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Building Your Dream Team for Change

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Connecting Theory and Practice in a Change Project - And What I Wish I Knew Before I Started

Tagged Division

Faculty Development Constituent Committee

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32489

Download Count

1

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Paper Authors

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Cara Margherio University of Washington

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Cara Margherio is the Assistant Director of the UW Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE). Cara manages the evaluation of several NSF- and NIH-funded projects, primarily working with national professional development programs for early-career academics from groups underrepresented in STEM. Her research is grounded in critical race and feminist theories, and her research interests include community cultural wealth, counterspaces, intersectionality, and institutional change.

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Kerice Doten-Snitker University of Washington

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Ms. Doten-Snitker is a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Washington's Center for Evaluation and Research for STEM Equity, where she is part of a team conducting evaluation research for university-level educational and professional training, with a focus on increasing equity and participation of underrepresented and minority students and professionals. She has contributed to evaluation research for a range of programs funded by the NSF, NIH, and USAID. Additionally, she is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at the University of Washington, where her scholarship focuses on political processes of inclusion and exclusion.

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Elizabeth Litzler University of Washington

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Elizabeth Litzler, Ph.D., is the director of the University of Washington Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (UW CERSE) and an affiliate assistant professor of sociology. She has been at UW working on STEM Equity issues for more than 15 years. Dr. Litzler is a member of ASEE and a former board member of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). Her research interests include the educational climate for students, faculty, and staff in science and engineering, assets based approaches to STEM equity, and gender and race stratification in education and the workforce.

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Julia M. Williams Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julia M. Williams is Interim Dean of Cross-Cutting Programs and Emerging Opportunities and Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her research areas include technical communication, assessment, accreditation, and the development of change management strategies for faculty and staff. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, International Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly, among others.

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Eva Andrijcic Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Eva Andrijcic serves as an Assistant Professor of Engineering Management at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Systems and Information Engineering from University of Virginia, where she worked at the Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems. She received a B.S. in mathematics from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Her major interests are in the areas of risk analysis and management, critical infrastructure management and protection, interdisciplinary engineering education, and risk education.

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Sriram Mohan Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Abstract

This panel paper presents research on connecting theory to practice and the lessons learned in a change project, with a focus on team formation during the early stages of change making. An important yet often overlooked step in any change project is pulling together individuals to form a competent and efficient team. A functional change-making team requires a variety of complementary skill sets, which may come from different disciplinary backgrounds and/or different prior experiences.

Kotter (1996) uses the term “guiding coalition” to refer to an effective change-making team. He identifies four key characteristics of guiding coalitions: position power, expertise, credibility, leadership. Kotter also goes on to examine the importance of trust and a common goal. In a review of the literature on guiding coalitions, Have, Have, Huijsmans, and Otto (2017) found that though the concept of a guiding coalition is widely advocated in the literature, only one study showed a moderate correlation between the existence of a guiding coalition and the success of a change process (Abraham, Griffin, & Crawford, 1999). Have et al. (2017) conclude that while the literature provides little evidence to the value of a guiding coalition, it does provide evidence that Kotter’s characteristics of a guiding coalition (position power, expertise, credibility, leadership skills, trust in leadership, and setting common goals) individually have positive effects on the outcomes of a change project. However, we don’t know how these characteristics interact.

This analysis of team building and complementary skill sets emerges from our participatory action research with the NSF REvolutionizing engineering and computer science Departments (RED) teams to investigate the change process within STEM higher education. The research-to-practice cycle is integral to our project; data gathered through working with the RED teams provides insights that are then translated into applied, hands-on practices. We utilize an abductive analysis approach, a qualitative methodology that moves recursively between the data and theory-building to remain open to new or contradictory findings, keeping existing theory in mind while not developing formal hypotheses (Timmermans & Tavory, 2012). We find that many of the teams have learned lessons in the early stages of the change process around the guiding coalition characteristics, and our analysis builds on the literature by examining how these characteristics interact. For example, the expertise of the social scientists and education researchers help discern which change strategies have supporting evidence and fit the context, in addition to what is reasonable for planning, implementation, and evaluation. The results presented in this paper connect theory to practice, clarifying practices for building effective change-making teams within higher education.

Margherio, C., & Doten-Snitker, K., & Litzler, E., & Williams, J. M., & Andrijcic, E., & Mohan, S. (2019, June), Building Your Dream Team for Change Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32489

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