Values & Philosophy

At Creative Adventures, we believe in the transformational power of learning, and recognize that many of the common challenges that graduate students face in completing their dissertation or thesis are often based on more than just one contributing factor.

Drawing on our expertise in educational and cognitive psychology, we recognize that learning is an inherently organic process that involves all of the elements of complex systems change at the individual level, and the dynamics of self-organizing systems are reflected in changes to how one’s brain functions.  The culminating phase of most university graduate student programs — the master’s thesis and especially the doctoral dissertation — is one that typically calls on the graduate-level student to synthesize newly acquired knowledge and skills at a very high level.  The engine that drives your learning is fueled by your own interests and goals, and the curiosity about and passion you hold for your topic and capstone project.  At Creative Adventures, we’re experts at helping you to uncover, explore, and develop your learning capabilities, and unleash your creative intellect!

Towards this end, we are positioned to work with you by examining your situation wholistically, recognizing that each of our clients comes to us with a unique situation based on their chosen topic area, philosophic orientation, project methodological approach, personal and professional goals, and life context.  

In addition, every person possesses a unique profile of competencies, and much of our focus is on helping you strengthen your knowledge and skills across a full profile of core competency domains needed to successfully navigate your graduate school capstone student experience.  Our process and approach are based on working with you on a personal level, to meet you where you’re at, and help you go as far as you’d like to go–and are required to based on your graduate program’s expectations–developmentally!

Learning should be a fun, exciting, and an empowering experience:
A Creative Adventure into your topic, yourself, and the landscape of the researcher, advanced practitioner, or scholar-practitioner!

While our dissertation consulting and coaching is tied to empirically-supported educational, training and development, and experiential brain-based learning principles, a deeper philosophic foundation of our work is tied to the assumptions underlying process consultation which by design are intended to empower you, our client, to build core competencies at the highest–and deepest–levels needed to successfully navigate the rigorous expectations of your university and program.   The assumptions that underlie the process consultant approach–which are aligned with a learning and educational focus–are paradigmatically different than the assumptions associated with the “expert” consultation approach (see below).  The implications of adopting the process consultation orientation are quite profound for you the client, as it informs our practice and the nature and profile of consulting and coaching services and activities, and the way we work in partnership with you.   

Process Consultation: Assumptions / Principles

  • Educationally focused; Consultant seeks to give away their knowledge / expertise, coaching and advising so that the student / client acquires the capabilities to solve their own problems and manage their own learning.
  • Based on developing a partnership between consultant and student / client; true coaching-style collaborative assessment / diagnosis / problem solving, goal-setting, action planning.
  • Assumes that the consultant can never fully know / understand the student's / client’s situation (e.g., needs / goals), thus requiring a collaborative partnership with coach / advisor.
  • Collaboration seeks to build a stronger, more robust / accurate shared vision of the situation, and buy-in for and commitment to the plan of action.
  • Relatively high level of knowledge / skill transfer from consultant to student / client.
  • The process is both rich and organic, and highly transparent, suitable for knowledge transfer of complex and sophisticated information.

While members of the Creative Adventures consulting team possess expertise across a wide spectrum of methodological approaches to research and disciplined inquiry – as well as subject matter knowledge spanning a number of professional disciplines – our approach in working with you is based more on a “process consultation” model of consulting rather than the “expert” model, where our goal is to facilitate your learning, development, and growth as a professional.  This approach is based on building a strong collaborative partnership between client-and-consultant where we recognize our role in providing the appropriate training, dissertation or thesis coaching, and dissertation or thesis consultation that supports you in acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills that lead to success in completing your thesis or dissertation.  Among many other benefits, this approach to dissertation consulting provides the strongest platform for the kind of deep-coaching and mentoring that will lead you to someday serve, with skill and confidence, as a dissertation chair and supervise doctoral-level research should you so choose such a career path! 

Expert Consultant: Assumptions / Principles

  • Consultant as “expert” solely responsible for diagnosis and recommending a fix; limited collaboration / partnering
  • Client is responsible for implementation of the expert’s recommendation (often with little or no support, monitoring / evaluation, or follow-up by the consultant).
  • Classic example of this model is the “medical model” where the doctor is the expert, patient is expected to accept the doctor’s treatment plan.
  • Relatively low level of knowledge transfer from expert to client.
  • Process dynamics are not particularly transparent; what the expert does in their work diagnosing and planning isn't always apparent.

Through this approach, you remain in the driver’s seat throughout the various phases of designing and conducting your dissertation or thesis, retaining the responsibility for and ownership of your work, thereby maintaining clear ethical boundaries between your role as the person who does the work that demonstrates mastery of your degree program’s competencies, and our role in providing you with the necessary training, guidance, support, tools, and resources to accomplish this goal.

Curiosity and passion are the fuels which drive your creative intellect:
Let us help you unleash your creative energies!

In addition, our main philosophic framework in working with doctoral students is based on the scientist-/scholar-practitioner model, which we believe is a strong fit for the 21st Century professional serving either in leadership, helping, management, or advocacy roles that support knowledge creation and learning management, systems thinking, and evidence-based practice aimed at addressing real-world situations for the purpose of bringing about positive change and improved professional effectiveness.

The 21st Century Scholar-Practitioner

  • Seeks to bridge the theory-practice gap through the use of rigorous tools and methods of scientific and disciplined inquiry
  • Focus on more applied research that addresses real-world situations leading to actionable knowledge that informs decision-making and professional practice.
  • Systems thinking and appreciation for diversity
  • Problem-solving with root cause analysis; ability to map out complex systems and processes (i.e., visual literacy)
  • Meta-level awareness / critically reflective professional
  • Ethically, socially, environmentally responsible
  • Seeks sustainable, win-win-win solutions
  • Advocate and leader for evidence-based practice

While the scholar-practitioner framework clearly has strong ties to the pragmatist tradition—which also serves as a philosophic foundation for mixed methods research—we also fully understand and appreciate research that draws from and aligns with the research traditions of the positivists / post positivistssocial constructivists / interpretivistscritical- / transformative theorists, and post-modernists.  Our broad-base of graduate student and doctoral student training and experience across a wide-spectrum of research traditions and philosophic worldviews, serves as a key foundation for our ability to provide training, consultation, coaching and advice in support of quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research designs, as well as a number of more applied approaches to disciplined inquiry (i.e., action research, program evaluation, policy analysis, needs assessment, systems analysis, appreciative inquiry).

Furthermore, we bring a developmental approach to helping you acquire the knowledge and skills needed to accomplish your academic writing goals and successfully completing your dissertation or thesis.  In considering your individual learning and developmental needs, we work with eight core competency domains that include knowledge and skills related to areas such as information literacy (e.g., library research skills, knowledge of the structure scientific / scholarly literature, etc.), writing and critical thinking (including “visual literacry”), theoretical understanding and practice knowledge, research, statistics and mathematical reasoning, and ethics.  Our process includes an assessment of your developmental level in those competency domains related to your particular situation, needs, and stated goals.

We will challenge and support you in a constructive, safe, and nurturing environment that helps you take your knowledge and skills to new and higher levels, and that meets or exceeds your expectations!

To the extent appropriate for your particular needs and goals, our approach is wholistic, addressing the intellectual / cognitive, socio-emotional, and affective dimensions of your developing self as a scholar-practitioner and critically reflective professional. Because we embrace an educationally-focused process model of consultation, our approach draws extensively on principles of experiential learning, where we help you to develop meta-cognitive skills that underlie your abilities to “learn how to learn,” a skill that is particularly important for those who serve in roles where they supervise, coach, lead, manage, counsel, or teach others.

In maintaining high ethical standards, we abide by a number of codes of conduct / ethics reflective not only of those directly related to research (i.e., Belmont Principles, Code of Federal Regulations 45 CFR 46), but also those based on our professional affiliations (e.g., OD Code of Ethics, Association for Experiential Education (AEE), American Psychological Association (APA), Academy of Management (AoM), American Counseling Association (ACA)).

Finally, we believe in the importance of process, in the unique Human capacity to learn and to take pride in our accomplishments, and in the need to be able to slow down, take time to dig deeper in attending to detail, and to actively engage in critical reflection on the details in one’s work and life, for it’s in the details where the meaning resides.

Words shared by our happy clients...

Dr. Flor,
I think this course is the best example of what I originally thought a doctoral program was suppose to be like. It is stretching me beyond my self perceived limits and although I do not always like it. I am learning a tremendous amount and really appreciate your advice and counsel.

Best wishes,


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