Cara Meixner, Ph.D. is a 2008 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Alan E. Guskin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Eugene Rice, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Devorah Lieberman, Ph.D., External Reader


service-learning, faculty development, higher education, undergraduate education, teaching, grounded theory, situational analysis, dimensional analysis, educational leadership, transformative learning, faculty experience

Document Type


Publication Date



Evolving Learning: Educators’ Inner Experiences of Engaging in Service-Learning with Undergraduates is an exploratory, qualitative study of faculty members’ learning, growth, and development in service-learning contexts. Through two, interwoven forms of constructivist grounded theory – situational mapping and dimensional analysis – this dissertation brought voice to a once ‘private’ perspective, making explicit what all is happening as participants make meaning of their experiences engaging in service-learning with college students. A three-phased series of recursive, comparative interviews and concurrent analysis resulted in the development of a grounded theory best captured by a core, organizing perspective – evolving learning. This perspective is comprised of five intersecting dimensions: (1) bearing witness, (2) navigating, (3) reconciling expectations, (4) resolving and reorienting, and (5) locating self in humanity. Both novel and exploratory, this dissertation adds extensively to extant literature, contributing significantly to our understanding of how educators adapt, transform, or make meaning of their own engagement. Also, the study unveils a number of opportunities for qualitative and mixed methods inquiry on faculty teaching, learning, engagement, and development. The electronic version of this dissertation is accessible at the OhioLINK ETD Center,