The Master’s Degree: Can It Be Transformative?

By Rhonda Rabbitt, Harold Hiebert and Patricia Markos.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

We explored the effects of a non-traditional Master of Education Professional Development Learning Community program on its students at a mid-size Midwestern public university. Two primary questions in this study were: 1) Is the term transformative learning justified in describing program outcomes? and 2) To what extent did practices of our program approximate those recommended by transformative learning advocates? We solicited transformation stories from program faculty, staff, and students. Outcomes expressed were consistent with transformative learning concepts found in educational literature as were the educational environments and practices characterizing our program. Results indicated more than one-third of the stories as gains in “confidence”. The role of emotion and alternative views in transformative learning outcomes were also presented.

Keywords: Masters Degree, Transformation, Professional Development

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.7-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.601MB).

Dr. Rhonda Rabbitt

ME-PD Interim Director, College of Liberal Studies, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA

Dr. Rabbitt currently serves as Interim Director for the Masters of Education-Professional Development (ME-PD) Program and has been involved with graduate studies at UW-L for eleven years. She cites high school Spanish, Waldorf education, and her own four children as additional teaching experiences. Dr. Rabbitt earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change (Ed.D.) from Fielding Graduate University, which she intentionally chose because of it focus on social justice and innovation. Her dissertation and continued research area is: Seeking the Undivided Self: A Grounded Theory Study. She strives to live out the ME-PD Learning Community program vision to be a leader in educational transformation. Rabbitt has led curriculum reform for two separate graduate programs within the ME-PD program in the past three years. Motivated by her philosophy of teaching to meet the needs of each learner, she advocates relationships, innovation, and continuous improvement. Dr. Rabbitt’s ultimate goal is to make a positive impact within the field of education, for children and for society.

Dr. Harold Hiebert

Program Development, ME-PD Learning Community, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA

Dr. Hal Hiebert is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Dr. Hiebert taught in the Psychology and Education Departments for more than 30 years. His areas of professional interest include: Learning, Teacher Education, Adult Education, Adult Development, and Professional Development. Dr. Hiebert’s most recent work has been in Graduate Education, specifically in developing and supporting a Masters of Education-Professional Development program delivered in a learning community format.

Dr. Patricia Markos

Research & Writing Specialist, Master of Education-Professional Development, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA

Dr. Markos is the Research and Writing Specialist for the ME-PD program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her own research has focused heavily on the area of homelessness.