Catriona Pyner

Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Churchlands, Western Australia


Pyner, C. (1993). Women in leadership program 1993: shaping the culture. Churchlands, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


In discussing Women in Leadelrship one member of the Management Group sometimes used the term "Program", and sometimes "Project". This was not a mere slip of the tongue. One useful way to conceptualise "Women in Leadership" is as a Project- which seeks to strategically engage with a changing institution, and which is both organic and structured. Part of the Project structure is the Program. The Program is made up of three formal elements: The Collegial Groups; the Public Lecture Series and the National Conference. And yet, part of the Purpose of the Program is to engage with, shape and respond to changes in the structure and culture of Edith Cowan University - so the distinction is no more than arbitrary. In this report, "Program" refers to the three formal elements; "Project" refers to the wider elements- "Women in Leadership" is used to denote the Program in the context of the wider elements.

Undertaking an evaluation for a client with a "successful" program should have been the easiest of evaluation tasks. Grappling with the parameters of the "Program", and clearly characterising what the "Project" is, made the task more complex.

Evaluation of a program as innovative as Women in Leade1·ship has raised challenges to the standard criteria of what constitutes evaluation. An evaluation which simply tests the extent to which the Program has met its objectives, as set out in the Funding Application (see Appendix 1), would exclude or marginalise much of what Women in Leadel'ship is "about".

Over the course of this evaluation, it became clear that the crucial element of Women in Leadel'ship is the paradigm of leadership upon which the Project is based. This raises challenges for identifying specific evaluation criteria. How to evaluate a paradigm, or a Project such as Women in Leadel'ship, which is directed at long term cultural change? Further, in an institution undergoing rapid changes, causalities are difficult to untangle.

The extent to which Women in Leadership is the causal factor in the discernible changes in the structure and culture of Edith Cowan University is and will continue to be debated. This debate encourages reflection about the structure of Edith Cowan University and is in itself a catalyst for change. This is a 1·elevant evaluative criterion, given the long term nature of the Project.