2004 - 2007 Phase IV PKAL Leadership Initiative (LI) Final Report

Leadership Initiative Tools

Case Studies

In moving towards an active-learning environment, escape the long lectures to large classes and move towards case studies. This is due to the premises underlying the PKAL Leadership Initiative: to turn faculty and administrators into students first and then (as suggested by How People Learn) to turn you as student (novice) into expert. In laying out a problem or situation, through a case study, the “student” actively participates in discovering answers, techniques, or solutions.

By avoiding the passive role of listener, the student experiences the “real world” - engaging in the process through investigation, reflection, and discovery. Working in small groups, students can collaborate together, which not only enhances their social and communication skills (necessary for the “real world”), but also stimulates interest and excitement for the field of study.

    A case discussion [. . .] puts the student in the position of identifying with the protagonist. [. . .] The student has identified sufficiently well with the company and the protagonist that he/she is no longer dealing with some abstract concept. It is this identification that is the source of the powerful energy that drives preparation, classroom discussion and learning.

    - President and Fellows of Harvard College, Harvard Business School, 1995.

The case studies to be used throughout the PKAL Leadership Initiative provide examples of real-life institutional problems that involve interdisciplinary, research-rich, science-for-all, and technology learning environment issues. By analyzing the cases, not only consider the solutions to the direct institutional problems themselves, but also consider how case studies could be integrated into your undergraduate curriculum.

Case Studies: