Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

OSU-OKC Liberal Arts Professors Invited to Speak on Transformational Learning

Five OSU-OKC Liberal Arts professors were recently selected to present at the Transformational Learning Conference that highlights the importance of transformative learning in the classroom. Selected professors were Dan Biggs, Steven Collins, Alissa Nephew, Jennifer Poynter and Cynthia Vleugels. The group presented “Team Teaching: The Philosophy of Good and Evil,” which highlighted their experience with transformational learning at OSU-OKC.


“I have attended the Transformational Learning Conference several times and am always inspired to try new activities in the classroom, but this is the first time I have presented,” Poynter says. “What an honor it was to get to co-present with such a wonderful and diverse group of professors.”


A description of their presentation reads, “Instructors want students to think critically and to understand that courses not directly related to their majors are required because they can improve students in a variety of ways. To encourage metacognition, [OSU-OKC’s Liberal Arts Division] offered a team-taught course called The Philosophy of Good and Evil that expands students’ understanding of their own perceptions of the concepts of good and evil and the perceptions of others, which is the main tenet of transformative learning.”


Over the 16 weeks of the course, seven OSU-OKC instructors helped students examine the concept of good and evil from the perspectives of Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, Mathematics, English, Literature and Communication. At the conference, the instructors held a panel presentation with several of the instructors who participated in the course explaining the main concepts covered and some of the activities used to help students engage with the material.


“Team teaching not only deepens the students’ connection to their learning but also connects the professors to each other,” Poynter says. “We were extremely proud to be given the opportunity to represent OSU-OKC at an international conference.”


The Transformative Learning Conference began seven years ago at the University of Central Oklahoma as a way for professors to share experiences, strategies and challenges of incorporating transformative learning into their courses. By 2015, the conference moved off campus and became a national discussion on applied transformative learning. In 2016, international scholars joined the conference. In the last several years, around 350 scholars have joined the discussion considering everything from conceptualizing and measuring transformative learning to creating official student records of their transformative education.


To find out more about the OSU-OKC Liberal Arts Division, visit osuokc.edu/arts. To find out more about the annual Transformative Learning Conference, visit http://sites.uco.edu/central/tl/conference/2017conference.

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Pictured are OSU-OKC Liberal Arts professors following their presentation at the 2017 Transformative Learning Conference. From left: Dan Biggs, mathematics instructor; Dr. Steven Collins, political science associate professor; Jennifer Poynter, English assistant professor; Alissa Nephew, English instructor; and Cynthia Vleugels, communication instructor. Photo by Jason Stone.