Using Force Field Analysis to Advance STEM Education Reform

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

Lucas Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mark Graham, Yale University
Judy Milton, University of Georgia
Organizational theorists and change practitioners have advanced many useful tools relevant to the evaluation of complex, often multi-institutional, higher education STEM reform initiatives. Evaluators often engage clients and stakeholders in discussion regarding change goals, the current state of projects and initiatives, and barriers and drivers of change. Kurt Lewin, in the 1940's, identified the importance of exploring these four topics and constructed a means of examining their interrelationship, otherwise known as Force Field Analysis. The overarching idea is that an organization constantly experiences two forces, one driving momentum to a desired future state and one pushing in opposition to that goal. Applied to STEM reform, the goal of a force field analysis is to collaboratively engage diverse stakeholders to diagram the current and desired future states of the initiative, what is driving the initiative towards goal achievement, and barriers that have/will prevent progress. The resulting map can then be used as a means of systems alignment among the diverse stakeholders and actors of the initiative to capture a more complete picture of the change landscape and to surface differing perspectives and priorities. Next, the initiative can use the force field analysis results to engage in strategic planning by identifying a sequence of targets to reduce or eliminate barriers and strengthen change drivers. The purpose of this interactive session is to have participants learn and experience the steps of a force field analysis and discuss the tool's potential in helping to align stakeholders towards systemic change in higher education STEM reform.