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Learning partners in discovery and innovation

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conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by G Drew, C Kerr
The late Ernest Boyer (Boyer 1990, in Ramsden 1998) identified ‘the scholarship of discovery’ and ‘the scholarship of integration’ as two of four touchstones for rethinking academic work, capable of fostering ‘deep’ (understanding-rich) approaches to learning in a changing environment. ‘Learning Partners’ suggests that the real triggers for effective collaboration are found first in identifying the personal characteristics and responses which promote or preclude partnering. Senge says that we have to ‘stop looking at the organisation as a big ship with somebody steering it from a captain’s chair’… rather, as with Alistair Mant, ‘the real patterns of interdependency are much deeper’ (Fyffe 2002). The authors of this paper argue that the deep effects of these interdependencies (e.g. tapping into the best of participants’ inclusive attitudes, skills, visions and unique contributions for the goals to be achieved) bring about effective regeneration and change. Herminia Ibarra, Working Identity (Harvard Business School Press 2003) argues that change does not come about by knowing what we want to do next and then using that knowledge to guide our actions. Ibarra says that change usually happens the other way around – ‘doing’ first and ‘knowing’ second; ‘we evaluate alternatives according to criteria that changes as we do…where we end up often surprises us’. This paper argues that building personal capacities for partnering and innovation creates the conditions in which personal growth can take place. While the ‘scholarship of application (interaction between intellectual and “real world” problems of practice)’ and the ‘scholarship of learning’ (Boyer’s third and fourth touchstone) are important, Boyer’s scheme ‘cuts through the unfortunate academic tendency to place application and action on a lower plane than discovery’. He argues, ‘Nothing could be more menacing to tangible progress’ (Boyer 1990, in Ramsden 1998). Our paper outlines the ‘discovery’ philosophies that underpin the design of three vital professional development programs at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), expanding leaders’ experience of self in partnership. The paper proposes that we ‘take ownership’ and begin to change the ‘climate’/ culture in which we are situated in the daily “real world” of people and organizations.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


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Rockhampton, Qld.


Women in Research, Central Queensland University

Place of Publication

Rockhampton, Australia

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

Era Eligible

  • No

Name of Conference

Central Queensland University. Women in Research. Conference

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