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ERIC Number: ED506351
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Change and Sustain/Ability: A Program Director's Reflections on Institutional Learning
Asera, Rose
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Strengthening Pre-collegiate Education in Community Colleges (SPECC) was organized by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in partnership with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to increase student learning in developmental--or basic skills--classes. However, their concern was not just the success of students in classes at those participating colleges. They had a broader and more ambitious knowledge-building agenda about student learning, professional learning, and institutional learning. While SPECC findings about teaching and learning and the process of faculty inquiry are presented in greater detail in other project reports and essays, this paper focuses on the author's observations about institutional learning. The paper examines how community colleges encounter, respond to, and incorporate ideas about teaching and learning, and the various strategies they employ to sustain productive innovations. It explores a different way to think about institutional change and sustainability. The terms "change/ability" and "sustain/ability" describe capacities for change that are not constant, but rather can grow and develop in purposeful ways. The first section of this paper describes the SPECC action research design and the ways we worked with participating colleges. The second section focuses on four characteristics of change/ability that emerged over the course of the project--faculty leadership, knowledge of students, availability of data, and redefined professional development. These were qualities that made it possible for the campus initiatives to develop successfully. Next, it examines the concept of sustain/ability, including strategies such as constructing the campus story and infrastructural flexibility and imagination that campuses used to weave innovations into the campus culture and climate. The conclusion looks at the power of community to support and maintain institutional learning at all levels. (Contains 9 notes and an appendix.)
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 51 Vista Lane, Stanford, CA 94305. Tel: 650-566-5102; Fax: 650-326-0278; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Identifiers - Location: California