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Leadership for Transformative Change: Lessons From Technology-Mediated Reform in Broad-Access Colleges

By: Serena Klempin & Melinda Mechur Karp

Abstract

Community colleges and broad-access four-year institutions have a crucial role to play in increasing educational equity in the United States. In order to fulfill this role, however, institutions must engage in organizational change to address their low completion rates.

Drawing on qualitative case studies of six colleges, this study explores the influence of different types of leadership approaches on the implementation of a technology-mediated advising reform, and assesses which types of leadership are associated with transformative organizational change. Expanding on Heifetz’s theory of adaptive change and Karp and Fletcher’s Readiness for Technology Adoption framework, the authors find that transformative change requires multitiered leadership with a unified commitment to a shared vision for the reform and its goals.

A version of this paper appears in the Journal of Higher Education and is currently available online.