Achieving department change through theoretically guided work with department heads: The DeLTA Project

Wednesday 12:40 pm – 1:05 pm PT / 1:40 pm – 2:05 pm MT / 2:40 pm – 3:05 pm CT / 3:40 pm – 4:05 pm ET Online
Concurrent Session

Paula Lemons, University of Georgia
Tessa C. Andrews, University of Georgia

The Department and Leadership Teams for Action (DeLTA) project promotes second-order change in STEM undergraduate education at the University of Georgia. DeLTA uses a multilevel approach, collaborating with faculty regarding their courses, department heads regarding departmental practices, and college and university administration regarding institutional policy. DeLTA applies multiple perspectives about how to achieve change, including social cognition, cultural, political, scientific management, and others. On the department level, DeLTA created a Leadership Action Team (LAT) comprised of thirteen department heads and faculty facilitators from across STEM. The LAT members collaborate and work individually to improve departmental practices that impact undergraduate education, including how teaching is evaluated, how faculty are hired, and how teaching is recognized and rewarded. For example, the LAT learned about new frameworks for teaching evaluation that rely on evidence from multiple voices rather than student evaluations alone. Several LAT departments are piloting new approaches in their units by introducing peer evaluation and instructor self-reflection and structuring departmental committees to build the resources needed for new evaluation practices. The LAT meets six times per year to hear presentations about concepts, frameworks, and resources related to departmental practices that influence undergraduate education, and to question and discuss these ideas. Facilitators help department heads articulate their underlying assumptions, explain the affordances and limitations of their departmental practices and cultures, imagine new ways of working, and identify the best next steps for action. DeLTA also offers targeted support to department heads, including developing resources and facilitating departmental discussions. This presentation will describe the LAT structure, process, and theoretical underpinnings. It will also present initial outcomes, including the results of preliminary analyses of how LAT members' thinking has changed (or not) and how departmental practices are shifting (or not).

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