Repository logo

Understanding the lived experiences of Dr. Emily Lardner: lessons for the adoption and practice of learning communities in higher education




Guram, Adrianna M., author
Carlson, Laurie, advisor
Lynham, Sue, committee member
Gupta, Kalpana, committee member
Siller, Thomas, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


The purpose of this biographical narrative study was to understand the experiences of Dr. Emily Lardner, who served as director of the Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education from 1996-2017. Utilizing a narrative approach, the research puzzle engaged with in this study was guided by exploring the question, "What can we learn from Dr. Emily Lardner's lived experiences as they relate to learning communities adoption and practice in higher education settings?" Dr. Lardner's description of her life story, transcribed from interviews conducted over the course of four months, forms a narrative highlighting her development as an individual and an academic. The analysis of this narrative reveals the importance of collaborations, creative thinking, and innovation to foster development, adoption, and diffusion in learning communities across the United States. The narrative inquiry became a dialectic knowing, emphasizing learning moments for both Lardner and the researcher. Dr. Lardner's lived experiences provide insights into the individual identities and environmental factors that created opportunities to transition the Washington Center's focus over 20 years—and still influence learning communities today. Researchers are encouraged to explore integrated learning as a conceptual framework for examining learning communities. Furthermore, researchers can re-center their scholarship to give voice to individual practitioners and students.


2021 Fall.
Includes bibliographical references.

Rights Access


Lardner, Emily
learning communities
higher education


Associated Publications