Improvement Science CIG


CPED Improvement Science CIG:

Purpose - In recent years, new approaches have emerged for equipping practitioners with the skills to engage in user-centered continuous improvement toward the dual educational goals of excellence and equity. At previous CPED Convenings, members have learned about several approaches to continuous organizational improvement, most prominently improvement science, networked improvement communities, and design-based improvement.  This CIG will meet four times (two at CPED Convenings in June and October, 2016 and two innovative web-supported meetings) to support inclusion of improvement science and/or design-based improvement methods in EdD curricula as a signature pedagogy, support members' deeper understanding of the distinct methodologies and approaches, and generate and disseminate knowledge about the use and the outcomes of improvement efforts in PK-12 and post-secondary education. 

The Improvement Science CIG will be a user-centered group, with CPED members who attend the initial meeting (at the June 12016 Convening) playing a leadership role in organizing meetings and generating the specific targets for Year 1 from among the following possible activities: 1) describe the current status of improvement science, design-based improvement or other related processes by CPED member institutions (including cases); 2) report the challenges of implementation and solutions institutions have generated; 3) create models for ways improvement science can be integrated into the EdD; 4) develop a repository of existing and newly-developed frameworks, processes, tools, and other resources; 5) support sharing of resources including publication of white papers and journal articles about improvement science pedagogies and organizational outcomes; and 6) create a network of critical friends to EdD program designers or instructors.  


July 2017 Update:

The Improvement Science CIG held its organizing meeting at the June 2016 Convening in Portland, OR.  The notes recorded by organizers indicate that prospective IS CIG members have interests in the creation of products that will assist them in IS work, at all stages of use or integration into EdD programs. Additionally, those in attendance hold a desire for action, that is, going beyond contemplation to actually doing IS with like-minded colleagues. 

Working toward those goals, a survey was developed and conducted in 13 universities to identify how IS is being implemented in EdD programs.  This report was shared at the October 2016 Convening in Augusta, GA.  Key findings of the survey suggest that IS methods are scaffolded extensively and deliberately in only one responding institution and that IS remains an option for Dissertations in Practice rather than a requirement. Respondents to the survey report interest in having “models of use” and beginning assessment of IS use in the EdD.  Gaining traction on the problems of practice students work on, across disciplines, will lay the groundwork for developing networks for programs, faculty, and students.

Members in attendance at the October 2016 workshop meeting began developing a template to report case studies of implementing institutions and working on a literature review of three approaches to inquiry based approaches to improvement, including improvement science, action research, and design-based improvement. Unfortunately, these did not come to completion. Though anticipated by the original proposal, the CIG did not hold any web-based meetings in 2016-2017.

A well-attended IS CIG session at the June 2017 Convening in Pittsburgh drew many CPED attendees who are interested in learning more about IS. Two presentations, including an individual student DIP using IS and a group DIP using design thinking, showed attendees “what it looks like.”  An enthusiastic discussion indicated that more individuals at an increasing number of institutions are working toward implementing IS as a deliberate part of their curricula.

At the current time, the CIG is undergoing a leadership transition due to retirements.  Robert Crow, from University of Western Carolina, is taking the lead and is currently putting together a new leadership team.  The CIG will continue to offer cases, models, and tools to help newcomers to IS (and allied methods) understand how to utilize these approaches in their programs.  Importantly, however, the CIG will add a parallel track of initiatives for networking and substantive work on knowledge generation for problems of practice.

The Improvement Science CIG needs consistent and committed members to carry this work forward in a way that adds value for individual members, for CPED, and, possibly, for national associations such as the Carnegie Foundation.  The Improvement Science CIG has dedicated space on the CPED website, and many resources have already been uploaded, including a full report of the survey mentioned above.  Please register below for complete access and for regular updates and communication about CIG activities. If you are interested in taking a leadership role in the CIG, please contact Robert Crow at:


Members can sign up here.

Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)
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