Change Strategies

I read Borrego and Henderson's paper on getting people and institutions to adopt better teaching techniques for the third time this week, and once again came away with new ideas about what I've been doing and what might work better. The heart of the paper is this table, which presents a framework for thinking about how to get teachers and institutions to actually make changes. (My apologies for the crappy formatting: trying to rotate text 90 degrees with HTML and CSS is enough to drive me back to Microsoft Word.)

Aspect of System to be Changed Individuals I. Disseminating: Curriculum & Pedagogy
Change Agent Role: Tell/teach individuals about new teaching conceptions and/or practices and encourage their use.
- Diffusion
- Implementation
II. Developing: Reflective Teachers
Change Agent Role: Encourage/support individuals to develop new teaching conceptions and/or practices.
- Scholarly Teaching
- Faculty Learning Communities
Environments and Structures III. Enacting: Policy
Change Agent Role: Enact new environment features that require/encourage new teaching conceptions and/or practices.
- Quality Assurance
- Organizational Development
IV. Developing: Shared Vision
Change Agent Role: Empower/support stakeholders to collectively develop new environmental features that encourage new teaching conceptions and/or practices.
- Learning Organizations
- Complexity Leadership
Prescribed Emergent
Intended Outcomes

The bulk of the paper expands each of the bulleted strategies; there's lots here to chew on, and I'd welcome other readers' thoughts.

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), April 2014, 10.1002/jee.20040.

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.

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