Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

March 19: The kaleidoscopic perspective on institutional transformation

Essays, stories & reports:

  • What matters: A PKAL essay
    The need for collaborating communities
    – Jeanne L. Narum, Director– Project Kaleidoscope
    Taking the kaleidoscopic perspective on institutional transformation requires examining how the changing context calls for different kinds of collaborating communities pursuing new visions of institutional distinction.

  • What matters: A PKAL presentation
    Using environmental issues to transform the learning environment– top to bottom: The Middlebury College experience
    – Nan Jenks-Jay, Director of Environmental Affairs & Planning– Middlebury College
    Middlebury designated environmental studies and awareness as one of its six "academic peaks of excellence," and has integrated the environment into its academic program, organizational and management structure and into its plans for the future. They have created a community with a shared vision and goal.

  • What works: A PKAL worksheet
    A guide for institution-wide planning
    Getting a community to collaborate is easier when everyone is clear about the issues that to be addressed, in particular the essential need for a driving vision, and understands the sequence and series of issues that must be addressed. This worksheet is one approach to keeping the community focused during the months it takes to arrive at and realize their dreams.

Resources from other sources:

  • What matters: A story
    A story from the University of Wisconsin–Madison: Cluster hires
    The experience of the University of Wisconsin– Madison in shaping a faculty for the future, one ready to "seize the opportunities for advancing knowledge at interdisciplinary crossroads..." serves as a compelling model for leaders on other campuses who recognize that "[n]ew areas of knowledge and complex societal issues don't always fall neatly into departmental disciplines and structures." According to their web site, "[t]he new hiring approach has triggered hundreds of faculty collaborations, leading to knowledge that is wholly original and often counter-intuitive. Most importantly, it helps faculty who are teaching and researching to a way to better anticipate the changing needs of society."

  • What lasts: The SENCER experience
    Assessing if programs make a difference for the quality of student learning, particularly those that combine traditional disciplinary ways of knowing, is a challenge; but to be responsible, leaders must integrate such monitoring into their work of shaping and revising programs. From the SENCER community we have models of instruments that can be serve as pre/post tools to determine the impact of programs that connect science with new civic engagements and responsibilities.

TIP: Gather a group of campus leaders from different disciplines, career stages, and spheres of responsibility and tackle the first page of the worksheet, dreaming about new goals to pursue and steps to take to realize those goals.