California State University, Fullerton

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The Chronicle of Higher Education

What Are the Barriers to Innovation?

Sept. 30, 2013

There has been a lot of talk lately about innovation in academe. Many colleges are taking a fresh look at what is taught, how, and by whom. Some are also reexamining their physical spaces, trying to better track their students, or experimenting with ways to improve quality and lower costs. How realistic is it to expect institutions with long histories and traditional academic structures and cultures to be able to change? And can meaningful change stick? The Chronicle of Higher Education asked a group of scholarly thinkers to comment, and CSUF Provost José L. Cruz was among them.

"Universities with long histories and traditional academic structures and cultures are more than capable of deep, meaningful transformational change. Disruptive change? Not so much. 

Transformational change is grounded in a deep understanding of an institution’s mission and strategic context. It enhances what works and suppresses what doesn’t in existing policies, practices and structures. It harnesses the exponential power of many thoughtful, data-driven, well-choreographed incremental improvements.  Disruptive change, on the other hand, deems existing policies, practices and structures to be obsolete and unresponsive and opts to discard and replace them with, we hope, improved virtual versions."

You can read the rest of his comments and the insights of the other contributors online. Content is behind a paywall and may not be available without either a subscription or a small fee.   

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