Modelling Institutional Change for

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Modelling Institutional Change for
Sustainability in Universities

Carolyn Roberts


Director, Centre for Active Learning

University of Gloucestershire

U.K.

ICEE Conference, Ahmedabad,
India, 24
-
27
th

November 2007

Institutional change


Several examples of the nature and process of
institutional change in universities working
towards more sustainable practices in the West


e.g. Downey, for Sheffield Hallam UK; Gudz,
for British Columbia; Thomas for Melbourne,
Australia; von Oelreich for Mälardalen, Sweden


Also many examples of the changes occasioned
by particular activities such as environmental
auditing of a campus (Bardati, for Bishop’s
University, Quebec)


Few are long term studies, and most separate
out curriculum from ‘housekeeping’ issues in
considering whole institutional practices.

The University of
Gloucestershire case study


University based in the Midlands/South
West of England


Higher Education courses since 1847,
University title since 2003


‘Liberal arts’ College plus+


c. 10,000 Bachelor’s, Masters and PhD
students, including some distance learners


Teaching
-
led, research
-
informed


Diverse set of five campuses in three
locations (Cheltenham, Gloucester,
London), some historic, some modern



The University Mission


“is to create a dynamic and sustainable
portfolio of learning opportunities for the
communities it serves. Within this
overarching mission, the University will
contribute fully to the economic, social
and cultural life of Gloucestershire and its
region, while fostering national and
international links.
It will also develop an
approach to social responsibility which
reflects its commitment to sustainability
and social justice.”

BS14001 Environmental
Management Standard


First English university to achieve British
Standard ISO14001 Environmental
Management System for the whole
institution, in July 2005, after three years
of specifically working towards this


ISO14001 provides a framework for
targets, responsibility and accountability,
plus a driver for continuous improvement

Other indicators of
‘sustainability’ practice


Forum for the Future (NGO) identified the
university as a


‘Trailblazer’ institution,
1997, in their HE21 initiative funded by
central government


Highly commended for transport policy,
‘Green Gown Award’, 2006


Highly commended, Times Higher
Education Supplement Award
‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable
Development’ 2006


Shortlisted for curriculum development,
‘Green Gown Award’ 2007

Institutional Background to
change


Environmental and sustainability
commitment in the University ‘Vision’
statement


Institutional level policy and
implementation strategies on sustainable
development


Vice Chancellor’s commitment to
sustainability, including in the curriculum


Strongly centralised quality assurance
systems for teaching

Modelling Institutional
Change


Simple models 1

1.
Initiation



Structure, clarity, advocacy, champions,

understanding

2.
Implementation



Responsibility, empowerment, pressure,

Faculty development

3.
Institutionalisation



Embedding, organisational, strength,

spread, facilitation

In Hopkins, 2002

Modelling Institutional
Change


Simple models 2

1.
Courtship

2.
Choosing the target (beginning)

3.
Expanding the scope of change

4.
Making connections and sustaining the
change process

5.
Rebalancing the campus to support
different ways of doing things

6.
Reflection on the significance of what
we have done

7.
Ending

Ramaley, 1994

The Four Factors for Success

1.

Pressure for change

2.

A clear, shared vision

3.

Capacity for change

4.

Action


UK Government Office for the South West, 2004

Modelling Institutional
Change


Simple models 3

Appreciative Enquiry Approach

1. Appreciating and valuing the best of
‘what is’

2. Envisioning ‘what might be’

3. Dialoguing ‘what should be’

4. Innovating ‘what will be’

Hammond, 1998

Modelling Institutional
Change


Simple models 4


Staff


Style


Systems


Strategy


Structure


Skills


Super
-
ordinate goals

McKinsey, 2002

Modelling Institutional
Change


Simple models 5

Another simple change model

Models of change in Higher
Education, according to
Trowler et al, 2003


Technical
-
rational


Resource allocation


Diffusionist:epidemiological


Kai Zen or continuous quality
improvement


Models using complexity


Kotter’s Eight Stages of
Change

1.
Establishing a sense of urgency

2.
Creating a guiding coalition

3.
Developing a vision and strategy

4.
Communicating the change vision

5.
Empowering broad
-
based action

6.
Generating short term wins

7.
Consolidating gains and producing
more change

8.
Anchoring new approaches in the
culture

Kotter, 1995

The Ladder of Divine
Ascent metaphor


St. John Climacus’s text
explains the ‘journey to
Heaven’ as involving many
challenging steps. The icon
shows monks on the ladder,
demons trying to pull them off,
the mouth of Hades
swallowing up those who have
fallen off, the angels lamenting
over those who have fallen,
and people on the earth
praying for those on the
ladder. Christ is depicted at
the top of the ladder, waiting
for the successful ones to
enter His holy Kingdom.

Establishing an initial sense
of urgency


Potential employability
imperative for students

Vice Chancellor’s personal
interest

Desire to link curriculum and
research activity in the
School of Environment to
local, national and
international communities

UK Higher
Education
awareness of
‘environmental
issues’ was
strong in
1990s

Need for a unique
institutional ‘selling point’
for student recruitment

Need for compliance
with legislation (e.g. on
waste) at the time of
external audit of the
University (fear??)

Regional Development
Agency interest in
‘environmental issues’

Establishing an initial sense
of urgency


1. Drivers for
change


Generic
Pressures to HE


Specific
institutional
pressures

2. Drivers for
change


Political


Economic


Socio
-
cultural


Technological


Legal


Environmental

Creating a guiding coalition


From 1992 the ‘Environmental Management
Committee’ and from 2001 the ‘Sustainable
Development Committee’, with sufficient power
to drive the agenda


The ‘best’ people, regardless of their roles,
including academic staff/Faculty and
professional support staff with responsibilities in
key areas such as purchasing, estates, human
resource management, external relations,
curriculum, teaching and learning


Need for understanding of both the external
context and philosophy of SD, and the internal
processes of the University


A subsidiary ‘ISO14001 Working Group’ created
in 2002

Developing a vision and
strategy


Wide ranging aspirations embracing all
areas of the university’s practice


Multiple goals and targets


managerial
and educational


Initially ‘environmental’ goals, and latterly
‘sustainability’ goals


Evidence
-
based practice


Involving all staff and students as
collaborators


The University Vision


Is to be a high quality university with
global reach which is passionate about:


The creation and transmission of
knowledge


Its students and staff working in
partnership for mutual benefit


Providing accessible opportunities for
learning at all ages and levels


Diversity, sustainability and social justice


Building on its Christian foundation

Sustainable Development


“underpins each of the University’s
strategic priorities and informs all
elements of University life. The
University promotes sustainable
development, locally and globally,
through teaching, research,
knowledge transfer and the general
conduct of its business.”

Definition continued..


‘Sustainable development is recognised
internationally and by the UK
Government as having four main
components, namely



Social progress which recognises the
needs of everyone


Effective protection of the environment


Prudent use of natural resources


Maintenance of high and stable levels of
economic growth and employment’


The SD policy includes:


Curriculum Strategy


Utilities Strategy


Transport Strategy


Waste Management Strategy


Procurement Strategy


Buildings and Estates


Community Development (to come)

What did we do?


Environmental Management Committee
initiated in 1991, with cross institutional
representation.


Policy and strategies


First ‘State of the Environment Report’
undertaken by staff and students in 1993,
following local government guidelines


Individual initiatives such as recycling
drives, energy and paper awareness,
ecological art exhibitions, mass bicycle
rally, ‘environment week’, bus service

Communicating the change
vision


Using every mechanism possible to
communicate the new vision and
strategies to staff, students and
stakeholders


Provide staff development for all


Motivating and inspiring; going for
challenging targets


Linking the ‘housekeeping’ and the
formal curriculum in projects


Mixture of ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’
initiatives


Empowering broad
-
based
action


Getting rid of obstacles, including
maverick ideas (“well, of course this
doesn’t apply to me/our course/my
research/my area of responsibility”)


Challenging structures and pushing the
boundaries, including University
regulations, and asking ‘why?’


Recognising immovable objects and
circumventing them


Drawing in student activity e.g. in
community programmes and in reviewing
the University’s operations





Generating short term wins


Media interest in environmental ‘stories’


University hosts part of the national
seminar series on ‘Taking Responsibility:
Promoting Sustainable Practice through
Higher Education Curricula’, 1994
-
5


University identified as an environmental
‘Trailblazer’ in 1997


School of Environment achieves success
and is identified as a national ‘Centre of
Excellence in Teaching and Learning’,
and wins £5M, in 2005. New ‘Centre for
Active Learning in Geography,
Environment and Related Disciplines’
established



The Gloucestershire
approach to active learning


“The distinctive feature of
the University of
Gloucestershire definition
of active learning is that it
centres on the mastery of
theory within a ‘learning
by doing’ approach
involving working in real
places with actual people
and live projects”


Consolidating gains and
producing more change



Identifying ISO14001 as the vehicle for
maintaining progress


Review suggests areas for improvement,
including limited progress on estates,
water management, some areas of the
curriculum


Need to involve more students, and re
-
engage with the Students’ Union


Need for more high profile initiatives


‘Fairtrade University’ status achieved,
July 2006

Anchoring new approaches
in the culture



Using the Quality Assurance system for
teaching to promote ‘compliance’ in the
curriculum


Encouraging multiple interpretations of
the phrase ‘SD’ by different groups


Producing an edited book of 37 case
studies


‘Greener by Degrees’ (2007)


Maintaining dialogue amongst different
groups internal and external


Enabling activity; promoting links


What were the key drivers?


External pressure/stimulus/risk


Strong guiding coalition/team


Drawing on existing diversity of strengths
and interests in the University


Utilising a mixture of centralised and
decentralised decision making


Utilising diversity in the campuses as a
‘laboratory’ for experimentation


Publicity relating to early wins


New goals being adopted e.g. ISO14001


Serendipity

What did
not

drive change


Significant expenditure of resources,
except time (especially ‘transactional’
time). Costs included a junior part time
‘environmental manager’ from 2005, but
the main responsibilities for
administration were linked with Health
and Safety


Technology


Agonising over ‘top down’ or ‘bottom up’


Promotion or other financial rewards



Ambiguous issues


Students’ interest and attitudes are variable,
and challenging to harness except through
the formal taught curriculum. Voluntary
groups come and go.


University Quality Assurance systems for
teaching have vacillated in their support for
ESD


Research and curriculum strengths will vary
with national patterns of recruitment and
funding


In the transformation from ‘environmentally
friendly’ to ‘sustainable’, ISO14001 is
insufficient.


Models of change


Change is highly complex, not linear, but
can be steered to some degree


Many changes occur concurrently,
change breeds change


Change can be developmental or
emergent


We shift rapidly and dynamically between
states


Goals are adjusted and we move towards
a new goal without achieving the first


No end point can be defined

What’s missing from the simple
models of change?


Key roles and strengths of team members


Communication amongst the team and
beyond


celebrating success:


Developing mutual support, a ‘community
of scholars’, through staff development


The role of the students, in joining and
supporting the enterprise


Evaluating the change and developing as
a ‘learning institution’


New opportunities, challenges (and risks)
appearing




Models using complexity


Indeterminate systems, hence outcomes
are not predictable. Can create likely
conditions for change


No locus of power; ‘power is’. System not
directly controllable but open to indirect
influence


Multiple small changes provide suitable
conditions for change


Over
-
optimal supply of ‘tools’ required


Change champions are organic,
intellectual and skilled in praxis and
creating affordances



Trowler, Saunders and Knight, 2003

Dreamtime as a metaphor of
change?

Please look at our website

http://www.glos.ac.uk/sustai
nability/index.cfm



‘Making a difference’