Center for the Study of Narrative to Host Lecture by Internationally Renowned Scholar Dr. William Randall


ATLANTA – Mercer University's Center for the Study of Narrative will host a lecture by Dr. William Randall, an internationally renowned scholar in the field of narrative gerontology, on June 3 at 5:30 p.m.

The lecture, titled “Storying Our Lives: A Narrative Approach to Human Development,” will take place in the second-floor auditorium of the Atlanta Administration and Conference Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Randall is professor of gerontology at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, where he founded and directs the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative. He has authored numerous publications on narrative gerontology, which views aging as a creative process of fashioning meaning and wisdom from the stories of our lives.

He serves as co-editor of the online, peer-reviewed journal Narrative Works: Issues, Investigations, & Interventions, and has been a principal co-organizer of the Narrative Matters conference – an international gathering of researchers, practitioners and artists – in 2002, 2004 and 2010.

Dr. Randall has authored or co-authored five books and published in numerous academic periodicals. He has been an invited presenter on narrative gerontology and related topics in Canada and abroad.

His research interests include the positive potential of aging with respect to wisdom and spirituality, the narrative complexity of autobiographical memory, the impact of narrative environment on the shaping of individual identity, the articulation of “a narrative theology of aging,” and the practice of narrative care with older adults.

Dr. Randall earned his Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University, Master of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary as well as his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Education from the University of Toronto. He is also a member of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, where he studied from 1976-1977.

He was a minister with the United Church of Canada, serving pastorates in Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick from 1979-1990.

The lecture will be followed by several year-end presentations by Penfield College master's and doctoral degree students, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Students in the doctoral program in counselor education and supervision, master's program in clinical mental health counseling and master's program in rehabilitation counseling completed narrative-themed dissertation research or community service projects throughout the past academic year.

“We're thrilled to host Dr. Randall and learn from him while also excited to celebrate the impressive diversity of interests and passions of our graduate counseling students,” said Dr. Donald B. Redmond, assistant professor of counseling and director of the Center for the Study of Narrative.

Doctoral students conducted qualitative, quantitative or mixed-method research involving topics such as resiliency factors in cancer survivors, the relationship between psychological stress and the development of uterine fibroids in Nigerian women, acculturation experiences of Middle Eastern women studying in the United States, gender identity and expression in college students, and the mediating influence of religion and spirituality on trauma symptoms.

Master's students conducted narrative interviews or completed community service activities with several different populations, including adults suffering from chronic mental illness at risk of homelessness, formerly homeless young adults transitioning to independent living, children and adolescents who have lost a parent, individuals involved in the Civil Rights Movement, survivors of spousal suicide, individuals recovering from alcohol and drug addiction, first-generation immigrants, and military veterans.

The Center for the Study of Narrative will also recognize its partner organizations in the local community for the past academic year. These include the Friendship Center, Kate's Club, the Children's Restoration Network and the Covenant House.

The multidisciplinary Center, housed within Penfield College, calls upon communication, psychology, sociology, human services, literary studies and writing, historical studies, and counseling and uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to study the lives of individuals and cultures, giving students practical education while promoting community outreach and service. The Center was launched last year with a grant from the Georgia Compassion Project.

About Penfield College of Mercer University

Penfield College of Mercer University, established as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional learners and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program transitions students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, school counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, public safety leadership, nursing preparation, liberal studies, psychology and communication. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County and Newnan, and online. To learn more, visit