Transformative Conversations: A Guide to Mentoring Communities Among Colleagues in Higher Education
March 2013, Jossey-Bass
Praise for Transformative Conversations
"In the 'superstorm' of writings about the crisis in higher education this little gem of a book stands out like a mindfulness bell. It calls us back to the only thing that truly mattersthe energy and wisdom buried in the minds and hearts of dedicated educators." Diana Chapman Walsh, president emerita, Wellesley College; trustee emerita, Amherst College; member of the MIT Corporation
"This book is revolutionary! It is about transforming the very essence of higher education through the power of authentic conversation, knowing that as the people within the institution evolve, the institution will transform." Patricia and Craig Neal, The Art of Convening: Authentic Engagement in Meetings, Gatherings, and Conversations; founders, Heartland Inc.
"This is a radical story about how to create a more intimate and relational culture inside the halls of higher education.... for those who long for higher education to return from the abyss of siloed isolation to its original charter as a cooperative learning institution committed to developing the whole person in service of the common good." Peter Block, Flawless Consulting and Abundant Community
Transformative Conversations offers guidance to help readers create and sustain Formation Mentoring Communities, where faculty, staff, and administrators can speak openly and honestly to the heart of their work as educators and human beings.
by Parker J. Palmer
FOREWORD: REMEMBERING WHAT THE ANCIENTS KNEW xiii
by Angeles Arrien and Rachel Naomi Remen
Interlude: Finding the Time and Space for a More Meaningful Professional Life 11
1 What Is a Formation Mentoring Community? 13
Interlude: Message in a Bottle 27
2 Cultivating Growth: Conversation in Community 31
Interlude: Is There a Place for Me in a Formation Mentoring Community? 63
3 The Basics of Creating Formation Mentoring Communities on Your Campus 65
4 Collaborative Stewardship: Facilitating a Formation Mentoring Community 95
5 From Individual to Institutional Change: Ripples of Transformation 117
AFTERWORD: BEYOND THE SMALL GROUP 131
by Rachel Naomi Remen and Angeles Arrien
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES 137
ABOUT THE AUTHORS 157
Peter Felten is assistant provost, director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and associate professor of history at Elon University. H-Dirksen L. Bauman is professor and chair of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies and coordinator for the Office of Bilingual Teaching and Learning at Gallaudet. Aaron Kheriaty is the director of Residency Training and Medical Education in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine. Edward Taylor is a professor of education and vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington.
"This book is revolutionary! It is about transforming the very essence of higher education through the power of authentic conversation, knowing that as the people within the institution evolve, the institution will transform." —Patricia and Craig Neal, The Art of Convening: Authentic Engagement in Meetings, Gatherings, and Conversations; founders, Heartland Inc.
A Guide to Mentoring Communities Among Colleagues in Higher Education
By Peter Felten , H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Aaron Kheriaty, Edward Taylor
San Francisco, CA – In this difficult and challenging time in higher education, faculty and administrators more than ever need the support and encouragement of their peers. Yet the competitive academic culture and silos within typical departments often lead to isolation, a lack of authentic community and a loss of connection to their vocation as educators.
However, TRANSFORMATIVE CONVERSATIONS: A GUIDE TO MENTORING COMUNITIES AMONG COLLEAGUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION (Jossey-Bass, March 2013, ISBN: 9781118288276, $35.00 / Paperback / also available as an e-book) provides an antidote to the competitive, high pressure culture of higher education.
Based on the experience of four seasoned professors and administrators, the book explains how teachers and administrators can form small conversational groups, or “formation mentoring communities” (FMCs) to re-energize teaching, research and administration through honest conversation. Within these FMCs, the book provides guidelines on how these groups can have “transformative conversations” that not only breakdown the divide between the personal and professional, but also liberate the participants from any competitive barriers that might be stunting their professional or institutional growth.
TRANSFORMATIVE CONVERSATIONS provides a flexible model and guide on how to create and sustain FMCs. Readers will receive step-by-step instructions that exemplify how to apply the approach to varying settings and professional or education disciplines within groups of 3-10 people. Furthermore, the book answers the what, why and how of the FMCs and provides themes, questions and other resources that groups can use for discussion and exploration.
“This book began when the four of us received an invitation to participate in an experimental project to participate in intergenerational mentoring communities sponsored by the Fetzer Institute. At the beginning it wasn’t clear how the experiment would evolve, but we imagined that community conversations could reinvigorate the academy and eventually transform higher education itself. As we went through the process, we found that the conversation and participation in FMCs did inspire meaningful change and we wrote this book to show others how to do the same,” said author Peter Felten.
TRANSFORMATIVE CONVERSATIONS is for anyone who wants escape from the abyss of isolation and create a more intimate and relational culture inside the halls for higher education.