John Eveland

John

Eveland

John Eveland

Adjunct Faculty

Department
Research
Institution
Saybrook University
Email
Biography

Hi! I'm JD Eveland and I'm a new adjunct instructor in the Department of Research. I'm an organizational psychologist by training, and a teacher and research advisor by choice. I'm a strong advocate for holistic and humanistic approaches to organizations. At the same time, I believe strongly in the potential for technology to effectively augment human capabilities and enable equitable and just societies. The social and political choices that we make now need to be based on the best understanding we can develop. That's why I've committed so much of my life to making research both real and credible.

I've come to Saybrook through a long and sometimes winding career path through academia (nearly 30 years all told, at some eight or nine different institutions), government (National Science Foundation, Department of Health Education and Welfare), research ( RAND Corporation, American Institutes for Research ), and business (consulting to many different companies). I've been involved in online education at the graduate level since the late 1990s, and studying and applying information technology in organizations since the early 1970s. Whatever your topics and interests are, odds are I've been involved with them at one point or another over the years.

I'm really looking forward to being at Saybrook, sharing my skills and experiences where it's useful and continuing to learn from both colleagues and students. The road goes ever on and on.

Areas of Expertise
Area Expertise
Business/IO Psychology Organizational Culture
Organizational Psychology
Information Systems
Leadership & Management Organizational Systems
Organizational Theory and Modeling
Organizations, Culture and Technology
Case Study
Mixed Methods Research
Qualitative Inquiry
Research Design/Methodology Quantitative Inquiry
Survey Research
Education History
Degree Institution Year
BA Reed College, Portland OR 1964
MPIA University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA 1967
MPH University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI 1973
PhD University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI 1977
Community Involvement
Role Organization
Board member Reed College Alumni Association, Southern California Chapter
Question and Answer
Describe your teaching philosophy or your approach to working with students.

Teaching/learning is fundamentally about sharing - exchange of ideas, meaning, knowledge, and understanding. Everyone, of whatever age, background, or level of sophistication, has useful things to share. Effective sharing is never one-way. If I am not prepared to learn, then I will never be prepared to teach. All human relationships contain elements of teaching/learning, large or small. Some of what we learn is useful, and we hang onto it; some we shed, perhaps retaining elements that later understanding makes relevant. Relevance and utility are largely determined by context - whether we have some mental framework on which to hang ideas and connect them to other ideas. Effective teaching/learning is as much about sharing contexts and frameworks as it is about the sharing of individual facts or ideas.

Formal education is a set of social/institutional arrangements established by a society to routinize and thus control the sharing of ideas. Teaching/learning within formal education requires continual trade-offs between effective idea sharing and the needs of society for certification and credentialing, which typically involve a much narrower range of knowledge and competence than does education generally. Credentialing is largely the mastery of predicted cause/effect relationships among phenomena in a specific field – if I do X in context Y, Z is likely to occur; the more X/Y/Z relationships you have, the stronger your credential. But sharing of what is known about X/Y/Z relationships is only a part of responsible teaching/learning. Of equal if not more importance is helping your partner in the exchange to see beyond the specific Y context, to be able to generalize to a set of Xn/Yn/Zn situations where different conditions may exist but similar idea dynamics may operate. The model here is Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, finally communicating to the young Helen Keller the concept of “water” as a joining of an ideograph (the word “water”) and a real phenomenon – the wet stuff gushing over her hands. Educational systems should be all about the students. Our job is to facilitate students’ access to ideas and to help develop their insights into them. Our ultimate test of success is whether they get useful stuff. If they don't, we need to figure out how to make it work. We are happiest when all students can earn a legitimate and thoroughgoing A for their projects. When this doesn't happen, we need to figure out the “whys” (beyond the obvious dimension of student inattentiveness or preoccupation) that we ought to attend to. There's a basic principle in learning theory that one only learns by making mistakes. Learning is about change, and variable responses to different stimuli; if you don't make a mistake, you have no reason to change and thus you haven't really learned anything. There’s no question that we only learn how to fix our courses by examining what the students don't seem to be getting. Thus, returning to our start, teaching/learning is an eternal interaction among participants in a process, where each respects the other and respects what one learns as much as what one teaches.

Formal education is a set of social/institutional arrangements established by a society to routinize and thus control the sharing of ideas. Teaching/learning within formal education requires continual trade-offs between effective idea sharing and the needs of society for certification and credentialing, which typically involve a much narrower range of knowledge and competence than does education generally. Credentialing is largely the mastery of predicted cause/effect relationships among phenomena in a specific field – if I do X in context Y, Z is likely to occur; the more X/Y/Z relationships you have, the stronger your credential.

But sharing of what is known about X/Y/Z relationships is only a part of responsible teaching/learning. Of equal if not more importance is helping your partner in the exchange to see beyond the specific Y context, to be able to generalize to a set of Xn/Yn/Zn situations where different conditions may exist but similar idea dynamics may operate. The model here is Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, finally communicating to the young Helen Keller the concept of “water” as a joining of an ideograph (the word “water”) and a real phenomenon – the wet stuff gushing over her hands. Educational systems should be all about the students. Our job is to facilitate students’ access to ideas and to help develop their insights into them. Our ultimate test of success is whether they get useful stuff. If they don't, we need to figure out how to make it work. We are happiest when all students can earn a legitimate and thoroughgoing A for their projects. When this doesn't happen, we need to figure out the “whys” (beyond the obvious dimension of student inattentiveness or preoccupation) that we ought to attend to. There's a basic principle in learning theory that one only learns by making mistakes. Learning is about change, and variable responses to different stimuli; if you don't make a mistake, you have no reason to change and thus you haven't really learned anything. There’s no question that we only learn how to fix our courses by examining what the students don't seem to be getting. Thus, returning to our start, teaching/learning is an eternal interaction among participants in a process, where each respects the other and respects what one learns as much as what one teaches.

But sharing of what is known about X/Y/Z relationships is only a part of responsible teaching/learning. Of equal if not more importance is helping your partner in the exchange to see beyond the specific Y context, to be able to generalize to a set of Xn/Yn/Zn situations where different conditions may exist but similar idea dynamics may operate. The model here is Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, finally communicating to the young Helen Keller the concept of “water” as a joining of an ideograph (the word “water”) and a real phenomenon – the wet stuff gushing over her hands.

Educational systems should be all about the students. Our job is to facilitate students’ access to ideas and to help develop their insights into them. Our ultimate test of success is whether they get useful stuff. If they don't, we need to figure out how to make it work. We are happiest when all students can earn a legitimate and thoroughgoing A for their projects. When this doesn't happen, we need to figure out the “whys” (beyond the obvious dimension of student inattentiveness or preoccupation) that we ought to attend to. There's a basic principle in learning theory that one only learns by making mistakes. Learning is about change, and variable responses to different stimuli; if you don't make a mistake, you have no reason to change and thus you haven't really learned anything. There’s no question that we only learn how to fix our courses by examining what the students don't seem to be getting. Thus, returning to our start, teaching/learning is an eternal interaction among participants in a process, where each respects the other and respects what one learns as much as what one teaches.

Educational systems should be all about the students. Our job is to facilitate students’ access to ideas and to help develop their insights into them. Our ultimate test of success is whether they get useful stuff. If they don't, we need to figure out how to make it work. We are happiest when all students can earn a legitimate and thoroughgoing A for their projects. When this doesn't happen, we need to figure out the “whys” (beyond the obvious dimension of student inattentiveness or preoccupation) that we ought to attend to. There's a basic principle in learning theory that one only learns by making mistakes. Learning is about change, and variable responses to different stimuli; if you don't make a mistake, you have no reason to change and thus you haven't really learned anything. There’s no question that we only learn how to fix our courses by examining what the students don't seem to be getting.

Thus, returning to our start, teaching/learning is an eternal interaction among participants in a process, where each respects the other and respects what one learns as much as what one teaches.

Thus, returning to our start, teaching/learning is an eternal interaction among participants in a process, where each respects the other and respects what one learns as much as what one teaches.

Why did you choose to enter your professional area(s)?

I had worked for several years as an up-and-coming middle manager with the US public health service, but found myself continually frustrated with my organization. I didn't know if the problems lay with me, with my colleagues, with my organization, with government in general, with organizations in general, or somewhere else. So I went back to graduate school specifically to study organizations and try to figure these out. Not surprisingly, I've found over the years since then that the answer was "all of the above, in varying combinations and at various times". There aren't many easy answers to organizational problems and issues, although there is certainly no shortage of proposed alternatives. It's hard to get outside of our own shells and comfort zones in order to understand other perspectives and solutions. I do believe in the potential power of technology to help augment human capabilities, and in the well demonstrated power of effective research in contributing to understanding of where we are and where we want to be. All my life has been a learning process, and it continues day by day.

Curriculum Vitae
Download
Research

information technology applications

education

technology transfer and policy

Innovation diffusion and implementation

organizational change and development

social networks and network analysis