Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting
EDST Degree/s and graduation year/s
EdD, 2005; MA, 1993
Educational Administration and Leadership (EDAL); Higher Education (HIED)
Victoria, BC, Canada
Jeanie Cockell is an educational and organizational consultant. She specializes in collaboratively designing strategies to surface the wisdom of individuals and groups in order for them to build positive futures and to respond effectively to change. She is a dynamic facilitator who is known for her creativity, sense of humour, sensitivity, and ability to get diverse groups to work collaboratively together. Her consulting practice is grounded in her education background including teaching and leadership roles. She teaches, presents and delivers workshops in a variety of areas: appreciative inquiry; team building; leadership; diversity; mathematics; adult learning; instructional skills, planning and design; instructor and program evaluation; and facilitator training. Jeanie has had leadership roles at Vancouver Community College as Mathematics Department Head, and Associate Dean; at the Institute of Indigenous Government as Acting Dean; and at the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education as Project Officer. She is a leader in Appreciative Inquiry as an organizational, team and community development process; an educational approach; a research methodology and a foundation for living well. She is based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and travels worldwide to facilitate workshops, speak at conferences, and consult for clients. Jeanie is an established author who has published articles (several for the Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner), co-authored the books, Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: A Transformative Force (2nd edition, 2020) and Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey Through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness (2018).
Tell us more about your (current or previous) position. Describe your role.
I run an educational and organizational consulting business with my partner, Joan McArthur-Blair. Our consulting services include team development, coaching, strategic planning, support for organizational change…we are authors, speakers, facilitators who specialize in appreciative inquiry approaches. We help our clients to focus on what is working well in their worlds in order to build on the best of what is — to create an even better future by transforming problems into opportunities.
What gives you meaning and fulfillment in your work?
Seeing people engaging energetically and making positive changes in their lives and organizations.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
Moving from Vancouver to Halifax after 6 years of establishing my consulting business then building it again across the country over 11 years and moving back to Victoria to re-establish my business once again in BC. These challenges provided opportunities to grow my successful consulting practice…23 years and going strong!
What are some accomplishments or highlights that you are most proud of?
Co-authoring with Joan McArthur-Blair two books – Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: A Transformative Force (2nd ed. 2020) and Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness (2018). Individuals and organizations in their work and lives use these books. As well, they are used in training and leadership programs (e.g. university graduate programs).
Tell us a bit about your path leading to your graduate degree. Why did you decide to pursue graduate studies?
For my MA, I was motivated by needing a Masters degree for moving up the hierarchy at Vancouver Community College. After which I did move up the hierarchy. For my EDD, my partner Joan and I motivated each other as we chose UBC for our research and were accepted for the 2001 cohort.
How has what you learned in your graduate program informed your work?
My feminist study for my MA in Higher Education (1993), Power and Leadership: A Perspective from College Women, is still being used e.g. the article I wrote from it was a key reading for a conference on Women Honoring Other Women in 2021 (a conference for academic women). My EDD study of facilitating collaborative processes (2005), Making Magic: Facilitating Collaborative Processes, informed Critical Appreciative Inquiry (CAI) that Joan and I have developed. We deliver workshops on CAI and have written about it in our books and articles.
What is your most memorable experience from your time in EDST?
The experience of powerful learning with and from each other in our 2001 cohort.
Tell us a little about your career journey. Are there any transitions in your career path or any key moments that led to a change in direction?
My career journey – teaching Math at Kitsilano High School and after travelling the world for 3 years I returned and began teaching Math at Vancouver Community College (VCC)…then became Math Department Head and, after completing my MA, became an Associate Dean. After working on a provincial project for the Ministry of Advanced Education I left VCC and moved into educational and organizational consulting. Early in that role I did the EDD and it was powerful learning as I studied and did research on my work as a facilitator of collaborative processes
What is next for you, or do you know?
Keep on doing what I love to do as an educator, facilitator, teacher, writer, consultant, and speaker
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
Everywhere. For example, Joan and I wrote an article, Navigating Privilege as we DO & BE Appreciative Inquiry, for the November 2022 issue of the Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner Journal. This issue has the theme – Learning and Leveraging Generative Approaches to Intercultural, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion