Signature Programs - Center for Organizational Leadership Skip to main content


Founded in 1993, the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership is a national leader and resource for Rutgers University and the higher education community. As a hub for academic leadership development, consultation, and research, our programs and services aim to improve individual and collective leadership capacity, enhance organizational effectiveness, support university strategy, and cultivate a culture of leadership development across the institution. The Center provides a portfolio of offerings for current and aspiring leaders with academic responsibilities seeking to develop and enhance their leadership, communication, and organizational competencies and effectiveness.

The Center reports to the Senior Vice President for University Strategy, with the support and collaboration of the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.


To advance Rutgers and higher education nationally through the study and practice of academic leadership, the enhancement of organizational effectiveness, and the preparation of higher education leaders.


Retreat Design, Planning, and Implementation

OL provides assistance with the design, planning, and implementation of senior-level retreats for deans, directors, chairs, and other senior administrators. Recent projects include the following:

  • RBHS Senior Leadership Team
  • RBHS Clinical Chairs and RWJBarnabas
  • Rutgers University Libraries Cabinet
  • Rutgers Global Health Institute
  • Rutgers Gardens

Strategic Planning and Project Planning

We offer a modular approach to strategic planning and project planning that allows units and departments to systematically clarify their mission, vision, and values, and establish measurable goals and action plans. We have assisted over 100 academic and administrative units in their planning efforts, including recent work with the following areas:

  • Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
  • Rutgers Global
  • School of Graduate Studies
  • Department of Landscape Architecture
  • Innovation Ventures
  • Division of Continuing Studies-Media Services
  • Rutgers-Camden Division of Student Academic Success
  • Addiction and Opioid Abuse Task Force
  • Institute for Health, Health Policy, and Aging Research
  • Rutgers Global Health Institute

Organizational Assessment

Our organizational assessment efforts engage faculty and staff in the evaluation of the work of their organization and in the identification of strengths and priorities for improvement. Using the Excellence in Higher Education framework—a Baldrige-informed model for organizational excellence—we have facilitated customized workshops for over 100 academic and administrative units, including recent work with the following units:

  • Physician Assistant Program
  • Rutgers University Libraries
  • Rutgers School of Health Professions
  • Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy
  • Division of Student Affairs-New Brunswick
  • Department of Clinical Laboratory and Medical Imaging Sciences
  • World Trade Center Health Program-Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute
  • Rutgers-Camden Academic and Administrative Leadership Team

Global Leadership and Outreach

In collaboration with the Office of the President and Rutgers Global, OL led in the design, coordination, and delivery of two residential leadership development programs with nearly 40 cabinet- and senior director-level government officials from the Republic of Botswana. Our leadership development programming was organized around an overarching Leadership in the Public Sector framework developed specifically for the program.

Topics in Academic Leadership

Topics in Academic Leadership seminars focus on cross-cutting leadership issues relevant for current administrators and faculty, staff, and graduate students interested in academic leadership. These seminars, featuring university and national higher education leaders, provide a forum for discussing leadership issues and challenges, addressing theoretical and practical problems of academic leadership, and sharing effective practices across disciplines and programs. Participation in the seminars is offered to individuals participating in OL leadership programs and others on a space available basis.

Rutgers Leadership Academy (RLA)

RLA is a one-year academic leadership certificate program designed for mid-career faculty and staff with an interest in learning more about the core concepts, competencies, and tools associated with leadership in higher education. The RLA has been designed to parallel the Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Development Program, and has been recognized nationally as a leading program. As part of the program, participants assume a leadership role in developing a project proposal to advance their unit or the campus/university as a whole. Upon completion of the program, alumni have future opportunities for networking, participation, and professional development in the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership Alumni Network. Nearly 75 faculty and staff participants representing over 60 departments and units from New Brunswick, Newark, Camden, and RBHS have participated in the program since its inception in 2015.

Academic Leadership Program-RBHS (ALP-RBHS)

Developed in collaboration with RBHS senior leaders, ALP-RBHS provides a venue for faculty administrators (e.g., chairs, program directors, assistant deans) to examine and further develop their leadership, management, and organizational competencies with attention to current biomedical and health sciences challenges and opportunities at the national and state level, and within Rutgers and RBHS. As a part of the program, participants assume a leadership role in developing an interdisciplinary/interdepartmental project proposal to advance RBHS, with opportunities for seed funding for select projects provided by the RBHS Office of the Chancellor. Upon completion of the program, alumni have future opportunities for networking, participation, and professional development in the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership Alumni Network. Nearly 40 faculty administrators representing all eight RBHS schools have participated in the program since the program’s inception in 2018.

Academic Leadership Program-New Brunswick (ALP-NB)

In collaboration with the Rutgers-New Brunswick Office of the Provost, plans are underway for a reinstated leadership development program for academic administrators (e.g., deans, department chairs, associate deans, and other academic administrators) in New Brunswick. Components of the program will include the following:

  • Orientation program for new department chairs
  • Breakfast networking seminars and discussion forums
  • Collaborative workshops on select leadership topics

PreDoctoral Leadership Development Academy (PLDA)

This one-year program is designed to provide selected doctoral student fellows from disciplines throughout the university with an introduction to current practices and challenges in higher education, and opportunities for developing the organizational, analytic, communication, and personal competencies recognized as critical to effective leadership across multiple organizational settings. Since the program’s inception in 2010, nearly 135 doctoral students representing over 50 academic departments have participated in the program.

Distinction in Leadership in Academic Healthcare (DILAH)

In collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, DILAH provides medical students with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their approaches to leadership and communication, and to reflect on ways of collaborating effectively with colleagues and patients in an academic health center. Since the program’s inception in 2017, nearly 50 students have participated in the program, several of whom completed all requirements to receive the formal distinction designation upon graduation.

Research and Professional Engagement

As an active research center, researchers from OL have published nearly 20 books and 50 journal articles in the areas of leadership, communication, crisis, and training and development in higher education. Recent book projects include the following:

Recent peer-reviewed articles have been published in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, International Journal of Business Communication, Journal of Leadership Education, and Atlantic Journal of Communication, along with numerous book chapters and international encyclopedia contributions.

Members of the OL team are also actively involved in numerous professional organizations, and the work of the Center has been presented at recent meetings of the International Leadership Association, International Communication Association, National Communication Association, and Network for Change and Continuous Innovation.

Executive and External Coaching and Consultation

As a hub for leadership development activities at Rutgers, we regularly coach and consult with individual leaders and departments engaged in leadership education program planning and design. Building on our research and applied work in this area, we assist units and departments in building robust, theory-informed approaches to leadership development and effective communication practice for multiple audiences.

Additionally, OL offers the administration, interpretation, and use of assessment tool results for individual leaders and groups and customized facilitation based on the needs and goals of the unit or department.

As time permits, we also provide advice and consultative services to external universities and associations in ways that align with the mission of the Center and the University, including recent work with the following organizations:

  • University of California
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Iowa
  • Northwestern University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Villanova University
  • Misericordia University
  • Radiological Society of North America
  • University Professional and Continuing Education Association
  • Baldrige Performance Excellence Program

Awards and Recognition

The work of the Center has received institutional and national recognition, including the following awards and highlights:

  • Sue DeWine Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, National Communication Association
  • Inaugural Winner, Baldrige Foundation Outstanding National Leadership Award in Education
  • Training and Development Rising Star Award, National Communication Association
  • Dean’s Citation Award, Rutgers School of Health Professions