Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The role of academic departments in graduate academic program innovation
by Owens, Taya Louise, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2015, 145; 3742162
Abstract (Summary)

This analysis contributes conceptually to the field by investigating how campuses both originate and respond to academic innovation by locating the focus of the study in the center of curricular decision-making and action—the academic department.

This study applies an organizational perspective to academic innovation directly by combining three ideas to conceptualize and measure departmental qualities. The research design proposes that (1) academic innovation is the result of a direct behavior taken by an actor—in this case, departments are collective actors and changes in academic programs require collective decision-making; (2) actor behaviors are often cyclical or routine and changes in behavior can be measured through these routines—in this case, departments routinely offer courses; (3) innovation requires feasibility in actor knowledge, capability, and skill—in this case, departments collectively contain faculty capability, course knowledge, and administrative skill.

The significance of departmental factors in a robust inferential model provides evidence that departments draw on technical knowledge and skills through course development and prior programmatic experience. Although enabling environments contribute, external conditions do not create organizational change. Program innovations occur within a campus, beginning at the department level. This study makes the case that context matters, but that its relative impact is mediated by the core characteristics of the collective actor that makes decisions and takes action.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Benavot, Aaron
Commitee: Brint, Steven G., Meyer, Heinz-Dieter
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 77/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Organization Theory, Higher education
Keywords: Academic departments, Academic innovation, Curricular change, Event history analysis, Graduate education, Implementation feasibility
Publication Number: 3742162
ISBN: 9781339346434
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