Change Management in Higher Education: Lessons Learned Through a Global HIV/AIDS Initiative Led by Jackson State University in Partnership with the University of Zululand

April 4th, 2014 by webmaster

By: Pamela D. Moore, Ph.D., Cohort 5

This dissertation addresses the important topic of change management in the higher education sector. It examines how change agents respond and adapt to new realities and trends in the external environment and in this sense exemplifies aspects of academic entrepreneurialism. The purpose of the study is to deepen our understanding of the evolving role of higher education in a globally-connected modern society. This is accomplished through a case study that focuses on a global higher education initiative launched by Jackson State University (JSU), Mississippi’s urban university, in collaboration with the University of Zululand (Unizulu), a rural-serving institution in South Africa. The study specifically explores the perceptions and roles undertaken by various actors in developing and implementing global HIV/AIDS initiative. Drawing upon diverse tools of research, insights and lessons learned are gleaned relative to the motivations of the change agents involved, what they were able to accomplish and ways in which they found their experience meaningful. Although this initiative remains on-going, the study focuses specifically on the timeframe of 2005-2008.

It is also important to note that this paper identifies and explores three core interacting themes that provide a framework for understanding the various dimensions of change management within the context of the global initiative studied, namely, globalization, the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the changing roles of higher education. With respect to the higher education sector, four dimensions of change management are identified: leadership, social and cultural, organizational and programmatic dimensions. The study’s findings reveal a complex interplay of multidimensional dynamics that nevertheless function in a cohesive, coordinated manner to achieve results that profoundly affect the lives and worldviews of the various participants engaged in the global initiative. Moreover, the study illustrates how globalization can facilitate a field of engagement driven largely by networks, convenings and an emphasis on knowledge transfer. Additionally, findings indicate the conceptual framework for thinking about change management in higher education sector was a useful lens for capturing the various dimensions through which GHAA and the Building Bridges Project impacted upon the institutional environments of the organizations involved. Finally, the case study is an apt illustration of academic entrepreneurship in practical terms and helps to deepen understanding of the role that innovation may play in enhancing achievement of higher education’s threefold mission of teaching, research, and service.

Posted in Student Research