College of Education and Professional Studies

Dr. Ed Cunliff


Phone: (405) 974-2972

Office: CTL 221

Box: 206


  • 1983: Oklahoma University, Norman, OK; Ph.D. in Adult and Community Education, minor in Administration
  • 1974: Oklahoma University, Norman, OK; M.A. in Human Relations, emphasis in counseling and organizational development
  • 1968; University of Madrid, Spain
  • 1969: DePauw University, Greencastle, IN; B.A. in Spanish, emphasis in Education and Sociology

General Information

I have worked in social services as a community organizer and trainer, a director of continuing education and management coach in a hospital, and have had three very different roles in higher education (Director of Institutional Research, Asst. VP Academic Affairs, and faculty). If you are interested in training or human resource management I would suggest you put some study into the Association for Talent Development’s competency model at:

Those interested in student personnel, student affairs or enrollment management might want to look at:

I try to align with these national associations as a means of providing you with more options in your career paths.

Philosophical Grounding - In my field of adult and higher education, I draw on many sources and those continue to expand and contract and morph. There are five core sources that have and continue to shape my understanding of and philosophy of education: adult learning theory, transformative learning, radical educational theory, Bloom’s taxonomy, and currently MBE (mind – brain – education) or neuroscience.

 From adult learning I take the idea that adults want to be involved, are motivated intrinsically, and bring great information and skills to the circle. I probably deviate from many traditionalists in adult education in that I hold profound respect for the value and importance of experience of youth as well as adults. Transformative learning says to me that learning is more than just gaining more knowledge and skill and that it involves an openness to change, to see and experience the world differently, to take the diversity that exists around us and to intentionally include pieces into who we are. As I look at transformation with an understanding of Kuhn’s concept of scientific revolutions and paradigm shifts, then transformative learning must be considered as a deep learning process.

 The works of bell hooks, Paulo Freire and John Dewey are important as they remind me of the strong connection between educational process and democracy and social change. I strongly believe that education of the public is necessary for a healthy, functioning democracy in which citizens are thoughtfully involved. Bloom’s taxonomy describes my hope for learners to move beyond memorization to higher levels of synthesis and creativity in their thought processes.

 My hope for graduate and under-graduate students is that they become creators of knowledge and information. The improvements in the science of the brain can impact the way we learn and facilitate learning. We are discovering, and often supporting, models and activities that can be of great assistance, but will challenge some old paradigms regarding education. I’m learning and incorporating elements of neuroscience into my educational way of life. These are significant elements of my philosophy of education.

 I am currently studying as much as I can in the neuroscience of learning and I make a point of sharing what I learn with students and colleagues. This is an exciting area of study and I bring small pieces into my practice – currently in terms of intentionality, physical engagement and mindfulness. I strongly believe that this will reframe some of our educational practices in the future.

 While I have many hopes for students (especially reaching their educational goals), I do hope that their work with me will support them as thoughtful, intentional learners and as critical thinkers. Those two skills, I believe, will greatly help them in their educational and life journeys.

Professional Associations

  • American Association of Adult and Continuing Education
  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Evaluation Association
  • Association for Talent Development, Oklahoma Chapter
  • International Mind, Brain and Education Society
  • National Association for Student Personnel Administrators

Research Interests

  • Transformative Learning
  • Leadership - Authentic and Servant Leadership
  • Physical Activity and Learning
  • MBE – Mind, Brain and Education

Special Activities and Awards

  • 2016-Present: Co-Editor, Journal of Transformative Learning
  • 2016-18: Co-Editor, Transformative Learning Conference Proceedings
  • 2015: City of Edmond Capital Improvement Task Force
  • 2014: Possibilities Inc., Board
  • 2013: Passport to Japan, committee and Leadership class
  • 2012: Appreciation for Service, Great Plains Chapter SHRM
  • 2010: UCO Academic Affairs Service Award
  • 2008-11: Higher Learning Commission, Education and Training Advisory Committee
  • 2006: Edmond Parks and Recreation Board
  • 2003-08: National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education, Board
  • 2002-: Edmond Land Conservancy Board
  • 2002-: Academic Quality Improvement Project Facilitator for HLC
  • 2001: Honor Roll, First-Year Student Advocate, Nat. Res. Cntr. for First-Year Experience
  • 2000: Task Force on Student Retention, Ok. State Regents for Higher Education
  • 1995-01: Edmond Human Needs Task Force


Over 50 publications in professional journals, booklets and a book chapter.