This dissertation explores how Indigenous wisdom and dialogue can inform the process of creating a graduate institute that is an original model of interconnected, transdisciplinary education. It seeks to revision education as rooted in the natural world.
The primary purpose of the research is to understand the intellectual foundation and context for what was originally an intuitive vision in order to better establish and maintain a startup graduate institute that is wholistic in its overall program, curriculum, and operations. The dissertation examines the foundational roots of wholistic, transdisciplinary education and how these foundational ideas translate into a praxis for implementing a graduate school from conception to actualization and beyond.
The form of the dissertation is adapted from a process model of understanding the natural world developed by Begay and Maryboy (1999) based on Navajo ways of knowing. The overall layout of the dissertation is nonlinear and based in cycles of nature informed by the center of Indigenous ways of knowing and dialogue.
In the first cycle of the dissertation, the overall vision of SEED–including the overview of the dissertation theory, methodology, and current status of SEED in establishing itself as a graduate institute–is explored. The cycle concludes with the history and role of dialogue as the primary pedagogical tool of SEED. In the second cycle of the dissertation, the underlying theory of SEED is articulated; grandfather institutions of alternative graduate education are examined; and it concludes with a statement of the contribution SEED intends to make. In the third cycle of the dissertation, the Institute is revisioned in light of a praxis for actually implementing the underlying theory. The fourth cycle reflects on and evaluates the goals and research questions of the dissertation in preparation for an ongoing process of dynamic transformation and renewal.