hero image
Kathy D. Geller, Ph.D. - Fielding Graduate University. Roseville, CA, US

Kathy D. Geller, Ph.D. Kathy D. Geller, Ph.D.

Program Director, Human and Organizational Development | School of Leadership Studies | Fielding Graduate University


A Scholar/Practitioner….Learning and Organization Effectiveness: Sustainable Leadership, Adult Development and Transformative Learning





TransNational Leadership Development: Preparing the Next Generation for the Borderless Business World (AMA Innovations in Adult Learning) loading image Innovations in Transformative Learning: Space, Culture, and the Arts (Counterpoints) loading image





Kathy D. Geller, Ph.D. joined Fielding Graduate University as Program Director of the Human and Organization Development Programs in September 2021. Prior to her “return” to Fielding, (she is a HOS graduate from 2004), she was Associate Clinical Professor at Drexel University from 2010 to 2021 in the Ed.D in Leadership and Management Program. She designed and delivered sustainable leadership and research courses for the hybrid programs in Sacramento and Philadelphia. and also taught fully online cohorts integrating transformative learning pedagogy into the delivery of experientially designed courses.

From 2016 to 2019, she was Program Director for Drexel’s 350-person EdD program, which received the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) Program of the Year Award for 2019. During her tenure, Dr. Geller chaired more than 50 dissertation committees and served as a faculty reader on another 25 committees.

Before joining the Drexel team, Dr. Geller was a part-time Lecturer in the Columbia University Teachers’ College Summer Principals' Academy, a leading-edge Master’s Program (2005 - 2008). She also served as Adjunct Professor teaching core doctoral courses in Leadership for the EdD Doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University in both Asia and the United States (2004 - 2010).

As a practitioner, Dr. Geller brings a breadth and depth of experience in leadership development and organizational effectiveness. She served as Associate Vice President for Organizational Effectiveness and Learning at Stanford University (2008 - 2010). For ten years, she lived in Asia and during that time she served as Vice President/Global Head of Management Development and Chief Curriculum Architect for a 70,000-person British financial services organization focused on Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (1998 - 2003); and was Founder and Managing Principal for Areté Leadership International Ltd, (2004 – 2012) a consultancy whose clients included Microsoft, The United Nations, UBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanford University, and other organizations in Asia and the U.S.

Dr. Geller has authored and edited two books, Transnational Leadership Development (AMA, 2009) and Innovations in Transformative Learning: Space, Culture and the Arts (Peter Lang, 2009), both related to her Doctoral research and her ongoing commitment to integrating transformative learning practices in leadership development.

Industry Expertise (4)


Professional Training and Coaching

Training and Development


Areas of Expertise (6)

Transformative Learning

Transnational Leadership

Leadership Development

Adaptive Leadership

Adult Development

Qualitative Research

Education (5)

Fielding Graduate University: PhD, Human & Organization Systems

Dissertation: A New Model of Relational Leadership Development for Multinational Corporations in the 21st Century, UMI AAT 3158283, 2005

Fielding Graduate University: MA, Human & Organization Systems

University of Maryland, College Park: Advanced Graduate Specialist, Counseling & Student Development

30 hours post Masters coursework

George Washington University: MA, College Student Personnel

University of Maryland, College Park: BA, Psychology

Affiliations (3)

  • Academy of Management (AOM)
  • International Leadership Association (ILA)
  • Association for Human Resources Development (AHRD)

Event Appearances (10)

Synchronous and Asynchronous Teaching in a VUCA World (with Lewis-Grant, K. , Phillips, J.)

International Symposium, August 2022  Academy of Management

Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) (with Phillips J., Grant, K., Gould, J.)

CPED Program of the Year, October 2019  Nebraska

When Qualitative Research is Taught Virtually: Drawing on Experiential Design to Build Deeper Knowledge of Qualitative Approaches (with Lewis, K., Phillips, J.)

The Qualitative Report Conference, January 2019  Fort Lauderdale, FL

Exploring How Ed.D. Learning Experiences Support Career Accomplishment, Adaptability and Advancement

Hawaii International Conference on Education, January 2016  Honolulu, HI

Beyond the Content: Creating Communities of Practice to Foster Adult Learning (with Bureau, W.E.)

Lilly Conference on Teaching Excellence, May 2015  Washington, DC

Appreciating Self & Other through Mask Making (with Fisher-Yoshida, B.)

Transformative Learning Conference, November 2007  Albuquerque, NM

Praxis, Inquiry & the Performative Arts: A crucible for transformative education and learning (with Fisher-Yoshida, B. Shapiro, S. et al)

Management Education & Development / Academy of Management, August 2007  Philadelphia, PA

Diverse Applications of Transformative Learning: Community Action, Transnational Leadership Development, and Non-traditional Graduate Education (with Fisher-Yoshida, B., Schapiro, S.)

Transformative Learning Conference Proceedings, August 2007  Albuquerque, NM

Educating Leaders for the 21st Century: A Transformative Learning Process

Academy of Management, August 2005  Honolulu, HI

Leadership Development in Multi-national Corporations in the 21st Century (with Fisher-Yoshida, B.)

Society for Organization Learning, First Global Forum, June 2003  Helsinki, Finland

Courses (1)


-Brown, Davin. A Phenomenological Study of African American Men Who Were Mentored While Pursuing their Bachelor’s Degree at Historically White Colleges and Universities. June 2013. -Chochezi, Victoire. Diversifying California’s Community College Leadership: What’s Race Got to Do with It: A Multiple Case Study. February 2013. -Ellis, Addie. Unseen and Unheard: A Narrative Study of Adolescents Experiencing Homelessness. December 2012. -Felts, M. Todd. The Development of an Entrepreneurial Orientation: A Case Study of Net Generation Graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations. December 2014 -Gonsalves, Marcella. Being a Leader, a Woman and Survivor of Childhood Bullying: A Phenomenological Study. Graduation, June 2017, ATD Dissertation of the Year, 2018. -Harshberger, Mandy, Leading Change amidst COVID-19: A Narrative Study of Respiratory Care Managers, September 2021 -Hawthorn, Stephanie. The Narrative Journey: Stories of Young African American Women with Eating Disorders. June 2017 -McAfee, Stacy R. Single Head of Household Low-Income Women Pursuing a Higher Education Degree or Certificate: A Narrative Study. February 2015. -Parathasarathy, Suganya. Wiring Connections, Building Hopes and Turning Lives Around with Technology: A Narrative of Information and Communication Technology Volunteers. April, 2015. -Sparaco, Kathy. The Development of An International Student Advisor: A Grounded Theory Study. May, 2012.

Articles (9)


Transnational Leadership Development: Preparing the Next Generation for the Borderless Business World (AMA Innovations in Adult Learning)

Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Ph.D., Kathy D. Geller

AMA, 2009 As the business world becomes increasingly borderless, leaders and managers of all cultures are being called on with greater frequency to assume leadership roles in other countries or to lead diverse multicultural teams in their own countries. Transnational Leadership Development acquaints readers with the paradoxes and mental processes leaders need to relate successfully to people with different backgrounds, cultures, and societal identities. The book advises readers on how leaders may learn to see, feel, and experience the world with different lenses; take the necessary amount of time to reflect on what they know and what they need to know; find new ways to communicate; and be resilient in the face of this unique challenge. This powerful guide lights the way for those seeking to develop their people’s proficiency in leading globally.

view more


Innovations in Transformative Learning: Space, Culture, and the Arts (Counterpoints)

Beth Fisher-Yoshida (Editor), Kathy Dee Geller (Editor), Steven A. Schapiro (Editor), Stephen Brookfield (Foreword)

Peter Lang, 2009 This book addresses the disparity between transformative learning theory as espoused and practiced in the classrooms of the academy, and its application beyond. It articulates new models of transformative education that integrate transformative learning theory with other models of change and development. The three editors and eleven contributors draw on both theory and practice to illustrate how transformative learning has been introduced to a variety of settings and cultures, and synergistically integrated with theories of communication, participatory action research, and communities of inquiry and practice. Organized around the themes of creating space for learning; looking though the lenses of culture, diversity, and difference; and animating awareness through the expressive and performative arts, this collection will broaden awareness and aid scholars, students, and practitioners in using transformative learning as an approach to adult learning and social and organizational change in a range of settings.

view more

Chapter: On becoming a qualitative researcher: Transformative learning pedagogy in an online research course

Synchronous and Asynchronous Approaches to Teaching: Higher Education Lessons in Post Pandemic Times

Geller, K., Lewis-Grant, K., and Phillips, J.

P. Kumar & J. Eisenberg & P. (eds.) Palgrave McMillan, 2023

Essay: When qualitative research is taught virtually: Drawing on experiential design to build a deeper knowledge of qualitative observation

Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice

Phillips, J., Lewis-Grant, K., and Geller, K.

(CPED), 6(3), July 2021 This essay discusses the EdD Program design and qualitative research course sequence at Drexel University, a private, non-profit institution. This large program admits up to 140 EdD students annually with approximately 100 attending fully online and 40 attending hybrid offerings at the main campus and at a satellite program in Washington, DC. The essay features a qualitative course observation activity designed by Janesick (2011) to be used face-to-face and details how the activity has been adapted for virtual delivery at East Coast University. As a literature review revealed a paucity of published works on teaching observation qualitatively, the authors seek to contribute to the knowledge base with particular emphasis on faculty teaching in an online program. Based upon the East Coast University faculty’s use of this observation activity, students develop increased understanding of the roles of perception and perspective in qualitative observation.

view more

Monograph: Drexel School of Education

Doctoral Research Briefs Monograph Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4

Hammrich, P, Ghosh, R., & Geller K. (Editors)


Book Review: Working in a multicultural world: A guide to developing intercultural competence

Management Learning

Geller, K. and Phillips, J.

50(5), 624, SAGE Publications, November 2019 In today’s business world, we frequently find ourselves interacting with leaders, team members, colleagues in other locales, and an array of stakeholders with diverse cultural backgrounds. These cultural interactions occur whether we are living and working in our countries of origin or in countries where we have chosen to relocate for personal and professional reasons. In this milieu, our success is tied to our understanding of the implicit beliefs, values, and assumptions that guide our individual actions, and the recognition that “our effectiveness with others can be enhanced by knowing, honoring and welcoming difference” (Fisher-Yoshida and Geller, 2009: xv). It is the deepening awareness that “intercultural encounters are a pervasive feature of our modern workplaces and affect most of us” (Nardon, 2017: 4) that frames the focus of Working in a Multicultural World: A Guide to Developing Intercultural Competence...

view more

Article: Unseen and Unheard: How housing insecure African American adolescents experience the education system

Education and Urban Society

Ellis, A. and Geller, K. D.

SAGE Publications, 48(6), 583-610, July 2016 This narrative study is based on stories told by African American adolescents experiencing homelessness. It offers insights into their lived experiences and describes the challenges faced in negotiating the urban education system. African American youth are disproportionately represented in the adolescent homeless demographic. “Unheard and unseen” in the dominant narrative, the needs of this population often go unmet. The educational and social service systems frequently place barriers, and blame, that impede the academic achievement of these youth. The dominant narrative is often viewed from the perspective of “what is wrong with ‘those’ kids?” This research shifts the perspective to “what is occurring within the larger system?”

view more

Article: Developing Transnational Leaders: Five Paradoxes for Success

Journal of Industrial and Commercial Training

Geller, K. and Fisher-Yoshida, B.

London: Emerald Press, #40(1), 42-50, 2008

Dissertation: A New Model of Relational Leadership Development for Multinational Corporations in the 21st Century

Fielding Graduate University, Dissertation series

Geller, K.

Santa Barbara: Fielding Graduate University, 2004 UMI AAT 3158283