Understanding Change in the Academy
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Change—everyone in the academy is in favor of it when it is directed at the improvement of others and other areas. Similarly, we like change for ourselves and in our activities when we believe modifications will cause little inconvenience and bring about a more desirable state of affairs personally and professionally. Post-secondary education is a frequent focus (some would say target) of calls for change both from within and outside of the academy. Since 1983, when the (U.S.) National Commission on Excellence in Education issued the report A Nation at Risk, numerous commissions, agencies, and associations have evaluated higher education in the U.S. and declared that it falls short of many desirable goals and objectives.
Even when there is broad agreement on the problems and the need for change in higher education, the “how” often alludes us. As pointed out in the article by Lee and colleagues in this issue, the academy is largely organized around departments which house faculty in...