Departmental Action Teams


A Departmental Action Team (DAT) is an externally-facilitated working group of 4 to 8 faculty, staff, and/or students, created by a department, to achieve two goals:

The DAT project Action Research Paradigm

  1. Implementing and institutionalizing DATs on the CSU campus in conjunction with an array of campus partners including The Institute for Learning and Teaching (where we are housed), the Provost office, and the Office of Student Affairs.
  2. Researching the DAT implementation and institutionalization process and externalizing our findings.

Both components are driven by a set of core principles that guide the work of our project team.

View the joint CU Boulder/CSU Departmental Action Team Project

DAT Goals

  1. to create sustainable change around a broad-scale issue related to undergraduate education in the department by shifting departmental structures and culture
  2. to help DAT participants become change agents through developing facilitation and leadership skills

Thus, DATs support their participants not only in making meaningful, positive change in their department, but also in developing their own capacity to continue leading change in the future.

To meet these goals, the DAT is supported by external facilitators from our project team who have expertise in undergraduate education generally, facilitation, organizational culture, education research and instructional design particularly.

Additionally, a core feature of DATs is that participants choose their DAT’s focus; in the past, these have included both curricular concerns (e.g., restructuring a course sequence) and cultural concerns (e.g., improving undergraduate sense of belonging).

Because the DAT project follows an action research paradigm, it has two main components.


DAT Resources


Resources for Facilitators

Collaborative Communities: A chart that describes the differences between DATs, Faculty Learning Communities, and Departmental Committees

Norms of Collaboration: Features of effective collaborative groups

Non-Refereed Writing

S. Wise, J. C. Corbo, G. M. Quan, and M. Gammon. Increasing the Capacity for Change at CU., white paper submitted to Academic Futures (2017).

Faculty Professional Development group session