Results of our work
ACHIEVING CULTURE CHANGE. A large college wanted to shift its focus in order to bring greater attention to research, the responsibility of each faculty member to bring in research dollars, and reallocating resources to allow recruitment of the best graduate students. The CLOC team worked with the dean to create a multi-year plan to achieve this shift in organizational priorities.
Within 18 months, the leadership team, which had always viewed itself as an administrative group was acting and describing itself as an academic leadership team, and chairs had taken on a greater role in encouraging and funding cross-disciplinary efforts and orienting new faculty to the culture. Staff leaders coordinated professional development opportunities. The college is reaching the next level of academic excellence through this focused, results-oriented, large-scale culture change.
REDUCING TURNOVER & LOW GRADUATION RATES. For more than 15 years, internal and external reviews highlighted an academic department's inability to resolve tensions between, among other things, approaches to the discipline and the missions of its faculty and subgroups. These tensions manifested themselves in an unacceptably high rate of faculty departures and unacceptably low rate of graduate degree completion. The dean and provost asked CLOC to explore the issues with various stakeholders and propose processes to resolve them.
Armed with tools and a process from CLOC, faculty generated actionable suggestions for structural change that led to provost support for a faculty working group to develop a proposal that reorganized the department into two units. CLOC consultants worked with this group to identify issues that needed to be addressed, resolved them, and wrote a proposal that gained unanimous faculty support. CLOC also helped the dean shepherd the proposal through the required university approval process. The Faculty Senate approved this departmental reorganization, which resulted in two more tightly focused and aligned departments.
Retreat or Meeting Design and Facilitation Results
SHORT TERM PLANNING. A small student-support department asked CLOC to facilitate a short-term planning retreat so that the director could fully participate. The CLOC consultant facilitated a four-hour gathering that clarified roles and responsibilities and resulted in a clear action plan with specific timelines. All participants indicated that they made significantly more headway with external facilitation than they would have if they had run the meeting themselves.
IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT. A department's faculty wanted to hold a retreat to review and respond to an external report that identified numerous possibilities for improvement. CLOC consultants worked with a planning group to design the retreat and then conducted faculty focus groups to identify topics for discussion. These focus groups identified additional concerns about the department's climate and culture. A number of activities addressed key academic issues, while also identifying solutions to the negative elements of the culture. Participants worked together to create a climate more conducive to faculty productivity and student learning.
PROMOTING COLLABORATION. Various University factions were concerned that an upcoming campus-wide meeting for 300+ university faculty and administrators, community college faculty and administrators, and staff from two state agencies might become contentious. CLOC was brought in to develop a plan to remove anticipated barriers to the meeting’s overall success. CLOC facilitators helped design and facilitate the meeting, which became a collaborative and productive one.
FACILITATING A STATEWIDE CONFERENCE. A governor's task force asked CLOC to help facilitate a statewide conference on the future of science and technology education. CLOC helped an external consultant design and facilitate small-group sessions between high-level educators, business representatives, and government officials. CLOC facilitators captured action items to inform the governor as he moved forward on this issue.
Team Development Results
FACULTY SEARCH ASSISTANCE. After two failed searches for a new faculty member, a dean informed a department chair that until the faculty reached agreement on what it wanted, the line on the budget would not be approved. In order to arrive at that agreement, faculty had to address not only disagreements about the direction of the field and the needs of the department, but also a fundamental lack of trust in each other resulting from a long history of conflict. With the help of a team of CLOC consultants, they developed agreement on the specifics for the faculty search and on a new administrative structure that provided both shared power and accountability.
NEW TEAM STRUCTURE. The new dean of a large college asked CLOC to help maximize the effectiveness of his leadership team. He had been selected from within the college and wanted to maintain positive relationships, but felt that the team had gotten too large and unwieldy to work as an interconnected group. With the help of CLOC, the dean determined a new team structure based on a culture of camaraderie and in which joint decisions were thoroughly vetted by the group.
At an off-site retreat, time was spent clarifying team values and needs, integrating a new associate dean, and finding ways to let destructive bygones dissipate. Individuals not placed on the new executive team had mixed feelings, so CLOC worked with the dean to create a plan for explaining the rationale and finding other ways to pull them into college-wide decision-making.