Leading organizational change is a challenge that all education administrators face today, and it is one that Professor Higgins' work is well poised to address. Her work suggests that leading and managing organizational change requires more than one heroic leader or solo entrepreneur. It requires teamwork and collaboration to effectively implement good solutions. In order for large‐scale systems to become more effective, they often must do more than find ways to enhance the learning and development of those, like teachers, who are working to improve their own practice; those in leadership roles also must become open to new ideas and entrepreneurial approaches. These are the areas of interest, within the larger context of leadership development and organizational change, which are the focus of Professor Higgins' current research in education.
Specifically, to increase leadership effectiveness and to support organizational change in education, she has four main research projects underway. Details on each of these projects are in the "projects" section at the top of this page.
• Research on senior leadership teams in 26 districts in Connecticut that are all engaged in implementing instructional improvement strategies. This study examines how team leadership and team composition impact team member engagement and learning
• A study of principal leadership and organizational learning in 60 Chicago Public Schools (CPS). This study explores teacher perceptions of leadership and learning conditions in schools and how these link to important change indicators, such as teacher collaboration around instructional practice.
• Building on the CPS study, Professor Higgins' is also working on a 25,000 teacher‐based study of organizational learning and accountability in New York City public schools. This study examines teacher perceptions of their work environments and the extent to which their schools and school leadership support learning behaviors (e.g., experimenting with new teaching practices) while also retaining high standards of accountability.
In addition, Professor Higgins has written papers that directly extend her prior streams of research to the education context. She is approaching these education projects primarily from the perspective of an organizational scholar and, with colleagues and doctoral students, she looks forward to publishing papers from these projects in education journals as well as organizational behavior journals. Details of these papers and manuscripts are described in the "research papers and manuscripts" subsection at the top of this page.