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ULM’s Chapman, McClendon present at annual conference

Published November 14, 2016

MONROE, La. — Dr. Jocelyn Chapman, part-time instructor in ULM’s Creative Systemic Studies (CSS) online doctoral program, and CSS program graduate Dr. Karen McClendon, presented at the International Society for the Systems Sciences' (ISSS) 60th Annual Conference, at University of Colorado, Boulder, July 24-30, 2016.


The respected International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) is devoted to interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature of complex systems. 

Chapman and McClendon reflected on their experiences, as teacher and student, in ULM’s non-clinical Marriage and Family Therapy degree program, which was founded on the principles of systems thinking and cybernetics (taking action and observing feedback to inform subsequent actions). They shared how students frequently testified that cybernetics changed how they attended to the issues they were involved in, including homelessness, coaching youth, missionary work, grassroots organizing for social change, and therapeutic practices. Then they used concepts from cybernetics – feedback, control, and distinctions – to demonstrate how cybernetics can be creatively presented and integrated into any course of study. 

According to Chapman, “One way educators can work toward meaningful social change is to foster transformative change in students’ thinking.” 

McClendon adds, “Since today’s students are tomorrow’s decision-makers, we need to foster the kind of complex thinking students will need to address the increasingly complex problems of our world.” 

The 2017 ISSS Conference will be held in Vienna and McClendon says, “We highly recommend this conference to anyone interested in systems thinking and practice. The presentations are excellent and we meet many wonderful people.”

Chapman noted, “Highlights for me included learning from Louis Klein, Peter Tuddenham, Howard Silverman, and Ray Ison, whose book, Systems Practice: How to Act in a Climate-Change World, I teach with and recommend to everyone, whether you are new to systems thinking or an accomplished practitioner.”