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Testimonials: Research and Students

Student Feedback : MA in Holistic and Integrative Education

Compiled by Bob London; February 2013 Program coordinator, MA in Holistic and Integrative Education

I recently completed research primarily based on student documentation in the tenth cohort. The research was the basis for two book chapters and a variety of professional presentations. A slightly edited version of the book chapters is available at 

The material primarily consists of direct quotes from students, including their comments on the transformative nature of the program and their work developing a process to nourish their inner life and outer life of service.

Below are some student comments collected in 2011 that give a brief sense of the effectiveness of the program.

Questionnaire to former students, two examples

  • As of this writing I have been a classroom teacher (and for a decade, a public safety educator) for a total of 39 years. I have taught all ages from pre-schoolers to seniors, with a specialty in adult education. Having had a long association with humanistic education, and having had success in the classroom, I entered Cal State San Bernardino's MA program in Holistic and Integrative Education thinking I knew a fair amount.  I enjoyed and benefitted from the program, but it wasn't until after the program when I saw how much more success I was having in the classroom, that I realized that personal transformation takes place at a deeper level and is ongoing. This MA program is the primary support I have had for that growth. The program is responsible in great part for the continued vitality I experience teaching. I feel I am doing the best teaching of my life now. (Eighth cohort, adult educator)
  • The program was very effective in defining my vision of education and implementing that vision in my professional situation. Dance education, having the distinguished role of encompassing intellectual, social, psychological, emotional, physical, and cultural development, calls for creative problem solving and integrates technical and expressive development. My vision embraces these ideas of dance education, which are actualized in my professional situation enabling students to discover their own problems within a given context, to develop movement skills, thus acquiring tools for expression through movement. ... This vision and approach has been beneficial to me in creating the student learning outcomes and SLO assessments for my program in dance that are now required as part [of] our [community college] accreditation.
  • Yes, the program was very transformative for me. Through the MA program, I gained insight in discovering authenticity in my teaching in terms of my motivations, living and teaching ethically, and being mindful. For example, being motivated to connect and work toward goals to promote student centered learning/life long learners, not self-promotion; or avoiding gossip and bad-mouthing of colleagues and/or students (which is always tempting) by being conscientious of ethical responsibility. And also mindful of habits, especially operating in a student-oriented environment, yet at the same time in a money-crunching bureaucracy. 
  • The MA program was very effective in achieving the goal of making the material meaningful for my teaching situation and encouraging deep reflection on my teaching. Each and every writing assignment, project, activity ... involved meaningful aspects that could be applied to my own teaching situation. There was a breadth and depth of insight, knowledge and experiences shared, nurturing, and community that continues to have meaning and purpose for me and for deep reflection in every area of my teaching . . . The process and experience have been invaluable. (Former student, tenured Community College Faculty)

Comments from summative evaluations given at the end of their last program course after six courses over two years

  • From the summary of the seventh cohort summative evaluation: The most direct measure was the question: "Are you glad you chose the MA in Integrative Studies for your graduate work in education? Why or why not?" All students answered yes, the majority indicating that they were very pleased. Comments from students included: "[The program] has brought me friendships, new perspectives, scientific theory, effective teaching strategies and, most important, a purpose for doing what I do." "[The program] has helped me step back from skills, strategies and standards and see purpose. . . . my vision is clearer and my enthusiasm is greater. I see broader connections, value students' constructs and pursue questions with better listening skills." And "I'm glad I chose this program because it promised to give me the freedom to study what was important to me. Also, I am grateful for the opportunity to have had collaborated with teachers at all levels. I want to be a well-rounded educator and this experience was perfect for that.

 Other comments from summative evaluation

  • We came to you as tiny caterpillars and we are leaving you as extraordinary butterflies. The funny thing is ... if one were to ask us what this program was about, we still would have difficulty finding words. . . . Thank you for the transformation and a clearer vision in my philosophy and pedagogy. 7th cohort
  • With the insight and implications of this program I know that I have become a better teacher and live my life more creatively. Ninth cohort.
  • Helped me to develop more meaningful curriculum to use for inservices within my business training program. Ninth cohort Can see clearly now. Ninth cohort
  • I was given permission to teach with heart. Ninth cohort
  • I feel a lot more connected to who I truly am and what I believe in. . . . This whole journey has been such an eye-opener. . . . all the life changes I've made [while in the program] have helped me become a more understanding human being. I listen to my students more. I take their individual needs into consideration and most importantly [I] try my best to teach the "whole child" – their mind, heart, and soul. Ninth cohort
  • I have always known what is right to do, yet I lacked confidence to act. The [MA] program, through the peer support and through the ideology presented, allowed me to be an activist (although more mature) again. Eighth cohort
  • I have achieved a new understanding of community, something I have always valued. I now focus on intentional ways to create and build community in my classroom. Eighth cohort.
  • This [MA] program was transformative and has facilitated major changes not only in my teaching but also in my life. . . . It was a gradual transition in which negative thoughts were pushed out by positive ones, and now I am filled with hope for the future. Eighth cohort
  • This program has changed my view of what meaningful collaboration is. I have always had positive experiences with collaboration, but it wasn't until after two years in this [MA] program that I realized how much power that collaboration has [on] my own problem solving ability. Eighth cohort
  • I now clearly understand my vision of education and how that applies to my classroom. I functioned according to my vision before, but with clear understanding [from the program] comes the ability to intentionally take actions in my classroom that support that vision. Eighth cohort