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The Complex Case of Noncredit Credential Innovation in Public Universities: An Organizational Leadership Perspective

The Complex Case of Noncredit Credential Innovation in Public Universities: An Organizational Leadership Perspective
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Author(s): Kai E. Degner (James Madison University, USA), Sarah K. MacDonald (James Madison University, USA) and Melissa M. Lubin (James Madison University, USA)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 20
Source title: Handbook of Research on Credential Innovations for Inclusive Pathways to Professions
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Yi Huang (Coppin State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3820-3.ch004

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Abstract

Four-year public institutions of higher education (IHEs) face increasing pressure to innovate with noncredit credentials. The chapter aims to develop leaders' mental models for navigating unique complexities associated with offering programs that do not award academic credit. First, a review of noncredit literature and organizational science principles explains that noncredit programming is often unaligned with IHE organizational culture and structure. Then, two metaphors for leaders' roles in overcoming barriers to innovation are introduced and critiqued: Buller's organic leadership concept and Christensen and Eyring's higher education DNA concept. Complexity leadership theory is next presented as a mental model to understand three complementary leader roles for fostering innovation with a complex organizational environment. Finally, the chapter's case features three vignettes from public IHE continuing education leaders that exemplify the complexities related to pursuing noncredit credential innovation. Strategies and discussion questions are included.

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