I like Peter's notion a lot (in an earlier post on scale I wondered about a similar problem--"scaling up" small programs). He suggested that colleges need to do a lot to streamline decision-making and implementation processes. True!
He got me wondering what might take the place of the thirst for models though. What could provide a framework for change, without being as slow at the beginning as models. Here are a few options:
- Guiding questions--what if a campus decided that there were a few questions that it wanted its work to respond to? The focus would then become--does this new thing respond to our questions, not, is there a model for this problem?
- Metaphors--an acquaintance at Naropa University once told me that their curriculum was organized around the metaphor of breathing--first year, breathe in, second year breathe out, etc. Are there other metaphors that could provide guidance for new ideas on a campus?
- Stories--Could a campus have a few stories that served as guideposts for innovation? Could a standard for new ideas be that they must match and extend the story? Sounds far-fetched, but there is lots of evidence that humans are story-making creatures, and narratives are now key components of disciplines as diverse as nursing, psychology, organizational behavior, and theology.