ASCN Blog

Do We Have the Courage for Systemic Change?


Posted: Apr 24 2017 by
Jeanne Century
University of Chicago
Jeanne Century

In 1994, I was a graduate student. It was the onset of the "systemic change" era. Funders, professional organizations and education leaders alike were painting a picture of a new "paradigm"; a shift away from what was framed as a traditional conception of reform — individual programmatic efforts— to a more comprehensive, integrated, "systemic" approach (Fuhrman & Massell, 1992; St. John, 1993). As I wrote then, "this new language of reform is exciting; conjuring up images of a revolution in education that may finally have the strength to cure the ills of the weakened competitive spirit and "mediocrity," of our "nation at risk" of the last decade..."

Twenty-three years later, as a member of Working Group One, I was asked to respond to the following prompt: What does systemic change mean to you? As I mulled this over, I reflected on all of the literature I had reviewed More

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Featured Case Studies at the 2017 SMTI/ASCN Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion


Posted: Apr 17 2017 by
Inese Berzina-Pitcher
Western Michigan University
Inese Berzina-Pitcher
Target Audience: Institution Administration, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty
Program Components: Professional Development:Diversity/Inclusion

Creating an Institutional Culture of Accountability to Ensure Diversity and Inclusion in STEM Fields

Dr. Christine A. Stanley, Vice President and Associate Provost; Professor, Higher Education Administration, Texas A&M University will be the opening speaker on TAMU's Diversity Plan. TAMU's Diversity Plan, which was developed in 2010 and is executed by the Office for Diversity, established the expectation that all academic and administrative units submit annual reports to monitor and evaluate progress toward accountability, climate, and equity efforts. The President, Provost and the Vice President for Diversity read the reports, and with the guidance of the President's Council on Climate and Diversity More

When it comes to teaching, is there a universal law that you cannot save time or use it differently?


Posted: Apr 4 2017 by

Judith Ramaley
Portland State University
Lorne Whitehead
University of British Columbia
Judith Ramaley and Lorne Whitehead

Institutional Change: Costs and Benefits
Target Audience: Institution Administration, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Non-tenure Track Faculty
Program Components: Professional Development:Pedagogical Training

This blog post is about teaching, and time, a topic that we briefly discussed during one of our ASCN Working Group 2 meetings.

We begin with time. Throughout history, people have pondered it in many ways. One way is to study the quantities of time required for specific tasks in order to find ways to improve overall results. This can be helpful because time is a limited resource that is best spent wisely. For example, when this approach is applied to manufacturing, it can yield significant benefits for companies and their customers. In situations like this, efforts to save time and improve efficiency make sense. Not all situations have that character. In a second category of situations, most people don't find it appropriate to quantify and optimize time and results. Consider, for example, social interactions. We can't really measure them, and even if we could, who would want to? Many seek social interactions but very few wish to measure them or be so measured.

This brings us to teaching. For many, the improvement of teaching More

2017 SMTI-ASCN Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion


Posted: Mar 20 2017 by
Inese Berzina-Pitcher
Western Michigan University
Inese Berzina-Pitcher
Target Audience: Institution Administration, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty
Program Components: Professional Development:Diversity/Inclusion

June 24–25, 2017
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, Louisiana

Start time: 3:00 pm CT, June 24
End time: 5:30 pm CT, June 25

Register here

This summer, in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), we are organizing the 2017 SMTI/ASCN Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion. The APLU Science and Mathematics Teaching Imperative (SMTI) is a community of faculty, department chairs, deans, and provosts who are engaged in improving STEM teaching and teacher preparation. This workshop immediately follows the NSEC 2017 National Conference.

The goal of the 2017 SMTI/ASCN Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion is to advance a dialog on diversity and inclusion in undergraduate STEM education between practitioners transforming institutions and researchers who are studying systemic change at higher education institutions. More

What is systemic change?


Posted: Mar 9 2017 by
Charles Henderson
Western Michigan University
Charles Henderson
Institutional Change: Guiding Theories
Target Audience: Institution Administration, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty
Program Components: Supporting Students:Learning Communities

"Systems are perfectly designed to achieve the results that they are achieving right now."1 Higher education organizations are complex systems with many interacting subsystems. In order to create sustainable change, it is necessary to understand and align these subsystems. Subsystems include the faculty reward system, the higher education funding system that is based on student enrollment, the organization of universities into academic departments, the tradition of faculty autonomy over instruction, the metrics used to judge student performance (grades vs. learning), etc. Many change initiatives fail because they focus on only one subsystem without considering how this subsystem interacts with other subsystems. For example, in STEM it is common for education reformers to work to convince individual instructors about the benefits of active learning (that is, to change the instructor-student-instructional method subsystem). Research suggests that many instructors are receptive to this message and are interested in using more active learning strategies. More
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