EDEV_506 Week 9_1

Your question asking why change is a constant got me thinking. So I tried to synthesise some ideas in this module to answer your question. Broadly, I identified four themes that have some relevance: criticality, externality, inertia and contingency. In Table 1, I present each of these alongside a colloquial expression of how they may be articulated. Each type contains many subservient issues, and I listed what I saw as a main one for each. Most of these types of change force occur continuously in institutions. To remain relevant in the modern HE world (Drew, 2010) every institution needs to deal with these issue relentlessly; change is a constant in HE and an addition to institutional existence (McCaffery, 2010). The idea of a ‘unquestioned constant call’ (Amann, 2016) is less accurate than a recognition of the constancy of change.

Type Colloquial sentiment Issue
criticality Something’s not right! Who has the right to question?
externality What’s happening in the outside world? How and by whom are these to be interpreted?
inertia We’ve gotten used to this. Now what? How to judge the tension between security and stress?
contingency Help! (Sudden situational emergency) What is the scale and scope of the emergency? Who should respond?
Table 1: Forces of change

Your proposition 1 seems to fit criticality. Your branch of HEC is not in France, yet French ideologies, practices, cultures and values impede more equitable localised governance. Knowledge generated from critical enquiry may have more meaning and efficacy than otherwise (Petrovic, 2012), and an assessment of HEC Qatar’s situation critically may reveal impositions of dominant cultural values that serve to reduce the agency of the local (Doherty & Singh, 2005). Although inequity is at the root of critical enquiry, inefficiency may also be an important motivator. Your proposition 2 may also be termed critical because of the perceived value-laden use of resources by HQ  (Middlehurst, 2008).

I interpret inertia slightly differently from you, while recognising that both views are accurate. It was added to my list because of the knowledge that change is perceived as being threatening to many academics who wish for a return to a quasi-ivory tower existence (Trow, 2007). Inertia may be the result of a resource impoverished environment (your interpretation) or of the tension between security and stress. I suspect that much HE change runs against troubles because of this. Ives (2009) suggests that such problems may be partially overcome by involving faculty in change management and developing a sense of ownership of ideas. My feeling is that this is actually the only democratic way.

Proposition 3 stems from contingency issues. However, again we run into criticality issues. If a problem is felt, who has the right to see the situation? In other words, an institution-wide (i.e. Paris and Qatar inclusively) problem will be regarded as serious by upper management, while a local problem may be ignored at the higher levels. The question of who has the right to question is inherently political and problematic.

Although I like your idea of ‘reality checks’ (Amann, 2016), perhaps there may be some serious problems resulting from entirely different views of reality? How would you progress if Paris refused to treat Qatar’s critically generated knowledge as being meaningful?


Amann, W. (2016). Re: Week 9 Discussion [Online discussion post]. Retrieved from https://my.ohecampus.com/lens/home?locale=en_us#

Doherty, C., & Singh, P. (2005). How the West is Done: Simulating Western Pedagogy in a Curriculum for Asian International Students. In P.Ninnes & M. Hellstén (Eds.), Internationalizing Higher Education. Critical Explorations of Pedagogy and Policy (pp. 53–74). Dordrecht: Springer & The Comparative Education Research Centre University of Hong Kong.

Drew, G. (2010). Issues and challenges in higher education leadership: Engaging for change. Australian Educational Researcher, 37(3), 57–76.http://doi.org/10.1007/BF03216930

Ives, C., McAlpine, L., & Gandell, T. (2009). A Systematic Approach to Evaluating Teaching and Learning Initiatives in Post-secondary Education. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 39(2), 45–76.

McCaffery, P. (2010). The Higher Education Manager’s Handbook: Effective Leadership and Management in Universities and Colleges (2nded.). Milton Park, UK: Routledge.

Middlehurst, R. (2008). Not enough science or not enough learning? Exploring the gaps between leadership theory and practice. Higher Education Quarterly, 62(4), 322–339. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2273.2008.00397.x

Petrovic, S. (2012). Critically generated knowledge – the Triple Loop learning result. Management, 62, 73–82.http://doi.org/10.7595/management.fon.2011.0002

Trow, M. (2007). Reflections on the transition from elite to mass to universal access: Forms and phases of higher education in modern societies since WW11. In J. J. F. Forest & P. G. Altbach (Eds.), International Handbook of Higher Education: Part 1 Global themes and contemporary challenges (pp. 243–280). Dordrecht: Springer.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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