Organizational Change Networks (OCNS) as Powerful Levers for Change

Ann E. Austin, Ph.D.
University Distinguished Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, Associate Dean for Research, College of Education
Michigan State University

Organizational Change Networks (OCNs), defined as networks comprised of organizations collaborating to advance a common goal, are powerful forces for encouraging change in STEM education. These networks leverage the power of each member organization as well as the energy and ideas created through cross-organizational collaboration to envision and advance transformational change goals. Highlighting how OCNs develop, function, and foster transformational change, this workshop draws on findings from a multi-year project supported by the National Science Foundation that studied six well-known and effective networks: Advanced Technological Education Network (ATE); Bay View Alliance (BVA); Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning CIRTL); Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC); Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE); and Association of Undergraduate Education at Research Universities (UERU). The workshop presents a framework for understanding and studying their missions and functions; their relationship to the wider higher education context; the challenges they must navigate; and the opportunities they offer as significant levers for change. Participants will learn about the lifecycle stages through which OCNs develop and a set of Critical Considerations that networks must address across their lifespan. This session will interest change leaders and organizational researchers.


Adam Grimm (; Susan Singer (