A Thinking Woman's Definition of Meaningful Work

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo


The Critical and Creative Thinking Graduate Program is a "community of inquiry" (Lipman 1991, 3) that fosters opportunities for "transformative events" (Bepko and Krestan 1993, 196) which have been catalysts for my epistemological evolution. I entered the Program seeking insight into the causes or reasons for my dissatisfaction with my professional work choices. My participation in this Program provided the structure necessary to identify the characteristics of meaningful work and the vital role it plays in my self-actualization process. By providing learning opportunities which trigger "transformative events" (Bepko and Kre stan 1993, 196), the Program has changed the way I see and value my thinking skills and their use in the workplace. This paper chronicles three key events that triggered transformative insights and new ways of seeing myself and my work. It describes the process by which the Program integrates Matthew Lipman's (1991) reflective model of education; fostering opportunities for transforming events to occur. The transformative nature of these events is described and the shifts in my meaning making processes are analyzed using the epistemological framework developed by Mary Field Belenky and her colleagues (1986). By helping me to discover and acknowledge my skill (and the ever-present desire for further development) as a "higher-order" thinker (Lipman 1991, 3), my experiences in this Program exposed my need for and helped to clarify my definition of personally meaningful work. It is with such clarity that I have secured a new position that demands professional integrity, rewards creative collaboration, and allows me to facilitate others' learning to improve their work lives.


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