Lucinda Garthwaite's picture


Lucinda Garthwaite is a systems change practitioner, higher education leader, teacher, writer and researcher. Her focus is on emancipatory social and organizational change.


Lucinda co-founded and co-leads the consulting group ChangeMakers Partners, providing systems-based consultation to social justice-driven nonprofit and higher education organizations facing challenges to advancing their impact.   She serves on the board of Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, where she was Academic Dean, Co-Director of the individualized undergraduate program, and a faculty member.  She is also a founding board member of Teachers’ House, a non-profit devoted to supporting teachers as a force for social change. 


She holds a Doctorate in Leadership for Change from Fielding Graduate University, a Masters in Education from the University of New Hampshire, and an MFA in Creative writing from Goddard College.  She is a 2015-2016  Fellow of the Fielding Graduate University Institute for Social Innovation. Her scholarship agenda includes emancipatory systems change, critical management practice, access and change in higher education, and non-violent social change.

Current research areas: 

 Non-violent resistence to fear-based social change.

Recent scholarly activity: 

Personal practices for emancipatory organizational change.  
Applications of systems theory have been long understood to be effective in the interest of organizational change (e.g., Argyris & Schon, 1978), but systems interventions are largely inaccessible to people without the power or resources to facilitate them. Moreover, systems interventions are not always dedicated to emancipatory change—change that promotes flourishing for people in the system, and for people, communities,- and ecologies affected by the system.  The literatures of applied systems thinking (e.g., Senge, 2006); critical systems thinking (Flood, 1999); collective wisdom (e.g., Briskin, Erickson, Ott, & Callanan, 2009); complexity theory (e.g., Stacey, 2003); critical race theory (e.g., Delgado & Stefancic, 2001); presencing (e.g., Scharmer, 2009); and nonviolence (e.g., Kurlansky, 2006) imply the possibility that personal practices can promote emancipatory systems change. This study explored the questions: Is it possible for personal practices to support emancipatory systems change or perturb a system to emancipatory change?  If so, what are those practices? I applied a phenomenological approach to interpret transcripts from conversations with 30 participants with varied experiences across sectors and types of organizations. Based on those findings, I suggest that intentional personal practices can perturb a system in the direction of emancipatory change, even in the face of resistance to such change. 

Recent publications: 

Garthwaite, L.J. (2016) “Feeding the Beast”. Counterpunch Magazine. February 4, 2016.
Garthwaite, L.J. (2015) Moodle Seminar: Critical approaches to qualitative research. Fielding Graduate University Rocky Mountain Virtual Research Retreat
Garthwaite, L. J. (October 2015). Personal pactices for emancipatory systems change. In K. Tiner (Ed.), Leadership in social justice (Vol. 5). Santa Barbara, CA.: Fielding University Press.
Garthwaite, L.J.  & D. Sewell.  (2015) CMP Blog at

Forthcoming research: 

Currently developing a proposal to investigate the phenomenon of effective non-violent resistence to fear-based social change.  

Primary Discipline: 

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