Occasional Paper II: What Works, 1994
Leadership— Challenges for the Future
Table of Contents
Reflections on Leadership
What I Learned in Thirty Years at the University About Catalyzing Change
Moving Into the Future: Next Steps in the Reform Process
Challenges of the Future of Liberal Arts Colleges: Asking the Right Questions
Challenged to Collaborate
Some Economics of Effective Science Education
A Response--Challenges of Change: Observations, Shibboleths, and Cautionary Notes
Community has always been at the heart of PKAL, and in What Works: Building Natural Science Communities, we focused on the concept of community from the perspective of the learning environment for students: what they learn, how they learn, where they learn. We spoke about dialogue and action as hallmarks of a community, recognizing that creating an effective community of learners requires dissolving all the various kinds of boundaries that inhibit dialogue and action, and thus community.
In this document, we give the kaleidoscope a turn and look at the concept of community from a slightly different perspective: how do the pieces fit when we start asking how to achieve the systemic reform this nation needs in science, mathematics, engineering and technology education? The pieces in our kaleidoscope are the same: students and faculty, program and plant, but now we are asking questions about communities of interest: about the stakeholders across the educational sectors, in public and private agencies all those with a stake in ensuring that the undergraduate science/mathematics community serves the national interest into the next century.
How do the patterns change when we ask questions about financing reforms at the local and national level; when we consider exploring new collaborations between departments and between institutions? How do the patterns change when we decide to take some risks asking some hard and uncomfortable questions of ourselves and of our colleagues? How do the patterns change when there is an individual, institutional, and national commitment to dialogue and action to overcoming inertia?
The first public discussion during PKAL Phase II was at a Symposium at Trinity University in February, 1994. This weekend was a notable one or at least a memorable one for the snow and ice storm of the decade which shut down most of the East coast and thus caused havoc with travel plans for presenters and participating teams alike. The resulting sequence of activities during the weekend reinforced some of our ideas about the process of reform, particularly that no matter how careful the planning is you must be prepared for the unexpected, for the changes in the context in which dialogue and action are to take place.
But the San Antonio experience, and our experience with all of the almost twenty PKAL Phase II Meetings, confirmed the PKAL conviction that for reform efforts to have the "spiral effect" that Dr. Girgus speaks about in her paper, people need to move away from their busy schedules and take time to discuss critical issues with colleagues, and they need to do this with a conscious commitment to action.
We look forward to hearing how you have used this site: to rethink introductory courses along the line suggested by Dr. Alberts; to forge the new kind of collaborations suggested by Dr. Girgus and Dr. Fox; to ask within your campus community the hard questions posed by Dr. Doyle and Dr. Lichter; to reengineer the budget process as proposed by Dr. Lewis; and to model curricular reform after one or more of the case studies presented throughout.
We extend our thanks to the authors of the papers presented here for challenging us all to action. We invite you to join us in taking up that challenge.
Jeanne L. Narum, Director