Dr. Marguerite Welch Releases Handbook on Learning for Transformation

Dr. Welch co-edited and published a book titled: “The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation.”

Marguerite Welch, PhD has recently co-edited and published a book, The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation. This collection of scholarly works includes articles by Dr. Welch, as well as Dr. Taj Johns and Dr. Kathleen Taylor, all faculty in the Kalmanovitz School of Education's Leadership Department.

The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation aims to expand the discourse on transformative learning by exploring the phenomenon of transformation itself. By curating diverse discourses, knowledges, and practices of transformation, the book explores the topic in ways that both includes and departs from the adult learning mainstay of transformative learning and adult education.

The inspiration for the handbook was drawn from conversations planning the 2018 International Transformative Learning Conference, at which Dr. Welch was one of two co-chairs. The conversations not only aimed to expand the international scope of the conference, but also included how to broaden the understanding and perspectives of transformative learning theory. The idea for the handbook was generated at the conference, and Dr. Welch was later invited to participate as co-editor. 

The intent of the handbook is to catalyze a more complex and deeper inquiry into the “why” of transformation. Each discipline, culture, ethics, and practice has its own specialized care and reasons for paying attention to transformation. The handbook intends to ask the questions: How can scholars, practitioners, and active members of discourses on transformative learning make a difference? How can they foster and create conditions that allow us to move on to other, unaddressed or understudied questions?

In order to answer these questions, the editors (Drs. Welch, Nicolaides, Eschenbacher, Buergelt, Gilpin-Jackson, and Misawa) and their authors (including Drs. Johns and Taylor) employ the metaphor of many turns into passageways. This metaphor conveys the potential of transformation that may emerge from the many connecting passageways between, for instance: people and society, theory and practice, knowledge created by diverse disciplines, fields, and professions, individual and collective transformations, and individual and social action.

“We came away with four propositions that we felt were important when it came to transformation and transformative learning,” said Dr. Welch. “We identified transformation in context, which is how transformation can be both individual and collective. Another one of our propositions was the significance of connection, how transformation doesn’t happen alone or individually, it happens in relationship. Then, we have a set of chapters where the proposition is transformation in action. This is more about how it happens, but specifically within using imaginal expressions through art and storytelling and how that is connected to one’s identity. The last section is leaning into the future, we call it ‘In Transformation,’ which is really the experience of in-dwelling in unknown spaces. What are the edges that people are experimenting with, in terms of transformation and transformative learning?”

To learn more about the handbook, visit Springer PublicationsThe Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation will be available at the Saint Mary’s College Library.

Dr. Welch, Program Director of the Master of Arts in Leadership program at the Kalmanovitz School of Education, designs and facilitates innovative and transformative learning experiences for working professionals in the areas of building cross-cultural capacity, online learning, leadership, and student research. Her scholarship focuses on developing the capacity in white people to thrive in multicultural environments. Information on the 2022 meeting of the International Transformative Learning Conference can be found on the ITLC website.