Organizational Development & Change Management

Organizational development has been a major focus in my career.  This includes creating new organizations from inception and reorganization of existing structures.  Upon my arrival at FHSU the institution was well into a re-engineering process.  I became immersed in the process, digesting input from multiple committees, which resulted in the creation of a new College of STeM, two new academic departments, and the reorganizing of the majority of the operations within the Office of the Provost.  To clearly communicate all of these changes to the faculty and staff I developed a booklet showing what changes had been effected and clearly communicating the responsibilities of all of the academic staff.  This also required developing clear job descriptions for all positions, including short descriptions for all positions that were based on course release time. 

As the first Vice Provost at Mercy College, I was instrumental in bringing multiple siloed faculty and student support offices together to provide a cohesive support structure. I also organized College-wide academic programs (Honors, Gen Ed and Global Engagement) into a cohesive group.  My initial responsibility at Stony Brook was to form a single “one-stop-shopping” Teaching, Learning, & Technology support organization from three disparate groups with 37 full time professional staff members. 

I have been successful working with faculty senates to implement appropriate committee structures and in forming faculty and student advisory boards.  At FHSU, I re-structured and expanded the number of committees to provide more faculty input on administrative decisions, including forming a new Shared Governance Committee.  I published a web page to clearly communicate the revised committee structure, functions, and memberships.  In addition to faculty developed charges, each committee receives annual charges that are derived from the strategic planning process.

I have addressed the personnel aspects or organizational development on my Personnel Management page.

Change Management

Large scale organizational change can be very intimidating.  I have found that this can be overcome by breaking it down into manageable chunks.  For example, to implement the online school of pharmacy I first worked on getting all faculty computers, email and calendaring systems up to a consistent level.  We then implemented a learning  management system.  Once the faculty were comfortable with this technology I proposed a required laptop program for the students.  From this position it was easier to lead the faculty in the creation of an online school.  This would never have been accepted had it been proposed before the infrastructure upgrades and the faculty had developed skills using technology to teach.

I am experienced at working in academic environments where change without buy-in tends to be resisted – “a change imposed is a change opposed”. Change often involves asking people to move out of their comfort zone and into the risky unknown. A sense of loss and fear of failure can accompany these changes. I deal with this by acknowledging loss, showing gratitude for prior successes, and by spending a great deal of time and effort preparing people to be successful in the new paradigm, often before we even consider the change. For example, in my strategic planning process there is a field next to every strategy in which faculty and staff development needs are listed. Clear and proactive communication is also critical to allaying fears and paving the way for change.

Successful organization change also requires a dual approach.  The change must be simultaneously top down and bottom up.  I have worked to create organizational policy, with faculty committees to gather input and drive change, and with individual faculty and departments to increase their comfort level with the change.  A good example of this at Stony Brook was implementing changes in classrooms to support student centered learning.  I first formed a learning space management committee which then proposed a new policy that was approved by the Provost.  Poster sessions were held showing pictures and designs of potential new classroom designs and used to gather faculty input.  In addition, I conducted a faculty survey which served as a needs analysis and to educate the community on what new facilities were possible.