Impact of Sustainability Pedagogy and Andragogy

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Critical Transformative Learning goes beyond the personal toward community action, even societal transformation. Approaching sustainability education through transformative experience could have pragmatic impact on the learner, the community and the environment. (Singleton, 2015)

Education for Sustainability is “defined as a Transformative Learning process that equips students, teachers, and school systems with the new knowledge and ways of thinking we need to achieve economic prosperity and responsible citizenship while restoring the health of the living systems upon which our lives depend” (Mofid, 2016).

One example of Transformative Learning (TL) approaches in education to achieve sustainability is in management education, where Closs and Antonello (2011) propose that . . .  read more

Engaging or Ignoring the Disorienting Dilemma: Entitlement to Opinion?

Dr. Jeff King

Recently released results of a survey of K-12 teachers indicate that by a wide margin the factor most often reported as “very important” for student achievement is “student engagement and motivation” (Education Week Research Center, 2016, p. 15).

While the question in the survey related to students’ academic achievement, would your response as a college faculty member be the same, “Very important,” if the question were worded, “How important are student engagement and motivation for subsequent student transformative learning?” . . .  read more

Evolutionary and Revolutionary Transformative Learning

Dr. Jeff King

Kroth and Boverie (2009) developed a 4-cell grid to conceptualize the mix between the speed of Transformative Learning (TL, which they characterize as “Discovering”) and whether the TL occurred because the prompt to change was imposed from outside or because the learner intentionally put herself into the transformative scenario:

4-cell grid. Vertical axis shows speed with which TL happens, horizontal axis shows whether the TL has been imposed from without or from within. Top left cell is "Initial Trauma, Major Shock." Bottom left cell is "Series of Disturbances to Belief Systems." Top right cell is "Epiphany, Enlightenment." Bottom right cell is "Series of Generative Explorations into Beliefs."

Quadrant 1 represents a transformative event that is imposed on a student. In other words, she has no control over whether she is exposed to, or part of, the event or not. Experiencing the event, though, causes a lasting change in her sense of self or how she relates to others, community, and/or environment. . . .  read more