Catalyzing Positive Change in Education: The Four Pillars

Matt Orourke Blog Catalytic Conversations

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FourPillars_WP_v2 For those not familiar with the four pillars framework, I have used it as the foundation for change initiative work in institutions for years. The framework is based on the idea that to work toward positive change in education, these four support pillars all have to be present: Catalyze Conversations: Involve the broad community in key dialogues on important issues to ready and engage them. In a recent white paper, I used four key conversations as examples of these efforts: students swirling into and out of our education systems throughout their lives, the impact of globalization, the changing face of institutional advancement, and the build out of the big blend—technology and human intensive—learning infrastructures. Inspire Innovations: Spark action from the community and support key innovations. Put simply, we need both a readiness and willingness not just to talk about, but try and test new things. In the paper, I suggest four major innovations impacting education as examples: K-20 partnerships, strategic enrollment management/learner relationship management, gaming and social networking, and educational and civic engagement. Champion Insight: Create the systems and cultures necessary to ask and answer the hard questions about the impact of our conversations and innovations. Topics range from analytics to learning outcomes to evidence-based (or inquiry-based) education. I outline four steps that must be taken to champion insight: start with strategy, build out the technology, raise your sights, and ready the culture. Foster Leadership: Without quality leadership at all levels (faculty, staff, administrative, and governance) change initiatives will at worst not work or at best not be sustained. I offer four fundamentals for fostering leadership: find it, grow it, energize it, and renew it. I hope you find this framework useful!
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