Day 1.0: Putting Inquiry at the Center (Weavers Need Frames)


A beautiful start to our first full day on the mountain!

Is Real Change Possible?

After a review of the “Grumpy” CAT feedback, participants engaged in a discussion of Eric Klein’s “Is Real Change Possible?” :


Is Real Change Possible 1

This generated a rich small and large group discussion:

Each team then shared their aspirational metaphor poster with a team they were paired with and then discussed commonalities between their posters and how they connect back to the Klein article and their “whys”.

  Building Communities that Work

We must recognize people not only for the gifts they bring, but also for their wild minds.

Wenger Quote

Deborah then spoke about “Building Communities that Work,” 3CSN’s framework for professional learning, but also good pedagogy– a framework that can be used richly in practice.  She shared the “spirit animal” for this year’s BSILI, Lilo & Stitch and stressed the importance of recognizing what each member of a community brings and connected it to our institutions.  She expressed, “We must recognize people not only for the gifts they bring, but also for their wild minds.”


Lilo & Stitch


Inquiry Areas

Despite the different foci of each college’s plan, it became clear that there were questions/concerns in common across all colleges. We distilled these into three inquiry areas:

Inquiry Areas


Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry


Traditionally, we spend more time planning and acting than building relationships. However, this means that efforts are not often maintained in the long run. Through Appreciative Inquiry (AI) it becomes clear that building relationships is fundamental to long-term change, and we should be spending most of our time on relationships. This then helps effect transformational change, making planning and action take less time and effort.

AI Time Effort

After discussing appreciative inquiry, teams synthesized the information by connecting AI to initiatives and inquiry areas.

Inquiry Question Deeper Dive Breakout Groups

Participants selected one of the three inquiry areas for this deeper dive breakout group activity.  The groups did some great work:

Weaving Core Events into Our Inquiry

Participants were introduced to, and began making connections between, 3CSN’s Core Events and their college goals/addressing inquiry areas as well as considering, as teams, the connections between the readings and work in the breakout groups and the immediate and potential value (Wenger) of the core events.


Core Events


Wenger, Trayner, and de Laat – Communities and Networks

Central to our (the) idea of transformational change is the concept of communities of practice. Communities of practice are comprised of two important factors:


The participation part is our work–the most important work–toward the change of institutions. As Wenger et al note, this is through the work of communities and networks:

Wenger et al p. 9

Wenger et al p. 9

Through the work toward your success initiative, it is necessary to engage these areas for deep learning. To account for and measure the effect of this participatory work, Wenger et al note that networks and communities have stories that record their interactions:

As human experiences that evolve over time, communities and networks have stories – how they started, what has happened since, what participants are trying to achieve. It is in the context of these narratives that one can appreciate what learning is taking place (or not) and what value is created (or not).

These narratives are comprised of two pieces: the ground narrative and the aspirational narrative. It is the “the tension between these two narratives creates a space for learning and for deciding what is worth learning” (17).

Illustration of the tension between the two narratives.

Illustration of the tension between the two narratives.

Another common thread that developed today was the dangers of community and networks. As Wenger, Trayner, and de Laat put it:

The danger of community is that it can become hostage to its history, its established ways of doing things, and the attendant identification with the group. When that happens, communities can become closed and inward-focused; boundaries stiff and impermeable; and past successes a blinder to new possibilities.

The danger of network is noise and diffusion. Connectivity as a learning resource has its price. Expanding connectivity increases the chance of useful access, but it also increases the level of “noise.” And while networking does not require a commitment to a communal domain, it does require maintenance of connections and the ability to distinguish between significance and noise. At the collective level, the strength of networks in enabling serendipity and emergent behaviors has a flipside: the absence of collective intention and identity makes it more difficult to steward a domain systematically. When connections remain largely local important insights can remain hidden because there is no intention to recognize and negotiate their importance through the mobilization of a committed group.

Teams shared golden lines from the Wenger reading and connected it to the activities in BSILI:

Wenger Time

This was followed by a discussion of communities and networks:


Communities and Networks

Change Narratives

Discussion then moved to a specific discussion of change narratives:

Spotlight – Mission College Change Narrative

Mission college BSILI alumni share their change narrative:


Who and What Mapping

After learning and hearing about change narratives, teams were ready to do some who and what mapping:

Who What Mapping

Change Narrative Working Session

Many were so engaged that they continued working hard into the evening on their posters.  Here’s a sneak peek– stay tuned to see the final product!

Day 1.0 PowerPoint Slides


  • With your campus teammates, create a “Change Narrative” poster that articulates:

1.What do you want to change?

2.What professional learning is needed to support your efforts to make this change?

3.Why is this professional learning critical for that change?

  • Read “Planning for Program Design and Assessment Using Value Creation Frameworks” article


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