From Planning to Implementation
The discussion of theory development in Chapter 2 becomes more concrete when placed amidst the action of the real transformations of Olivet College and Portland State University. As the story unfolds in the ensuing pages, the ambiguous, intangible, yet interwoven natural facets of the change process should be apparent.
The dire circumstances of 1992 threatened the existence of Olivet College. With an international media whipping up a frenzy over the racial tensions, several other forces also pushed the need for transformation. The campus’s psychological climate, organizational structure, perceived abuses of power, and relative isolation coalesced to shape a malaise exacerbated by a culture of fear, suspicion, and distrust. Morale was low among the professionally stagnant faculty. High faculty attrition resulted in a mix of very young staff and seasoned veterans. Faculty members were disengaged from any responsibility for governance of the college. Many felt disempowered and were reluctant to take the necessary steps to improve the situation for fear of reprisal.
The board of trustees had begun conversations about the college’s situation before April 2, 1992, but the events that followed, including a faculty vote of no confidence in the president, spurred them to action. It was reported that the board chair, a longtime friend of the president’s, had “graciously negotiated” his departure. On May 1, 1992, the college’s president resigned.
The board of trustees hired Gretchen Kreuter, then president of Rockford College in Illinois, as interim president on June 30, 1992. Kreuter’s “no-holds