Core Meta-Competencies

Core Areas of Competency, or “Meta-Competencies” to be Developed, Across All WISR Degree Programs


As a further way to define and structure WISR’s curricula—across all of our degree programs—the following core areas of competency will provide WISR students and faculty with some guiding directions, within all degree programs.  Furthermore, each course within each program will aim to help students to develop further their competencies in more than one of these areas, and in some cases at least, in most of these competency areas.


1Competence in (Critical, Creative, Compassionate, Constructive, Collaborative/Communal) Thinking and Communication

Writing and communicating clearly, purposefully and inquiringly, and in one’s own voice

Using stories, ideas, visions and proposals, and questions to communicate

Reading Critically and for Relevance

Developing Imaginative (Creative) and Critical Thinking

Integrating Theory and Practice—learning how to develop and use theory and practice in relation to one another, and how to communicate to others about this interplay

Ability to think and communicate within one’s sphere of professional practice, AND the ability to step outside the boundaries and scope of that professional community, in order to better contribute to one’s profession, as well as the larger society.

2.  Becoming Conscious, Intentional, and Improvising Learners

Engaging in lifelong, self-directed, self-motivated and improvisational learning, in the realm of professional practice, and in other domains in one’s life. Developing strong skills in self-assessment is especially important to this area of meta-competency.

Willingness and ability to re-evaluate and change directions and plans—ability to improvise, including the inclination and ability to turn challenges and problems into opportunities.

Developing and Using Curiosity, along with one’s own sense of purpose and meaning

Pursuing Long-term plans, alternatives, goals and pathways

Quite importantly, consciously and intentionally building bridges to the next important phases of one’s life–this means that learning activities at WISR should lay a foundation for the next steps, and more than this, should create pathways and movement along the pathway to the next significant things the learner wishes to do in her or his life.

In using the Internet, this means becoming aware of strategies for finding material–readings and information from a variety of sources, and learning how to critically evaluate the usefulness and validity with the extensive material, resources and data available.

3.  Community Leadership and Collaboration–Practical Skills and Talents

Leadership and Community Engagement (practical learning, experiences, identifying and using resources, challenges and opportunities, leadership skills and strategies, profit and non-profit)

Understanding the Uses and Limitations of the Technology, including but not limited to the internet, multimedia, social networking; this includes further developing one’s technical and computer literacy, as part of the collaborative process, and understanding the limitations of technology as well.

Collaboration—experience, motivation and understanding in working with others.

4.   Multicultural perspective

Developing and using multicultural perspectives to inform one’s purposes, and one’s views of social issues and challenges and opportunities in one’s chosen fields or arenas of endeavor—profession, workplace, community.

Developing a sense of empathy, compassion and community toward, and with, others.

Appreciating and Understanding the broad spectrum of perspectives and consciousness, and how those arise out of people’s culture, gender, economic background, religious and sexual preferences.

5.  Participatory Action-Inquiry and Qualitative Research

Seeing oneself as a builder of knowledge

Learning from the experience and knowledge of others

Developing methods of critical inquiry in order to evaluate the strengths and methods of specific approaches to sampling, data gathering, data analysis, and uses of findings.

Use of participatory action-inquiry to build knowledge and to fashion effective improvisations

Using Stories and concrete examples to develop and convey theories.

Developing a broadly informed perspective on science and scientific methods, in order to better inform one’s own inquiries and the inquiries of others within one’s profession and chosen area(s) of specialization.

6.   Justice, Sustainability and Social Change 

Developing Economic/political/societal/cultural/environmental literacy and social change in a multicultural society.

Understanding of issues and challenges of sustainability, in relation to current decisions being made today.

Ability to understand, appreciate, act with awareness of the bigger picture as well as the immediate tasks to be accomplished.

Understanding and appreciating the connections between individual transformations and societal change, including how societal circumstances, especially injustices and inequalities, skew the way people understand and make sense of their experiences and make decisions about themselves and others.

Understanding the impact of political/social/economic inequities and injustices, and possible directions and strategies toward greater justice.

7.  Experience, Competence, Talent and Knowledge in one’s chosen area(s) of specialization

Understanding the “lay of the land” in terms of what others have done and learned—theory and practice.

Competencies Need in One’s Specific, Chosen Areas of Professional Specialization

Engagement with some portions of the communities of professionals, practitioners, writer/researchers, and/or engaged citizens in one’s chosen area(s), or at least engagement with the ideas, stories, lessons, problems and questions, and practices of these communities

Understanding the limitations of and problems facing people in this/these area(s)

Progress in beginning to formulate one’s own ideas and sense of direction in the chosen area(s) of specialization



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