Transformational Learning at Samford University
Q: Why is Samford emphasizing “transformational learning” at this point in its history?
A: Transformational learning is based on an underlying educational philosophy at Samford that emphasizes the whole person. Many universities emphasize only instrumental or careerist values in education; Samford has, since its inception, been concerned with "a life well lived." Learning helps students grow physically, mentally, and spiritually, and it encourages them to value public service as well as personal gain.
Q: How did Samford decide on these four transformative learning abilities?
A: From a long list of educational competencies, the university found a strong consensus on these four abilities: information literacy, oral communication, quantitative literacy, and written communication. Since identifying these areas of emphasis, we have had faculty committees develop operational definitions and best practices in various disciplines. We have also integrated these TLAs into our assessment process.
Q: What is the connection between transformational learning and the four core literacies that are being promoted?
A: The core literacies are not merely menial skills, but transformational abilities that contribute to personal growth and civic engagement. Students with strong communication skills, for instance, are empowered to make a difference in their own lives and in their communities.
Q: Isn’t all education transformational?
A: Certainly all educational experiences should bring about change in our lives. Focusing on the four core literacies will help us be more intentional about these abilities that transcend individual majors and programs. No matter what program of study students pursue at a university, they should graduate as better speakers and writers with an ability to find and evaluate information and to understand the use of numerical data for description and analysis. Such abilities help define what it means to be an educated person.