Vol. 16 : No. 4< >
Fielding Graduate Institute Inaugural Address
Judith L. Kuipers, Ph.D., President
The Honorable Representative Capps, you represent us so well in Washington, Senator Vasconcellos, political leader who has lived his values in service for 35 years, distinguished corporate leader and friend Mr. Bernie Milano, the Fielding's outstanding Board of Trustees, forward-looking alumni, faculty, staff and student colleagues, former colleagues, delegates and friends who have traveled miles to be here, some 3,000 people from 30 countries who are logging onto our web-cast of the inauguration, representatives of other fine institutions of higher education in Santa Barbara and throughout the country, members of this wonderful larger Santa Barbara community, and above all, my precious family, both here and absent:
It is with a deep sense of gratitude, and resolve that I address you today. Gratitude for the privilege of leading a graduate institution of higher education that celebrates life-long learning, that celebrates a community of learning with all of its complexities and struggles in the search for truth, and that celebrates scholar-practitioners who make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, organizations, and communities in this world.
At the same time, set within the context of the reverberating agonies of September 11th, I feel a profound sense of humility in all we do not know and understand of this world, and all we cannot explain. Therefore, as Fielding's President, I feel ever more deliberate and committed to what I believe is not the only, but the primary purpose of education: continuous learning in the search for truth which transforms us, pushes us to the edge of all our possibilities in the development of human talent, and above all, leads us to the inexplicable truth that we are each one, connected to every other being on this planet. We are each other in all the wonder, weakness, joy, and evil we manifest.
Today I will briefly address three areas. The first is the changing context of graduate education in today's world. The second is the role that the Fielding Graduate Institute plays within that context. The third is to mention a few of the exciting challenges and opportunities presented to us as the Fielding Graduate Institute moves innovatively and confidently into the future.
The Changing Importance of Graduate Higher Education
Graduate education today is taking place on the world stage. For centuries the major mission of higher education has been to create an educated citizenry, to prepare students to become effective community members, workers, citizens, voters, and leaders. Yet this task has changed monumentally in this rapidly changing, information-based, high-tech, inter-connected world in which we live.
In the past, educated citizens primarily played out the drama of their lives on a local or national stage. Today, the educational imperative is to develop competencies that will allow one to perform on an increasingly diverse world stage.
In a very real sense tomorrow's work place, families and communities are being structured into today's university learning experiences. The fundamentals of organizing life-thinking and interactions, roles and relationships, learning and work habits-are being modeled in the ways our learning communities are organized-especially in our mission statements, our core values and curricula.
In fact, I believe that in this period of rapid and dramatic change in world cultures, societies, governance, and economies, there is no more important question than how we help students learn to connect effectively with the world and to develop and define a clear sense of themselves as global citizens.
I agree with Kuame Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "that, in effect, we all participate, albeit from different cultural positions in a global system of culture" (The Dictionary of Global Culture, 1996).
So, while the metaphor of a shrinking planet has become common knowledge, we are living in an era of cultural and economic globalization in which the blurring of academic and economic boundaries is constant and inevitable. Combine that fact with the power of technology to further permeate boundaries, and we begin to develop a sense of urgency to examine the role and scope of graduate education. Historically, graduate education has been characterized by boundaries with a capital B. Big science, Big research, Big patents, Big silos of isolated, and sometimes highly significant methods of inquiry and outcomes in a single academic field. These approaches often produced singular achievements in a given field.
However, most of the solutions to the problems we face today lie in the ways knowledge from various disciplines come together in connected, interdependent, and integrated ways. More and more I see a need to shift the emphasis in graduate learning from the preservation and transmission of knowledge to the process of knowledge creation across disciplinary lines.
If one examines human rights and conflict resolution issues, environmental, population, and energy issues, or health and trade issues-global thinking and competencies, as well as-"trans-disciplinary" problem-solving approaches are required. The demonstrated reality of these phenomena must inform the content and pedagogy of 211 century graduate learning. This will require a shift in thinking on the part of many of us.
Even more important, graduate learning should address fundamental value issues-competition and collaboration, individual and community, material and spiritual, freedom and responsibility, equity and excellence. We cannot live in an either/or world-a versus world-and solve urgent human problems.
As Steadman Upham, the President of Claremont University, states:-"Scholarship at the graduate level should emphasize the unity of knowledge and underscore the importance of bringing together diverse approaches to questions of common intellectual concern. Common interest in domains of knowledge provides the basis for intellectual connectivity among researchers that transcends specific disciplines..." (Upham, Keynote Address, June 11, 2001). In other words, graduate learning should focus on concepts of reciprocity, complementarity and integration.
Just as graduate education is in a constant state of change and transformation, so are the individual graduate learners and performers in our life tasks. Future opportunities in this world will belong only to those who are flexible: willing to unlearn, learn, relearn, to those who take on new challenges and embrace what is totally unknown. In essence, to paraphrase Peter Drucker, we have become freelancers
of our own lives where the onus is on each of us as individuals to manage ourselves in the context of a world of others. This is in stark contrast to the 50's, 60's, and 70's where "Big Blue" would take care of you! People then are being called upon to re-engineer their lives time and time again. In recent decades, most of this re-engineering revolved around values of career, status, money, personal fulfillment and the like.
I agree with Wall Street columnist Sue Shellenbarger's perspective, in which she describes a subtle
but far reaching shift of value emphasis as a result of September 11 t" events, to the value of family, friends, community and connectedness with others. In a very real sense, the nation has experienced a life-altering event that combines with an already unpredictable world. Therefore, continuous lifelong learning, graduate learning and research become ever more important if we believe we can learn from these events and changes and envision a better world.
The Fielding Graduate Institute
Now, in view of this context, please reflect with me on how truly visionary the founders and charter faculty of the Fielding Graduate Institute were when they recognized and predicted almost 30 years ago that professionals in the 21St century would need to be continuous learners, to update, to expand their knowledge and to earn advanced degrees within the context of the changing demands of their professional AND personal lives. More important, these professionals would not want to drop off their organizations' radar screen, leave their jobs and families to attend traditional universities.
The Fielding Institute was founded in March, 1974 here in Santa Barbara. It was the realization of the vision of three founders: Frederic Hudson, Hallock Hoffman, and Renata Tesch. The founders, all distinguished higher education administrators and educators, respectively contributed an essential ingredient to the establishing of the Institute. They were assisted in their efforts by many others, including noted national educator, Dr. Marie Fielder; the renowned adult educator, Dr. Malcolm Knowles; the well-respected therapist, Dr. Robert L. Goulding; and Mary Goulding, M.S.W., a well-known author and therapist and other key individuals who gave substance to the dream of The Fielding Institute.
The founders, then, envisioned a nationally recognized graduate school which would serve adult professionals who wanted to pursue an advanced degree but whose educational and professional objectives could not be met by traditional institutions of higher education. As an alternative, they sought to create an educational option whose quality equaled and even surpassed education at the finest U.S. graduate schools.
The founders succeeded in their mission. Today, the success of the Fielding Graduate Institute is predicated on two basic, but at the same time, rather advanced notions. First, we recognize that changing demographics are altering the nature of U.S. society, and, in particular, the world of higher education.
More often than not, students seeking advanced degrees are older adults who want to enhance already well-established academic and professional skills. in some cases they are committed to effecting a mid-life career change. All of them, by the nature of their quest for a quality graduate education, are interested in being part of a lifelong learning community.
Fielding faculty recognize, and the curriculum reflects, that adults learn new tasks and accrue knowledge in ways that differ significantly from those of adolescents and young adults. The traditional pedagogical method of education-active teacher, passive learner-is not appropriate in adult professional education. Graduate education and research at Fielding, then, takes place in an active learning community which offers flexibility in the way knowledge is discovered and created and holds to the highest standards of quality. Therefore, the hallmark of a Fielding Graduate education is quality, flexibility, and community!!
We have accredited Ph.D., master's degrees, and certification programs in Clinical and Neuropsychology, Human Organization & Development and Educational Leadership & Change. These are distinctive graduate programs in that they recognize the wealth of talent, information, and experience each of the students bring to partner with the expertise of the faculty. Together, these create new knowledge in the service of action and positive change using a balance of face-to-face learning experiences and technology. Further, understanding of, and an attachment to, the Fielding graduate learning community is formed in what we call relational learning.
Our students are embedded in real systems, private practices, schools, corporations, hospitals, and agencies. They employ their learning in research to solve real human problems in creative, integrative, and ethical ways that make a positive difference in the individuals, organizations, and communities in which they exist.
Graduate learning is structured so as to model certain values as we conduct ourselves professionally: in the way we treat our students; in the way we deal with each other as professional colleagues; and in the way we respond to diversity in our total learning community. We want our students to reinforce values and skills of tolerance, empathy, collaboration, cooperation, service, and social responsibility, in addition to their specific knowledge areas. Therefore, we have to try to model these qualities and skills not only in our commitment and professional conduct, but in our curriculum, our learning techniques, our research, and in our institutional policies.
At Fielding, we believe that our evolving adult graduate learning model and scholar-practitioner research approach is truly transforming and transformative. It is cutting edge as it meets the criteria for needed changes in graduate education outlined at the beginning of this address.
Challenges and Opportunities
Finally, at Fielding, we try to think in "Future Tense." Our challenges are: to increase the visibility of Fielding locally, nationally and internationally so that we may partner with others who have similar visions and goals; to continue to recruit some of the most unusual, talented, and caring students and faculty worldwide; to enlist financial support for research that leads directly to solutions of problems in individual lives and families, schools, businesses and communities; and to enlist scholarship support for outstanding students who might not otherwise be able to continue their education. Above all the Fielding Graduate Institute has a vision and purpose for our efforts, a picture of our destination, a plan to follow and a critically important part to play on the world stage of graduate education.
For years I have written poetry as a gift to my family and closest friends. I have never shared it publicly before, but I truly want to conclude by sharing this one with you.
Learning Channels for Change
This year of 2001
for new visions,
world grown smaller
become more human,
Let us learn,
-Judith L. Kuipers September, 2001
I invite you to join Fielding Graduate Institute in making the difference!
Drucker, Peter. "Managing Oneself" in Harvard Business Review, March/April 1999, pp.65-74.
Shellenbarger, Sue. "In Cataclysmic Times, Workers Need Room to Rethink Priorities" in The Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2001.
Upham, Steadman. "Aims of Graduate Education" Keynote Address, June 11, 2001, Pasadena, California.
Fielding Graduate Institute has its headquarters at 2112 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, California 93105-3538 805.687.1099 • 805.687.4590 fax • www.fielding.edu