Sunday, 28 March 2010

Here am I

The University wrote. I got the letter - last Friday.

I thank God for the times when He says, "No, my love."

He knows the plans He has for me, and, I gotta recognize when something I desire is not a part of them. And that's OK.

He knows where He wants me to get to and the way He wants me to get there. (Sometimes it's not necessarily the route I'd had in mind.) My energy is redirected for the journey that continues.

I am about the Abrahamic "Here am I" obedience.

Btw, here are excerpts from what I had written:


written by


for the

Program Admissions Committee

The Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology
Adult Education and Community Development program
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

in partial fulfillment of the application for candidacy in the Ph.D. program:

“Workplace Learning and Social Change”

November 2009

“The last word on anything hasn’t been said,” a former professor of mine, Dr. Donna Kowal, once stated during one of our spirited seminar discussions. Here I am, desirous of adding to the conversation about Workplace Learning and Social Change, convinced that I, too, can make a meaningful contribution. It is my intention, if given this opportunity, to examine the concept of the learning organization as I try to appropriate it within the broader social trend of globalization and organizational restructuring.

Whither the organization in the sea of social change and the inevitable impact on workplace learning? My very first thought on this was that the organization has to learn a few things itself. How can the organization learn to identify, value and maximise the contributions made by internationally-qualified newcomers to Canada?

Before I go further, however, kindly permit me to introduce myself. My name is Claudia ____. I am Jamaican by birth and recently adopted Canada as my new home. Over the past few years, I have been thinking seriously about pursuing a degree at the doctoral level. The time has come. In engaging in research for the Ph.D., I would have achieved one of my main personal academic goals. In addition, making this move – and completing the journey in an excellent way – would also serve to inspire, not only my immediate family, but also onlookers who may be on a similar path, though several steps behind.

... The decision to commit to a Ph.D. program at the University of Toronto, and, specifically, OISE, was not a difficult one. It was influenced by factors such as location and flexibility (I intend to maintain a work schedule).... The most influential factor, however, was the breadth and frankness of faculty members’ contribution to this conversation. I desire, very much, to be a part of that conversation! I believe this unique program at the OISE/UT will build on my strong university foundation — B.A. in English and M.A. in Communication — and be critical in helping me achieve my objective, through stirring academic exchange.

“The path of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked,” the saying goes. The journey to this decision has been fraught with challenging, albeit, productive and rewarding learning experiences. It has become clear, (hindsight is always 20/20), that those experiences will certainly inform this particular area of study. I have gleaned much from working in several capacities in Jamaica, the United States of America and Canada; working while studying (and graduating with honours); working in both the public and private sectors and, as well, being unemployed.

I believe that there are differing perspectives about the concept of workplace learning. Sure, there is the almost spontaneous response of examining training within the workplace/organization. Consider, too, the effects of the dynamics of social change as they are brought to bear on organizational policies and programs regarding learning in the workplace. However, I imagine that the organization, as a living organism, needs to successfully play the role of learner as well.

In 1993, Watkins and Marsick observed that “Organizations are part of social complex systems,” and the relationships with “their direct customers and suppliers have an immediate impact on when, how, and what organizations learn” (p.11). They are also impacted by societies’ imposed regulations and economic challenges as well as employees’ “family and sociocultural systems of which they are a part … the people and institutions with whom they are joined, and the values that have influenced their development. Learning at each level is increasingly collective and interdependent.” In order for the organization to thrive and remain competitive within such a system, (to coin a phrase): “Every organization can learn; every organization must learn.”

At present, I work with _____ . The Ministries’ Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan is designed to, among other things, “embed diversity objectives and outcomes in OPS policies, programs and services” and “respond to the needs of a diverse population.” At the very least, “responding to the needs of a diverse population”, requires organizations — not only within the public sector — to assume the role of learner. In many ways, this (not so new) paradigm shift is heavily impacted by “waves of social change”. By that I mean the simultaneous movements of the collective thought and modus operandi of people across the globe; across all disciplines, with increased connectivity via the ubiquitous worldwide web and other technologies. Several years ago I overheard someone say: “Geography is now history.” How true. This means that societies — individuals, family structures and organizations — have had to do much rethinking in assessing their own values against those of “others” that come to be thrust upon them.

Does creativity and value pass the organization by, just because it hasn’t yet learned how to appropriate and maximize the contribution made by others? How does the organization become a true learning organization, and to what end?


It is my intention, upon completion of this program, to continue to serve in Public Sector management. However, I intend to speak from a far more influential position, in helping to shape organizational policies toward valuing and maximizing the experience and input of “others”.

I look forward to continuing this conversation as a Ph.D. candidate in the program Workplace Learning and Social Change at OISE/UT. Kindly permit me to thank you for your time in reviewing my application. I do appreciate the enormity of the task in which you are now engaged.





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