Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 10 January 2016

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. I was amazed that so many people still find this blog helpful since I haven’t written a post for a long time. In 2016, I will begin posting again on topics related to the doctoral journey and searching for work in academia (since I have been doing that for the past 18 months).

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 17 January 2015

Post-doc Perspective

The last year of the dissertation process is all-consuming and exhausting.

You don’t realize how exhausted you are until you complete the final edits and turn in your four printed copies of the final product. At my school, you are allowed to walk at graduation after you have successfully defended your dissertation, and before you turn in the final edited copies. Therefore, I walked in July 2012 and received my official Doctor of Philosophy degree on October 2, 2012.

It takes about 18 months to recover – at least it did for me.

Now, I’m applying for leadership positions in academia and nonprofit organizations. My vision is to find a position where I can help transform young people’s lives through music study.

writers-desk-1920x1200

I am also writing two books based on my dissertation research. The first is a collaboration with the Cavani Quartet, tentatively titled, Empowered Performers: Chamber Music Rehearsal Techniques and Coaching Strategies for Musicians. The second book is for leaders of organizations and is tentatively titled, Collective Virtuosity: Music Lessons for Leaders. I have begun a blog related to book #2: www.collectivevirtuosity.com

If you wish to read my dissertation, you can download it from academia.edu

My apologies for not posting new blog entries on this blog for the past 2 years. I’ve been in recovery from writing my dissertation. Over the next several months, I will reflect on my many learnings through that process here on this blog. In the meantime, check out my new blog!

Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 11 February 2010

Learning from conducting peer reviews

Last year, I posted a piece on how to conduct a peer review.  I revisit the topic now as I’ve just concluded reviewing six submissions to the 2010 Academy of Management conference.  As a post-script to my blog post a year ago, I received a “best reviewer” award from the Organizational Behavior division (one of 80 recipients – over 1200 people reviewed OB division submissions).

This year, I reviewed four paper submissions and two symposium submissions.  While the papers are blind-reviewed, the symposiums are not.  The format of symposium submissions are different.  The submission contains a description of the symposium and approach to presentation, along with a justification that indicates with divisions would benefit from the symposium topic.  Each presenter includes 3-5 pages that describes their paper.  I welcomed the opportunity to review this different format.

This year, I also submitted a paper….the AOM Management, Spirituality and Religion special interest group has a “best dissertation” competition.  They encourage early-stage dissertation concept papers or proposals as submissions.  I submitted my draft concept paper.  Unfortunately, the submission deadline was January 14th, the same date of my first committee meeting.  Had the deadline been a week later, I would have submitted a more complete concept paper, with a research question.

Even so, my submission really benefited from my experience of reviewing papers last year.  I had a much better understanding of what the Academy looks for in a submission, as well as examples of the formats for papers.  This year, I felt more qualified to comment on research methodology and to question claims and arguments as I reviewed the paper submissions.  I am encouraged through this process of becoming a scholar – the Academy of Management needs doctoral students to continue the cycle – I’m glad I’m one of them.

Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 5 January 2010

Another Milestone!

This is truly a journey – and I’m still enjoying it.  In late November, I received a Master of Arts in Human and Organizational Systems.  The Master’s degree is awarded after completing 46 credits of course-work.  I’ve completed 52 credits.  Amazingly, once I complete the current course that I’m taking (just have the final paper to write), I have only one more 10 credit course to take.

I’m told that you aren’t ABD (all but dissertation) until your dissertation proposal is approved.  I have drafted a concept paper (actually two, but that’s another story) and will have my first dissertation committee meeting next week (OMG!).  I plan to start my comprehensive exams and the lit review this month too.  This is exciting . . . I’m ahead of the time-line I set for myself by six months.

I have been remiss in posting to this blog due to very busy work/school/mom/wife/volunteer schedule.  It’s probably why I’m six months further than I expected. However, I will be using this blog as input to my comps.  Therefore, I plan on posting on the following:

  1. Writing the dissertation concept paper
  2. Choosing a dissertation committee
  3. My conversations with Edgar Schein (really!)
  4. Research project #2 (an action research project that is progressing very slowly…)
  5. My dissertation topic and how I came to it (this will be a surprise…)
Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 30 November 2009

Systems Theory Primer – Part III

World Systems Theory

Immanuel Wallerstein (Hopkins & Wallerstein, 1982; 2004) introduced world systems theory in the 1970’s.  The current world system emerged in the sixteenth century, as Europe began to colonize and exploit resources in other parts of the world.  Capitalism became the dominant paradigm and basis for a world-economy.  The key aspects of a capitalist system are focus on “the endless accumulation of capital,” flows of labor and capital between entities around the world, and exchange of goods and services for profits (Wallerstein, 2004, p. 24).  Capitalism requires a wide-spread market across many state entities, but is independent of culture, religion, and language.

Wallerstein (2004) defines a market as “both a concrete local structure in which individuals or firms sell and buy goods, and a virtual institution across space where the same kind of exchange occurs” (p. 25).  Sellers prefer imperfect markets that allow them to maximize their profits.  Though monopolies are rare in a regulated state, quasi-monopolies are allowed by states through the use of patents, taxes, subsidies and export or import restrictions.  Wallerstein claims that “quasi-monopolies are . . . self-liquidating” because eventually new sellers enter the market by exerting political pressure to open markets to competition (p. 27).  He further claims that “large accumulators of capital simply move their capital to new leading products or whole new leading industries” (p. 27).  Understanding that such choices have a disruptive impact on the economies of countries that companies leave behind, I wonder if this a bad thing, since consumers benefit from the innovation that makes new and better products available to them at often lower costs.

Other key aspects of capitalism are business failures, bankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions.  Stronger companies buy up weaker companies in a “constant process of the concentration of capital” which may or may not reduce costs.  Capitalists claim that they get economies of scale through industry consolidation, but Wallerstein points out that as the size of the institution grows, risk increases and administrative costs also grow.  Mergers are often followed by down-sizing, followed by another merger.  I have witnessed this first-hand in the financial services industry as an employee and consultant at several financial institutions that have gone through mergers over the past twenty years.  For example, I consider Bank of America to be a “merger machine,” meaning the company has sophisticated processes in place to quickly assess potential acquisitions and bring them into the bank’s portfolio of businesses.  However, from my observations as a consultant to the company, it does not have the management systems and processes in place to sustain internal innovation and growth that is not dependent on acquiring companies.  If the company were to slow down or stop its acquisition strategy, it might encounter issues of stagnation and possibly experience a cultural identity crisis.

Another key concept of world systems theory is the idea of state entities belonging either to the core, semi-peripheryperiphery of the world economic system (Wallerstein, 2004).  The core states include the advanced industrialized countries such as the United States, Canada, Western Europe and Japan.  The core exploits labor and plunders the resources of the periphery states.  The periphery states contain raw materials and inexpensive unskilled labor, for example, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America.  The semi-periphery states are those countries that aspire to become part of the core and to avoid falling back into the periphery, such as China, India, Southeast Asia and Brazil.  These countries exploit the periphery and are exploited by the core states.

For example, software development (and technology in general) used to be the competency and output of the core states in the twentieth century.  Since the 1990’s, the states in the semi-periphery have become the key providers of software development and technology to the core countries.   India was one of the first countries to provide their labor pool.  As the cost of Indian labor increased, Indian companies began outsourcing to China and Southeast Asia.  The core states caught on and began directly contracting with Chinese technology companies.  As labor costs in China have risen, Brazil entered into the semi-periphery. Mexico and Central America are now following Brazil’s path (Steier & Ho, 2007).

The world economic system follows a boom-bust or Kondratieff  (Kondratieff & Stolper, 1935) cycle every fifty to sixty years.  The cycle goes through an expansion phase (A-phase) and subsequently through a stagnation or recession phase (B-phase).  Wallerstein (2004) theorizes that “as we solve the middle-run problems by moving up on the curve, we will eventually run into the long-run problem of approaching the asymptote” or point where expansion within the current system structure is no longer possible (p. 31).  He defines a true world system crisis as one that “cannot be resolved within the framework” of the current system (p. 76).  Systems that are in crisis are unstable, they “oscillate wildly” and are defined as chaotic because small changes within the system can have huge impacts (p. 77).

Wallerstein (2004)  asserts that we are currently experiencing a crisis in our capitalist world-economy.  Given all of the published data concerning our current state of world economics, I don’t think anyone disagrees with this contention, unless they’re in complete denial.   Wallerstein argues that a “clash of fundamental values, even of ‘civilizations’” requires that we choose between a libertarian-democracy and a non-libertarian system (p. 88).  He warns that we can expect a painful, chaotic, unstable environment as we go through the transition to a new world system.  Wallerstein also admonishes us to be willing to all take responsibility to change our values, perspectives and modes of behavior.  We will need to have open dialogue and debate to address political, intellectual and moral challenges as we the new system emerges.

References:

Hopkins, T. K., & Wallerstein, I. M. (1982). World-systems analysis : theory and methodology. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Kondratieff, N. D., & Stolper, W. F. (1935). The Long Waves in Economic Life. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 17(6), 11.

Wallerstein, I. M. (2004). World-systems analysis: an introduction. Durham: Duke University Press.

Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 21 November 2009

Systems Theory – Primer Part II

Cybernetics

The second major classical systems theory is cybernetics, which originated from a cross-disciplinary group of mathematicians, social scientists and neuroscientists.  The original key thought leaders include Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead, Warren McCulloch, John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener.  They focused on the organizational patterns of systems, especially communication patterns.  Capra (1997) asserts that the concept of feedback is one of cybernetics’ major contributions.  A feedback loop exists in a network as a connection between elements of the network in which some causal element has an effect on the next element in the network.  Each successive element in the network is, in turn affected, until the first element receives feedback from the last element in the loop.  This process provides the foundation for living systems to adapt, learn, and regulate themselves.  Another term to describe this learning and adaptation process is self-organization. Capra (1997) contends that in order to understand living systems, we must engage “three different but inseparable perspectives” (p. 7), which are pattern, structure and process (these will be explained in more detail in the next section).

In a lecture given at Stanford University on second-order cybernetics, Heinz von Foerster (1995) provided three definitions of cybernetics based on the work of major cyberneticians.  He attributed Bateson (1972) as saying “Cybernetics is a branch of mathematics dealing with problems of control, recursiveness and information” (von Foerster, 1995, p. 2).  Per von Foerster, Stafford Beer (1967) defined cybnernetics as “the science of effective organization” and Gordon Pask (1961) defined it as “the science of defensible metaphors” (von Foerster, 1995, pp. 2-3).  Von Foerster described an evolution of epistemology that was influenced by advances in neuroscience.  Scientists began to move away from the perspective that we must keep the observer and the observed separate and turned “from looking at things out there to looking at looking itself . . .the writer of [the] theory has to account for her- or himself” (p. 4).  Similar to Bertalanffy’s view of the interconnection between observer and observed, the cyberneticist is part of the system he or she is studying, and therefore must include his or her impact on the system.  This is the concept of second-order cybernetics.

References:

Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind; collected essays in anthropology, psychiatry, evolution, and epistemology. San Francisco,: Chandler Pub. Co.

Beer, S. (1967). Cybernetics and management (2nd ed.). London,: English Universities P.

Capra, F. (1997). The Web of Life. Paper presented at the Schrodinger Seminar. from http://www.tcd.ie/Physics/news/seminars/Schrodinger/Lecture3.html

von Foerster, H. (1995). ethics and second-order cybernetics. SEHR, 4(2), 12.

Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 18 November 2009

Systems Theory – A Primer – Part 1

I have sorely neglected to post on this blog, because I’ve been busy writing papers!  So, I am catching up with posts for a course I completed during the summer and one that I’m just completing now.  This is the first of a series on systems theory.

General Systems Theory

Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1972) can be called the “father” of General Systems Theory, which is one of two classical systems theory streams of thought (the other is cybernetics).  Bertalanffy traces the roots of systems theory back to Aristotle, who purportedly said “the whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Bertalanffy claims that this statement defines the basic systems problem we face today.   In describing the evolution of science during the centuries following Aristotle, Bertalanffy infers that humanity took a detour during the past five centuries, with the rise of the Scientific Revolution, epitomized by positivism and reductionism.  The goal of positivism and reductionism is to simplify problems into the most basic elements in order to understand cause and effect.  This paradigm works for simple problems, but does not work when more than two variables are introduced.  Newtonian physics and the perspective of the organism as a machine answer some, but not all questions.

Two main questions remained foremost across a number of scientific disciplines: 1) how can we understand the concept of organization within all living systems? and, 2) is there a “goal-directedness” in a living system? (Bertalanffy, 1972, p. 410).  Bertalanffy first presented his concept of general systems theory in the 1920’s, stating,

Since the fundamental character of the living thing is its organization, the customary investigation of the single parts and processes cannot provide a complete explanation of the vital phenomena.  This investigation gives us no information about the coordination of parts and processes.  (Bertalanffy & Woodger, 1933, p. 64)

Bertalanffy (1972) defines a system as “a model of general nature, that is, a conceptual analog of certain rather universal traits of observed entities” (p. 416) and “a set of elements standing in interrelation among themselves and with the environment” (p. 417).  The study of systems is interdisciplinary; these concepts can be applied across a wide variety of problems, including sociology and psychology.

General Systems Theory extends the term organism to include all organized entities, such as social organizations.  The key focus of general systems theory is the relationships between elements of the system.  Open systems is an important concept, which exists when the system exchanges energy and/or matter with its surrounding environment.  Again, the focus is on how elements of the system relate to each other and the environment.  Due to their complexity, understanding systems requires nonlinear mathematics.  During the first half of the twentieth century, mathematics and physics evolved to provide a language that addresses systems problems.

Bertalanffy (1972) ascribes three key aspects to general systems theory: 1) systems science and mathematical systems theory; 2) systems technology; and 3) systems philosophy.  He contends that general systems theory requires expression in mathematical language “because mathematics is the exact language permitting rigorous deductions and confirmation (or refusal) of theory” (Bertalanffy, 1972, p. 415).  I believe Bertalanffy contradicts himself in this statement.  First Bertalanffy decries positivism and reductionism, which both employ deductive reasoning (Neuman, 2006, p. 82).  Then, he espouses using deductive reasoning to validate general systems theory.  Inductive reasoning begins with observations and develops abstract theories over time as patterns emerge from the observations (2006, p. 60).  Since systems theory focuses on relations between elements, I believe that inductive reasoning should be employed in addition to deductive reasoning.  Both approaches will be relevant to a multiple-perspective approach to solving systems problems (discussed later in this paper).

The topic of systems technology relates to problems in society and technology, such as sustainability, organizations, and socioeconomic systems.  New related theories have emerged from within this aspect of systems theory, including game, information and decision theories.  Systems philosophy points to a new perspective or world view stemming from general systems theory.   Bertalanffy’s main contention regarding systems philosophy is that our definition of what is “real” is shaped by our perceptions.  He supports his argument with reference to quantum theory, in which entities cannot exist “independently of the observer” (p. 423).  Furthermore, any living organism has a permeable boundary that allows molecules to freely come and go.  He concludes that there is no “distinction between ‘real’ objects and systems as given in observation and ‘conceptual’ constructs and systems” (p. 422).  Therefore, knowledge “is an interaction between knower and known” (p. 423) and general systems theory brings back the holistic, humanistic perspective first presented by Aristotle.

References:

Bertalanffy, L. V. (1972). The history and status of general systems theory. Academy of Management Journal (pre-1986), 15(000004), 407.

Bertalanffy, L. v., & Woodger, J. H. (1933). Modern theories of development; an introduction to theoretical biology. London: Oxford university press.

Neuman, W. L. (2006). Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson/A and B.

Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 22 September 2009

Springboard to Act II

I completed my portfolio review via a phone conference discussion with Dr. Valerie Bentz and Dr. Keith Melville on September 2.

This brief summary outlines the key points of my Portfolio Review discussion:

Keith commented that I present a self-confident voice in my writing and that my work is clear and coherent. Valerie highlighted the depth of my work and my ability to reach out and connect with outside scholarly communities.  However, I need to develop my ability to critique scholarly research and theory.  Keith suggested I revisit the DOCS (Doctoral Competencies) modules pertaining to those topics to develop a lens through which I can identify what’s missing or ambiguous in a piece of research.  These skills are critical to a successful dissertation literature review.

Keith posed a question to me that I need to answer as I develop my scholarship: what is my home discipline?  What are the main questions that I’m curious about?  What puzzles me?  In other words, I need to become clear about my curiosities and key questions.  I spent time thinking about and articulating these questions two years ago when I first entered into the program.  Now it’s time to revisit them so that I find a home in a scholarly community (or two).

Valerie suggested that I narrow down my interests as I enter into my final KA’s.  My interests have intentionally been broad and varied during the first part of my studies.  I agree that it is time to reduce scope and define a focus for the remainder of my studies.

Another suggestion from Valerie, which she had mentioned to me in the past as my mentor, is to explore sociological theories in order to ground and inform my future research.  This is a gap in my foundation as a scholar.  I will include readings on symbolic interaction theory, structural-functional theory and critical theory in one of my elective KA’s.

Valerie pointed out that my career in business has focused on the Fortune 100, working with very wealthy and privileged individuals.  Do I want to continue to work with this elite group, or do I want to extend my work to other groups?  Of course I want to work with other groups and am already doing so (Women’s Addiction Services Leadership Institute is one example).  However, I believe that a significant tipping point exists within the corporate world.  A leadership team from a Fortune 100 company affects the lives of 50,000 – 100,000 employees, which in turn affects the lives of the employees’ families and communities.  A company’s products, services and practices also affect the lives of potentially millions of consumers, investors and thousands of business partners.  If we don’t work to help shift the consciousness of the leadership teams of these corporations so they operate within a framework of sustainability, what hope do we have of finding the tipping point to effect world-wide systemic change?  That’s why I’m interested in the inner lives of leaders of large organizations.

At the end of the call, we talked about the Fielding journey in three “acts.”  Act I concludes with the portfolio review.  Act II concludes after I have finished most, but not all of the electives, completed the comprehensive exams and have an approved concept paper.  I’m already part of the way through Act II.  I look forward to the remaining journey with enthusiasm and appreciation toward all of the faculty members who have nurtured my growth during the past two years.  I am especially grateful to Valerie for providing guidance, support and opportunities to participate in the scholarly conversation.

Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 4 September 2009

Reflection – My Doctoral Journey to Date

What follows is the reflection paper that I wrote for my portfolio review.  Some of the terminology I used is Fielding University-specific, but I included it anyway in this post.

This has been an amazing two years of my life.  I experienced a huge shift in my sense of identity and in my worldview as I quit my executive position to pursue this program.  At first, I found it difficult to adjust to the slower pace (I didn’t consult during the first nine months) and the fact that I didn’t have an administrative assistant and all the perks of working in the corporate environment.  However, I really enjoyed having the flexibility and time to dive deeply into my studies.

My worldview also changed radically.  As I came to understand human development and systems, I let go of my success-oriented approach to life.  I now see everything in life as connected, with multiple ways to understand and make changes to systems.  As a result, I have a renewed interest and appreciation for social activism.  At first, I rejected post-modernism as an “anti-everything” perspective.  I now see it as a “beyond-modernist” view, accepting that my reality is relative and context-based.  I had to let go of my complete reliance on my rational mind in order to embrace this worldview.  It was a painful process for me, as I feel that I no longer have solid ground on which to stand.

The Learning Curve

I knew nothing about scholarly writing before I started this program.  Coming from the business environment, I wrote good business documents, plans, and reports.  Scholarly writing is completely different – it took time to acquire the basic skills.  I still have a lot to learn about writing arguments and critiquing others’ work.

The Doctoral Competencies (DOCS) course gave me a taste of what I needed to learn in several areas, most notably in conducting database research for a literature review and the importance of accurately citing references.  I immediately bought a copy of EndNote and learned how to use it.  I am quite fluent with EndNote at this time, automatically downloading citations into it from my library searches and inserting and editing citations while I write my papers in Microsoft Word.

During my first year, I decided to conduct a research project for Knowledge Area (KA)702 so that I could experience the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process and all of the steps required to conduct qualitative research.  I learned a huge amount while completing that KA.  Not only did I get IRB approval, I applied for and received a Fielding Research grant, learned how to use a digital recorder for in-person and phone interviews, sent the recordings off to a transcriptionist, and conducted a phenomenological and hermeneutic analysis of the interview texts.  Dr. Valerie Bentz provided wonderful guidance and mentorship throughout the project and invited me to present my paper on a panel at the Society for Phenomenology and Human Sciences. Finally, I created a research poster, which was displayed at the 2009 Winter Session.

Going into my second year, I taught a graduate level course at California Lutheran University.  The learning curve was much larger than I anticipated.  I learned how to create a syllabus, grading rubrics, and homework assignments.  I learned to use WebCT and set up the course online.  I was really nervous about teaching and I believe it set me off on the wrong foot with my students.  The preparation time and time to grade homework was far greater than expected.  I received mixed reviews from the course evaluations.  Even so, the university asked me to teach the course again the following summer (2009), which I turned down due to a busy travel schedule.

One would think that conducting one research project to support KA work would be enough.  However, after completing 753B and attending a talk by William Torbert at the Academy of Management last year, I decided to conduct an Action Research – Appreciative Inquiry project for my KA703.  The IRB process for this project was much more complicated and took longer than for my first project.  I decided to finish my KA703 In-Depth/Applied paper prior to completing the research project and now I plan to write up the results of the research for a future KA.

My Topic and Questions

I began the program with several dissertation ideas.  I desired the freedom to explore many topics rather than decide on a topic too early in my program.  I created two concept papers and included my second idea in the portfolio review.  Therefore, my concept paper is still in a preliminary draft form.

Finding My Scholarly Community

I established close relationships with four of my anchor-teammates.  We maintain regular contact via a private blog, where we post all of our trials and triumphs.  We read each other’s papers and provide feedback as well as share our learning experiences as we all progress through the program.  I was very active in the Santa Barbara cluster the past two years and co-organized a regional KA706 intensive in collaboration with the San Diego cluster connect in May 2009.  Last month, after polling students who live in Ventura and western LA counties, I founded the Ventura County cluster and will be the initial cluster connect this coming year.

Since I’m an extrovert, I reach out to others and form new connections with ease.  I have serendipitously met so many wonderful new colleagues outside of the Fielding community, especially with Academy of Management members.  I am well-connected with scholars and doctoral students from the organizational development and Change (ODC), Organizational Behavior (OB) and Management, Spirituality and Religion (MSR) divisions.  I see many possibilities for future collaboration with scholars in these communities.  Through a separate introduction, Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman (2006, 2007, 2009)  recently asked me to co-author a paper and assist in a research project with of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Spirituality and the Mind.

I created a blog in September 2007, called “phdconfidential” and post regularly to it (www.phdconfidential.wordpress.com).  I receive many hits and comments on my blog from all over the world.  I plan to use this blog and my anchor team blog as sources for my comprehensive exams.  Finally, I have met Fielding students and alumni with whom I see future potential opportunities for collaboration.

The Fielding Experience

I really like the balance between independent study and group study that I have achieved at Fielding.  Both are stimulating and positive.  With one exception, my faculty assessors have all been very responsive.  I greatly appreciate the guidance and support from my faculty mentor, Dr. Valerie Bentz.  She has provided gentle, yet specific guidance to me throughout the past two years. My faculty assessors have also taken the time to answer my questions and follow up with me after an assessment is complete, for which I am grateful.  I believe the faculty are genuinely interested in nurturing students’ development.

I like the KA framework that has been provided to guide students through the program.  The New Student Orientation (NSO) was helpful, but the doctoral program flow was still a mystery to me during the first year.  DOCS helped to clear up some questions, and recent improvements in program content on FELIX (Fielding’s online forum) provided to students also clarified milestones and graduation requirements.

Now that I know how to use the Fielding library databases, I can find most of the articles I require for my studies.  However, Fielding’s limited eBook resources force me to purchase any books that I need for KA work.

I enjoy the national sessions and attend about three per year.  As mentioned previously, I really enjoy the cluster connections.  I also use Facebook and email to connect with fellow students.

I have two major issues with Fielding’s resources.  The first is a significant lack of scholarship funds.  I applied a couple of times unsuccessfully.  There is so much competition for very few scholarships and the award amounts are so small ($2,500 maximum) considering the high tuition costs.  Since I am funding this program myself, I have taken out tens of thousands of dollars in loans.  The second issue is the ancient technology in use for FELIX.  The forums are cumbersome and difficult to use.  There is no easy way to stay in touch with people or to update content.  Therefore, we tend to use outside technologies, such as SKYPE, Facebook, and Blogspot or WordPress to create communication venues.  At least Fielding has started to use WebEx for the Final Oral Reviews (FOR’s) and other meetings.  I see this as progress.

Loves and Dislikes

I love conducting qualitative research and writing.  The process of exploring questions, collecting research data and analyzing the results is fun.  I love to write.  Though I’m not yet up to speed on scholarly writing techniques, I enjoy the process of putting ideas, explorations and critiques into words and communicating to an audience of readers.  I also love to read, as long as the articles and books are well-written.  The jury is out regarding teaching.  I need more experience to decide if it’s for me.  I love consulting and will continue as a consultant regardless of other aspirations when I graduate (and I will graduate).

Newberg, A. B., & Waldman, M. R. (2006). Why we believe what we believe : uncovering our biological need for meaning, spirituality, and truth. New York: Free Press.

Newberg, A. B., & Waldman, M. R. (2007). Born to believe : God, science, and the origin of ordinary and extraordinary beliefs (1st Free Press trade pbk. ed.). New York: Free Press.

Newberg, A. B., & Waldman, M. R. (2009). How God changes your brain : breakthrough findings from a leading neuroscientist. New York: Ballantine Books.

Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 31 August 2009

The Portfolio Review

title pageI have not posted for four months…I’ve been really busy traveling, working and writing.  This week, I completed a major milestone on my PhD journey: the portfolio review.  I have compiled a collection of documentation of my progress and writing samples for review by my faculty adviser and an assigned second faculty reader.  Here’s what goes into the portfolio review:

  • A short reflection paper (7 pages) on my doctoral journey thus far
  • An annotated bibliography of all my writing during the program for all courses, outside paper presentations, seminar participation and outside training certifications
  • A complete set of all faculty comments received as part of my course assessments
  • A dissertation concept paper first draft (more on this in a later post)
  • A revised learning plan, indicating my choices for the few remaining courses
  • Selected writing samples – I chose four samples; two from the beginning of my studies and two of my most recent papers

The complete package is 154 pages.  I formatted it to print and copy 2-sided, with margins to support a bound copy.  I printed off a separate title page in color, using a nice template from AveryStaples made three copies with bindings for me in about 15 minutes.  I learned a few things with using Staples: you can send in the order electronically and save a few cents per page.  However, making color copies costs 49 cents per page, so make sure you limit color.

I’m really pleased with the result.  I can now hold in my hands a representation of two years’ worth of work.  I can see the progress and the growth assembled in one place.  My phone conference with my faculty reviewers is this week.  After that, I need to write a paper that summarizes the conversation and my learning from the review.

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