Report on Academic
to South Africa:
November 16 - 29, 1998
Breakthrough Learning Systems
About the Specialist
Dr. William Spady is President of Breakthrough
Learning Systems and an internationally recognized authority on Outcome-Based
Education, organizational change, transformational leadership development,
and strategic planning. For the past 25 years he has spearheaded major
efforts throughout North America and abroad on improving staff and
student performance and systemically changing educational systems.
Today he is also applying those same tools to improving leadership
and organizational effectiveness in business and the public sector.
A native of Oregon, Bill received three
degrees from the University of Chicago, including a Ph.D. in the Sociology
of Education in 1967. His first positions included academic appointments
at Harvard University and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
(in Toronto). In 1973, he became a Senior Research Sociologist at
the National Institute of Education where he served for six years.
During that time he was elected as a vice-president of the American
Educational Research Association.
In 1979, Dr. Spady joined the staff
of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) as the
Director of its National Center for the Improvement of Learning. While
in that role, he co-founded the Network for Outcome-Based Schools,
served as its Executive Director for five years, and founded and edited
its quarterly publication Outcomes for six years. Between 1983 and
1986 he served as Director of the Far West Laboratory for Educational
Research and Development in San Francisco, and in 1986 he formed the
High Success Network, which for a decade led cutting-edge developments
in Outcome- Based Restructuring, curriculum design, and school change
in over forty states and Canadian Provinces. He has appeared as a
featured speaker on the national programs of most major educational
organizations in the U.S., and has been named "Distinguished Lecturer"
at AASA's national convention four times.
Areas of Specialization
Dr. Spady has published and lectured
extensively across the world on organizational leadership, systemic
change, instructional management, Outcome- Based Education, school
restructuring, strategic planning, curriculum design, and paradigm
Dr. Spady arrived in South Africa on
November 16, 1998, primarily to participate in two major conferences
on Outcome Based Education.
The first, called the International
Symposium on Outcomes-Based Education, was sponsored by Vista
University and held on November 17 and 18 in Pretoria at the Human
Sciences Research Council. The program featured OBE experts from Australia,
England, New Zealand, and Scotland as well as Dr. Spady. Numerous
presentations and commentaries were also offered by educators and
policy makers from South Africa. The Symposium was limited to an audience
of about 150 educators and policy makers, primarily representing various
kinds of higher education and training institutions in South Africa.
Dr. Spady gave the Keynote Address of
the Symposium, entitled "OBE: Reform in Search of a Definition."
In addition to commenting on several of the other presentations, he
also gave the concluding address of the Symposium, entitled "The
Transformational Potential of Curriculum 2005: It's All in the Outcomes."
The basic purpose of the two presentations was to offer internationally
validated precision and rigor to the term "Transformational OBE"
and to clarify how it does and doesn't apply to the key features of
South Africa's current educational reforms. His perspectives were
reinforced strongly by the other international experts on the program.
On November 19 and 20, Dr. Spady remained
in Pretoria to provide assistance to Professors Ig Kempen, William
Fraser, and their colleagues at the University of Pretoria in designing
and implementing Outcome-Based programs and courses for their campus.
In addition, he conducted a joint seminar at the University with Professor
Roy Killen of Australia on "Implementing OBE in the Classroom."
The seminar was attended by University faculty members, officials
of teachers organizations, staff development specialists, and secondary
school principals and teachers in the greater Pretoria area.
The second major conference that brought
Dr. Spady to South Africa took place on November 23-25 at the Teachers
Centre in Port Elizabeth. Over 150 educators and training specialists
from across the Eastern Cape Province officially registered for the
three-day program, which covered a broad range of issues related to
OBE design and practice. The event was jointly hosted by the Teachers
Centre and the Delta Foundation's OBE Initiative. Dr. Spady shared
the program with Mr. Mzwai Kibi, a key South African expert on OBE
who played a key role in developing the country's current Outcome-Based
On November 26 and 27, he: 1) worked
with the key staff of the Delta Foundation's "Siyabona Project"
(which offers assistance to secondary school students seeking to strengthen
their life skills and enter higher education programs), reviewing
the Project's substance and implementation plan and tying it more
closely to the country's Curriculum 2005 effort; 2) conducted a follow-up
question and answer session for participants in the three-day conference;
3) conducted a half-day seminar on OBE for early childhood specialists
at the Port Elizabeth Early Learning Centre; and conducted a seminar
for University of Port Elizabeth faculty members on defining and assessing
outcomes of significance in their programs.
Dr. Spady's pioneering work on future-driven
strategic planning and alignment, systemic change, instructional design,
and leadership development is reflected in three widely acclaimed
books, all published by AASA:
- Outcome-Based Education: Critical
Issues and Answers (1994)
- Paradigm Lost: Reclaiming America's
Educational Future (1998)
- Total Leaders: Applying The Best
Future-Focused Change Strategies to Education (1998), co-authored
with Charles Schwahn.
He and Dr. Schwahn recently completed
a groundbreaking document that defines and describes the operating
essentials and indicators of "Information Age Learning Communities."
It is currently setting new standards for educational change efforts
in both North America and South Africa.
He is also the author of a major series
of detailed handbooks for education leaders and policy makers on the
whys, whats, and hows of leading and implementing productive change
in the Information Age. This series of change resources includes:
- Guidelines for Leading and Implementing
- Action Steps for Leading and Implementing
- A Strategic Process for Developing
Future-Focused Student Performance Outcomes
- The Future is Now: The Shifts and
Trends that Are Redefining Organizations and Life in the New Millennium
- Breakthrough Learning Communities:
These documents can be obtained by contacting
him at P.O. Box 4388, Dillon, CO 80435. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.