As Charlotte hurtles through rapid change, Queens University will begin training students how to lead the way.
This fall, the university's McColl School of Business will add graduate-level programs in organizational development and change-leadership coaching. Both hope to prepare students for leading advances in their professional arenas.
Will Sparks, director of the new graduate program, says interest in organizational development is growing, largely due to hard economic times and disruptive change.
“When we're in a downturn, folks start thinking, ‘What do I need to do to stand out and ensure job stability?'” he said. “They look to graduate programs as a way of solidifying their state in the new economy.”
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Organizational development is the McColl school's first new graduate program in more than 15 years. It offers a 36-credit hour program that will teach students how to design and lead organizational change. Students will take a range of courses – from the nature of organizations to the psychology of change. The curriculum is designed for all sorts of undergraduate backgrounds.
Sparks likened the job of an organizational development leader to a physician. The doctor looks at you, assesses what's wrong and prescribes a treatment. So does an organizational change leader.
“Only the organization's problems will be things like low morale, high turnover and lack of creativity,” he said. “The program will teach graduate students how to treat those symptoms.”
UNC Charlotte offers a similar doctoral program – also designed to teach participants to lead organization change, said Tom Reynolds, dean of UNCC's graduate schools.
Students interested in learning how to coach for change but who do not want to enroll in Queens' master's program, can pursue a coaching certificate. It teaches similar themes and is open to students with bachelor's or graduate degrees. The courses can also count toward the master's in organizational development.
There are no specific major or coursework requirements for the program, but preference will be given to those in the field of human resources, organization development, management consulting and leadership development.