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Page history last edited by Norman Jackson 10 years, 5 months ago

This wiki has been set up to support a JISC Info Net seminar on December 2nd 2009.  

Trying to bring about change that leads to entirely new ways of thinking and doing is the hardest thing to accomplish in a university. But that should not stop us from trying. Using my experience of trying to innovate in the context of our CETL work I will try to reflect on the strategies we have used and their effects drawing on the wisdom of leading thinkers on change including Michael Fullan, Peter Ewell, Richard Seel, Andy Hannan and Harold Silver.


A story about trying to accomplish complex curriculum change 

Norman Jackson (2009) Changing a University’s Conceptions of Curriculum

This is a recent paper documenting the main strategies being used and some explanation of why?


A summary of my views on organisational and systemic change 

The complexity and messiness of change


Powerpoint slides

Elluminate Podcast



Some useful perspectives on accomplishing complex change

Peter T. Ewell (2005 ) Across the Grain: Learning from Reform Initiatives in Undergraduate Education.

Peter prepared this monograph in the summer of 2002 to summarize lessons of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ then-just-concluded $25 million investment in higher education projects. Never published, it was originally intended to be the lead piece in a monograph series highlighting these projects to be issued by the now defunct American Association of Higher Education (AAHE). Peter kindly let me use this paper to seed a discussion forum that I coordinated when I was working at the Higher Education Academy.


Richard Seel (2006) Emergence in organisations

Emergence is a key property of complex systems. It is also, many believe, the key to fundamental change in human organisations. In this article I will propose that while emergence is neither predictable nor controllable there are some factors which predispose an organisation towards emergent change. I will also argue that these factors can be ‘tuned’ in such a way that not only is the emergence of new patterns made more likely but also that these patterns will be similar to the patterns which are desired by the members of the organisation.


Andrew Hannan and Harold Silver (2002) Innovative Forms of Enhancement in Teaching and Learning

A synthesis paper I commissioned while working for the LTSN to encourage the authors to synthesise the results of their ESRC funded project and book Innovating in Higher Education: teaching and learning and institutional cultures OU Press


Norman Jackson (2005) Understanding how we accomplish difficult and ambitious change in higher education institutions

A trigger paper I produced to encourage discussion about complex change in 2005



I am Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Surrey Centre for Excellence in Professional Training and Education (SCEPTrE) at the University of Surrey: one of the 74 CETLs. Our mission is to enhance our current undergraduate model of education and help students develop their professional capability through a year long professional training placement. We are trying to achieve this through the concept of life-wide learning through a life-wide curriculum. An important strand of my work since 2001 has been to try to raise awareness of the importance of creativity in higher education and I see the work grown through the imaginative curriculum network I helped establish as being very important to my current work.


I began my career as a geologist holding teaching, research and industrial posts in the UK and overseas. My mid-career change involved becoming Her Majesty’s Inspector for geoscience education and this led me into higher education as a field of study and senior posts with the Higher Education Quality Council, Quality Assurance Agency, the Learning and Teaching Support Network (Generic Centre) and Higher Education Academy. All these posts involved me in either looking at change and innovation or trying to promote it and at HEA I led the development of the team-based Change Academy to help institutions bring about large scale change. My move back into a university has shown me just how difficult it is to accomplish significant change.


Visit my wiki to find out more 



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Lifewide Education

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