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Learning and Leading In An Age Of Transformation

A Book In The Living in an Age of Transformation Series

This book is the first in what is anticipated to be a series of books about how Communities of the Future approach ideas and principles to disrupt, create, and transform all sectors of society including education, the economy, healthcare, business, technology and democracy. The focus of this volume is on transformational needs and strategies for rethinking education and leadership at all levels and in all contexts. Beginning with a focus on the current challenges to education and explorations of emerging metaphors and perspectives for the future of education, this book provides useful guidance and explicit activities for creating transformative leaders and learners. With an emphasis on futures learning needs and strategies, master capacity building skills are explored that support new ways of thinking and doing necessary during these times of rapid change.

This book ends with a series of activities designed to facilitate the implementation of master capacity building principles with a variety of groups of individuals. Working towards community and social transformation, these activities support the theoretical and discursive focus of the book on leading and learning futures.

The authors of this book bring a wealth of practical and scholarly backgrounds to inform their thinking and facilitate their ability to communicate to a wide range of audiences. Their differing perspectives and experiences converge to offer the reader a rich array of ideas and understandings of how to create communities of the future.


As President Emeritus of Wake Technical Community College, I am proud that our institution was the first Future Forward College in an international network of innovative institutions.

At Wake Tech, faculty, staff, and students developed partnerships with other futures-oriented professionals in colleges and communities throughout the U.S. This book is one result of these successful partnerships.

Learning and Leading in an Age of Transformation provides insights and practices developed through lively, diverse collaboration, and readers will find effective approaches to expand their leadership capacities for successful futures. Master Capacity Building skills are the foundation for individuals and institutions to gain agency in an inevitable transformation process; collaboration and co-creation are some of the results. Here, the philosophy and practical applications are explained and exemplified, and the workbook provides activities applicable to any group endeavor. Learning and Leading in an Age of Transformation is a vital touchstone in an ever-expanding process.

Stephen Scott, Ed.D., President Emeritus, Wake Technical Community College,
Raleigh NC

I have been involved in Higher Education most of my career: from faculty to dean to vice president of instruction to president.  Changes have occurred at an ever-increasing rate as I look back over these more than forty-five years.  One of these changes is the pervasiveness of societal divisiveness in almost all areas of our lives: in education, politics, climate change, energy sources, health, etc.  This book examines these changes and develops a very persuasive argument for the need for Transformational Learning for which the authors give us a clear definition. 


The authors not only define transformation as it applies to learning and leadership, but they also give us detailed examples of how one can become a Transformational Leader in any organization.  This is an excellent book!  I wish that I had had it as the president to become more aware of the “weak signals” about the future as my group of faculty and staff leaders prepared for the future of our organization.


Larry J. Darlage, Ph.D., President Emeritus, Tarrant County College Northeast

Learning and Leading in an Age of Transformation is a masterpiece of creativity connecting three ideas: 1) we live in a time of historical transition between the Industrial Age and what Dr. John Cobb calls the “Ecological Civilization;” 2) education in a time of constant transformational change is very different  compared to the Industrial Age when change was relatively slow; and 3) in the future, we will need to prepare citizens to connect and adapt to increasingly fast paced, interconnected, interdependent, and complex societies and economies.


Citizens will need to learn to identify emerging ideas and connect those ideas in a process of co-creation and transformation. Our ability to develop these skills will determine society’s capacity to adapt quickly.


The authors of Learning and Leading in an Age of Transformation have taken the bold step of moving beyond incremental change of traditional ideas and methods. This ground-breaking book asks the reader to rethink how systems of leadership and learning will need to be redesigned for societies and economies in which all aspects are transforming.  The authors provide specific guidance for leaders who will need to be prepared to support these efforts. We need more pathfinders like these.


Rick Smyre, CEO, Communities of the Future, and co-author of Preparing for a World that Doesn’t Exist – Yet:  Framing a Second Enlightenment to Create Communities of the Future 

Something has gone wrong. Ours is not the world we were promised. Even absent COVID, the early decades of the 21st Century, for far too many of us, have been traumatizing, disorienting

and exhausting.


It is within this perspective that I, as an internationally recognized pioneer in Canada of serious futures research, applaud the authors of Learning and Leading in an Age of Transformation for their insight, caring and creativity.


They have created a volume that will be especially useful to persons who are beginning to take seriously that the deepest aspiration of our Modern Techno-Industrial (MTI) cultures is wrong and wrong-headed, namely the desire to improve our modern world and extend it virtually

forever in both time and space.


This volume is a fine introduction to the new work of the 21st Century – learning to transcend the presuppositions, aspirations and criteria for success of our now almost fully modern MTI world. This book will get you onto a road less travelled; a road we all need to be on.


Ruben F. W. Nelson, Executive Director, Foresight Canada

Dr. M. Jayne Fleener, Professor and former academic dean, Dr. Fleener has been a part of several Communities of the Future initiatives including working with colleagues at Wake Tech in their Futures Forward initiative. Her two previous books explore postmodern logics and emergent systems change.


Dr. Magdalena H. de la Teja, VP Tarrant County College (ret.), works as a consultant, coach and mentor, bringing the critically important perspective of student and community issues to the discussion of transformative learning. She addresses the urgent need to recognize and respond to the realities of underserved, often minoritized communities.


Benita Budd, Professor and Future Forward Fellow at Wake Technical Community College, developed a long-term benchmarking project to promote and implement Master Capacity Building and other futures-oriented concepts as Wake Tech became the founding Future Forward College within the Communities of the Future network.


Emily Moore, Department Head, Communication and Theatre at Wake Technical Community College, brings insights for expanding capacities in diverse groups through Reflective practices and Connectivism. Her projects and publications demonstrate the effectiveness of these approaches that remove the barriers of academic hierarchies, subject matter, and conventional pedagogy.


John C. Carver, has worked with Communities of the Future developing futures-oriented concepts. As an early Master Capacity Builder, he led his school district into the digital age, and his insights have expanded the capacities of school districts and communities to work together for the betterment of all.

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