Member Spotlight

For each newsletter, we’re going to have a small section devoted to particular members. How do you become a candidate for the Member Spotlight? You must share news not only related to your craft, but also some fun news that might teach us something new. This newsletter’s member spotlight goes out to Jocelyn Chapman!

Jocelyn Chapman and colleague Karen McClendon have joined the board of directors of the Human Science Institute, a transdisciplinary learning community of scholars and practitioners dedicated to creating a humane and ecologically sustainable global future through education and research. Chapman and McClendon were invited to join the board following their presentation “What’s Love Got to Do with Higher Education? How Teaching into the Heart of Knowing Can Foster Compassionate Action” at the 2016 Human Science Institute Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah September 8-10. Chapman and McClendon contend that to prepare students for the rapid change impacting all areas of ecological, political, and social life in the 21st century, teachers must change minds in ways that open hearts. Chapman states that, “Such an education is possible and rewarding — and urgently needed.” The Human Science Institute, HSI, supports the work of those responding to the challenges of our times by promoting a transdisciplinary framework that respects the multiplicity of views and ways of knowing in our diverse global community. Chapman and McClendon invite HERA members to learn more about HSI and consider participating in their journal and annual conferences.

Jocelyn noted that eight presenters at the 2016 HERA Conference in New Orleans came from the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Creative Systemic Studies online doctoral program. This transdisciplinary doctoral program was designed to foster transformative change through active participation in online conversation where the subject matter itself was systemic change and transformation. Systemic thought and cybernetics served as both catalyst and metaphors for thinking differently.

Presenters Karen McClendon, PhD, and Roxanne Speer, doctoral candidate, discussed the essence of the Creative Systemic Studies program and how to bring forth transformative learning in their presentation “Pedagogy and the Poetic: A Humanistic Approach to Online Learning.” Although this program no longer exists, it continues to serve as a model for fostering transformative learning. Dr. Jocelyn Chapman, instructor in the Creative Systemic Studies program, illustrated this pedagogical approach in her presentation, “How Math Instruction Can Be a Catalyst for Personal Transformation.” She showed that when we learn to think in more relational, systemic ways, we can transfer this know-how to whatever discipline we teach in to teach more creatively and to foster students’ changed thinking about self and learning. Presentations by other students and graduates of ULM’s Creative Systemic Studies program showed how a systemic view of any topic or issue improves our understanding and leads us to ask more meaningful questions.

One of the cybernetic principles that this Creative Systemic Studies program was founded on is that objectivity is a dangerous myth; instead, we can gain insights by interrogating and honoring subjectivity. Presenter Julie Hank’s, PhD, who had a full session to discuss her doctoral work on “The Nature of Women’s Creativity,” demonstrated the value of contemplating subjectivity by sharing how her reflections of her own creative process in developing her dissertation helped shape her dissertation and also led to unexpected personal growth. Similarly, in her presentation “Storytelling: Utilizing Culture of Testimony as Voice for Love-Charged Healing,” Laverne Dunn augmented her assertion that love is necessary to actualize the therapeutic potential of storytelling by sharing how her transformative journey on a spiritual path of love led her into a world of activism in education, the arts, homelessness, missions, and everyday living that nurtures others’ healing.

Another cybernetic principle the program was founded on relates to the significance of the distinctions we make and our responsibility for making them. Robyn Jordan’s presentation, “Private Nature: A Union Soldier’s Search for Spiritual Support,” addressed the struggle Civil War Union Private Edmund Naylor had with patriotism and his longing for spiritual connection while part of the occupational force in Plaquemine, Louisiana. Her analysis of the distinctions he made in his war-time diaries revealed his beliefs and biases. Jordan noted that the researcher also makes distinctions which reveal something of the researcher herself.

Any truly systemic view of an issue or topic would ultimately include those dimensions of our humanity that we might refer to as ethical or spiritual. Joan Harwood addressed this in her presentation “Searching for Spiritual Fire: Infusing Love into the Discourse of Family Therapy.” In the field of Marriage and Family Therapy, discourse on the therapeutic value of a therapist’s loving regard for clients is rare and brave. Kristi Anderson’s presentation, “Grieving Away the Grief: Humanity’s Approach to Death and Dying,” took a systemic view of one family’s responses to several unexpected deaths of close family members. By linking family, humanity, and the culturally structural designs of death, Anderson showed how death could be re-conceived and celebrated, a movement toward spirituality and freedom.

Chapman commented, “HERA provides an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas regarding a transdisciplinary approach to humanities education. It was an honor to present at the 2016 HERA conference and to be with so many of my students, most of whom I had never met in person. I plan to continue speaking on transformative learning and transforming the education system that is meant to facilitate learning.” She is seeking a university in which to replant the online Creative Systemic Studies program. Please contact her for more information: For readers interested in learning more about cybernetics as a way of knowing and humanistic practice, Chapman recommends Aesthetics of Change by Brad Keeney, founder of the Creative Systemic Studies doctoral program.

Below is a slideshow of some of the photos Jocelyn took at the 2016 HERA Conference in New Orleans – thank you and all good wishes, Jocelyn!

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1 thought on “Member Spotlight

  1. Prof Barbara Hassid

    This sounds like an incredible trip & I would have loved to hear you play those beautiful etudes! Just returned from Normandy & Paris where I visited the old Erard piano studio & checked out the $9 million dollar Cassanova memoir collection at the Bibliothèque Nationale, purchased in 2010. I’m investigating claims that Giacomo Cassanova (Da Ponte’s buddy) wrote a small section of the Don Giovanni libretto. Clearly he inspired the work! Best, Barbara Hassid


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