A theoretical perspective on sustaining an education change initiative

Thursday 9:30 am – 9:55 am PT / 10:30 am – 10:55 am MT / 11:30 am – 11:55 am CT / 12:30 pm – 12:55 pm ET Online
Concurrent Session

Ann Sitomer, Oregon State University
Kathy Quardokus Fisher, Florida International University
Some education change initiatives focus on developing programs intended to promote long-lasting, large-scale improvement to undergraduate education. When initiatives are launched by temporary external funding, sustaining these programs over time in a professional society, department or institution can result in ongoing impact on undergraduate education. We present a theory from organizational psychology, organization-based psychological ownership (Pierce, Kostova & Dirks, 2001). We have used this theory as an analytical tool to investigate how grant-initiated programs are sustained in organizations and present it as a practical tool for the design of innovative programs to transform undergraduate education. We illustrate the framework with examples and findings from our research that investigated how the leaders of a professional society developed a sense of responsibility for sustaining a grant-initiated, faculty development program for two-year college mathematics faculty. In this presentation, we present the theory and suggest ways change agents might use the theory to design change initiatives that will be 'owned' by organizational leadership. These suggestions include activities that help leaders (1) connect the new program with organizational strategic goals, (2) come to know the program, and (3) invest time in the program. These activities provide opportunities for organizational leaders' development of psychological ownership of the program that may lead to a shared responsibility for sustaining it.