Education

Education Course Descriptions

ANC 101 Introduction to Transformative Learning

The necessity and importance of Transformative Learning grows in times of crisis and complexity. We live in such a time, and as such Transformative Learning is being practiced within multiple domains, multiple levels, and utilizing varied approaches. This course introduces students to Imaginal Process, a distinct approach to transformative learning practiced at Meridian. In this approach, human capacities are cultivated through diversifying, deepening, embodying, and personalizing experience. Imagination amplifies and integrates the sensory, emotional, and cognitive dimensions of our experience. Through the labor of imagination, it is possible to craft our experience towards truth, joy, and effectiveness. This approach reflects an emerging multidisciplinary and multicultural synthesis which can be applied to education, therapy, organizations, and the arts. Listening deeply to each other’s stories is at the heart of this process. The living presence that constitutes good listening requires that we inhabit vulnerability, mystery, and complexity. This gathered listening engages the empathic imagination in ways that catalyze mutual individuation.

ANC 105 Emotional Development

Emotions are an essential dimension of both individual and collective human development. In addition,   emotions have a critical role in human well-being. Emotional development also significantly impacts our development physically, cognitively and spiritually.  Research in neuroscience over the last thirty years has contributed significantly to our current understanding of emotions. This research has now been extensively applied to the functioning of families, schools and workplaces.  Topics explored in this course in relation to emotion include: Attachment, empathy, conflict imagination, gender, sexuality, leadership, self-regulation, power, and destructive emotions such as hate and envy. The course also explores the link between emotion and capacities like courage, clarity, compassion, conscience, dignity and resilience.

ANC 110 Relational Development

"As a uniquely social species, human development at all systemic levels - individual, couple, family, team, organization, community, and society - is anchored in relational experience. This relational experience is culturally, societally, and historically specific. Along with this vast and diverse specificity there are also general patterns of relational development that span time, place, and culture. In exploring general patterns of relational development, this course addresses dimensions and dynamics entailed in relational experience including: identity, mutuality, authenticity, vulnerability, reciprocity, power, loyalty, collaboration and leadership."

ANC 115 Complexity Capability Practicum

The complexity capability practicum is designed to be a self-organized course that can be taken multiple times. Its purpose is to enable students to develop complexity capability in relation to domains and levels of practice that are aligned with their aspirations for their professional future.  The problems humanity faces amidst a civilizational crisis, are so complex that our historical epoch is sometimes described as a crisis of complexity . Such a degree of system complexity – at a level in which humans have never before had to cope, can be viewed as a root of the current ecological, economic, and political turmoil. Even our own inventions—technologies, cultural memes, and organizations—have been evolving into increasingly complex forms, which have increased the demands of everyday life. In each case, what is required of humanity is more complex than what our current mindsets allow. We are often in over our heads , overwhelmed by the demands of our everyday lives. Professionals across all domains are looking for tools and practices responsive to this new world of unprecedented and accelerating complexity. Promoting “vertical development” is not enough, nor are systems thinking or the principle of evolving cultures. Rather, a comprehensive approach to living, coping, and even thriving on complexity is trans-disciplinary and practitioner-focused. The goal of this course is to engage with a comprehensive set of practices and frameworks for thriving on complexity. The course addresses the relationship between inner and outer complexity in service of aligning individual capabilities with what Oliver Wendell Holmes termed, “the simplicity on the far side of complexity.” We can learn to transform the complexity both within and outside of ourselves in ways that can enrich our lives and enhance our professional contributions within diverse professional domains. 

ANC 120 Developmental Lab

ANC 125 Developmental Practicum

ANC 130 Transformative Learning Praxis

The necessity and importance of Transformative Learning grows in times of crisis and complexity. We live in such a time, and as such Transformative Learning is being practiced within multiple domains and at multiple levels. The term praxis refers to the integration of theory and practice. Domains of praxis include psychotherapy, spiritual practice, coaching and personal development, business, education, civil society, and the arts. Levels of praxis include individuals, teams, communities, organizations, and societies. This course is an overview of diverse approaches to Transformative Learning Praxis.

EDU 505 Transformative Learning and Adult Development

Since its inception, the study of human development has involved more than research into what is average, predictable, or typical. There has always been a discourse about what is possible and preferable—a discourse about developmental achievements that humans ought to strive for—achievements characterized as both desirable and attainable, despite the rarity of their occurrence. This course is offered as an overview of the broad area of research and theory  focused on maturity, human potential, and the farther reaches of human development.  Because models of human development are both descriptive and prescriptive, the issues addressed are epistemological and ethical. We must grapple with what makes a model more or less true or correct, as well as considering the value of a model's action-orienting aspects, i.e., the worth of the life a particular model assumes that one should build. Thus, one central goal of the course is to improve how we detect and discuss the various symptoms of quality displayed by different models. The course will support students to further cultivate the ability to reason and argue about how, why, and to what extent different ways of viewing the higher reaches of human development are good, true, and beautiful. To this end, we will be taking an historical and critical approach to the issues at hand.

EDU 710 Principles of Collective Emergence

The last 30,000 years of human evolution can be viewed as a process of human individuation that has reached a peak - and perhaps a dead end - in the West. Ironically, the “We” of our contemporary modern/postmodern times is one that creates and reinforces the experience of a separate and often alienated “I.” Over the last few decades, there have been an increasing number of experiments with collectivity from a variety of fields of endeavor. This course provides an overview of the emerging terrain of the collective and a detailed understanding of the integral “We” that complements integral cognition in order to give rise to a new cultural emergence. Major topics will include the “We” of pre-individuated cultures, the emergence of the West’s “I,” the transformation of political life through the potential of collective intelligence and wisdom towards development of an integrated pluralistic polis, and a next step of “We,” the result of trans-individuation, which would also be an integral culture. We will also explore such questions as whether it might be possible to create intentional “We” spaces as integral micro-cultures within organizations, teams, and committed practice groups, and dialogue methods that aim to move individuals to a unified “We” by emphasizing the contributions and connections between individuals.

EDU 712 Collaborative and Cultural Leadership

Leading effectively entails learning and collaborating with others. Humans are a profoundly social species formed both by genes and memes. Significant collective endeavors require a deep capacity to collaborate and to perceive culture. This capacity is intimately associated with the development of the ‘I,’ often referred to as ego, self, or self-identity. This course takes an integral approach to leadership capacities and skills essential for promoting and facilitating transformative learning in multiple institutional domains and at multiple levels of human systems. 

EDU 718 Human Development and the Transformation of Societies

Individual and collective human development mutually entail each other. About 2500 years ago, the ancient Greeks achieved high complexity of human development as evidenced by their contributions to philosophy, mythology, literature, architecture, sculpture, and politics. This course will explore what the Greeks have to teach us today through their study of the nature of Nature, about the soul and essence, and the clarity of their thought and how to think. There is a running dialogue between the ancient Greeks and ourselves about the challenges of today and how we might transform our societies, as they sought to transform theirs.

EDU 720 Leadership and Creative Inquiry

First and foremost, leaders must be learners. Expectations for ongoing learning in the management of enterprises continue to accelerate as organizations learn to periodically reinvent themselves within an increasingly competitive, entrepreneurial culture. This course sequence focuses on leadership capacities and creative inquiry skills developed through Transformative Learning practices. For this first course the emphasis will be on the development of the student’s creative action project.

EDU 725 Leadership for Whole-System Transition

This course develops the themes of Social Artistry, defining leadership from the point of view of one who views society and the world in the way a great artist approaches a masterwork. Themes to be explored include: The leader as healer; the leader as one who understands culture and development; the leader as contemplative; the leader as orchestrator of reality; the leader as visionary pragmatist.

EDU 726 Story, Myth, and Social Transformation

This course guides us through the human story as myth and history seeking to unfold the multiple layers of human experience and the many ways the past both informs and endangers the present. We will strive to comprehend and differentiate those mythic structures that provide encouragement hope and wisdom toward the re-visioning of a possible world and in so doing understand the importance of applying mythic patterns to the seen and unseen world.

EDU 727 Human Capacities and Cultural Transformation

This course is about next stage capabilities for effective leadership in navigating the cultural challenges, and even cultural degradation, pervasive to these times. The archetypal patterns of Initiation, Creativity, Achievement, and Integration can provide a pathway for these capabilities. For initiation, shamanic practice - the world’s oldest form of religious life - provides a pattern for today’s leader who is in service to the well-being of the community in the forms of healing and regeneration. This requires the clarity to discern those elements of a culture that require healing and the courage involved in bringing about shifts, however subtle, that will lead toward transformation. For creativity, the process of enhancing one’s own creativity will be explored utilizing stages of the mystic path as we look at the emerging shape and content of the student’s creative action project. For achievement we will imagine the leader as magus in working towards a designated goal without giving up or losing heart, requiring the capabilities of visionary power and the gift of the follow-through. For integration we will work with both the historic foundations and current applications of the ancient practice of alchemy to integrate and refine parts of the self. Seeking the true gold and the philosopher’s stone brings us towards the capabilities of compassion as well as deeper understanding and refinement of those moral values towards which we aspire. 

EDU 729 Transformative Education

While wisdom is not a destination, wisdom emerges in the journey of Transformative Learning. The process of Transformative Learning inevitably disrupts culturally infused mental models. Transformative Learning goes beyond the acquisition of information and skills to individual and system capabilities. This course sequence focuses on Transformative Learning in the domain of educational institutions. Students will develop the competencies needed to effectively facilitate Transformative Learning, with an emphasis on liminal processes.

EDU 731 Diversity & Cultural Praxis

One of the challenges within educational organizations is to connect or reconnect diverse individuals and communities and in this way enable a unity in diversity. This course sequence develops competencies required in facilitating the recognition and engagement of differences critical to learning environments including the domain of education.

EDU 732 Strategic Leadership

Any enterprise or initiative that aspires to long-term sustainability requires strategic leadership that can connect the why with the how. Weaving together strategic vision core values strategic planning and operations in the service of a significant initiative requires individual and collective complex capability distinct from those leadership skills that are only technical and context specific. This course is an overview of selected principles practices and methods of strategic leadership applicable to the practice domains of education business civil society and government.

EDU 733 Development of Human Capacities

Within the context of the current global upheaval, this course sequence defines and explores the capacities and skills needed for leaders during this time of major change. The primary emphasis is on vision and envisioning, as well as learning to embody those inner abilities that will allow us to sustain ourselves and our communities as the world remakes itself. Capacities to be emphasized entail four levels of human development: Physical/ Sensory; Historic/Psychological; Mythic/Symbolic; and Unitive/ Spiritual. These capacities will be accompanied by skills development, essential for effectively navigating the challenges of whole system transformation.

EDU 761 Educational Innovation & Liminal Processes

The contemporary challenge for educational innovation entails inhabiting a richer ecology of competencies than has previously been the case. The shift from buffered competencies to integrated competencies requires a learning praxis that recognizes the necessity of the liminal phases in Transformative Learning. This course sequence focuses on developing the capacities and skills of Cultural Leadership, required for guiding individuals and systems through liminal phases of transformation.

EDU 762

Leadership, Governance, and Cultural Competency Societies worldwide are crying for assistance in the transformation of their citizens, organizations, governance, and institutions. However, many leaders have been educated for a different time, a different world – and the world today reflects this competency gap. Few have been trained for the task of dealing with the complexity and chaos of today’s world, while at the same time the usual formulas and stopgap solutions of an earlier era will not help us. In this course we explore the student’s emerging ability to bring a different order of comprehensive intelligence to bear upon present day social and cultural issues. 

EDU 765 Transforming Educational Organizations

Paradoxically, educational organizations often resist Transformative Learning. The committee to transmit the intended curriculum can be become a barrier to evolving an emergent curriculum responsive to accelerated change and complexity. This course sequence focuses on theories and practices that facilitate systemic transformation within educational organizations.

EDU 766 Transformative Learning within Educational Organizations

While wisdom is not a destination, wisdom emerges in the journey of Transformative Learning. The process of Transformative Learning inevitably disrupts culturally infused mental models. Transformative Learning goes beyond the acquisition of information and skills to individual and system capabilities. This course sequence focuses on Transformative Learning in the domain of educational institutions. Students will develop the competencies needed to effectively facilitate Transformative Learning, with an emphasis on liminal processes.

EDU 770 Curriculum Development

Curriculum development entails differentiating the ecology of competencies that are significant to a particular curriculum. Good curriculum development not only specifies learning outcomes but goes deeper to ask which type of learning outcomes are of most value. This course sequence focuses on distinguishing between specific types of learning outcomes and the distinct learning activities that promote specific learning outcomes.

EDU 778 Assessment of Educational Effectiveness

There is substantial evidence that assessing learning also accelerates learning. Different types of learning outcomes call for different modes of assessment. This course sequence focuses on the student learning to conduct Transformative Assessment of learning within the course of classroom activities as well as assessing the overall effectiveness of educational programs.

EDU 779 Democracy, Conflict & Sustainability

This course sequence focuses on the role of collective Transformative Learning in creating a just and sustainable future. Intractable conflicts are rooted in core beliefs and mental models. Democratic processes require that differences in mental models be engaged with creative conflict instead of violence and exploitation. This course develops competencies for facilitating creative conflict.

MER 510 Sacred Purpose and Professional Practice

Human beings thrive on meaning and purpose. Bringing meaning and purpose together into a coherent professional life is a challenge. In part this is so because the professions paradoxically and often tragically undermine their purposeful intentions to meet human needs in support of the flourishing of individuals communities and societies. Understanding the underlying economic structures and practices that shape the unintended consequences of professions is critical to transforming the professions. This course weaves together developing leadership competencies for professionals necessary for transforming the professions in ways that realign the professions to their deeper and sacred purpose.

MER 524 Transformative Communities of Practice

With the modern emergence of professions, and with the additional layer of the digital revolution, practitioner-communities have an even more vital and evolutionary role creating contexts for capability development. Leaps in practice are catapulted by communities of practitioners underscoring the social and dialogical nature of human learning and knowledge. Practitioners drive both domain-specific learning associated with technical complexity and vertical development associated with dynamic complexity. Transformative Communities of Practice (TCoP) are any group of people who share their passion, experience, and learning related to the vertical development of self, organizations, and social systems. TCoP is an upgrade of the traditional concept of “communities of practice” i.e., they support the development of their members and stakeholders to the next stage of consciousness, competence, and social creativity. Three characteristics of TCoP make it a prefigurative harbinger of the organization of the future: They are a commitment to an evolutionary purpose, an emphasis on wholeness, and a preference for self-management. They also make TCoP represent an evolutionary force contributing to the present movements for civilizational renewal. In this course, students will not only learn about TCoP but gain an enacted experience of it. Formative assessment will be embedded within the learning activity.

MER 526 Leadership and Embodiment Practices

MER 590 Research Methods

Understanding research studies and their conclusions can be a vital aspect of a psychological practitioner’s continuing education. This course prepares the student to understand and engage with psychological research literature by conducting a literature search and gathering sources on a focused topic area within the field of psychology. The course examines aspects of research; which emphasize critical thinking skills, enabling the student to begin to discriminate valid, relevant data from faulty, inconclusive data. Additionally, we will ask specific questions about the culture of psychological research by examining such areas as the relationship between soul and research, the construction of psychological theory, the competing claims of quantitative versus qualitative research, and the primary research paradigms.

MER 591 Writing Literature Reviews

Doctoral Project courses provide doctoral students a hands-on opportunity to develop elements of the dissertation or clinical case study. This course focuses on developing a preliminary Literature Review chapter for the dissertation proposal or clinical case study. Emphasis is also placed on the continuing refinement of the topic, research questions, and gaps in the literature that emerge from the student’s deepening familiarity with their topic’s literature. Students will also develop a building block of the Literature Review, that of the Sources component of the Context Paper/ Clinical Case Paper. As a result of the information, practice, and feedback offered through the course, students will gain significant familiarity with the process and elements needed in the development of an effective review of the literature.

MER 592 Research Design

This course provides the opportunity for students to have a hands-on experience developing the third chapter of the doctoral project: The dissertation’s Methodology or the clinical case study’s Progression of the Treatment . Particular emphasis is placed on the development of the research design or a thorough gathering of essential aspects of the treatment story. A secondary focus is for students to integrate feedback from previous assignments, complete any outstanding assignments, and continue to build the project’s emerging second chapter, the Literature Review.

MER 593 Dissertation Development

This course sequence provides the opportunity for students to have a hands-on experience developing elements of the dissertation/clinical case study. This fourth course in the sequence provides a structure for each student to individually utilize towards their progress in completing the dissertation proposal/first three chapters of the the clinical case study. While the primary focus is for students to integrate feedback from previous assignments and complete outstanding assignments through a cycle of writing and reflection, peer-to-peer collaboration, and frequent faculty feedback, its secondary focus is to identify and break through obstacles to students’ doctoral progress.

MER 709 Conflict and Cultural Transformation

This course explores issues in the field of peace psychology: peace, conflict, and violence. Topics include direct violence, structural violence, non-violence, peace-making, peace-building, and social justice. Students will develop skills in facilitating the recognition and engagement of differences necessary for creative collaboration and cultural transformation.

MER 710 Liminal Processes and Initiatory Practices

This course offers a multifaceted exploration of the structure and process of initiatory and transformational experiences through the perspective of the rites of passages framework. The course especially focuses on the liminal phase, the betwixt and between in the process of change, where one is no longer the old and not yet the new. Topics range from rites of passage in indigenous cultures, to applying a reconceptualization of the rites of passages framework, to experiences of complex change in contemporary cultural settings. This course shines light on the epistemological challenges of translating observations, knowledge, and insights from indigenous traditions to western academic contexts, and examines the competencies that are needed for stewards of liminal process to cultivate and harvest the vital forces of change, and to be better able to discern between and apply traditional understanding and practices to contemporary settings. As well, students will consider the competencies and authority they need in moving toward becoming facilitators of liminal processes.

MER 715 Revisioning Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is now a major driver of social and economic transformation. Social Entrepreneurship entails social innovation in the service of positive social impact. Generative Entrepreneurship goes beyond positive social impact to include regenerating the commons and furthering collective transformative learning that impacts future generations. Instead of exploiting the commons by externalizing costs, Generative Entrepreneurship seeds and grows the commons. In doing so Generative Entrepreneurs combine technological and social innovation with cultural innovation. In cultural innovation emphasis can be placed on partnership, interdependence, synergy and empowerment. When combined with social innovation, entrepreneurship has the potential to seed and build the commons, producing systemic cultural shifts and going beyond positive social impact by facilitating individual learning and influencing the evolution of social institutions. This course will review examples of Generative Entrepreneurship around the globe as a way to imagine further possibilities in local contexts. In addition, the course explores the overlap between leadership and entrepreneurship for social innovation. We will also survey examples of national and global enterprises that are engaged in creative social innovation as evolutionary experiments that potentially create pathways for solving problems and creating future possibilities.

MER 728 Organizational Development and Transformation

Sustainable organizations in an emerging creative economy are dynamic in their response to managing change. Leading organizational change involves collaborative leadership, creativity, motivation, effective team dynamics, process stabilization, and improvement. This course covers the characteristics of a leadership team and their relation to successful organizational transformation in a creative economy. Topics include: stages of commitment, organizational behavior for effective ecological and human sustainability, and support systems needed to sustain long term change.

MER 731 Introduction to Social Artistry

Worldwide, societies are crying out for assistance in the transformation of their citizenry, organizations, businesses, and institutions. To bring a new vision of the Possible Earth into reality, we need to begin with ourselves so that we are operating with the fullness of our being. The global need is to achieve a new humanity and a new way to nurture the human species while we work to heal our home, the planet Earth. The need is to develop the possible human, in the possible society, in a more possible world. This is the art of world-making, spirit-catching, mind-growing, soul-quaking leadership! The complexity of our time requires both greater and wiser use of our capacities - a rich playing of the mental and emotional instrument we have been given. The world needs Social Artists - skilled facilitators, change agents, and leaders - to guide and lead the shift to a set of new global values and local practices. Social Artistry provides strategies that are effective in an interdependent world, developing effective leaders who can productively address interconnected world problems. This course in Social Artistry guides human development in its most primary form: The development of capacities, skills, and potentials that activate both individuals and groups in ways that enhance their societal choices and commitments, liberate their inventiveness, and raise levels of esteem and cooperation essential to carrying out individual and collective social goals. 

MER 735 Integral Development

This highly interactive course exposes students to key concepts and practices of Integral Development – an approach to human development that focuses on actualizing the interconnected potential of self, organization and society. The course is designed as a “development journey,” taking participants step by step, through all levels of integral development. An “engagement map” with guiding questions, will help participants to navigate through the course, and the multiple layers of development that are discussed.  The course focuses simultaneously on the acquisition of relevant knowledge, deep insights, as well as innovative new practice. The course assignment is designed to enable transfers to the personal development journey each participant is on (and, of course, her particular organization and society), thereby strengthening the personal capacity to become an “integral” agent of transformation. Throughout the course, students are exposed to real-life case stories from diverse cultures from around the world, to purposefully draw on cultural and societal particularities. Cases range from private enterprise, to civic society initiatives, to transformative educational institutions, including a cutting-edge leadership laboratory in Brazil. The course is infused with arts, performance, and poetry, to help create a stimulating and expansive learning and innovation environment within the classroom. The course culminates in the visualization and co-creation of an ‘Integral University Perspective’: an educational context that can authentically “care” for the interconnected development of self, organization and society.

MER 736 Models of Self-Identity

One’s self-identity is a fundamental part of being alive, and much research shows that our self- identity grows up. This course is a dive into six self-identity developmental models, the theory that underlies them and practical application of each one. Two of the models are from the Loevinger lineage: Torbert’s Developmental Action Inquiry and Susanne Cook-Greuter’s MAP. Three other models will be featured: Hall’s Values Mode, the Lectica which is based on Fisher and Dawson’s research and STAGES, O’Fallon’s Integral model combining the Integral Frame and the Loevinger lineage. Each model will be featured including guest speakers from several of these traditions. Embodiment of these approaches will include group discussions and learning activities.

MER 737 Ecology, Culture, and Pluralism

Psychologists can make significant contributions towards healing modernity’s cultural trauma. Revitalizing our culture towards community, beauty, conviviality, and sustainability requires that we embrace a pluralist vision which recognizes the necessity of difference and interdependence. Pluralizing of our own identity is an essential element in reimagining and revitalizing our culture. We will consider how a culture of conviviality and pluralized identity can reconstitute personal responsibility. Topics explored may include home, money, food, violence, gender, and sexuality.

MER 760 Modern Consciousness and Indigenous Wisdom

The stories of indigenous peoples provide inspiration for a mythic imagination that attempts to address the crises of modern consciousness. This course explores how indigenous wisdom can appear differently depending on the particular self-construction in which we happen to be engaged. Understanding the history of the self gives us access to a relationship with native knowing that does not appropriate but instead engages in a moral discourse which seeks healing through integrative states of consciousness including the painful awareness of collective shadow material. Healing our contemporary pathologies and suffering in ways that transcend individualistic paradigms without romanticizing native people will be considered. The intent is to narrate ourselves freely in the face of historical dissociations and denied aspects of ourselves and our communities.

MER 776 Research Writing

This course provides a structure for each student to individually utilize towards their progress in completing the dissertation proposal/first three chapters of the clinical case study. While the primary focus is for students to integrate feedback from previous assignments and complete outstanding assignments through a cycle of writing and reflection as well as peer and faculty faculty feedback, its secondary focus is to identify and break through any personal obstacles to the student’s doctoral progress.