Diffusion of Innovations - Everett Rogers

Diffusion of Innovations - Everett Rogers - 22 Language and...

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In &The Future of WAC± (1996), Barbara E. Walvoord suggests framing the history and future of the writing-across-the-curriculum move- ment according to social movement theory (58), explaining that WAC qualifies as a movement because of its &change agenda and its collective nature²faculty talking to one another, moving to effect reform± (58). Con- sequently, she proposes that her evaluation of WAC³s progress at the 25 year mark and her re-envisioning of its future within this movement frame will uniquely reveal its &characteristics, strengths, and problems in ways that may help us think creatively about them± (61). Certainly creativity may be the order of the day as the WAC move- ment, in spite of its successes, struggles to maintain its vitality and visibil- ity against the perennially resistant landscape of academe. Such resis- tance, educational reform scholar Parker J. Palmer reminds us, (though few at the front lines of the WAC movement need reminding) will remain an essential feature of the academy as long as teaching &retains low status. .. tenure decisions favor those who publish, [and] scarce dollars. . .always go to research± (10). These conditions result in a &constitutional gridlock± which breeds the &mood of resignation. . .and despair± so familiar to those seeking reform (10). Walvoord³s review of WAC³s progress from a social movement per- spective turns the literature in an important direction. By providing the template of social movement theory against which to examine their suc- cesses and failures, WAC proponents are forced to take a more analytical approach to their subject, an approach that transcends the more anec- dotal &what works and what doesn³t± scholarship that has dominated writing-across-the-curriculum, especially in its early and middle years. Specifically, it provides an entrØe into the extensive network of sub-fields within social movement theory, one of which concerns itself with the spread of new ideas or &innovations± within systems, a category of study known as &diffusion± or &innovation theory.± In fact, according to Daniel Surry, who writes about the application of social movement and innova- Listening to Everett Rogers: Diffusion of Innovations and WAC Stephanie Vanderslice University of Central Arkansas
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23 Listening to Everett Rogers tion theory to the field of Instructional Technology, &professionals in a number of disciplines from agriculture to marketing± commonly study dif- fusion theory in order to further change agendas² (1). Taking the lead from our colleagues in Instructional Technology, a close examination of the process of innovation diffusion can enhance the ability of WAC advo- cates to implement their own reform agendas. The most widely recognized source for diffusion theory is Everett M. Rogers± seminal work, Diffusion of Innovations . Not surprisingly, Walvoord is the only WAC scholar whose work has recently referenced this volume, which synthesizes the last thirty years of diffusion research and distills it into a set of basic principles for the propagation of a new idea.
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Diffusion of Innovations - Everett Rogers - 22 Language and...

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