Partnerships at the center of Advanced Learning : a regional educational reform initiative Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ns064907j

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  • The purpose of this research study is to investigate and gain understanding of the factors contributing to development of the Center for Advanced Learning (CAL), a regional collaborative educational reform project and the partnerships that emerged from that process. The development process and partnerships are examined from a systems thinking perspective. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1) Why did representatives from the private sector choose to partner with the CAL? 2) Why did some potential partners choose not to partner with the CAL? 3) What are the systems components that contributed to developing this collaborative educational reform project? 4) How do elements of the developmental systems encourage sustained progress? 5) How do educational and private sector systems interact and contribute to development of this project? The study participants included high school and college faculty and administrators, university faculty, and representatives from the private sector and governmental agencies. A total of 17 interviews were conducted and 469 CAL related documents were cataloged and analyzed. The overall findings indicate the project evolved through self-organization and self-regulation. The conclusions are: 1) the ability to sustain development of CAL as an educational reform project in a living systems paradigm rather than from a linear and directed approach required flexibility, understanding, trust, confidence, and time to allow autopoiesis to occur, 2) CAL partnerships evolved in a dynamic manner compared with partnerships described in the literature, 3) motivations to partner with CAL were the result of environmental factors and strange attractors, and 4) adaptive leadership in development of the CAL played an important role. Implications of the study suggest that: 1) systems awareness considerations by participants provides an increased degree of developmental flexibility, 2) the manner in which a vision is disseminated is key to developing momentum, and 3) curriculum development in a complex environment could be managed with systems considerations.
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