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Chicago | Director, Student Experience and Academic Advising | Core Faculty, Department of Leadership and Applied Psychology

Samantha Coleman, Ph.D.



My teaching philosophy focuses on the educator’s role as a guide to provide access to information rather than acting as the primary source of information. For students to construct knowledge, they need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Equally important to self-discovery is having the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to one’s life and interests. I believe that each student is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow emotionally, intellectually, and socially. It is my desire as an educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that I believe are conducive to establishing such an environment, (1) the educator acting as a guide, (2) allowing the students’ natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for all things and all people.

Even in an online format, I encourage learning by creating a relaxed environment for students, stimulating conversation about concepts being presented and organizing material in a way that makes it easiest to understand. I treat subject matter as interconnected, emphasizing that everything students are learning fits together into a holistic understanding of the world, from which they develop their personal worldview. I like to incorporate my background in Psychology and the Counseling, coupled with real life experiences in the nonprofit and business worlds to demonstrate that learning applies to all areas of life. Finally, I believe that respect for my students is one of the most important things I can show – not only to encourage their openness to the material I am presenting, but also to inspire them to respect each other and all other humans.

My philosophy of teaching has evolved from both being a student and an educator. As I reflect on my beliefs regarding teaching and learning, I find that my mission as an educator is threefold:

  • To promote positive learning;
  • To spark learner enthusiasm for learning;
  • And to ensure that I bring the textbook to life for practical application.


  • Ph.D. Organizational Leadership, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • M.A. Community Counseling, Concordia University River Forest
  • B.A. Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Professional and Academic Positions of Note

Professional and Academic Positions of Note

  • CEO and Principal Consultant – Trust the Process, LLC
  • Executive Coach – Center for Creative Leadership
  • Program Designer and Instructor – University of Chicago Graham School
Professional Memberships

Professional Memberships

  • Organizational Development Network of Chicago
  • Academy of Management
Select Publications

Select Publications

  • Coleman, S. (2016). Teachers as leaders: The role of psychological capital on the work engagement of elementary school teachers (Order No. 10242586). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ Chicago School of Professional Psychology; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1842240832).


  • New Site of the Year, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2014
  • Empowerment Award for Youth Education, The Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, 2013
  • Unsung Heroes, Ebony Magazine and Pine Sol, 2007

Chicago Campus

Located in the heart of the city, the Adler Chicago campus was designed to provide and inspire the learning and living experience. To that end, we have created an environment that caters to your mental, emotional and intellectual growth. Our classrooms are bright and spacious with windows to the outside world. Our technology is the very latest and best. In our Library, you will find every resource you need to research, form and shape your journey. At Adler, we have made it our mission to create a space with more than enough room to share your thoughts and flex your intellect.

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