Transforming UCO 1
Running head: TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING WITH HEALTHY CAMPUS
A Transformational Experience:
The Importance of Healthy Campus and Students’ Transformative Learning
Department of Mass Communication
University of Central Oklahoma
December 1, 2008
Transforming UCO 2
The University of Central Oklahoma is guided by the mission statement which
“exists to help students learn by providing transformative education experiences to
students so that they may become productive, creative, ethical, and engaged citizens and
leaders serving our global community. UCO contributes to the intellectual, cultural,
economic and social advancement of the communities and individuals it serves.” (UCO,
About section, para. 1)
UCO is driven to become one of the Top 10 metropolitan universities by focusing
on transformative learning and leadership. One of UCO’s examples of its leadership as a
university is the transformative learning advancements it aspires to excel in. By focusing
resources on the “Central Six” tenets of transformative learning, the University of Central
Oklahoma will lead students into learning environments which will “place students at the
center of their own active and reflective learning experiences.” (UCO, About section,
The University of Central Oklahoma has accepted six areas of transformative
learning as the most important and influential aspects of a students learning experience.
Central Six Tenets (accepted as important truth) of Transformative Learning.
∗ Discipline Knowledge
∗ Problem Solving
∗ Service Learning and Civic Engagement
∗ Global and Cultural Competencies
∗ Health and Wellness
Transforming UCO 3
Health and Wellness, the sixth tenet to be added as a transformative aspect of
education, addresses student learning outcomes such as:
∗ Being able to learn at the level of one’s potential.
∗ Choose and exhibit behaviors that promote health, reduce risk, and
∗ Understand and explain the relationship between health and ones capacity
to meet personal academic and long-term goals.
∗ Understand the essential connections between personal health and the
quality of the natural, campus and human environments.
∗ Can articulate how the health of individuals is linked to the health of the
natural environment and of their community.
∗ Identify and utilize campus and community health wellness resources and
support available to the UCO community.
In order to achieve these desired outcomes for the Health and Wellness aspect of
transformative learning, the Healthy Campus UCO initiative was created. Healthy
Campus UCO is a faculty, staff, student, and community ran initiative through the
university Wellness Center. The Healthy Campus mission statement is “to promote a
campus environment supportive of the development and maintenance of a healthy body,
mind and spirit for all members of the University of Central Oklahoma community.”
(UCO, Wellness Center, Healthy Campus UCO section, para. 4).
Although the initiative is in its founding stages, addressing the various healthy
mind, body, and spirit concerns of the UCO community is already underway through the
workgroups and the survey results from the American College Health Association-
National College Health Assessment.
The ACHA-NCHA is an extensive survey given to the University of Central
Oklahoma’s student population. According to the UCO State of the Campus Health
Report for 2007 which converts the mass amount of data gathered from the ACHA-
NCHA survey into a more comprehendible structure, 32% of the UCO student population
Transforming UCO 4
reported stress as having a primary negative impact on their academic success. Sleep
difficulties were reported to negatively impact performance out of 25% of the students
surveyed and16% with depression, anxiety, or seasonal affective disorder.
According to the Healthy Campus overview on the Wellness Center website,
Healthy Campus accomplishes the mission of addressing these and other concerns by:
∗ Assessing the health status and needs of the campus community
∗ Developing and supporting health policies and programs on campus
∗ Making recommendations about campus health priorities
∗ Raising awareness and accessibility of health services
∗ Supporting campus departments and student organizations that address
important health issues on campus
∗ Removing health related barriers to learning
∗ Creating transformational learning activities
∗ Providing comprehensive recreation, medical, and mental health services
∗ Developing and supporting a multi-cultural model of campus health
By addressing the concerns found in the Campus Health Assessment, Healthy
Campus is providing avenues for students to develop their mind, body, and spirit through
transformative learning. Transformative learning is important to the success of students
entering the working world due to businesses increased expectations for students to have
a more realistic grasp on their careers. Health and wellness is the building block of
transformative learning and supports student’s growth as an individual, scholar, and
responsible adult. By encouraging students to become more aware of their health related
choices and lifestyles, Healthy Campus becomes the driving force behind the foundation
of every transformative aspect of learning. In order to excel at such a monumentally
important role, Healthy Campus encompasses aspects such as student workgroup
involvement and coursework integration.
Transforming UCO 5
Through coursework integration and workgroup involvement, I have been given
the opportunity to experience these Healthy Campus transformative aspects. During the
semester I designed and conducted surveys and interviews as well as involved myself in
participant observation in order to analyze the importance of Healthy Campus to UCO’s
transformative learning goals. I conducted personal interviews with the workgroup chairs
of Healthy Campus and have qualitatively surveyed participants of both workgroup
involved students and coursework integrated students.
Participants were selected due to their involvement with Healthy Campus.
Appointments were made with the workgroup chair members during hours convenient to
them and were conducted in the chair member’s respectable office for a recorded
interview. Workgroup involved students were contacted through emails provided by the
participant and consisted of a nine question, Transformative Learning at Healthy
Campus, survey of their interaction with Healthy Campus. Coursework integrated
students willingly volunteered to partake in a printed version of the same nine question,
Transformative Learning at Healthy Campus, survey during the integrated courses
normal class time.
When asked which of the six tenets of transformative learning the student felt best
represented their experiences with Healthy Campus, 81% of students surveyed reported
Health and Wellness as one of the top tenets. Approximately half of the student’s
surveyed also reported Problem Solving and Leadership as leading tenets which
represented their Healthy Campus experience.
When asked to acknowledge the Healthy Campus Student Learning Objectives
they felt they had personally experienced during their coursework or workgroup
Transforming UCO 6
involvement, “Identify and utilize campus health and wellness resources”, ranked highest
with a positive 72% response.
64% of responses reported “Choose and exhibit healthy behaviors.” and
“Understand and explain the relationship between personal health and capacity to meet
ones goals.” as a learning objective they had experienced during their Healthy Campus
involvement. “Learning at ones potential.” And “Articulate the link between personal
health and the effects on their surroundings.” received 54% of reported experiences.
As a method to better prepare students for their career choices, 72% of students
reported that their experiences in the workgroups or coursework helped them become
more prepared for their desired career paths. 18% of students did not answer the question
and only 10% reported that their Healthy Campus involvement did not help prepare them
for their desired career.
Of those surveyed, the prominent response to how Healthy Campus is important
to transformative learning, unknowingly referred to Healthy Campus’s initiative goals of
helping students become more health competent. Students felt that in order to learn,
students need to be healthy and Healthy Campus helps students to understand the
importance of health on their education and their future.
Transforming UCO 7
Responses from the Workgroup Committee Chairs supported this perspective
during their interview’s concerning Healthy Campus and its projected image, identity,
and student involvement. Committee Chair Members currently consist of faculty and
university staff which makes up five separate workgroups within Healthy Campus:
Danielle Dill Wellness Center Assistant Director of Programs
Dr. James Allen Data Collection and Analysis
Rachelle Franz Programming
Sunshine Cowan Policy
Dr. Christy Vincent Communications/Promotion
Johnny Watley Employee Wellness
Each faculty chair member, (Dr. Christy Vincent, Sunshine Cowan, Rachelle
Franz) has incorporated Healthy Campus into their 2008 course curriculum and provides
the added opportunity to become involved outside of class in one of the five workgroups
for the students own personal growth and experience. All of the Committee Chair
members reported student involvement within their workgroups as a positive influence to
the direction of the group. Chair members reported student perspectives as being highly
valued and encouraged, allowing the student to partake in decisions concerning the
workgroup, problem solving, leadership, and discipline knowledge.
Students involved in coursework integration were made aware of the real and
immediate impact their work has on Healthy Campus’s decisions, methods, and reports.
Committee members described the need for students who were serious, mature,
responsible, self-motivated and in the case of data collection in order to preserve
accuracy, knowledgeable of the basic principles concerning the workgroup.
As an Organizational Communication major in my senior year, my experience as
both a workgroup member and a coursework integrated student are similar with the
Transforming UCO 8
students surveyed. I feel that each of the “Central Six” tenets of Transformational
Learning as well as the Healthy Campus Student Learning Objectives have been reached
during my coursework and workgroup involvement. Although my colleagues may not
have realized it at the time, from an observatory perspective of the course, I feel that they
too have received similar experiences through their coursework.
Discipline Knowledge- My participant observations of the communication
practices between the committee chairs and the students involved has
given me the opportunity to practice my disciplines ability to:
o Analyze and understand a system/organization
o Practice research skills needed to analyze a system/organization
o Design interview/surveys needed to analyze a system/organization.
o Convey my findings and suggest areas of strengths/needed
improvements for a system/organization.
Leadership- I was given an opportunity to perform leadership skills
through time management, designing and conducting professional
interviews, and influencing the positive outcome of a project through
Problem Solving- I was required to solve the problem of generating my
own influential and expansive topic related to Healthy Campus. I then
narrowed that topic down into a concise point of interest that could be
compiled into a single semester of work yet still meet my personal goals
of having an influence on the Healthy Campus initiative.
Transforming UCO 9
Service Learning and Civic Engagement- In order to understand the
initiative and what resources it needs to meet its goals, I became involved
in the workgroup meetings and its related campus involvement. By
attending the University of Central Oklahoma Student Association
(UCOSA) meeting involving the Healthy Campus project of creating a
smoke free campus, I became personally involved in campus oriented
Global and Cultural Competencies- Through my interviews with Sunshine
Cowan in regards to the Policy workgroup, the importance of cultural
consideration in the creation of the Smoke Free Campus policy helped
remind me of the need for cultural sensitivity in such a diverse university.
Health and Wellness- Becoming involved in both the workgroup and
coursework integration as well as learning the purpose of Healthy Campus
and the need for the initiative, helped me view my own health and lifestyle
choices from a different perspective.
As exemplified by my participant observations, student surveys, and committee
chair interviews, Healthy Campus is important to Transformative Learning through
workgroup involvement and coursework integration because it serves as a source of
hands-on experience for students that are focused around health related topics. To reward
students for their professional involvement with workgroups and community or campus
related coursework, the University of Central Oklahoma also offers a Student
Development Transcript. “The Student Development Transcript is a verified document
that assures prospective employers or admissions boards you have devoted a certain
Transforming UCO 10
number of hours to an activity, and have gained particular skill sets while a member of
the organization or committee.” (UCO SDT, Frequently asked questions section, para.4).
After participating as either a workgroup member or in a course designated to
incorporating student organizations, community, or campus related coursework into their
curriculum, students can have their professor or advisor sign a verification form
acknowledging their area of work and time spent.
Individuals participating through coursework or personally interested in serving
as a student member of one of the five workgroups related to their area of significance,
(Data Collection and Analysis, Programming, Policy, Communications/Promotion, or
Employee Wellness) have an opportunity to convert their involvement into work related
experiences. This involvement will give dedicated students the upper hand when they
begin to compete for their desired career positions after graduation. By providing UCO
students the opportunity to get hands on experience in the different fields of a
professional organization, Healthy Campus is creating a transformational environment
loaded with potential.
However, through my student involvement, I have observed that one of the
challenges Healthy Campus faces is convincing the UCO College’s faculty of the
importance of integrating health into their curriculum. Through Organizational
Communication, I understand that an individual needs to feel a shared belief or purpose
for something before they will willingly support it. UCO can require professors to
incorporate health into their coursework. However the means may defeat the end if the
professor does not share the same beliefs as the University.
Transforming UCO 11
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz’s (2001) Making of the Corporate Athlete
discusses the struggles of high performance corporate professionals as they juggle the 9-5
no time for life, life. If communicated in a broader perspective, The Making of a
Corporate Athlete is something most professors and students could relate to with their
juggling of classes, low income family life, financial and university demands and grading
rituals. Although they are not corporate athletes, the mental and physical toll is still
If Healthy Campus desires to address the healthy body, mind, and spirit concerns
of the student population, they must simultaneously address the concerns of the mentors
and educators of those students. Loehr and Schwartz state that “Companies can’t afford
to address their employee’s cognitive capacities while ignoring their physical, emotional,
and spiritual well-being.”(Loehr, 2001, p. 128). In order to insure that health and wellness
will be integrated into coursework throughout the colleges, the professors need to at least
understand the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual capacity of their selves before
they can incorporate these aspects into their classes.
Transformative learning at UCO is not only about the experiences of the students,
it addresses the university as a whole. The responses from the workgroup participants and
coursework integrated students are representative of the hunger students have to actually
apply what they are learning. Each of the “Central Six’ tenets were met as well as the
Student Learning Objectives in just this semester alone. The results also show the
importance of Healthy Campus to Transformative Learning by providing students an
edge on the competition and a better understanding of their own health choices and
lifestyles. The positive results of Healthy Campus in the classrooms are evident. By
Transforming UCO 12
incorporating the transformational aspects of health and wellness into coursework across
all the colleges, Healthy Campus can help the UCO community reach its fullest potential
and set the pace as leaders of a hands-on generation.
Transforming UCO 13
Loehr, J., Tony Schwartz, (2001). The Making of a Corporate Athlete.
Harvard Business Review
State of the Campus Health Report, (2007). Last Visited December 1, 2008
University of Central Oklahoma, (2008). About UCO. Visited December 1, 2008.
University of Central Oklahoma, (2008) Wellness Center, Healthy Campus UCO. Visited
December 1, 2008. http://www.uco.edu/wellnesscenter/w_healthy.htm
University of Central Oklahoma, (2008) Student Development Transcript, Student
Organizations Office. Nigh University Center, Room 150
Transforming UCO 14
Thank you for agreeing to participate in this qualitative survey concerning
transformative learning at Healthy Campus. You have been offered this participative
opportunity because of your coursework or workgroup involvement with Healthy
Campus. The information gathered will be used confidentially in regards to Healthy
Campus’s transformational experiences through either direct involvement and/or
Instructions: Use the space beneath each question to fill in your response. Please answer
each question as thoroughly as possible. If any question does not apply to you or you
desire to not answer that particular question, please make note of this in the space
provided beneath the question.
1. What is your major as of fall 2008?
2. What is your desired career choice upon graduation?
3. In your own words, what is Transformative Learning?
4. How were/are you involved in Healthy Campus during the fall 2008 semester?
(Workgroup, Coursework, Both)
Transforming UCO 15
Transformative Learning is a holistic (considering all factors) process that places
students at the center of their OWN active and reflective learning experiences.
5. Which of the following six tenets of transformative learning do you feel best
represents your experiences with Healthy Campus?
Six Tenets (accepted as important truth) of Transformative Learning
o Discipline Knowledge
o Problem Solving (Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities)
o Service Learning and Civic Engagement
o Global and Cultural Competencies
o Health and Wellness
6. Healthy Campus has six main student learning objectives.
Did your experience with Healthy Campus meet each of these objectives?
If so, how?
Student Learning Objectives
(Please comment to each addressed objective)
o Be able to learn at the level of one’s potential.
o Choose and exhibit behaviors that promote health, reduce health risks, and
o Understand and can explain the relationship between health and one’s
capacity to meet personal, academic, and long-term goals.
o Understand the essential connections between personal health and the
quality of the natural, campus, and human environments.
o Can articulate how the health of individuals is linked to the health of the
natural environment and their community.
o Identify and utilize campus and community health wellness resources and
support available to the UCO community.
7. From your perspective, how is Healthy Campus important to Transformative
8. During your course, or workgroup involvement with Healthy Campus, what
Transformative experiences have you had?
9. Do you feel that these experiences have better prepared you for your career