Goals and Description

Introduction to Transformative Learning for Professional and Community Leadership

This is an introductory course, required of WISR students in all degree programs, except for the MS in Psychology (leading to the MFT and/or LPCC license), which is designed to enable students to progress more effectively toward the successful completion of the degree program at WISR, so that students can get the most from their WISR education—in pursuing their learning passions and career interests, in developing the core meta-competencies valued at WISR, in fulfilling the learning objectives for their chosen WISR degree program, and in building bridges for themselves to the next significant things they wish to do in their lives.  

1. Students read and study the methods of “Learning the WISR way”–studying the theories and strategies of WISR’s approach to transformative learning for professional and community leadership, as well as learning from stories and specific examples drawn from the experiences of other WISR students.  

2. Students are introduced to methods of note-taking and writing in their own voice, as well as the use of professional conventions in formal writing and strategies of effective online research. Students are also introduced to the use of WISR’s library, and how to access other libraries and online library databases, as well as the WISR Career Center.

3. Throughout the course meet regularly with your faculty advisor(s) to help you progress and get the most out of this course.  In this course, students are to reflect on, discuss with their faculty mentor(s) and fellow students, and write about what they are learning throughout their studies in this course

4. The culminating, required papers are a reflective autobiographical essay, a preliminary educational plan and a self-assessment inventory of strengths, challenges, needs, and opportunities in the pursuit of their future goals and learning.  In addition, EdD students are expected to write a brief essay where they put forth ideas and questions relating what they’ve learned in this course to the content of their planned EdD studies in higher education and social change.  

About Course Credit:

4 semester units for BS students

3 semester units for MS students (exception: students in the MS in Psychology are not required to do this course for credit since the State MFT requirements already require 60+ units–however, they are encouraged to spend time doing most of what is expected in this course, because this preparation will enable them to get more out of their studies at WISR and most likely, to progress more effectively through the many required courses).

2 semester units for EdD students

BS students receive more credit and EdD students, less, because the expectations for graduate studies are more demanding than for undergraduate studies.  Also, EdD students are required to write an essay connecting “learning the WISR way” to the content of their EdD studies, and this is not required of MS students.


Important! This course is best studied if you approach it with curiosity and a playful spirit of inquistiveness, more than trying to “master” or precisely memorize the material. Through this course, we’re trying to share with you what we’ve learned about how to help many different people learn–in important and deeply transformative ways–different people, in different circumstances, with different life experiences, and with different interests and purposes !  This course is a beginning introduction to “transformative learning”–it is quite likely that you may not really start to appreciate and feel comfortable with these ideas until you are well into your studies at WISR many months from now!  

This course will introduce you to some very unconventional ideas about learning, human development and leadership. These unconventional ideas are shared by many others, however, and as you will eventually learn, in other WISR courses, similar ideas have been formulated and advocated by creative leaders in a number of fields–scientists, philosophers, educators, psychologists, other scholars and professionals, and change agents. You are not expected to master or completely understand these ideas after this introductory course.  The point is to help you to BEGIN TO THINK ABOUT AND DISCUSS these important, and innovative, ideas about transformative learning, and to begin to think about how they might apply to you, during and beyond your WISR studies. Also, as you progress through your studies at WISR we will help you to explore ways that transformative learning methods can be important to others with whom you will be working, especially as part of  your creative efforts in careers in professional and community leadership.

If you get frustrated with the amount of reading for this course, with the unusual content of the readings, or have difficulty seeing its relevance, please reach out to faculty for discussion and support.  You are not being tested on this–we are hoping to help you feel relaxed and enthusiastic in imaginatively exploring this material–in reflecting on its possible relevance to you, and in discussing it with others at WISR. This is the beginning of what will hopefully be an exciting and transformative process–for you and for all of us at WISR who collaborate with you!

Read more . . .

Current course Instructor:  John Bilorusky, PhD  johnb@wisr.edu

To obtain permission to make comments on the discussion page, and to obtain the password to access evaluation statements and syllabi written by previous WISR students (located in the Google Drive at: coursematerials@wisr.edu )–contact the course instructor.

For BA students:  Undergraduate Studies 101

For MA students: Graduate Studies 501

For EdD students:  Doctoral Studies 601

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