Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Drew Moser

Second Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Third Advisor

Scott Gaier


The field of education is becoming increasingly diverse with more emphasis on experiential learning and a return to a communal model of learning. Scholars note the importance of the virtues of authenticity, empathy, and humility within the learning experience. In order to explore the relationship between the trends of education and the virtues that drive the experience of learning, a study on the experiences of Japan-America Student Conference participants was conducted. Representing diverse educational institutions, participants responded to surveys regarding their experience of the conference. Strong themes emerged resulting in the development of the Kizuna Model of Learning (KML), a learning model on inviting space for authenticity, empathy, and learning with humility across and through differences. Components of the KML include intentional framing of the learning experience with experiential learning, the communal nature of learning, and intentional integration and celebration of diversity. Framed by the three constructs, participants enter into the learning community with shared invested interest and experience initial and ongoing opportunities to develop familiarity among members of the learning community. Through interactions of discussions, reflection, and action, participants develop and experience deeper levels of authenticity, empathy, and a disposition of learning with humility across and through differences. The KML expands the discussion of experiential learning, the communal nature of learning, and the importance of the integration and celebration of diversity within the learning community.


Charles Brainer, additional member of Thesis Hearing Committee