Diversity Initiatives

Diversity Initiatives

The Adult Learning and Leadership (ALL) program aims to foster transformative learning by helping students surface and challenge their assumptions in order to lead and change themselves and their organizations and communities. Over the past two and half years, a steering committee of ALL faculty, staff and students have been working to improve the ALL program such that it better meets student need and aligns with objectives necessary for success in the 21st century. Based on data from interviews and focus groups with current and former students, one area in which the ALL program could improve is in the representation of diverse viewpoints across the curriculum. The timeline below outlines the work that has already been done as well as outlines future work.

Adult Learning and Leadership: Timeline of Diversity Initiatives

Adult Learning and Leadership Diversity Initiative Timeline: List of previous and ongoing Diversity in Teaching and Learning initiatives in the ALL program:



January 2012—June 2012

Develop 21st century competencies for the Adult Learning and Leadership MA Program

September 2012—May 2013

Dean’s Fellowship for Teaching and Diversity:
—Examining the AEGIS Program: Integrating Diversity into Teaching and Learning

September 2014

Dean’s Fellowship for Teaching and Diversity: 
—Using a design thinking process to facilitate a group of students, faculty and staff to address the question, "How might we better engage diversity in the Adult Learning and Leadership program MA?"

June 2014

Data gathering: Appreciative Inquiry of best practices and surfacing of issues/concerns

July 2014

Begin Literature Review: Best Practices in Diversity in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

August 2014

Workshop materials and agenda designed for:
  —Faculty (core and adjuncts) workshops (2)
—Student Workshops (2)

Begin Development of online materials

September—December 2014

Faculty Workshops (2)
Student Workshop: November 2014
Data collection: Ongoing

January—May 2015

Student Workshop: February 2015
Data collection: Ongoing
Present findings to ALL/TC Community: May 2015

Summer 2015

Present findings at conference

ALL Diversity Initiatives: Additional Resources

Dean's Fellowship for Teaching and Diversity: Debrief and Feedback Prezi: Presentation given by Stacey Robbins to share Design Thinking & Diversity Ideas (Click here for Prezi.)

Grant Application 2014: Grant written by Stacey Robbins and Victoria Marsick for Summer 2014 (Click below for the PDF)

Grant Application 2014

Teaching and Learning for Critical Reflection on Diversity: The Need to Go Beyond the Western Perspective in a Doctoral Program in Adult Education: Paper Presentation by Maria Liu Wong and Lyle Yorks at AERC 2014 (Click below for the PDF)

Teaching and Learning for Critical Reflection on Diversity

Adult Learning and Leadership Competencies

Adult Learning and Leadership Competency Table: 21st Century Competencies for ALL Masters Program developed by working group of ALL faculty and students.

Self in System

Reasoning and Inquiry

Capacity for Change

Learning & Design Technologies


Self-awareness & Self-regulation

Attends to one's internal states including preferences, strengths, limitations, and intuitions; notes impact of performance and personal effectiveness (Wolff, 2006, p. 3) and manages one's own impulses when triggered by leveraging personal resources (Wolff, 2006, p. 3)

Environmental scanning

Inquires into and interprets the political, economic, social and technological events and trends which influence a system or organization.

Instrumental learning

Applies expertise and tested methods when solving routine problems

Critical Literacy

Understands how language and discourse shape the way we understand our history and conceptions of self and society (Foucault, 1980)

Reflective practices

Regularly examines past actions and their results in order to self improve (English, 2005; Schön, 1983)

Collaboration and Team Development

Works and learns cohesively to achieve common goals

Problem framing and solving

Defines and situates challenge or opportunity in relevant context and then applies process to reach solution

Adaptive Learning

Learns from experience and thinks and acts with a critical stance in addressing novel situations (p. 16)

Contextual and Developmental Needs Assessment

Identifies and considers gaps in relationship to desired states and goals taking into account personal capabilities and Ways of Knowing (Green et al 2006; Bates, 2004)

Communication (written, verbal and non-verbal)

Effectively dialogues with others through appropriate use of spoken, written and non-verbal language skills.

Cultural responsiveness

Creates a safe learning environment that is knowledgeable, respectful and inclusive of multiple cultural perspectives.

Critical thinking

Conceptualizes, analyzes and synthesizes information and beliefs that guide actions.(Scriven & Paul, 2003, in Petress, 2004)

Transformative Learning

Critically reflects on assumptions to permit a more inclusive and discriminating integration of experience (Mezirow, 1990)

Design thinking and program development

Employs generative thinking and planning process to create innovative initiatives grounded in understanding of adult learning (Brown, 2008)


Planning and Goal Setting

Assesses expected length and difficulty of tasks, establisheskey milestones to monitor progress, and defines priorities (Maltbia, 2007, Day 5, p. 17; Lombardo & Eichinger, 2001)



Creates shared direction, alignment and commitment in order to achieve agreed upon outcomes (Drath, et al., 2008)

Informed Decision Making

Considers stakeholders, consequences and evidence in selecting a course of action among alternative scenarios

Ambiguity and complexity

Engages in personal and social inquiry processes in unpredictable conditions marked by multiplicity, interdependence, and flux (Based on Courtney, et. al; Richardson & Tait, 2010; Torbert).

Immersive learning

Collaborates using interactive technology and other co-creative means (Kapp & O'Driscoll, 2010)

Ability to Execute

Manages life and work, using metacognitive skills, to organize and integrate work with others (p. 12)

Systems thinking

Understands the relationship and interaction among various bounded elements and how these govern outcomes they produce (Meadows, 2008; Senge, 1990)


Collects and analyzes information to increase understanding of a topic or issue (Creswell, 2008)

Creativity and Innovation

Contributes to the generation and production of new knowledge (p. 15)

Digital citizenship

Understands and exercises rights and responsibilities of a participatory democracy with and on the internet


Uses systematic process to assess the effectiveness of the design and delivery of a program and whether the proposed outcomes were met(Merriam, 2001)

Please note: All definitions are taken from 21st-Century Competencies and Their Impact: An Interdisciplinary Literature Review (Finegold & Notabartolo, 2010) unless otherwise noted.



  1. Bates, R. (2004). A Critical Analysis of Evaluation Practice: The Kirkpatrick model and the principle of beneficence. Evaluation and Program Planning, 27, 341-347.
  2. Brown, T. (2008). Design thinking. Harvard Business Review, 86(6), 84-92.
  3. Cafferella, R. S. (2001). Planning programs for adult learners: A practical guide for educators, trainers, and staff developers 2 ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
  4. Courtney, Kirkland, & Viguerie, Strategy under uncertainty, Harvard Business Review, November-December, 1997; 
  5. Creswell, J. W. (2008). Educational Research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.
  6. Drath, W. H., McCauley, C. D., Palus, C. J., Van Velsor, E., O'Connor, P. M., & McGuire, J. B. (2008). Direction, alignment, commitment: Toward a more integrative ontology of leadership.The Leadership Quarterly,19(6), 635-653.
  7. English, Leona M. (2005) International encyclopedia of adult education. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  8. Finegold, D., & Notabartolo, A. S. (2010). 21st century competencies and their impact: An interdisciplinary literature review.Transforming the US Workforce Development System: Lessons from Research and Practice
  9. Kapp, K. & O'Driscoll, T. (2010). Learning in 3D: Adding a new dimension to enterprise learning and collaboration, San Francisco: Pfieffer: A Wiley Imprint.
  10. Green, M. G., Linsey, J. S., Seepersad, C. C. & Wood, K. L. (2006). Frontier Design: A Product Usage Context Method. IDETC/CIE Conference Proceeedings, Philadelphia, PA.
  11. Lombardo, M. M. & Eichinger, R. W. (2001).. The Leadership Architect: Competency Sort Cards, v. 10.1.a Minneapolis, MN: Lominger Limited, Inc. Card #47.
  12. Maltbia, T. E. (2007). Internal Coach Intensive (ICI)--Columbia Coaching Certification Program. New York, NY: Teachers College Columbia University. Participant’s Binder, Day 5 p. 17.
  13. Meadows, D. (2008). Thinking in Systems: A primer. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.
  14. Mezirow, J. (1990). How critical reflection triggers transformative learning.Fostering critical reflection in adulthood, 1-20.
  15. Petress, K. (2004). Critical Thinking: An Extended Definition. Education, 124(3), 461.
  16. Richardson, K. A., & Tait, A. (2010). The death of the expert?.Complexity and Knowledge Management, 23-39.
  17. Schön, Donald A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  18. Senge, Peter M. (Ed.). (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday.
  19. Torbert, W. (2004).Action inquiry: The secret of timely and transforming leadership. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  20. Wolff, S. B. (2006). Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI): Technical Manual. Boston, MA: HayGroup McClelland Center for Research and Innovation.
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