Dr. William Spady
Dr. Spady’s experience and expertise in Outcome Based Education is unmatched globally. Known internationally as “The Father of OBE”, he has earned the reputation as the recognized world-wide authority on future-focused, paradigm-shifting, personally-empowering approaches to Transformational OBE. For over four decades he has spearheaded major OBE initiatives throughout North America, South Africa, Australia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates on expanding the vision, shifting the paradigm, and improving the performance of learners, educators and educational systems. This work has bolstered his recognized expertise in organizational change, transformational leadership development, strategic organizational design, and elevated models of learning and living.
Recognized across the world as a dynamic and compelling consultant and presenter, Bill received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1967, and began his academic career as a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. This was followed by major national leadership positions in education and the founding of his own national consulting company in 1991. Since then he has lectured at major educational conferences throughout the world on cutting-edge approaches to a range of topics related to OBE, leadership, human potential, paradigm change, and learner empowerment. Dr. Spady has published nine highly acclaimed professional books, scores of journal articles, and many solicited chapters in the books of others. A list of his books can be found on this website. He’s been the subject of three doctoral dissertations, and has been honored with a Center on Transformational Leadership and Learning in the Philippines bearing his name.
He leveraged this position to introduce Outcome-Based Education (OBE) to school systems in Western states such as Utah, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Arizona.
OBE had been adopted by the African National Congress to be the vii national curriculum of South Africa. He also was named the Educational Director of Heart Light International.
He was also an active member of the American Educational Research Association where he and others helped to create Division G around the sociology of education.
William Spady, Father of OBE
William Spady - Interviews, Dissertations and More
Some Notable Links
WILLIAM SPADY: A PARADIGM PIONEER.
Associate Professor Roy Killen
Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, Australia
Article also on Ministry of Education, South Australia website
Interview: The Ideology of Outcome-based Education An Interview with William Spady
James A. Tucker
Pages 5-18 | Published online: 01 Dec 2009
William Spady – Outcome-based education seen solving skills mismatch
BY THE MANILA TIMES
MAY 25, 2017
‘Father of outcomes-based education’: Focus on students’ skills, not grades
By Roy Abrahmn D.R. Narra – May 26, 2017
What series of circumstances, events, individuals, and factors have shaped and changed the life and career trajectory of William G. Spady, sociologist, educator, and agent of change? This dissertation provided many answers to this guiding research question. What made this dissertation unique was that the answers were provided by the subject himself during a series of interviews at his home in Colorado. Spady’s life began as the son of a hard-working garbage hauler and hog rancher in a little town outside of Portland. Spady attended the University of Chicago, and taught at Harvard and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He was also an active member of the American Educational Research Association where he and others helped to create Division G around the sociology of education. Spady served as Division G’s third president. He worked for the National Institute of Education and served as the director of the National Center for the Improvement of Learning at the American Association of School Administrators.
Spady was named Director of the Far West Laboratory, and he leveraged this position to introduce Outcome-Based Education (OBE) to school systems in Western states such as Utah, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Arizona. At one time, 26 states offered some version of Spady’s OBE in their schools. OBE came under furious attack in Pennsylvania, and was jettisoned in most states as a result. However, in 1997, Spady found through a phone call that OBE had been adopted by the African National Congress to be the vii national curriculum of South Africa. Spady spent the next ten years helping to foster OBE in South Africa and Australia. He also was named the Educational Director of HeartLight International. Recently, Spady turned his attention exclusively to U.S. education and policy by creating the New Possibilities Network to serve as a countermeasure to the No Child Left Behind legislation. This dissertation was an oral history of an important agent of change in the midst of his work.
A Historical Study of the Contributions of Dr. William G. Spady to Education Reform Yasmina S Thomas, Johnson & Wales University, “A Historical Study of the Contributions of Dr. William G. Spady to Education Reform” (2013). Dissertation & Theses Collection.
Forty-five states have adopted the National Common Core Standards. The purpose of these standards is to ensure that all students are proficient in the knowledge and skills needed for success in a highly competitive global society. Basing education on national standards for all students seems similar to some of the basic tenets that served as the foundation of outcome-based education (OBE). Since 1983, there have been numerous attempts at educational reform in the U.S. Despite these reform efforts the nation still has approximately a 30% high school dropout rate, and American students no longer rank at the top on international tests. Many current educational reformers argue that the educational system is obsolete and out of sync with the fast-paced changes impacting the world.
The purpose of this historical study was to explore the contributions of William Spady to the history of educational reform in the United States, particularly the impact of OBE on educational reform. This study also examined how Spady describes his contributions to the history of educational reform initiatives and leadership development. One major research question and two sub-questions guided this study: 1. What have been the contributions of William Spady to the history of educational reform in the United States? 1a. What has been the impact of Outcomes-Based Education on educational reform in the United States, according to Spady? 1b. How does Spady describe his contributions to educational reform and leadership development?
A qualitative, historical, interpretive design was used to conduct this study. Data were collected through an elite, face-to-face interview, telephone communications, emails, and the examination of Spady’s and other educational reformers’ publications. A major finding of this study is that several of the fundamental components of Spady’s system of OBE are embedded throughout many current educational reform initiatives such as classroom reform models, program alignment, external accountability, national common core standards, and approaches to school transformation. The findings from this research study may be useful for educational leaders and educational organizations that will be leading the implementation of the National Common Core Standards and other reform initiatives.