D: The Transformation Process

TITLE: Project Kaleidoscope: Leadership for Implementing Change in Undergraduate STEM Education

PRESENTERS: Susan Elrod, Project Kaleidoscope; Judith Dilts, James Madison University; Elizabeth McCormack, Bryn Mawr College; Lynn Zimmerman, Emory University

Transforming undergraduate STEM education requires vision, leadership and action. Since 1996, Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), a national organization, has been offering leadership institutes for STEM faculty members to develop their knowledge and skills as change agents who have the capacity to lead educational reform at their institutions. These institutes are designed around a carefully coordinated blend of theory and practice, weaving discussions of issues of national import with experiences about the challenges of change together with time for conversations and reflections with mentors. Institute mentors, who are senior leaders in STEM education, play a key role in guiding the conversations, as they bring to the table firsthand experience in leadership in institutional change at the local and national levels. The institute utilizes a variety of approaches that include case-studies, role-playing, field trips and collaborative problem-solving exercises. Experiential learning is a significant part of the institute. Mentors work with participants to shape a plan for leadership development and campus action. Each week-long institute consists of 15-20 participants and up to 10 mentors. Institutes are held at the Baca campus of Colorado College, which offers a retreat-like experience for participants to focus on their growth and development at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The central tenant of these institutes is that in order to effect change beyond that which individual faculty members can implement, a coordinated effort led by skilled change agents must occur, and the objective is to inform, empower and energize individuals in this work. This program has been the foundation of PKAL’s theory of change over the past two decades.

Since 1996, over 200 faculty members from across the STEM disciplines have attended the institutes. Participants indicate that the summer leadership institutes (SLI) have had a “very strong impact” on efforts to strengthen student learning, including curriculum change and development, institution-wide efforts, and their ability to collaborate and deal effectively with the politics of reform. An analysis of leadership alumni indicates that nearly 40% have moved on to administrative leadership positions, such as director, department chair, dean, vice president or provost. PKAL leadership alumni are also now applying their expertise to lead regional STEM reform networks in five locations around the U.S. Networks and communities of practice that provide an environment for mutual adaptation, support and development of members have emerged as a key mechanism for creating culture shifts and for spreading innovation.

Since 2007, PKAL networks have engaged nearly 650 STEM faculty and campus leaders from over 100 diverse institutions in professional development workshops focused on STEM reform teaching and learning. These networks are:

  • AtlantaPKAL (Atlanta, GA) with 240 participants;
  • CapitalPKAL (Washington, DC/MD/Northern VA area), the newest network with its first meeting in fall 2011;
  • PortPKAL (Portland, OR) with 174 participants;
  • PrairiePKAL (upper Midwest) with 200 participants; and,
  • SoCalPKAL (Los Angeles, CA) with 30 people at its first meeting in Spring 2011.

Overall, institutions represented in the networks are: public (61%), private (39%), minority-serving (11%), community colleges (28%), baccalaureate/Master’s (58%) and research/doctoral universities (13%). PKAL networks are building communities of practice that propagate innovation in teaching and learning. They develop change leadership skills among network members to effect a wider reach of STEM education transformation on campuses where it matters most. Evidence-based practices from the STEM education literature as well as PKAL resources on “what works” are shared among network participants, and networks are connected together and coordinated by PKAL. Network expertise and resources are disseminated more broadly on PKAL’s website and at national meetings. At least one department has revised its science for non-science majors biology courses based on team participation in network events and an analysis of other reform projects within the networks is underway. Regional leaders are also cultivated through local PKAL leadership workshops and participation in the national summer institute. In this way, we are building the capacity for change.

This work is done in the context of the PKAL 2.0 agenda recently developed to leverage 20 years of PKAL’s experience with the higher education depth and breadth of its new partner organization, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The PKAL 2.0 mission is to be a national leader in catalyzing the efforts of people, institutions, organizations and networks to move from analysis to action in significantly improving undergraduate student learning and achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). PKAL/AAC&U will accomplish this mission by:

  1. Promoting the development and wider use of evidence‐based teaching, learning and assessment approaches that engage students in the active pursuit of learning through authentic experiences; advancing the critical role of STEM in general education, liberal education, civic education and global education; advocating the importance of integrated, interdisciplinary and state‐of the‐art undergraduate STEM education;
  2. Building individual and organizational capacity to lead change in STEM education; and,
  3. Engaging the broader community of external stakeholders - professional and disciplinary societies, business and industry groups, accreditation organizations, educational associations, governmental agencies, philanthropic organizations ‐ in achieving our mission.

The intent of this presentation is to engage participants in an active exploration of PKAL's theory of change, leadership development model and regional network approach to better understand how PKAL has been moving STEM education innovation to implementation. Participants will also learn more about opportunities to join PKAL’s efforts in expanding and bringing to wider scale effective STEM reforms throughout the nation.


TITLE: Institutional Course Redesign

PRESENTERS: Marne Helgesen, Purdue University: CIE; Frank Dooley, Purdue University; Tomalee Doan, Purdue University; Donalee Attardo, Purdue University

This presentation addresses policy, implementation, design, sustainability, research and institutional cultural change for a unique and compelling course transformation program. This program bases its transformation on philosophies expressed early on by Barr and Tagg, (1995). More specifically, this presentation describes and reviews the first year of a campus-wide course redesign program, Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation (IMPACT), emanating from the Office of the Provost and focusing mainly on large-enrollment, foundational courses. The institution is a large, Ph.D. granting research university in the Midwest. The rationale for the program is that more students can be more positively impacted in foundation courses when those courses engage in a redesign process that is strategic (researched-based and institutionally supported). In short, the institution is undergoing a change in paradigms, i.e., from teaching to that of learning.

The presentation will outline the feature that makes this program unique, i.e., its scope. The presentation will further describe the specifics of the breadth of the campus-wide effort at this very large research institution, showing how it encompasses not only courses in STEM disciplines (particularly those large foundational courses), but also across the university. For this first year, 13 professors in a total of nine courses will be assessed, as will over 450 students. Finally, the description will include how, the program is strategically stewarded and supported by multiple administrative units within the campus, i.e., the Center for Instructional Excellence, Instructional Technology at Purdue, Libraries, Expanded Campus and Discovery Learning Research Center, and how the learning spaces are going to be created and expanded as the program expands. Long term institutional goals will be specified.

The presentation will illustrate research-based practice as it is used for the basis for this newly formed program. e.g., Faculty Learning Communities (Cox, 2000), Understanding by Design (Wiggins, et al, 2005), and the partnerships of specific campus administrative units as they are combined to create the basis for faculty and instructional (course and/or curricular) development. Because the program is newly initiated (but planned for sustainability and growth over the next five+ years), the whole of assessment will not be addressed in this presentation – however, the array of potential sources of assessment will be included. Finally, the presentation will highlight the organizational structure of the IMPACT program, beginning with the Office of the Provost, utilization of an annual Provost IMPACT Faculty Fellow, function of the IMPACT steering committee, IMPACT sub-committees, campus units, etc., while ultimately identifying pitfalls – those overcome and those yet to be overcome.

Barr and Tagg, 1995. From Teaching and Learning – A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education (from Change, Vol. 27, No. 6, November/December 1995).

Cox, M. D. “Faculty Learning Communities: Change Agents for Transforming Institutions into Learning Organizations.” To Improve the Academy, 2001, 19, 69-93.

Cox, M. D. “The Role of Community in Learning: Making Connections for Your Classroom and Campus, Your Students and Colleagues.” In G.S. Wheeler (ed.), Teaching and Learning in College: A Resource for Educators. Elyria, Ohio: Info-Tec, 2002.

Angelo, T. A. “Transforming Departments into Productive Learning Communities.” In F. Lucas and Associates (eds.), Leading Academic Change: Essential Roles for Department Chairs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.

Wiggins, G. and McTighe, J. (2006) Understanding by Design. Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.


TITLE: University Governance and its Role in Transforming Societies in the Middle East

PRESENTERS: Adriana Jaramillo, The World Bank

I will present the results of a regional study on university governance conducted in four countries: Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. We have surveyed 50 Universities, using a questionnaire addressing 4 dimensions of Governance:

  • Context
  • Mission and Goals
  • Management, Autonomy, Accountability and
  • Inclusion/Participation.

We have engaged in this research at the request of leaders in each of the participating countries. Taking into account that one of the key elements that have been the recent focus of transformation in Tertiary Education reform worldwide has been university governance, we considered that this is essential for the Middle East region. Given the recent events in the region, the transformation process in universities has speed up in Tunisia and Egypt. Due to the critical role of universities in building democratic societies, this transformation can have enormous impact throughout the region.