2-day workshop on “Making Academic Change Happen (MACH)”
By Prof. Julia Williams, Ph.D.
Interim Dean of Cross-Cutting Programs & Emerging Opportunities
Professor of English
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
There have been many calls for change in higher education. Successfully implementing change – especially broad change – requires faculty and administrators to develop new competencies. Our 'Making Academic Change Happen' (MACH) workshop was created to bring research-based change strategies and skills to higher education faculty and administrators.
The workshop begins by helping participants understand themselves, exploring their personalities and communication style preferences. Next, participants focus on cultivating a community of colleagues, considering their proposed change project from multiple points of view and practicing communication techniques to build support and teams. Finally, participants think at the institutional level, identifying sources of support and resistance, planning partnerships, and creating action plans for moving their change project forward. Throughout the workshop, participants repeatedly consider how their change project aligns with the culture(s) at their institution, choosing change strategies that are most likely to be successful in their particular situation. The workshop is very active. Participants spend the majority of their time working on exercises that allow them to immediately practice the concepts or skills presented, applying the material to their own unique circumstances and change project, and receiving immediate feedback from facilitators and peers.
We have conducted the full workshop annually on the campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology since 2012, in addition to invited one- and two-day sessions around the world. Participants report that the workshop enhances both their confidence and their capability to identify and overcome potential barriers to change. Participants also report implementing the action plans developed at the workshop. Interviews with workshop alumni demonstrated that these individuals had adopted the change agent mindset promoted at the workshop and recommended in the literature. These results indicate that the workshop is successfully disseminating skills and practices that can be adopted at a variety of institutions, enabling leadership and change in higher education.
MACH Background and Context
MACH grew out of a faculty grassroots effort to figure out how to make change easier and spread this information to colleagues. Around lunch tables and in small conference rooms, this group developed the core principles that now comprise the MACH approach, all centered on two philosophical points: translating research to practice and learning by doing. Our goal for MACH is for you and your colleagues become more successful at making change happen on your campus.
About Prof. Julia Williams
Julia Williams joined the faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department in 1992, then assumed duties in the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment in 2005. In 2016, she was appointed to serve as Interim Dean of Cross-Cutting Programs and Emerging Opportunities, to support the work of faculty in multi-disciplinary programs and projects. Throughout her career at Rose-Hulman, she has blended her work in the classroom with work in assessment. Under her direction, the RosEvaluation Process has been used since 1998 as the primary assessment and evaluation method for authentic assessment of student learning outcomes. Williams’ publications on assessment, engineering and professional communication, and tablet PCs have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, and The Impact of Tablet PCs and Pen-based Technologies in the Classroom, among others. She has received numerous awards including the 2015 Schlesinger Award (IEEE Professional Communication Society), and the 2010 Sterling Olmsted Award (American Society for Engineering Education, Liberal Education Division).