THE DEAN'S GRANT PROGRAM: AN APPROACH TO ACADEMIC CHANGE IN HIGHER EDUCATION

ANGELA MANETTI COVERT, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to increase the understanding of how academic innovation and change occur in higher education and the processes for effectively managing change. The focus of the study was schools/colleges/departments of education (SCDE). The Dean's Grant Program (DGP), initiated by the U.S. Department of Education in 1975 to assist SCDE to revise their teacher preparation programs in support of the implementation of PL 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, provided the model for examining the change process. The DGP was designed to support institutional development while at the same time permitting considerable flexibility and encouraging faculty involvement. The study focused specifically on two program areas central to most dean's grant projects: faculty development and curriculum revision.^ The basic premises of this study were that change is a comprehensive, interactive process involving individuals as well as organizational and environmental factors, and that effective implementation of academic innovation depends on both the implementation strategy and the setting.^ Case-study methodology was used to develop a comprehensive, indepth exploration and holistic analysis of a set of complex variables and their interactions. A national sample of eleven dean's grant projects, chosen by stratified random sampling procedures, was selected for onsite study. One reason for using case-study methodology was to obtain a close-in, comprehensive view of the projects and to learn not only about the outcomes, but about the processes and factors that influenced the outcomes.^ Data were obtained from multiple sources: document review, consultations, interviews, and onsite interviews with project leadership and faculty. Data were analyzed qualitatively, both within-site and cross-site, leading to conclusions about the impact of the DGP and implications for change in higher education.^ The case studies demonstrated that change had ocurred: faculty were more aware of and knowledgeable about PL 94-142 and education of the handicapped, and teacher preparation curricula were being revised to incorporate content on the handicapped. The studies further showed that change is a slow and complex process, and that the external environment, in interaction with the organizational culture, exerts a powerful influence on change and requires skillful leadership in managing the change efforts. ^

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

COVERT, ANGELA MANETTI, "THE DEAN'S GRANT PROGRAM: AN APPROACH TO ACADEMIC CHANGE IN HIGHER EDUCATION" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8423120.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8423120

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