Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Adult and Continuing Education

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Tisdell

Second Advisor

Dr. Randee Lawrence

Third Advisor

Dr. Scipio A.J. Colin, III


What do American Jews really know about Muslims? What do American Muslims really know about Jews? These questions undergird this account of how two religious adult educators--a Jew and a Muslim--came to engage in collaborative, dialogic, relational and transformational interreligious learning and research. Emerging out of this collaborative doctoral research project at National-Louis University, this study addresses two different dimensions of research and practice in the field of adult education: the nature of adult learning in the interreligious dialogue process and the role of collaborative methods in research methodology.

Adult learning in the context of interreligious dialogue can best be described as incremental transformative learning, characterized by collaborative learning, which is mediated through symbols and metaphors in various forms. Learning in this context fosters adult development in the spiritual dimension. Interreligious dialogue engages the whole person in that it is linked to the learner's cognitive, affective, and symbolic domains of meaning making. The stories and experiences shared by the participants led to a schematic organized around three central themes: motivations rooted in openness and significant past experiences; interreligious learning as a threefold affective, cognitive, and symbolic knowledge construction process, and social action as inspiration and outcome of interreligious dialogue. A metaphor to describe the interaction and impact of these three themes that emerged from the data is that of interreligious dialogue as a pool of water.

This study is rooted in a constructivist theoretical framework in which the concepts of collaboration and research as artistic endeavor are prominent. It was conducted as a fully collaborative venture. This important collaborative research partnership led to the creation of a new collaborative inquiry data gathering method (CIMCAM). It also led to significant insights into the role of collaborative learning in the research process.