Organizational Change: Adventist LEAP
Shirley Freed, Instructor
Adventist LEAP (Leading Edge Accelerated Program) was an idea that formed slowly over several years as I saw bright Adventist young people leaving our school system after 10th grade or completing several years of homeschooling and enrolling in public dual enrollment/dual credit programs at the high school junior level. I often thought about the loss these students were to Adventist education, as well as the loss the students themselves experienced because they were not enrolled in a faith-based educational system at the academy of the higher education level.
In January of 2003, the parent of one of my exceptional students called me to inquire about the dual enrollment program in Florida State and asking me it I would recommend it to her daughter, and if so, if I would recommend her daughter to the program. We discussed the benefits of Adventist education at length, and she agreed that Adventist education was certainly where she would prefer her daughter to attend. Somewhere in the conversation, I said, “Adventist education just needs to get this kind of dual enrollment/dual credit program going!” That was the birth of Adventist LEAP.
Here is a brief timeline for events that followed:
· January 2003: Emailed idea for Adventist LEAP to AVLN Board Received immediate and positive responses back from many on the board
· May 2003: AVLN board members voted to officially support the concept of LEAP and asked me to create a committee to work on developing it
· March – June 2003: Followed up on several suggestions of contacts for Adventist LEAP, including Dave Bullock, head of the Distance Education Department at Walla Walla College. He, along with others in AVLN, recommended writing a concept paper to be presented at the next ADEC (Adventist Distance Education Consortium) meeting in June.
· June 2003: Concept paper presented at ADEC by Dave Bullock.
· July 2003: Contacted Larry Blackmer, associate director of Adventist education at the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, NAD. He offered to present the LEAP concept paper at the upcoming Union educational directors’ meeting in August.
· August 18, 2003: Concept paper presented at Union educational directors’ meeting; Larry Blackmer said, “No major stones were thrown.” Union educational directors voted to send the concept to the NAD TDEC (Technology and Distance Education Committee) in October for their study and consideration.
· September 2003: Met Dr. Clinton Valley, new Associate Vice President for Academic Administration at Walla Walla College; initiated a conversation about the Adventist LEAP concept.
· October 2003: Concept paper presented at TDEC. The concept was approved as far as the distance learning aspect was concerned and sent back to the union educational directors (specifically the NPUC) to implement a pilot.
· November 14, 2003: Met with the distance learning committee at Walla Walla College to present the LEAP concept at the administrative level. Dr. Clinton Valley, Associate Vice President for Academic Administration; Dr. Ginger Ketting-Weller, Vice President for Academic Administration; Carolyn Denney, Registrar; Carolyn Gaskell, Director of Library Services; and Dave Bullock, chair of the Distance Education Committee, were present. Melissa Welsh, the student who helped inspire the LEAP concept, participated in the meeting via video-conferencing equipment and embodied the quality students we are losing to Adventist education because we have no faith-based program that offers dual enrollment/dual credit to qualifying high school juniors and seniors. (Melissa is currently enrolled in the Florida State dual enrollment/dual credit program.) Considerable excitement and ideas were generated in this meeting.
· December 4, 2003: Larry Blackmer presented Adventist LEAP to the Union educational directors and associates in Nashville, TN. The outcome of this presentation is not yet known as of the writing of this paper.
· December 5, 2003: Met with the distance learning committee again for more brainstorming; answered questions generated in various sub-meetings; was asked to work on formal proposal with Dave Bullock. This committee is looking towards moving forward through the governance committees to implement Adventist LEAP.
Change must take place from the top down and the bottom up, or "inside-out," says Michael Fullan and suggests Colin Powel (The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powel, chapter 2). In working toward implementation of Adventist LEAP, I have talked to parents of exceptional students; administrators, registrars, and development directors at the academy level; professors, administrators, and IT people at the college level; and people who are acquainted with and proponents of distance education at all levels. In preparing and making presentations and writing concept papers, I have utilized Hackman and Johnson’s suggestions for those who wish to influence other successfully:
(Wren page 429)
I have used my cognitive skills to “express the vision,” as Sashkin suggests, and have continued working on this project by “explaining the vision to others,” “extending the vision,” and finally, “expanding the vision” (Wren 403-4).
More specifically, I referred to two lists, one a set of questions and one a list of reasons, as I prepared my presentation of LEAP, particularly to the Walla Walla Distance Education Committee. These lists are found in Wren page 150 and Yukl page 274-5. I have referred to these lists specifically in my reflection paper #3 for LEAD638.
Additional reflections relating to a leader as a change agent can be found in the "Reflections" section for competency 2a.