Understanding and Enacting Math Department Change: An Approach in Four Frames

Thursday 2:45pm - 3:30pm Admiral | Poster 10
Poster Presentation

Naneh Apkarian, Western Michigan University
This poster reports on the analysis of a longitudinal study of change in a university mathematics department which revitalized and improved their precalculus/calculus program by implementing a series of strategies, techniques, and programs which are supported by educational research. Using the Four Frames perspective for organizational culture (Bolman & Deal, 2008; Reinholz & Apkarian, 2018), I explore how the dimensions of structures, symbols, people, and power support a rich understanding of how the department's culture supported and constrained the change initiative. This poster presents a general overview of the entire initiative as laid out by its initiators, as well as a more in depth description of the development of a course coordination system. This study provides some insights as to what supported the change initiative (e.g., interlocking structural elements, the leveraging of common beliefs among department members) and suggests that the four frames of structure, symbols, people, and power is a useful tool for researchers of organizational change. This case study also suggests the utility of these four frames for change agents elsewhere as a tool to support the design and enactment of successful and sustainable change towards the improvement of undergraduate STEM programs.