Circles of Transformation is a book-in-progress, authored by Carole Schwinn, Lisa Connors and Rox Pals. The book tells the stories of people all over the world who are using circle as a a form to generate trusting relationships among people with long histories of antagonism; promote healing among people suffering from physical, mental and emotional illnesses; facilitate change processes in individuals, organizations, communities and societies; and often, to simply create a safe landing space for people to experience the nurturance and fellowship of friends. The book introduces "Circles for the Human Spirit," a series of twelve engaged conversations, each focused on a practice or discipline designed to deepen our self-awareness; strengthen our relationships with others; and, cultivate an intimate connection with the whole of the human spirit.  Each Practice of the Human Spirit is supported by an initiating story or poem; conversation starters; suggestions for taking the practice into participants’ daily lives; and, ideas for sharing interim reflections with the circle.

Co-Creative Coupling: Transforming Our Relationships and Our World

Co-Creative Coupling is a book that we (Carole and David) have been preparing to write for most of our lives together! The premise of the book is that the future of marriage (and other forms of committed relationships) lies in our ability to evolve a next higher level of societal purpose for the institution. Historically, at least in the Western world, marriage has served to preserve the future of the species; forge family relationships; ensure economic stability; satisfy romantic and sexual needs; and, to deal more effectively with the complexities of daily living through co-habitation. Based on our interviews and research, we believe that couples who share a common work are showing us the way to forming a new kind of union; one in which we commit ourselves to our own development as human beings, and to co-creating a world that works for all. These unions can become the model for ways of being together that can bring about peace, harmony and goodwill in our relationships and in our world. If you know of couples we should interview for the book, send an email to

Gathering Friends

Gathering Friends is an initiative of The Berkana Institute that acts as a catalyst for self-organized circles of friends who are willing to offer steadfast support, consolation, companionship, and delight for one another. Gathering with friends—meeting on a regular, reliable basis—is a simple and powerful way to strengthen our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. With this strength and confidence, we can do the work that is ours to do and stay available to those we aspire to serve. As humans have always done, we can persevere by strengthening our circles of friendship, holding each other with gentleness, compassion, and trust. Sign up here to receive a welcome packet and helpful resources for starting or sustaining your own gathering of friends.

Competency-Based Education

Competency-Based Education represents a new wave of innovation in higher education. David, along with his colleagues in the Business and Economics Department at Lansing Community College, are leading the way by designing a system of services and educational offerings that aims to a) provide employers with a more competent talent pool; and b) provide students with a customized, lower-cost, more diverse pathway toward achieving success in the workplace. Competency-based education begins with clearly defining the knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities required for specific credentials; allows the student to demonstrate their mastery through a variety of means, including real-world work and life experience; and, transforms the role of the professor from "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side." The potential for improving the quality of higher education, as well as lowering its costs and loan burdens on students, comes from a focus on demonstrating learning outcomes, rather than time spent in the classroom.