Leading a culture change on campus

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 by Melissa Jones Latest activity: Mar 28, 2013

6 4,362
  • No Ratings

How can we, as educational leaders, leverage resources in the community to drive positive change on our campuses? How do we overcome reluctance or resistance to change among the staff? Students? Community? And on the flip side, how can we engage allies within the community in our work? Share your strategy and tactics for engaging stakeholders in your work.

Comments (6)

Jürgen Liefke

Posted on Mar 28, 2013 3:57 PM - Permalink

Hello, as far as I am concerned the only convincing argument would be a set of sample files thath show the efficiency of any application - and - that would be required, too, demonstrating that the result of one presentation is not the result of one but of several members of a community. My experience is that you can talk endlessly, but on the one hand - those who hold the money (the amount of which becomes lower all the time) would like to see the result of what the money might be used for and of course pointing at the community is a good hint of the source of advice that could be given to demonstrate the power of any application...The more people who can do their own part to realize a good product are involved, the better for the rest...Then, leadership would mean having the power to encourage others to contribute with all their abilities to realize a common project..... And do not forget, being able to show what the result can be, is already part of the process of encouraging others. I hope I can realize these ideas with the Speicial Interest Group Acrobat Portfolio, too.

Kind regards Jürgen

Gary Poulton

Posted on Mar 28, 2013 8:05 AM - Permalink

In the current educational climate here in Australia and more importantly in NSW where I teach, these issues are likely to become increasingly pivotal in enabling educators to maintain and nurture a positive educational environment. I firmly believe in the significance of embedding change within oneself before beginning to drive change within the wider environment. This way it comes from a place of sincerity, integrity and experience, from which the natural flow on is that reality replaces rhetoric and that people will, by and large, sense the truth of what is being said whether they inherently agree or not.

Operating from within this paradigm hopefully empowers one to sense the need and work to situations as they present themselves rather than work from within the parameters of existing or preconceived strategies that may only produce results under favorable conditions.

Persistence and patience are key ingredients. Having a visible base of principles and values against which stakeholders can test your vision is essential. Change takes time


Pete MacKay

Posted on Mar 28, 2013 4:01 AM - Permalink

To overcome reluctance, one simply cannot underestimate the importance of active listening. I heard an interesting tip recently about how to become a better listener. Ask yourself if you're trying to predictwhat the other person is about to say (or if you're already planning how you will respond) and if so, realize that you are not listening. Bringing change to the workplace is not a win/lose activity - it's a bit of a dance, a compromise. Disagreement is not unhealthy - it becomes conflict when believers and fundamentalists entrench on either side of the line.

Mark DuBois

Posted on Mar 18, 2013 10:11 PM - Permalink

In my opinion, the most important aspect is to show others the "why" - what's in it for them. If people have a solid understanding of why they need to engage they will be much more receptive to change. I also recommend starting small and experiencing successful and incremental "wins."

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on Mar 15, 2013 9:21 PM - Permalink

The biggest challenge is to listen to those that oppose change. If we are "believers" it is easy for us to talk away enthusiastically about all those things that excite us. Enthusiasm is important, but if we're at a different wave length than those we feel oppose the change, we need to remember that we need to listen. I believe networks like this one will help us keep the spark in ourselves so that we can can be ready to ride the waves when there is an opportunity to catalyse a change.

We need to win the trust, and the best way to do that is to ask for help. Since we find it difficult/frustrating to play by the rules and stick with routines, perhaps that's where to start. Ask for help to unite your vision with the rules. Be careful to choose your first change so that you are sure that it will succeed not only by your standards, but also by the standards of those whose trust you need to gain.

Jim Vander Putten

Posted on Mar 1, 2013 1:07 AM - Permalink

In my view, the first task is to differentiate between organizational 'culture' and organizational 'climate.' Organizational culture is formed over decades and changes slowly, while organizational climate can form and change during much shorter time periods. As a result, it's more accurate and useful to focus on both in combination, rather than one or the other. Organizational change agents can really only change 'climate' in the short term, and I think the second task is to identify the current dimensions of organizational culture and climate in order to determine what areas require positive change efforts. More than 60 different survey instruments exist to measure culture and climate, so you have your pick. People are often unaware of their organization or work unit culture and climate until it's challenged or until they experience different organizational culture and climate, and resistance is a natural response. The primary strategy used by effective leaders is to explain the internal, external, and/or organizational influences driving the need for climate change. Staff and students have less decision-making autonomy than faculty, so involving them in designing change creates a sense of ownership to the extent possible as a means of implementing organizational change.