Change Strategies in STEM Education
I recently had a chance to read:
Maura Borrego and Charles Henderson: "Increasing the Use of Evidence-Based Teaching in STEM Higher Education: A Comparison of Eight Change Strategies". *Journal of Engineering Education*, 103(2), DOI 10.1002/jee.20040.
The abstract says:
Background Prior efforts have built a knowledge base of effective undergraduate STEM pedagogies, yet rates of implementation remain low. Theories from higher education, management, communication, and other fields can inform change efforts but remain largely inaccessible to STEM education leaders, who are just beginning to view change as a scholarly endeavor informed by the research literature.
Purpose This article describes the goals, assumptions, and underlying logic of selected change strategies with potential relevance to STEM higher education settings for a target audience of change agents, leaders, and researchers.
Scope/Method This review is organized according to the Four Categories of Change Strategies model developed by Henderson, Beach, and Finkelstein (2011). We describe eight strategies of potential practical relevance to STEM education change efforts (two from each category). For each change strategy, we present a summary with key references, discuss their applicability to STEM higher education, provide a STEM education example, and discuss implications for change efforts and research.
Conclusions Change agents are guided, often implicitly, by a single change strategy. These eight strategies will expand the repertoire of change agents by helping them consider change from a greater diversity of perspectives. Change agents can use these descriptions to design more robust change efforts. Improvements in the knowledge and theory base underlying change strategies will occur when change agents situate their writing about change initiatives using shared models, such as the one presented in this article, to make their underlying assumptions about change more explicit.
The most valuable part of the paper for me is its discussion of different approaches people have taken to making change happen. The authors break this down by *aspect of system to be changed* and *intended outcome*:
|Aspect of System
to be Changed
I. Disseminating: Curriculum & Pedagogy
Change Agent Role: tell/teach individuals about new teaching conceptions and/or practices and encourage their use.
II. Developing: Reflective Teachers
Change Agent Role: encourage/support individuals to develop new teaching conceptions and/or practices.
Faculty Learning Communities
III. Enacting: Policy
Change Agent Role: enact new environmental features that require/encourage new teaching conceptions and/or practices.
IV. Developing: Shared Vision
Change Agent Role: empower/support stakeholders to collectively develop new environmental features that encourage new teaching conceptions and/or practices.