A Sample of OD Programs

During the winter of 2009, The Education Committee of the NJ Organization Development Learning Community conducted a survey of members inquiring into their interest in attending academic-based education in the field of Organization Development.  The response indicated a need for both an introductory level program to enter the field as well as advanced level programs to support on-going development and sharing.

To follow-up on the topic, additional research was conducted under a grant provided by Rutgers University Professional Development Studies of the School of Information and Communication Studies by Lucille Maddalena and Marian Titus-Smith during 2010.

4 Reports on Current Programs In Organization Development

Researched and Prepared by Dr. Lucille Maddalena, SPHR, February, 2010

Before exploring what program content will best support OD practitioners,  it is necessary to form a general understanding of the field of Organization Development: what is it, how it is defined, what is the value and where is it going, as well as relationships to Human Resources and the many forms of employee management.

The direction of the research was inspired by the following quote by MANAGING RISK by Vernon Grose:

“As any subject or field become divided and subdivided into narrower and narrower specialties, a counterforce inevitably arises to cope with the disintegration of unity brought on by specialization. This compensative force tends to be interdisciplinary or generalist in nature –trying to collect and embrace all the multiplying specialties. Because it will have to sacrifice in-depth understanding of each specialty in order to communicate with them, this counterforce of generalization will also introduce new risks.”[1]

As employee management has moved from the Personnel Office to Human Resources and as employee issues have taken on global aspects, the need to strategically manage talent has proven to be critical to a company’s success.  As will be seen by a review of the data gathered here, the field of Organization Development requires a multi-disciplinary approach to andragogy.

The field of OD, and where it will evolve, remains embedded in the development of the individual as a connected part of a group with a common mission.  Issues of exploring productive methods to  determine the role of effective relationships in decision making, the power of  employee innovation in change and the necessity of investing in employee development for continued growth is clear and only a small part of the mantle taken on by OD practitioners.  The future of the field of OD is dependent on the education we provide to practitioners.

“These two extremes, moralism and management are as far apart from one another as they can get….they are mutual exclusives… Customer relations…training, planning…are built on foundation of moralism… One indication that the genesis for each of these was moralistic is that for the first few years of each activity’s existence, the moralists could not even agree among themselves on the definition of what they felt was missing!  …In one sense, moralism produces candidates who have the potential of maturing into the management world….The trappings of orthodoxy often include formal courses in academia, senior executive’s status, professional societies and hardcover books on the subject”[2]

By studying these 25 institutions, interviewing key leaders in academia,  and compiling available data on the training experienced by current practitioners,  it is the hope that this study will assist “candidates who have the potential of maturing into the management world” through the field of Organization Development.

The information is presented in four reports available here for download.  Please note that by listing this information the NJOD does not endorse any program or institution. The data contained in the Reports and documents do not claim to provide all of the information available nor do they list every program available in the US to obtain training in the field of Organization Development. Click on the report title to view or download the article.

25 OD PROGRAMS: An overview of 25 popular academic programs in the US offered during 2010. Includes a complete chart of the 25 programs including year established, credits offered and faculty as well as comments from interviews of key academic leaders in the field including: 

  • PETER SORENSEN, Benedictine
  • GLEN VARNEY, Bowling Green
  • LARRY STARR, University of Pennsylvania

COURSEWORK IN OD PROGRAMS: Examples of courses currently offered in popular OD Certificate and Academic programs.  A sample OD Certificate program that best responded to the needs identified in the NJOD Survey is proposed to include courses current offered in several existing programs such as:

  • 10 course offerings in the Core Track
  • 6 course offerings as Electives
  • 10 course offering in the Advanced Track
  • 10 course offerings in the Core Track

The courses identified compose a random sample of programs offered during the years 2005-2009.   This list was prepared with the goal of providing the reader with some knowledge of the courses content and terminology used to describe the multi-disciplinary approach to study of the field of OD.

INSTITUTIONS AND CURRICULUM:  25 Programs in OD Certification  Offered during 2010

Sample course descriptions are provided with some references to program length, learning objectives and content reviewing programs at the following institutions:

  • Benedictine University
  • Brandman
  • Cardinal Stritch
  • Columbia
  • Cornell
  • De Paul
  • Fielding
  • Georgetown
  • Hawaii Pacific
  • Marymount
  • New York
  • Northwestern
  • Pace
  • Pepperdine
  • Portland State
  • Saint Louis
  • Temple
  • North Carolina
  • Southern California
  • Dallas
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin
  • NTL/American
  • Linkage On-Line For OD Professionals
  • Organization Development Network

INTERVIEW WITH 4 OD PROFESSIONALS.  Four outstanding professionals in Organization Development who live and work in New Jersey were interviewed to gain a better understanding of their background, education, training and perspective.  The anonymous profiles presented here will provide a picture of the individuals and their contribution to the field of OD today.


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[1] Grose, Vernon L.  Managing Risk: Systematic Loss Prevention for Executive’s, pages 42-43

[2] Grose, Vernon L.  Managing Risk: Systematic Loss Prevention for Executives pages 91-92