Invitation to Participate in the Theory-of-Change Blog Symposium

I invite you to participate in Theory-of-Change blog symposium.

I recently posted pieces listing various goals that people in our community have had, strategies that some have used, and reflections on the process of considering these issues for our field.

I invited academics, practitioners, administrators, and researchers, among others, in the US and other countries to write short pieces describing their highest priority goals for the DR field and suggested strategies for advancing them.  I plan to upload posts with pieces written by various contributors

Every reader of this blog identifies as part of the DR community and has an interest in the future of our community and our work, so I would be delighted to include a piece from you.

I suggest that people write short, informal pieces, perhaps 1-2 pages, though the pieces can be as short or long as you like.  No citations are needed, though you are welcome to include cites and especially links to relevant resources.

The only requirement is that your contribution discusses what you consider to be one or more high priority goals for the DR field considering the current situation and your expectations for the future as well as your ideas about how to advance those goals.

This may involve descriptions, issues to be addressed, and predictions etc., but these should be in service of your prescriptive analysis of one or more strategies to achieve important goals.

You may focus narrowly on a specific goal in a specific sector or you might write more broadly about some part of the field.  For example, many law review articles express detailed theories of change about specific problems.  Teachers have pedagogical theories about what they hope their students to learn.   Practitioners have practice theories about what they hope clients, opposing parties, and others will do in response to their professional interventions.

More broadly, you might aspire to improvement of the quality or efficiency of certain dispute resolution processes, as just two examples.

You might refer to your own experiences and what has or hasn’t worked.

I framed the issues in my posts based on my perspective as an American law professor with my particular experiences and views.  Everyone has different perspectives, so please don’t feel limited by the selections or framing in my posts.

You are welcome to write more than one piece if you would like to address separate goals.

Obviously, your suggested strategies should be as realistic as possible.  Writing one’s theory of change can be a helpful exercise in being explicit about your goals and assumptions.  We often have implicit assumptions that we realize, on reflection, may be problematic.  Although you don’t need to discuss your assumptions about what would needed to make your ideas successful or how to address potential barriers, doing so could make your piece more persuasive.  If you are interested, check out the Center for the Theory of Change website to read about their techniques.

Each piece will be listed in a blog post with the following format, using the following piece as an example:

John Lande Infect a Colleague Today – and Next Year and the Year After That!   John is particularly concerned about maintaining a substantial body of regular faculty in US law schools and he thinks that we should try to recruit faculty who don’t currently identify with the DR field.  He is the Isidor Loeb Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Law.

This paragraph will also appear at the top of the piece, sort of a combined abstract and bio.  Click here for the first part of the symposium as an illustration.

What I Need From You

If you would like to write a piece for the symposium, please email me:

  • your piece as a Word document, including a title
  • a sentence or two of a summary as illustrated in the preceding example
  • a photo of you
  • a link to a webpage with your bio or, if you don’t have such a webpage, a document with your bio
  • how you would like to be identified – name, title, and any affiliations you would like to include. If you want to include a disclaimer that the piece expresses your personal views and not those of an affiliated organization, include that language.

I will do some basic copy editing as needed and make the contributions conform to a standard format, and then convert pieces into pdf files.

This symposium can continue as long as people have ideas they want to share.

Feel free to invite others to participate in the symposium who you think would like to contribute to the conversation.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

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