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Paper: Developing and Sustaining a Science and Technology Center Education Program: “Inquiry” as a Means for Organizational Change and Institutional Legitimacy
Volume: 436, Learning from Inquiry In Practice
Page: 469
Authors: Ball, T.; Hunter, L.
Abstract: Formal organizations have become ubiquitous in contemporary society and since so many of us spend so much of our daily lives working, learning, and socializing in them it is important to understand not only how they govern our interactions but also how we can incite (and sustain) organizational change. This is especially true for STEM education; learning about science, technology, engineering or mathematics rarely occurs outside of formal settings and educators need to be aware of how learning goals, priorities and practices are permeable to the institutional processes that structure sponsoring organizations. Adopting a historical perspective, this paper reports on organizational changes at the Center for Adaptive Optics in relation to an emerging emphasis on inquiry learning. The results of our analysis show how the inquiry model functioned as a boundary object and was instrumental in transforming members’ expectations and assumptions about educational practice in STEM while securing the institutional legitimacy of the CfAO as a whole. Our findings can inform the advancement of educational initiatives within the STEM research community and are particularly useful in relation to concerns around accommodating and integrating individuals from non-dominant backgrounds.
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