Donia Newman


The central theme of this dissertation is the transformational learning journey with Pepperdine University utilizing the research method of autoethnography personal narratives. Autoethnography is bold, yet vulnerable, genuine and authentic. It provides a heartfelt and soulful invitation to create a dynamic relationship between storyteller and the reader to share the lived experience and personal reflections of the researcher. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore my transformational learning journey with Pepperdine University utilizing theoretical framework of transformational learning. The top five elements of transformational learning are as follows: critical reflection, communication, soulful qualities, feelings and affect transformation and freedom and emancipation. This study explores three personal narratives as follows: Personal Narrative of Organizational Leadership which explores reflections in Organizational Leadership, Personal Narrative of Education which explores reflections in education and Dissertation Dialogues: Andragogy of the Expressed which explores reflections in the dissertation journey. This study explored the thematic connections with autoethnography as a transformational research method, transformational learning and the threads of my personal story to weave a beautiful tapestry of consciousness for the conceptual discussion. The transformational learning journey with Pepperdine University also weaved well metaphorically with the lyrics from the Beatles inspired movie Across the Universe. This study also explores the difference that makes a difference in the world which is the transformative power of love. My conclusions to my transformational learning journey explored via autoethnography personal narratives as a method and utilizing transformational learning as theoretical framework can be summarized as follows: Pepperdine University provides a supportive learning environment to foster critical reflection. Critical reflections lead to transformational learning. Communication is an important component of the transformational learning process. Transformational learning literally changes one in ways that are significant and involves soulful qualities. Transformational learning is an ongoing life journey and involves feelings and affective transformation. Transformational learning involves freedom and emancipation. In freely sharing my perspective, the best way I can articulate what transformational learning feels like is to make an analogy to spiraling constructivist circles which as one learns and grows is an evolving heightened consciousness.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Transformative learning; Autobiography; Ethnology; Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Schmieder-Ramirez, June;