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ODEA Member School Spotlight: Benedictine University

ODEA Member School Spotlight: 
The MS in Management & Organizational Behavior Program from Benedictine University

Each month, Network News features an academic partner of the OD Network, including member schools of the OD Education Association (ODEA) and university sponsors of the OD Network Annual Conference. Our special guest this month is professor Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., of Benedictine University.

Edited by Marco Cassone, MSOD, Board of Trustees, The OD Network


MC: Thank you for making the time to share about Benedictine’s MSMOB program for the July issue of Network News. Can you please give our readers an overview of your program?


TY: “The Benedictine University OD program has contributed to the development of OD for over 50 years and continues to contribute to the field through the current program, our faculty, visiting scholars, and our alumni. The program is designed to prepare students for a range of OD-related activities, including OD consulting, management, and HR. Although a number of students do in fact do OD consulting, many are in management and human resources. In the PhD program, most of our students remain in corporate, although an increasing number are going into the academic world as faculty at universities such as Northwestern and Purdue, to name a few. Our PhD program is a three-year program that meets approximately every third weekend for two years with year three devoted to the dissertation. The master’s program takes approximately two years to complete with an emphasis on weekend classes.”


MC: What would you say distinguishes Benedictine’s OD program from those of other top schools in the field?


TY: “There are a number of exceptional academic programs in the field now, and the number is increasing. Perhaps one of the major differentiating factors of Benedictine’s program is that we offer both the masters AND PhD in OD. Another is the use of scholar/practitioner PhDs in the master program; introductory and capstone courses are taught by full-time scholar-practitioner faculty with all remaining courses taught by scholar/practitioners that are active as managers or consultants. At the PhD level, there are three core, full-time faculty responsible for course coordination and working with distinguished visiting scholar; each class has at least one distinguished visiting scholar. Almost all of the major figures in OD have been a part of our programs, so one of the most attractive aspects is the opportunity to learn from those who created and developed the field. A third differentiating factor of both the masters and PhD programs is that classical, historical OD––such as team building and reflection––plays an important part of our programs, in addition to central concepts of global, positive change, and strategic OD.”


MC: From your perspective, what are 1-2 challenges faced by today’s students, and how is Benedictine’s OD program uniquely positioned to address these challenges?


TY: “We continue to be amazed at our students’ abilities to manage complex lifestyles, demanding work schedules, their personal and family lives, and a rigorous academic life. For many, success adds another complicating factor as they are offered new job opportunities that place additional pressure on their time. More of our students are now international and a new language and new culture create additional complexities in their lives.”


MC: We’ll close with a 2-part question: With such a strong OD program having so much to offer, what are you most proud of and what are you looking forward to in the future?


TY: “There are a number of things in our future that we look forward to, such as bringing new students into the field and introducing them to professional associations like the OD Network (of course!), and to academic associations like the Academy of Management. We will continue to contribute in a meaningful way to the OD profession as one of the first and oldest master’s programs and earliest PhD programs in the field. What many don’t know is that the Chicago-area Benedictine program was the first doctoral-level program of any Benedictine college and university in the world!


“We have so much to be proud of as well! We take significant pride in having received the Kathy Dannemiller “Share the Wealth” Award from the OD Network. We are proud of our many alumni and the tremendous contribution that they have made to the field of OD, especially the body of work on Appreciative Inquiry by David Cooperrider, an esteemed alumnus of our master’s program. We should certainly mention our exceptionally high completion rate of our PhD degree program. And finally, we are extremely proud of the role that we and our alumni have played in the historical development of OD. The Benedictine University program began at George Williams College in the 1950s, as referenced in a 1958 book entitled, “The Dynamics of Planned Change”. In 1986, the program moved to Benedictine, as we were reminded by one of our earlier students, Roland Sullivan. It’s an honor to have delivered six accomplished decades of world-class education to the field of organization development. For more information about our master’s program, CLICK THIS LINK. Thank you to Network News and the OD Network for featuring the MS in Management and Organizational Behavior program from Benedictine University.”


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