UW–Madison and S. Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical Research University: Engaging in Systems Thinking Amidst Institutional Transition

Working group table - KATRU
Working group table – KATRU

UW–Madison coach: Dr. Jennifer Kushner, Director, CALS Global

S. Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical Research University (KATRU) team (Astana):  Madina Mussayeva*, Aliya Baitelenova, Adilbek Nogay, Altay Ussenbayev, Lyudmila Lider * indicates team leader

Dr. Jennifer Kushner came to her coaching role as a “systems thinker,” and encouraged her team to think of their reform project as a process of building towards organizational change in small steps, while keeping a shared institutional vision and mission in mind. Having a shared vision and mission required aligning their project plans with the university’s transformation goals and the overall institutional culture. KATRU, a nationally recognized research university, has a vision to become a world class university, a goal that would require more faculty researchers to participate in the international scientific community. With the help of Kushner’s coaching, the KATRU team decided to take their “small steps” by working with two research units, Agronomy and Animal Science, to create professional development opportunities for key stakeholders. Agronomy brought in an outside expert to work with KATRU faculty on academic publishing. Animal Science offered webinar-based training to over 100 practitioners in animal husbandry and dairy farming. While they successfully offered pilot opportunities to over 100 people, they faced challenges associated with resources and institutional buy-in. Their future goals include focusing on improving coordination between administration and faculty to achieve professional development goals and expanding the reach of their courses to other constituencies.

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