Royal Roads University
Q: Please share a short summary of your Graduate Certificate in Organization Design and Development program, its strengths, and what makes it special.
The Graduate Certificate in Organization Design and Development is a 6-month, 3-course program designed for mid-to-senior level working professionals who are currently working in an OD capacity and want to drive positive organizational change and/or connect organizational strategy to culture in a meaningful, inclusive way. The program blends the practical, relevant application with theoretical and academic grounding that results in an immersive, comprehensive understanding of OD principles and best-practices. Participants in the program come from a variety of work experiences, including senior leadership, Human Resources, training, project and change management. All are looking to expand their practice based on sound theoretical concepts. The strengths of the program are that it blends an overview of the history and breadth of the field of OD, introduces participants to the OD value base, incorporates the fundamental practice of use of self as a consultant, engages participants to apply their learning in their workplaces and explores recent developments in the field regarding complexity and dialogic processes.
The program is special for many reasons: the variety of teaching methods that not only provide the knowledge they also provide experience in a number of OD practices and models; the practical application to real work dilemmas; and the nurturing of relationships with other professionals via small group work in the classroom. The faculty are passionate, dedicated to their craft and connect with students in a way that really builds a community (we use a cohort model, primarily) that fosters an environment for personal growth.
Q: These days, what are you most proud of and what are you looking forward to?
Each cohort consists of people working in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Graduates have demonstrated, in their 6 months in the program, a shift in their mindsets about developing organizations and have shown their new skills in contracting, discovering, designing and implementing client-centered initiatives. Participants have grown in their understanding of the role of culture in organizations and the importance of supporting clients to be leaders in their organizations. Two key informants of the program are Edgar Schein and Peter Block. Foundational concepts include positive development. We know that workplaces are already changing for the better because of the work that graduates did during the program and plan to do in the future. It is always humbling and inspiring to see their brilliance, creativity and perseverance. It takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice to take 6-months out of a busy life to take an immersive program like this, and to see the passion, commitment and fulfillment and confidence in the room is really a sight. The place is buzzing!
We are also planning to offer the program in China!
Q: Who are some of your faculty and what are their backgrounds?
Shauna Fenwick, Associate Faculty: My background is in health care where I worked as a nurse, an educator and a leader. I saw many unhealthy organizations where unhappiness was extensive and care of patients suffered. I knew that things could be different. My first path was to leadership development where I worked for several years to support organizations to develop existing and emerging leaders. I soon saw that although this work was necessary, developing individual leaders was insufficient to the very large task of improving the overall health of organizations. I was always a strong advocate for organizational support of leadership development; this eventually segued into a stronger focus on developing the organizational climate, culture and processes in which leaders and employees can flourish.
Beth Allen, Associate Faculty: I began my work life in the world of municipal recreation leading ever increasing program and service areas along with larger teams. Almost 20 years ago I fell into what I came to discover was OD and soon after found Royal Roads. I completed a Masters in Leadership and have been moving and shaking in the world of OD ever since. I've worked in the municipal, health and public/private partnership sectors. Currently my role is with Halton Region as the Manager of Organizational Training and Development. I am also a wife, a sister, a doggy mama and loyal friend who likes to lose herself in a good book or movie, take long walks or bike rides, learn, grow and try new things while travelling or exploring at home.
Calvin Roberts, Manager, Professional and Continuing Studies at Royal Roads University: I managed the build of the OD graduate certificate and am now responsible for its oversight too. I’m a double alumna from RRU (my MA is in Learning and Technology) and I’ve spent almost a decade at RRU in a variety of capacities, most recently as a Learning and Development Advisor for the Centre for Coaching and Workplace Innovation. My primary focus is managing the design, development and delivery of 7 for-credit Graduate Certificates and around 200 non-credit courses and certificates that we hope positivity impact people’s personal and professional lives.
Q: Why did you choose to develop/teach in Royal Roads’ Graduate Certificate in Organization Design and Development?
Shauna Fenwick, Associate Faculty: I am a graduate of RRU and, as an educator, am fully aligned with the university's applied approach. The certificate promised more than theoretical knowledge acquisition. It offered a chance to blend the introduction of theory with development of the individual practitioner as an agent of development and to develop mindsets and skills that went beyond delivering any specific implementation design. I believe that our program graduates professionals who can provide a systemic perspective, help clients see beyond their presenting problem and provide ethical, effective service.
Beth Allen, Associate Faculty: I was invited to teach and very humbly accepted. :) I think OD is often misunderstood and practitioners are also prone to attaching to a specific tool or model. I wanted to contribute to a learning experience that would provide people with a well-rounded understanding of what OD is, and most importantly the self-awareness and self-confidence to navigate what can be a challenging field.
Q: Do you have any “favorites” from the GCORGD program?
Shauna Fenwick, Associate Faculty: All of it! If I was to shorten it to a sentence it would be something like: we develop awareness and capability for effective use of self in systems, on behalf of clients.
Beth Allen, Associate Faculty: Seeing the students connect on a deep level in their Triad groups is very cool and a favorite too. Shauna, my colleague and co-conspirator is my absolute favorite.
Q: Please share news about research, publications, or fieldwork by faculty that makes a noteworthy contribution to the field of OD?
Beth Allen, Associate Faculty: Currently I am building a leadership strategy that integrates learning and development, the talent review process, relationship building and better support navigating transitions. I think it's a bit different as the emphasis is less on leadership programs and courses and much more on the convergence of OD, HR and leaders themselves in leveraging talent and strengthening leadership capability throughout the organization.