Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

February 13: Recommendations on how to put dysfunctional or under-performing departments on the road to becoming a vital department

Essays, Stories & Reports:

  • A PKAL Essay - Building a vital department
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director- Project Kaleidoscope
    Many times a voice from outside the department is necessary to evaluate what is not working. Consultants do not carry institutional baggage and their credibility might encourage all faculty to speak out and encourage openness to new ideas.

  • 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.

Resources from PKAL:

Further Keck/PKAL Consultancy Reports:

Resources from other sources:

To view the complete set of PKAL Volume IV postings, to date, please visit