A New Program
This fall, Pete Smith, core faculty member in the Department of Organization & Management and his hand-picked team of prominent faculty/practitioners in the field of Organization Development (OD) welcomes the first cohort in the new . Participants are practicing internal and external consultants, managers preparing for that role, and working professionals seeking OD skills.
Faculty and early enrollees find the newness of the program exciting. Accustomed to stepping into situations in the midst of change, an opportunity to participate in a nascent, fresh course of study and practice has them buzzing.
, who will lead a workshop in the fall and has founded similar programs at American University, Concordia, and Georgetown, freely expresses her enthusiasm.
“When Peter told me he wanted to start a new program at Antioch, I was thrilled to death,” she said. Having served at the vanguard of OD for forty years and authored several influential books, Seashore still gets excited about helping students shape their skills and become effective, confident practitioners. She’s also looking forward to coming to Keene and rolling up her sleeves. “I have great respect for the Organization & Management department there and I think this is an important program.”
The program couldn’t be more important to David Chase, whose success as an educator and executive offered him a vantage point from which he began to observe the workings of the organizations he led. About a year ago, he began helping nonprofits with their leadership and management challenges while learning all he could about organization development. Already holding a master’s degree from Harvard, Chase doubted his need for another degree, and when he learned about the OD Certification Program, he knew that he found what he was looking for.
“I’m drawn to consulting,” Chase said, “and this program will help me build the skills and confidence I need to be effective and comfortable in that role.” Chase also sees “enormous benefit” in the supervised consulting project that’s part of the curriculum. “Just the thought of it excites me. To run a project, tailored to who I am and what I want to do, under the mentorship and supervision of great practitioners and teachers seems really powerful to me. In some ways, it’s just like a successful consulting relationship, where we’re exploring my development together.”
Chase’s attitude brings a broad smile to Peter Smith’s face, given his commitment to development â€“ organizational, personal, professional, or, in this case, programmatic. “We’re setting up a dynamic for learning and growth through trusting, supportive relationships that will allow students to take appropriate risks. They will be called upon to respond and shape their experience. And they will emerge with all the skills, self-awareness, confidence, and experience they need to be successful,” Smith said.
New Experience for the Experienced
Experience â€“ that’s the word that triggers the most excitement from, a faculty member who brings the lessons learned from a career of powerful influence on social, educational, and political movements and institutions. She has taught in other OD programs, but has come to Antioch because, “This program produces scholar-practitioners who can make a good living doing both process and content work, such as effective strategic planning, as well as using process tools, which are the traditional domain of OD theory and practice. I can’t wait to begin. To work with Peter, Edie, and the range of students who are enrolling, is a great thrill.”
Antioch’s tradition of learning through experience has only added to the excitement surrounding the program. Edith Seashore, whose experience as a student under OD progenitor Douglas MacGregor at Antioch College set the course of her career, admits “I am a very big advocate of anything connected to Antioch. Before Antioch, I went to a progressive John Dewey school. My whole education is experiential, as is every program I’ve started. I’m glad to be in on the beginning of this program, where students will learn by doing; and that will make all the difference in their work as consultants.”
David Chase sums up how everyone involved in the trailblazing new program feels: “I’m excited about being a student in a program that’s just beginning. It means that I not only participate, but the educator in me likes knowing that I may have a key role in shaping what the program becomes.”