The term “innovation” is used frequently in governmental and organizational dialogue (Betts & Lee, 2010). Similarly, universities often cite innovation in their vision statements or strategic plans, and communities are expecting universities to be drivers of innovation (Austin & Jones, 2016; Axelrod, Trilokekar, Shanahan, & Wellen, 2013; Beach, Boadway, & McInnis, 2010; Betts & Lee, 2010; Fallis, 2013). However, innovation is not easily defined because it is contextually specific, with the result that the understanding and the application of the concept is elusive. Even more problematic in post-secondary education is how to implement those programs that are considered new or innovative to that campus (Clark, 2008); the differences among structures, processes, philosophies and governance vary widely across national and international contexts. The governance structure and collegial processes can inhibit or delay the adoption and implementation of a particular proposal even when a policy window is open (Kingdon, 2003). The governance model especially has an impact on adoption and implementation. The collegial model allows for detailed discussion and thorough development (Birnbaum, 1998) whereas the corporate model may allow for quicker adoption of new ideas (Austin & Jones, 2016).
The purpose of this autoethnography is to examine the role of collegial and governance processes in the development and implementation of an innovative program on one university campus, and to outline the implications for innovation on other campuses. Insights gained through reflection and introspection will be valuable in the search for promotion of innovation on campuses. The study will use a policy analysis framework (Howlett, Ramesh & Perl, 2009) to consider how change can be introduced and implemented. Lastly, the change agenda in both collegial and corporate university models (Austin & Jones, 2016) will be examined through the lens of the policy process, and the implications for higher education in an international context will be described.
Although collegial and governance processes vary from campus to campus, there are commonalities, including opportunities for multiple stakeholder groups with various levels of influence to be involved in the process (Mitchell, Agle, & Woods, 1997). This structure provides a high level of scrutiny and oversight, but also establishes a “thousand points of whoa” (Author, 2010). This study will examine those points by analyzing each stage of the process, using a policy analysis framework, as proposed by Howlett, et al. (2009). These stages include the policy adoption stage where the problem or issue is identified and potential solutions are proposed by one or several groups of stakeholders; the proponents of each initiative present their case(s). At the policy formulation stage, one solution is chosen and details are determined. During the policy implementation stage, stakeholders carry out the initiative. Lastly, in the policy evaluation stage, the initiative is judged on its outcomes (Howlett et al., 2009). As Lindblom (1959) proposed, implementation is a messy process and organizations are more likely to make a series of small changes, rather than a transformational change because of the inherent inability of organizations to make broad changes. Implementation of the change agenda on campuses may be more appropriately framed as staged incremental change, rather than transformational change (Author, 2010).
As an autoethnographic study, the analysis will include a reflection on the experience of the researcher during the approval process and the need to respond to constructive feedback without necessarily addressing all stakeholders’ agendas (Birnbaum, 1988; Kingdon, 2003). The stages of the policy cycle (Howlett, et al., 2009) will frame the examination of these processes; each of the points of approval, the criteria for approval, the stakeholders involved, and the milestones at each stage will be articulated and critically analyzed.
Austin, I., & Jones, G. A. (2016). Governance of higher education: Global perspectives, theories and practices. New York: Routledge. Axelrod, P., Trilokekar, R. D., Shanahan, T., & Wellen, R. (Eds.). (2013). Making policy in turbulent times: Challenges and prospects for higher education. Kingston, ON: School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University. Betts, J. R., & Lee, C. W. B. (2005). Universities as drivers of regional and national innovation: An assessment of the linkages from universities to innovation and economic growth. In C. M. Beach, R. W. Boadway, & R. M. McInnis (Eds.), Higher education in Canada. Kingston, ON: John Deutsch Institute. Birnbaum, R. (1988). How colleges work: The cybernetics of academic organization and leadership. San Francisco, CA: Wiley & Sons. Campbell, E. (2016). Exploring Autoethnography as a Method and Methodology in Legal Education Research. Asian Journal of Legal Education, 3(1), 95-105. Clark, B. R. (2008). On higher education: Selected writings, 1956-2006. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press. Fallis, G. (2013). Rethinking higher education: Participation, research, and differentiation. Kingston, ON: School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University. Hoppes, S. (2014). Autoethnography: Inquiry into identity. New Directions for Higher Education, 2014(166), 63-71. Howlett, M., Ramesh, M., & Perl, A. (2009). Studying public policy: Policy cycles & policy subsystems (3rd ed.). Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press. Jones, G. A., McCarney, P. L., & Skolnick, M. L. (2005). Creating knowledge, strengthening nations: The changing role of higher education. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press. Kingdon, J. (2003). Agendas, alternatives and public policies. Toronto, ON: Little Brown & Company. Lindblom, C. E. (1959). The science of “muddling through”. Public Administration Review, 19(2), 79-88. Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Towards a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853-888. Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Sparkes, A. C. (2000). Autoethnography and narratives of self: Reflections on criteria in action. Sociology of Sport Journal, 17(1), 21-43. Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Wall, S. (2006). An autoethnography on learning about autoethnography. International journal of qualitative methods, 5(2), 146-160. Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and Methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
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