Original Research - Special Collection: Change agency in a 21st-century South Africa

Change agency and higher education in South Africa

Erna Oliver
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 3 | a5133 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.5133 | © 2018 Erna Oliver | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 June 2018 | Published: 11 October 2018

About the author(s)

Erna Oliver, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa


This article applies change agency to the institutions of higher education in South Africa – referring here to all the post-school institutions and educators in general and more specifically focused on the unique opportunities and responsibilities towards change agency in theological training. The focus is on the characteristics of a change agent, which could be an individual or a group. Seemingly, change is not going to be initiated in a ‘top-down’ approach; therefore, this article suggests a ‘bottom-up’ approach, starting with a change agent (an individual or a group) to become enthusiastic and active to bring about change. The method of constructivism is used, complemented by a general literature review of the past 70 years, filled with definitions of change agents and change agency. After the discussion of a few models, the researcher ventures to propose a way in which change agency can find a foothold among theological educators in higher education institutions in South Africa.


Change agency; Theological education; Higher Education; South Africa; caracteristics of change agents


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