Program Commentaries


Program Commentaries


The commentaries below are from graduates and students who have been enrolled in our online Masters program. Students work in a mentored, self-structured environment where experiential learning and transformative education are the hallmarks of their process.



Erin Wallen

TIES offers an educational context in which cultivating awareness is integral to every facet of the program. I did not realize until late in the first semester that TIES actually embodies many elements of a new learning paradigm: what a twenty-first century education looks like. In offering collaborative work, multiple solutions to all assignments, reading and synthesizing numerous sources, critical thinking to analyze and capture salient points, creativity, independent thinking, purposeful use of technology, dialogue, and trust, the TIES learning environment demonstrates a shift from the more traditional frameworks many of us have experienced as students and as an educators.

The online dialogue, shaped by thoughtful, mindful guidelines, together with the supportive guidance from classmates and program directors made it possible to share insights and see other points of view in a unique and multi-faceted context, which allowed us to learn from each other and be our truest selves at all times.

It has been a challenge to work full time and complete this program but it is possible and so very worth it. You will learn so much about yourself and the natural world and your evolutionary connections to all things — it is eye opening and soul deepening.

Erin Wallen
Dean of Students/Conseillère Principale d’Education
International High School / Lycée International Franco-Américain
San Francisco


Tejendra Pherali

My decision to enroll in the TIES Masters program proved to be a milestone in my life. It was like diving into the ocean from a little well. The virtual seminars allowed the complete freedom of integrating life experiences with theories. They offer an opportunity to bring diverse social, cultural and educational ideas and practices into a single forum.

The beauty of this program is that it is not limited to merely a single discipline; rather it engages multifarious aspects of human life that need an immediate address should we guarantee a handover of this planet to our children as a precious gift. The program substantiates the importance of ‘conscious education’ in postmodern era so as to stimulate every individual to walk along the inevitable path of human congeniality to nature.

I was able to reshape my thinking faculty and develop my confidence both in my profession as an educator and in my further study in the University of Sydney where I carried out a research study on ‘environmental conceptions of university students’. Now I am in the UK and have recently started my doctorate in conflict and education. Collaborative learning was an eye opening experience in my academic life. I learned to think differently, far away from ‘blind acceptance of knowledge’ to critical outlook to it before making a judgment, a dialogue process and learning through discussions. In my retrospection, I realize that all my lectures and research activities have been influenced subtly by integrative learning.

Tejendra Pherali
Kathmandu, Nepal



Zac Gagnon

I have developed a deep appreciation for how this program provided areas of exploration yet did not insist on telling me
how and what to think. This helped me to more fully “own” my newfound knowledge, rather than having it simply consist of
something dictated to me. My views on education for sustainability have been completely reborn. I approach such concerns in
a completely different manner than I would have before beginning this program. The systems way of looking at things
resonates strongly with my world view now.

Zac Gagnon
Lower School Deputy Director
International School of Bergen



Jennie Hayward

I marveled at how carefully this graduate journey was prepared and was amazed at the freedom and openness for personal exploration and expression. The amount of learning and transformation that took place could fill a book, and in fact, it did. It is called Choosing (Music) More Consciously–Integrative Learning in the Elementary Classroom through Recorder Education, my Culminating Project.

What amazed me the most about this course of study was how our online community of students read and discussed required books that were carefully selected to provide a strong foundation–a cosmological and ecological context–a fertile soil in which all were able to embed individual studies, conduct research in a deeply meaningful way, and offer their contributions to the world community and a planet in transition.

As the weeks and months progressed, I continued to wonder what “Integrative Learning” meant exactly. I even asked one of the professors; but, it became clear that this was not the kind of school where the teacher gives the answers and the student passively receives.  This was a course of exploration, a personal journey; yet toward the end, I realized that the clues of what Integrative Learning might mean were presented all along.

Jennie Hayward
Music Teacher
Montana, USA



David Evans

Through dialogue our on-line community became a phenomenal space for me- an intimate model of inspiration that helped me creatively weave together experiences in my life that were fragmented and often mysteriously hidden. This international community was both inviting and resilient. I felt we created “living relationships” by building a learning community, or paradigm of meaning, from which we re-emerged with a deeper and healthier view of the integrative self.

The combination of dialogue and integrative seminars throughout the coursework enabled me to explore compassionately the systemic aspects of nature’s web that affect living and learning. The integrative seminars rely on a cosmic framework that focuses on valuing coherent and contextual meaning for creating patterns of thought, or sustainable thinking for a sustainable future.

David Evans
Elementary School English Coordinator
Colegio Peterson. Mexico



Nerys Loveridge

I used to think that I was engaged in a programme in which I would learn how to educate young people in an integrated way: integration across the curriculum and integrated with their universe. I certainly am doing this, but I am also learning in an integrated way, with varied strands of knowledge and understanding weaving together to create a new understanding in me of my role as an educator.

Nerys Loveridge
United Arab Emirates



EdVeeje Fairchild, Alumnus

I was a full-time professional and I knew I wanted to complete a masters degree without cutting back my work hours. I also did not want the typical academic experience and that I was looking for a program that would empower me to pursue my calling in the world.

The TIES Masters Program in Integrative Learning not only met all three of those criteria, but it excelled my expectations. This masters program is literally the most exciting, transformative thing I have done in over a decade!

EdVeeje Fairchild
Executive Director of Sustainable Cape Ann
Massachusetts, USA



Gabriela Solis, Alumnus

The TIES program gave me a living experience in holistic, integrative adult education. It provided me with theories to support my insights and intuition, like living systems in evolution, systems thinking and brain based learning. It motivated me to be clear in my mission, the meaning and purpose of my life and all this is an energy that motivates me to create and recreate things and my work place.

It helped me to understand cultural biodiversity in action.

Gabriela Solis
Teacher and Workshop Leader
Quito, Ecuador



Sarah Crowther

During my studies at Endicott, I was forced to get out of my comfort zone and consider other perspectives that I would never have arrived at on my own. This was very valuable to me, both professionally and personally, because I it made me a better practitioner as I was more open to listening and understanding.

I am very grateful to TIES for broadening my horizons. I try to promote understanding and dialogue in situations that are very easy to stereotype. When a student is unsuccessful in school, the easy conclusions for faculty staff/parents are he/she is lazy, or partying too much. It takes much more work to delve into the issue and understand the root cause, than to summarily dismiss it with superficial reasoning.

So, my point is, thank you. I suppose if we want to walk the walk, we have to talk the talk. I was half way there, but conditionally. TIES helped me see the big picture and want to learn and understand what people value, and more importantly, why.

Sarah Crowther
Director of Non-Degree Programs
Smith College, USA



Brian McPherson, Alumnus

My experience with graduate level education through the TIES program is a model of inquiry-based distance learning at it’s best. The most significant challenge of earning a master’s degree while working as a full-time, overseas educator was finding a program that let me explore educational theory in conjunction with my area of specialization, visual arts. Our cohort, through on-line, interactive seminars explored integrative educational theory, where the dialogue centered on a core of required readings. The Internet venue provided a safe environment to examine and question the theory as we put the principles to work in our daily practice.

As my experience with and understanding of integrative education increased so did my confidence as an educator. My enthusiasm to make connections across disciplines often serves as a model for others. My experience with the TIES program is true testimony that we are life-long learners.

Brian McPherson
Art Teacher
Singapore American School





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