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Faculty Grassroots Leadership in Science Education Reform: Considerations for Institutional Change, Culture, and Context


This article presents four case studies of faculty grassroots leadership in a science education partnership involving multiple higher education institutions-a community college, a master's level university, and two different research universities. The main focus of the article is the interplay and role of top down leaders in positions of authority (typically administrators) versus grassroots leadership among faculty and how these two converge and interplay to create organizational change. The convergence of bottom-up and top-down leadership is affected by institutional culture and context. Cross-comparative findings from the four cases are presented, including the context for change in each case, the role of administrative leadership on each campus, factors that either facilitated or hindered the emergence of faculty grassroots leadership, and the institutionalization and sustainability of these reforms. The authors then address the broader implications of the study with respect to understanding how grassroots leadership and traditional forms of authority and leadership can compliment each other and facilitate organizational change.