A core aspect of the EP3 philosophy is that successful physics departments engage in cyclic self-reflection on their own processes and outcomes to guide their decisions and actions. We believe that effective change efforts in a department are:
- Deliberately designed: driven by a clear understanding of the problem to be solved and current priorities.
- Context-dependent: driven by local goals, challenges, and contexts, rather than external mandates.
- Driven by a sense of ownership by department members of the process and outcomes, including a sense of collective responsibility for the health of the department.
- Driven by broad engagement, so that a range of stakeholders are involved, actions (even if driven by a champion) involve a collaborative process, and work is grounded in a commitment to equity and inclusion.
- Grounded in evidence, including an accurate understanding of the available evidence about the problem and decision-making based on appropriate interpretation of the evidence.
- Ongoing: change is not considered to be a one and done activity, but instead change processes include opportunities to revisit outcomes and decisions on a regular basis.
Additionally, we see successful change efforts as drivers of positive improvements to departmental culture. We propose that positive department culture:
- Embraces assessment as a driver of change, through collecting data from a broad range of sources and using the results to make decisions.
- Embraces experimentation by encouraging risk-taking and innovation and learning from failures and successes.
- Supports collective action and ownership by distributing power over decision-making in meaningful and equitable ways, supporting many stakeholders to work in partnership, and engendering good communication and trust.
- Includes shared stewardship, the understanding that everyone has a shared responsibility for supporting the well-being of the department as a whole.
- Includes a shared mission, including a shared understanding of what the department does and for whom, what it wants to achieve over time, and what it should do to achieve desired improvement.
The DALI facilitators and change leaders will work together to enact change in the member departments in a way that is aligned with this philosophy.