A Reflection of Phase I of the Kellogg LINC Initiative:
What Has Been Learned
It is important to have both the commitment and presence of senior leadership
in a change initiative that crosses boundaries and traditional governance
Participants in new initiatives spend time and energy trying to determine
what the "administration" wants them to do before they are able
to take ownership for the processes themselves. They want the comfort
of having parameters set and a clear charge for their
work. We tried to put in enough structure early on to satisfy their concerns
but also turned over more responsibility to them as the year unfolded.
Creating learning communities that include students, staff, academic
and non-academic administrators brings richness to the discussions. The
diversity of opinions, experience and disciplines add value to the learning.
The selection process of community participants is critical
to the success of the effort.
Although, the learning communities meet separately, there is a need
to have opportunities for them to meet collectively so that they understand
they are part of a larger effort.
It was important and timely to inform the learning community members
about current institutional leadership models and decision making practices
if members are being asked to identify their own change agenda.
The process of community building required time, organization and facilitation.
The design team and facilitators met regularly to plan and discuss direction
for each community, and gave considerable thought to the process as well
as the substance of the meetings.
There was not as much progress for shared learning with our partner
institution as we would have liked. We relied on video conferencing and
the national workshops but we weren't able to make the necessary inroads
that would have moved the partnership forward. In part, this was the result
of our learning communities adopting quite different foci at the two institutions.
There is value in respecting diverse learning styles and providing opportunities
for participants to engage in diverse learning experiences, e.g. art,
bureau dramas, case studies, etc.
Despite their best intentions, one learning community could not sustain
their commitment simply because their calendars did not mesh. We lost
a few people as a result of this.
By the end of the year, our learning communities were ready to identify
topics areas they wanted to pursue for the future and have now committed
CHEYNEY UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Leadership Learning Communities
In the spring of 1999, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania established
its Leadership Learning Communities. There are four communities which
are representative of the current divisional
structure within the institution, that is, academic affairs, student affairs,
finance and administration, and institutional advancement. The membership
of the communities includes faculty, students, staff and administrators.
Each community selected its own leadership.
Often this leadership consisted of co-chairpersons, one student and one
The mission of the communities is to foster increased understanding
of the university's needs and activities as well as the challenges and
opportunities; to create a better and broader understanding of Cheyney,
to help ensure continuation of informed, quality leadership for the future,
and to assist in the implementation of policies, procedures, and solutions
to existing systems for the continuous improvement of the institution.
The communities have successfully addressed issues related to academic
advising, teaching techniques/methods, the cultivation of interpersonal
relationships, campus beautification, and a commitment to become an engaged
institution. As we move forward, we will continue to provide an open forum
to explore ideas, concepts, concerns and solutions as we remain focused
upon both our challenges and opportunities.