Workshop – Building Your Team of Change Champions

A half-day workshop co-located with ICER 2018

When: Sunday, August 12, from 13:30- 17:00
Facilitator: Rebecca Bates, Minnesota State University, Mankato (bates at

Overview of Content

Change in academia, whether on a large scale or small scale, is often desired, but can be difficult to implement or sustain. As researchers and practitioners, it can be challenging to move our research findings into practice, especially when it might require buy in and action from others. Computing and engineering change efforts have included such things as trying to incorporate more active learning in traditional classes, better development of professional skills while maintaining technical rigor, overhauling curricula, and implementing project-based pedagogies. An on-going study on change efforts in engineering education in the United States brings some insights about what helps make change, and what helps make the results last. When change efforts fail, sometimes because they do not go deep enough into the process, these failures become the library of stories we tell ourselves about the feasibility of change. In this workshop, we use a metaphor to insert new stories into the library, changing the expectations of how the story goes and granting a new autonomy to change agents to write their own endings.

This interactive workshop uses the metaphor of a baseball team, which can be adjusted to soccer/football, or any sporting activity that is played both formally and informally, to illustrate the variety of people-roles involved in making improvements happen, as well as the ecosystem in which these changes occur. When making smaller-scale changes, the members may be more loosely structured like a sandlot team, though core roles still need to be fulfilled. Larger-scale changes may require visible change champions with different specialities, such as managing and coaching staff, and a team maintaining the stadium. This workshop looks at the broad scope of individuals necessary to field a team of change champions and helps participants build their own “roster” and “scouting” processes, whether their current (or envisioned) change is big, small, or somewhere in between. Everyone interested in changing education in some form is welcome. You do not need to have a “big idea” or a team to be part of this workshop.

Learning Goals

After participating in this workshop, individuals will:

  • Understand the variety of visible, invisible, and supporting roles on their change team;
  • Be able to articulate the types of roles central to different levels and sizes of change;
  • Describe the qualities and attributes needed in the variety of team members and how to train themselves and others in these skills; and
  • Be ready to scout for new team members among all constituencies.


The workshop will be split into three sections:

  • Defining the Field of Play and the Team
    • During this section of the workshop, participants will build a shared definition of the baseball metaphor and develop the primary visible, invisible, and supporting roles of the change team members. Additionally, the participants will begin to develop how different types of change (the “field of play”) require different sets of team members.
    • Activities during this session will include group discussion and report-out as well as naming the individual “trading cards” in the change agent set.
  • All Seasons Training and the Minor Leagues
    • During this section of the workshop, participants will engage with the roles defined in the first section, change management literature, and the results of the Center of Engineering Learning and Teaching’s Pioneers Project to develop the qualities and attributes necessary to develop in each team member given their role in the change process. Participants will also consider ways to develop these skills in individuals and to value the contributions of all team members.
  • Planning for Your Own Change Pursuit
    • During this section of the workshop, participants will develop their own plan for implementing what they have learned back home. The action planning will emphasize building teams that will make successful education improvements as well as confirm the narrative of success across the institution.
    • Activities during this section will include working with a small group to develop an action plan and committing to three actions over the next two months that will move them closer to an education change goal.

To Participate

Participation is limited to 25. To cover costs of the workshop, there is a fee of 15 € for each participant. To participate, please apply by midnight July 13, 2018 in order to get a code before the end of early registration:
We will notify participants by July 16.

The material in this workshop is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC-1531779. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.