Change That Sticks


Becoming an Effective Educational Change Agent

2016 dates to be announced

In collaboration with Big Beacon

Attempts to effect change in engineering education often sputter out after a few years.  Why? Although faculty members and administrators are good at generating new and exciting ideas, the skills necessary to change at an individual level and to spread change at the institutional levelare not currently part of the traditional faculty member or administrator toolkits.

This three-day workshop develops participant skills and strategies for creating change that “sticks.”   In particular, we dive into a set of personal and organizational skills that will help participants develop both personally and professionally as effective change agents:

  • Developing coaching & negotiation skills, including noticing, listening, and questioning and 3 critical negotiation distinctions
  • Design and use of language in change processes, including sticky language, 5 speech acts, and the art and science of narrative analysis and design
  • Understanding and applying integrated change & culture change models, including those of Kotter and the Heath brothers.  The course also introduces and demonstrates application of the Big Beacon Change Model (BBCM) for effective engineering education transformation.
  • Leading from any chair, leading change both with and without title, authority, and responsibility.
  • Designing and implementing innovation structures within existing institutions, including incubators, respectful structured spaces, and change artifacts.
  • Using collaborative design process and facilitation as a change mechanism.
  • Understanding effectuation versus normal (causal) modes of planning for effective action when uncertainties are high.
  • Building and using culture and community to sustain change.

Through provocative readings, transformative experiential activities, and lively discussions we develop crucial frameworks for thinking about change, increase participants’ hands-on skills thereby enabling participants to return home as qualified change agents, and increase participants capability to be reflective and supportive in their teaching practice and their change leadership efforts.  As such, this workshop is appropriate for any academic administrator, faculty member or potential faculty member who aspires to participate in effective educational change.  In-course consultancy practice. Students in the course exercise their new skills in class as consultants on an educational transformation project or problem posed by one of their classmates.  Post-course check in. Course participants also check in with the instructors six months after the course is over in a special conference call to debrief the challenges and realized possibilities of effective transformation.

Course materials. Attendees receive a complete set of course notes, readings, and a copy of A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education signed by the authors included in the registration fee.

Course Facilitators. The workshop is conducted by Mark Somerville (Olin College) and Dave Goldberg (Big Beacon), co-authors of the book, A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education (Threejoy, 2014). Mark draws on his experiences as a faculty member and Associate Dean going back to when Olin opened its doors, as well as his work in educational change initiatives with colleges and universities around the world.  Dave draws on 35 years of experience as an educator, engineer, entrepreneur & educational change agent, particular his experience in founding the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education (, an innovative educational program change incubator at the University of Illinois, as an international consultant, coach, and trainer to engineering education change initiatives on four continents (, and as president and spearhead of Big Beacon (, a global movement for the transformation of engineering education.