Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

A leadership toolbox for institutions

Barriers

Using the worksheets from "Overcoming barriers to success," teams can refine their vision, identify barriers, and find strategies to overcome these barriers. Many challenges and barriers are often repeated in different groups, regardless of vision. The following are four categories that the PKAL 2004-2006 Leadership Initiative is working with:

Please click here to view a barrier worksheet from the RPI workshop.

Case studies on "Loon University"

Loon University, the subject of the above case studies, has a long standing reputation of possessing a strong science program; however, the currently reality is that the program does not live up to its reputation. The university has recently hired a new president and received some funding from a state-initiated, matching funds program. There is competition among various campus constituencies for this funding, and the mechanisms by which spending decisions will be made are new and unfamiliar to the faculty.

It is suggested that funding be used for an initiative that would benefit the university as a whole rather than just for a single constituency. One way this might be achieved is to move to a student-centered learning environment using technology (e.g. computers with course management software such as WebCT or Blackboard).

Given this scenario, groups were asked to consider a given set of questions. The questions pooled group responses, listed below:

  • How will the technology be used to probe student understanding?

    • student work can be done through software that allows for submission when completed
    • online pre- and post-testing quizzes can be taken using quiz tools
    • faculty can call-up individual student work on their own computer screens
    • polling devices allowing students to enter answers via a transmitter that sends a signal to a receiver that interfaces with the instructor's computer.
  • What will be needed to convince an "uninformed" president that this is a worthwhile initiative?

    Explain that the initiative will:

    • raise the profile of the college for recruitment and grant seeking
    • provide opportunity to add curricular improvements via simulations that otherwise would be physically or fiscally impossible to provide
    • allow technology to be used university wide, not just in the sciences
    • provide a preliminary plan for implementation of the technology
    • improve access to research resources, therefore, creating connectivity.
  • What will be needed to convince the faculty resistant to change that this is a worthwhile initiative?

    Explain that the initiative will:

    • allow faculty to choose, rather than be forced, to use the technology
    • provide professional development support and incentives (e.g. a campus visit from someone in their discipline who has used technology successfully)
    • show that technology can be incorporated gradually in bite-size amounts
    • leverage time outside the classroom so that the instructor has more time to interact with students within the classroom.
  • What will be needed to convince the faculty fearful of increased workload that this is a worthwhile initiative?

    Explain that the initiative will:

    • provide the same opportunities listed above for faculty resistant to change
    • decrease the workload after an initial time investment (it might be useful to provide a demonstration of this effect).
  • What is needed in terms of administrative support, tech support, peer support, and infrastructure?

    • administrative support of incentives for faculty adoption of the technology (e.g. release time for course development)
    • computers for students in labs and electronic "smart" classrooms
    • a network server
    • network capacity (consider wireless)
    • a clear vision by the Instructional Technology support staff towards providing support to faculty and students and being pedagogically centric.
  • How could this use of technology provide a solution that will transform education at Loon in a manner that could not take place in the absence of technology?

    Technology will provide:

    • access to more real time data
    • more immediate and broader access to research literature
    • 24/7 availability of self tests, simulations, exercises, other class resources
    • more rapid feedback to students on tests through online test tools
    • more opportunity for student activities in class
    • more opportunity for interactive learning and discovery
    • increased student participation through safety of anonymity of online responses.
  • How could the specific use of technology be applied to further Loon's transformation to a research-rich environment?

    Technology will provide:

    • access to more real time data
    • more immediate and broader access to research literature
    • access to online research tools and databases
    • better access to data analysis tools.
  • How could the specific use of technology be applied to further Loon's goal to provide science for all students?

    Technology will provide:

    • students with access to science sources on timely, relevant topics
    • easy accessibility of the computer and the web, which all students utilize to explore science.
  • How could the specific use of technology be applied to further Loon's goal to offer interdisciplinary learning opportunities?

  • Technology will provide:

    • information sharing and team teaching
    • a tighter focus on problem solving