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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The value of an integral education: A mixed-method study with alumni of the east-west psychology program at the California Institute of Integral Studies
by Fraser, Heidi, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2015, 253; 3713682
Abstract (Summary)

This sequential mixed methods study examined alumni's perceptions of an integral education, an alternative educational model that is centered on students' multidimensional development. The study involved graduates from the East-West Psychology (EWP) program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and explored how they connected their unique educational experience to personal and professional development. The purpose was to determine how graduates of the EWP program value the integral education they received from CIIS, and what, if any, specific experiences, courses, and readings contributed to the said development. Forty-seven alumni, from both the master's and doctoral programs in EWP, completed an online survey sent via email, which consisted of 40 items rated on a Likert Scale and three open-ended questions. From the survey participant pool, 10 agreed to dive more deeply into their experience and gave their time for a one-on-one, semi-structured interview.

The findings revealed insight into alumni's understanding of integral education, and that their understanding is mostly in alignment with the ideals of the Institute; namely, honoring multiple perspectives, the multidimensionality of being, and multiple ways of knowing. Additionally, the results of the study also point to the areas where the EWP program is doing well in terms of what students expect and what they actually get, and also to the areas that could use improvement if the department was to offer an education that better reflects the ideals of the Institute, as espoused by the program description and advertisement. The most significant findings are the revelations of the need for (a) more professional development for students completing a degree in EWP, (b) more practical application opportunities, for example, internships, teaching assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, and connection of studies to social and global issues, (c) more community/mentor support for students' personal psycho-spiritual unfolding, and (d) more training regarding the language and expression needed to communicate the value of an integral education effectively with scholars/employers outside of CIIS. The study also engendered an articulation of both the takeaways and growing edges of such a non-traditional approach to higher education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shirazi, Bahman A.K.
Commitee: Bronson, Matthew C., Netzer, Dorit
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: East-West Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Adult education, Higher education
Keywords: Evolution of consciousness, Graduate education evaluation, Integral education, Nontraditional curriculum, Personal transformation, Spirituality in higher education
Publication Number: 3713682
ISBN: 978-1-321-90324-9
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