Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

Managing Change


  • A Synthesis of Recommendations from Keck/PKAL Consultancies: Dealing with Dysfunctional Departments
    - From Keck/PKAL Consultancies
    (Over the past several years, more than 100 colleges and universities involved with PKAL have used the Keck/PKAL Consultant program to help their community overcome challenges to building a vital department.)
    Identifying what does not work is sometimes as important to efforts to build strong STEM departments and programs as knowing what works (see stories posted 02/06/04 from the undergraduate physics project SPIN-UP). Most problems facing departmental leaders have been identified and addressed in other settings: attrition after first-year courses; little or no administrative support; "ownership" of specific courses. Bringing an outside voice to the discussions is sometimes helpful, as illustrated by this report summarized from several Keck/PKAL consultancies.

  • Situation: A chemistry department sought to increase visibility and enrollments.

    • Analyze the relationship between curriculum, advising and student perception of the science program.
    • See that institutional support for faculty and students involved in undergraduate research is demonstrated in tangible ways.
    • Connect faculty to intriguing and successful pedagogical approaches on other campuses that are reversing attrition, and recognize this work as a scholarly activity.

  • Situation: The curriculum of this biology department was incoherent.

  • Keck/PKAL consultancy reports
    Curricular planning must come first - Advice on getting your curricular planning right before planning your facility

    A thoughtful and well-articulated vision for teaching science is the most important element of a successful building project.

  • Keck/PKAL consultancy reports
    Sustaining commitment to facilities planning

    The administration must collaborate with faculty by being open about a realistic budget for facilities renewal.

  • 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.

  • What matters: A PKAL essay
    Guidelines for effective collaborations
    - Adapted from PKAL’s Volume III - Structures for Science: A Handbook for Planning Facilities for Undergraduate Natural Science Communities, 1995.
    It is important when committees are established to tackle critical issues, there are common expectations within the group as to how the committee will function.

  • 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.