Sykes, Christopher; Freeman, Mark; Simpson, Lyn; and Hancock, Phil, 2010, Improving learning and teaching through a multi-institutional, discipline-specific project, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32(2), 173-184.
Despite repeated calls to improve the quality of Australian business higher education, sector-wide improvement has been elusive. This paper presents an analysis of a multi-institutional project undertaken by the Australian Business Deans Council Teaching and Learning Network. Earlier studies of change in higher education demonstrated the need to move beyond decontextualised, one-size-fits-all models. Building on this earlier work, we suggest that processual approaches to change management, emphasising the instability of organisations rather than stability, are more appropriate within this complex context. The paper makes a case for effecting adaptive change by working with, and through, a network of associate deans. The evolution of this network and the processes that began with one collaborative project designed with a deliberate aim to identify tangible follow-on projects for sector-wide, sustainable improvement is described. The resultant positive and unfolding outcomes that became a potent vehicle for change within and beyond the duration of the original project is reported.