Dr. Tonya Ensign - Patricia Cranton Distinguished Dissertation Award
Congratulations to our PhD in Global Leadership and Change‚ 19 alumni Tonya Ensign whose dissertation, The Seed of Transformation: A Disorientation Index, received an Honorable Mention for the 2022 Patricia Cranton Distinguished Dissertation Award. The award commends a distinguished doctoral dissertation that exemplifies scholarly work and contributes to the transdisciplinary field of transformative learning.
The ITLA also recognizes emerging scholars by conferring the Patricia Cranton Distinguished Dissertation Award. This award commends a distinguished doctoral dissertation that exemplifies scholarly work and contributes to the transdisciplinary field of transformative learning.
‚"I am humbled, honored and grateful for this recognition of an important topic for us to understand because we all experience disorientation and the invitation to transform on a regular basis. Transformation doesn't always happen nor automatically happen. It is my hope that my research provides language to describe the anatomy of disorientation as the seed of transformation so that we may foster transformative outcomes and continue to evolve personally and collectively."
- Dr. Tonya Ensign ('09)
The purpose of Ensign‚ qualitative descriptive study was to better understand the disorienting experience and develop language to describe its dimensions thus contributing to transformative learning theory and benefiting scholars and practitioners in disciplines such as learning and education, global leadership development, and change management. This study was situated in a constructivist worldview and Mezirow‚ (1978a, 1991a) transformative learning theory was the theoretical framework; it provided a rich 40-year research stream and is one of the most extensive conceptualizations of the disorienting experience within the larger frame of adult learning theory.
The guiding research question was: how do scholars conceptualize the disorienting experience in the transformative learning literature? The data set included 53 empirical studies (2003-2017), yielding 82 disorienting instances, written by 114 scholars representing every continent except Antarctica. Qualitative content analysis was used to explore, understand, and interpret this diverse, global data set of disorienting experiences.
This study revealed three findings. First, it generated a Disorientation Index providing eight dimensions that move toward a common language describing the disorienting experience; the most common experience in the data set was also identified. Second, 16 contexts of disorienting experiences were uncovered. Third, 656 coding instances were presented by the Disorientation Index dimension across the 16 contexts. This study concluded with a suggested formula for the disorienting experience, implications, and suggestions for future research.
Tonya Ensign has taught in the PhD in Global Leadership program at Indiana Institute of Technology and led the Doctoral Study Abroad Program since she earned her PhD in 2019, She re-designed the curriculum for the study abroad program basing it on transformative learning theory. She currently serves on several dissertation committees and guides doctoral students via her private consulting practice. In her private practice, she combines 20 years of skills gained as a Certified Executive Coach with teaching and research skills to assist ABD and non-native English-speaking students who need extra support to complete their doctoral research and graduate.