ASCN Blog

What does systemic change mean to you?


Posted: Feb 1 2017 by
Mark Connolly
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mark Connolly

One of ASCN's working groups is focused on theories of change. Its role in the project is to help people engaged in change efforts understand theories and models that could profitably inform systemic change work.

At this stage in our working group's development, co-leader Susan Shadle and I are trying to help our 15 members not only get acquainted with each other but also with each other's ideas about systemic change. In November, we asked the group members to answer in 1 or 2 pages this question: What does systemic change mean to you? Below is my response to that question. It is the first of several responses from members of our working group that will be posted on the ASCN blog.

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All systems organize individual pieces into some sort of interrelated whole. Put simply, systemic change occurs when change reaches all or most parts of a system, thus affecting the general behavior of the entire system. However, systemic change More

Insights into systemic reform from K-12 research on data driven decision-making


Posted: Jan 6 2017 by
Matthew Hora
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Matthew Hora

In the Spring of 2015 I was part of a research team that visited three California universities, as part of a study on the prevalence of data driven decision-making (DDDM) in STEM departments. We spoke with people about student evaluations, exams, hallway conversations, learning analytics, ABET, and increasing pressure from institutional accreditors, finding that these issues were on everybody's minds. This was unsurprising, because it's safe to say that higher education has entered a data-focused accountability and reform phase not unlike the K-12 sector in the 1990s.

But as we gathered accounts of how people used these forms of data "in the wild" of their departments and offices, the study took a surprise turn. We simply couldn't escape an issue that we hadn't anticipated being so central to our research – that of organizational systems and how they function (or not). More

Writing a proposal? Here are some great resources from ASCN!


Posted: Dec 19 2016 by
Stephanie Chasteen
University of Colorado at Boulder
Stephanie Chasteen

For many of us, it's proposal writing season. If you are submitting an NSF-IUSE proposal, there are increasing expectations that the proposal will include a theory of change for how the project aims to achieve its outcomes, and a well-developed evaluation plan for assessing progress toward those outcomes. As an evaluator, I am often asked to help people flesh out these objectives and metrics, and I have found several of the resources on the ASCN site very useful. I was lucky enough to be helping out with the ASCN project when these resources came in, and acted as a temporary librarian to create the list of resources on the site, and so am quite familiar with the breadth of resources. This blog post is to point you toward some of my favorites that have been useful when writing a proposal aimed at institutional change. More

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Looking Back and Looking Foward


Posted: Dec 16 2016 by
Inese Berzina-Pitcher
Western Michigan University
Inese Berzina-Pitcher


Welcome to the ASCN Blog!

Our vision for the ASCN blog is to become a platform to engage with scholars and practitioners, those who are already involved with ASCN work, as well as the wider community of researchers and practitioners who are engaged in or supporting pedagogical, curricular, and culture change in higher education. The blog will serve three purposes, it will:

1. Inform stakeholders about the work of ASCN (updates from the working groups, highlights about resources on our site, information about our meetings and conferences, etc.).

2. Disseminate knowledge and expertise of scholars and practitioners by encouraging guest posts that align with the vision of the ASCN, show clear connection to our work, and contribute to learning and sharing knowledge or expertise.

3. Facilitate discussions about relevant frameworks, articles, books, and tools that align with the vision and principles of ASCN but also support change agents everywhere.

The ASCN blog is a place where ideas expressed in posts and comments are based on research and evidence, and contribute to the development of new knowledge about change in higher education.

It is mid-December, so it seems fitting that we start our first blog post by sharing what we have accomplished More

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