Seeing the unseen

Mark E. Haskins (Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA)
James G. Clawson (Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Publication date: 1 June 2006



This article describes one way for committee chairs, program administrators, and/or task force leaders to effectively galvanize an educational program change process. In particular, it introduces and describes the successful use of an assumptions audit (AA) to expose, challenge, reinforce, and/or discard a variety of educational program design and delivery assumptions under‐girding one top‐ranked, MBA program's required first year.


From a case study perspective, this paper chronicles the actual process pursued by a faculty committee chair, to successfully and effectively initiate an educational program review and change process. The paper also roots the AA in the literature on creativity, teams, educational administration, and organizational development.


As a result of the insights provided by the AA, a successful educational change process was launched with high collegiality amongst the change team and with high clarity regarding avenues of change to pursue and not to pursue, all of which led to much less angst, debate, and elapsed time in bringing about an agreed – on set of program changes.

Practical implications

Others seeking to productively, expeditiously, and collegially embark on an educational change process should find the AA idea and process useful.


The reasons for, the steps followed, and the results of a novel assumptions audit (AA) are presented. The AA process is described in sufficient detail that others can easily undertake their own version.



Haskins, M. and Clawson, J. (2006), "Seeing the unseen", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 304-314.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.