Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Conditions for Innovation for Education Systems Change: Co-creating an Academic Makerspace at a Community College
by Schulz, Amelia B., Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2018, 168; 10786365
Abstract (Summary)

The research design was a blended methodology of social systems design and action research applied through the lens of transdisciplinarity to create the conditions for innovation in an educational institution. This research examined the barriers and opportunities for innovation to support community college students learn the skills and traits to thrive in the 21st century. Research participants were community college educators who, while acknowledging this need for change, have experienced institutional stagnation. The purpose of this research was to study how educators can be empowered to innovate from within the institution through the principles of social systems design, design thinking, and action research.

The team of community college educators were invited to co-create a collaborative academic makerspace for students to employ interdisciplinary, inquiry-based learning. The action research and social systems design methodologies engaged the participants to research the current conditions for innovation and to identify interventions to increase the culture of innovation at the institution. One-on-one interviews provided background on challenges and hopes for innovation within their current education system. Data collected from interviews informed a collaborative design thinking process to involve the larger group in developing actionable solutions.

The research findings were twofold. The first layer of findings were the documented challenges and opportunities for innovation within a community college environment arising from the educators participation as well as their specific prototyped solution to address the challenges. Second, the design thinking process itself provided additional insights on how to engage stakeholders in similar educational settings in an active, solution-focused mindset.

Social systems design and design thinking provided the research environment for collaborative innovation while action research allows for multiple cycles of the research process. Educational leaders could learn from the research findings to structure environments to encourage innovation from within similar contexts. Scholars can continue the research efforts by implementing similar studies in other institutions, capturing how culture impacts the conditions for innovation, and engaging individual participants in storytelling methods. This study illustrated the benefits to involve stakeholders in their own innovation process for authentic organizational change.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Laszlo, Kathia, Piazza, Charles
Commitee: Adams, John
School: Saybrook University
Department: Organizational Systems
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Educational leadership
Keywords: 21st century skills, Action research, Design thinking, Education innovation, Makerspace, Transdisciplinarity
Publication Number: 10786365
ISBN: 978-0-438-48876-2
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