Alumna Wins Dissertation Award | Teachers College Columbia University

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Alumna Wins Dissertation Award

The American Society of Traning and Development lauds Rachel Ciporen's research for increasing "the profession's ability to contribute to workforce quality and organizational competitiveness."
Rachel Ciporen, who completed a doctorate in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College in May, has won the American Society of Training and Development's (ASTD) 2008 Dissertation of the Year Award.

"I think for everyone who writes a dissertation, you really are in a state of panic for most of it," said Ciporen, who has an executive coaching and consulting practice and is also part of the new Columbia Coaching Certification Program (CCCP). "Does anyone care? Does any of it make any sense? Will it ever be done? All I was hoping was to pass my defense, so when Lyle [Yorks, Associate Professor of Adult and Continuing Education] suggested I apply for the award, I thought, -'Really?.' But I'm grateful that he did."

In selecting Ciporen for the award, ASTD lauded her research for increasing "the profession's ability to contribute to workforce quality and organizational competitiveness." Her dissertation, The Role of Personally Transformative Learning in Leadership Development: A Case Study Examining the Transfer of Learning from an Executive Education Program, assessed the role transformative learning, which emphasizes deep, structural shifts in thoughts and feelings, played in the leadership development of a group of participants in an executive education program.

Ciproren found that the participants were rated higher in terms of leadership skills than were those in a control group that did not go through such a program. And she was able to determine some of the organizational and personal barriers--and supports--to sustaining that leadership development over time. "So my dissertation dealt with the age-old question of how do you make change and how do you sustain change," she said.

Ciporen will receive the award at a ceremony in June during ASTD's International Conference & Exposition in Washington, D.C. ASTD is one of the flagship organizations in the field and the world's largest associations dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. The organization has members in more than 100 countries, and some 134 chapters in the United States.

This is the second such award for students in the Adult Learning and Leadership Program in recent years. The Academy of Human Resource Development selected Terrence (Terry) Maltbia, who now directs the Columbia Coaching Certification Program, to receive its dissertation award in 2002.

Published Friday, Feb. 20, 2009