Rutgers OL was created in 1993 to address a number of contemporary challenges facing higher education nationally, in New Jersey, and on our own campuses. The program was designed to serve the needs of the Rutgers community in its instructional, research and service goals by providing a coordinated, university-wide center for the development, study, application, and evaluation of organizational quality and communication frameworks, principles, and practices. The program was further designed to provide knowledge and assistance to units in the conduct of self-assessment and to support units in the improvement of work and communication processes, and the creation of a more service-oriented environment.
Many of the basic concepts of the Rutgers OL model were derived from the experiences of peer institutions as well as the extensive knowledge on organizational effectiveness generated over the past three decades by private-sector organizations. Other concepts now inherent in the program evolved over time and are specific to Rutgers and its teaching, research, and public service mission.
The Center has also achieved visibility at the national and state levels. It is particularly recognized for its leadership in organizational self-assessment, the adaptation of organizational quality and communication concepts and practices for colleges and universities, and more generally for publications, outreach, and program design on organizational quality and communication improvement in higher education.
The Service Excellence program specifically examined roles played by leaders and front-line staff in addressing the multiple perspectives on excellence and in promoting a collegial, service-oriented, responsive environment. The core of the program was a one-day “The Face of Rutgers” workshop for staff members at all levels, particularly those who have the most direct contact with students, visitors, and faculty and staff from other departments.
The program also included a Feedback System workshop, which assisted units in developing methods for gathering and utilizing information on expectations and satisfaction levels from key constituency groups. Service Excellence publications and a video entitled, A Higher Education were developed for use at Rutgers and other colleges and universities.
The Service Excellence Program, like others, was developed and piloted by OL and has since been incorporated into the university’s Learning and Professional Development department.
Newark Campus Improvement Initiative
The initiative at Rutgers-Newark, which was campus-wide and Provost-sponsored, had its beginnings in late 1993. The goal was to heighten awareness and skills in the area of service orientation, and to increase interdepartmental collaboration.
In Newark, the program took a comprehensive approach-one that included every staff member and every process within the jurisdiction of the Provost. The plan aimed at tapping the strengths of the Newark Campus and its service providers on all levels and across administrative and academic units to create a more service-oriented environment, improve communication and work processes, and increase job satisfaction. The following activities/programs served to support Newark in the pursuit of those service excellence goals:
a. Excellence in Higher Education unit self-assessment, priority setting, and improvement planning for administrative and academic leadership.
b. Organizational quality and service excellence seminars for campus service unit leadership.
c. Service Excellence Leadership and “Face of Rutgers” workshops for all campus service and academic unit staff and leadership.
d. Intra-unit and cross-unit follow-up workshops to educate and facilitate unit self-assessment and/or improvement initiatives and to foster coordination of campus-wide improvement of work processes and communication.
e. All-staff campus-wide events designed to heighten a sense of community and recognize the
importance of all staff in the attainment of service excellence values and practices.
Camden Campus Improvement Initiative
Service Excellence efforts on the Camden campus began during academic year 1993-94 with initiatives centered in the Office of Student Life (Student Development, the Bookstore, Dining Services, the Student Center, Residential Life, Career Placement and Planning, and Student Activities).
In Camden, the effort to make Rutgers run more efficiently and to provide better service had until that point been more a matter of developing campus-specific projects than one of wholesale adoption of the service excellence philosophy and initiatives with university reach. Three major university-wide OL initiatives were successfully implemented: the New Faculty Welcome Program, the Staff Welcome Program, and the Facilities Total Quality Service Program. Early service enhancements also included:
Students once waited in long lines each semester to purchase books from the campus bookstore. For three weeks at the beginning of each semester, a self-service book operation with up to six cashiers was put into operation, reducing lines by 80%.
Student Advisory Panels
The Office of Student Life established advisory panels comprised of interested students who provided feedback on important issues concerning campus services.
Through collaboration among students, staff, Dining Services and the Bookstore, the Cyber Cafe was born. The cafe served coffee, cold beverages and snacks to students while “cyber attendants” helped students familiarize themselves with computers in an informal setting.
In 1994 OL took a national leadership role in higher education quality assessment through the development and publication of the Excellence in Higher Education (EHE) organizational self-assessment system (originally called the Tradition of Excellence). The self-assessment system adapted the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award program to the language and culture of higher education. Organizations that completed an EHE assessment developed a useful inventory of achievements and areas for improvement, clear priorities for enhancement, and action plans for implementing those improvements. The EHE approach also provided a methodology for using the seven dimensions to rate the organizational effectiveness of a university or any of its component units. Participation in the Rutgers Excellence in Higher Education program simultaneously provided an organization with: 1) education into the essential organizational effectiveness concepts; 2) clarification and documentation of the present level of functioning of the organization; 3) strategic plans; and 4) improvement goals and methods. Click here for a list of Rutgers units and other colleges and universities that have used this model.
In March 1994, the New Jersey Business-Higher Education Forum sponsored a “Partnerships for Quality” conference held at Rutgers University. This one-day meeting offered one of the first opportunities for leaders of New Jersey business and academic communities to gather and explore possibilities for establishing partnerships to support organizational quality improvement in higher education. From that event came two partnerships between Rutgers and Johnson & Johnson and one between Rutgers and AT&T. OL managed the programs.
OL/J&J Organizational Quality and Communication Fellowship Program
In 1994 the Rutgers-Johnson and Johnson Quality Institute partnership was formed. The 12-year partnership reinforced organizational improvement efforts at the university, allowed for the exploration of contemporary issues in organizational development and leadership, promoted the integration of leadership principles and tools, and fostered collaboration between the two organizations. Over the course of the partnership, 24 Masters and Ph.D. students from five RU graduate schools, on two campuses benefited from and contributed to this partnership.
Rutgers/J&J Knowledge Networking Partnership
In 1999, Rutgers and Johnson & Johnson Knowledge Networking group created a three-year, renewable graduate associate partnership. The associateships were designed to assist Johnson & Johnson in the advancement of its Knowledge Networking initiatives and to promote student learning and a better understanding of knowledge management in organizations.
The associateships were offered each year to two graduate students interested in pursuing studies in the areas of knowledge networking, organizational communication and communication behavior, and information management. The partnership provided support for a total of 12 graduate students between 1999 and 2005, as well as opportunities for cross-organization sharing, research and support.
Rutgers/AT&T Organizational Quality and Communication Partnership
As part of this partnership, Rutgers and AT&T established three jointly-funded graduate student associateships designed to provide a unique opportunity to combine the traditional graduate experience with the application of theory in an organizational context. The associateships supported academic study and active involvement in the activities of AT&T and the Rutgers Center for Organizational Development and Leadership.
In 1999, the focus of the partnership changed from support for individual graduate associateships to support for the Student Leadership Development Program (SLDI) coordinated by OL. From 1994-1999, the partnership provided support to a total of 13 graduate students.
In response to an expressed need for concise, hands-on publications to assist organizations with their process improvement efforts, OL developed the Process Improvement and Root Cause Analysis instructor guides and workbooks. The publications were expanded and published in 2006 as a component of the Organizational Development DVD Series published by NACUBO.
In early 1998, a university task force consisting of AAUP members, other faculty, Center for Organizational Leadership (OL) Director Brent Ruben and Acting Dean of the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Todd Hunt was formed to explore the formation of an official retired faculty association for the university. Later that year, with the encouragement of the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the university-wide Retired Faculty Association was formed.
In 1999, the university provided seed money to the organization and Professor Hunt was formally named as Director. The association provided information on university services and retirement information, facilitated further contributions by retirees to the life of the university; publicized activities and accomplishments of retired faculty; and communicated on behalf of retired faculty with representatives of the university, government and other groups affecting their welfare.
For the past 15 years, the RFA has served as a bridge between the university and faculty wishing to remain a part of the Rutgers community. In 2010, an event was held to recognize the sustained contributions of the RFA and the personal dedication of Todd Hunt. This same event launched the planning process for an expanded and enhanced relationship between the University and its retiree community. The University Retired Faculty and Staff Association, continues the commitment to sustaining relationships between retired faculty and staff and Rutgers begun in 1998.
For the 1998 Middle States Accreditation (MSA) assessment, Rutgers selected Rutgers OL, (then named QCI, University Program for Organizational Quality and Communication Improvement) as one of four special areas for closer examination by the MSA team. Rutgers received the most positive rating an institution can receive: unconditional accreditation. The report praised Rutgers for its accomplishments overall and for its establishing QCI, and recognized QCI for its noteworthy contributions to the institution.
Leadership for Institutional Change (LINC) was a national leadership development initiative sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Rutgers was one of over 100 colleges and universities exploring ways to enhance leadership capacities within higher education. Efforts at each of these institutions fostered dialogue among faculty and staff interested in leadership development issues. Rutgers, along with nine other invited institutions, formed the Mid-Atlantic Consortium (MAC-LINC), ten institutions with a regional bond and a history of working together on highly collaborative inter-institutional projects. Not defined by geographic placement or institution type, the structure of the consortium encouraged member institutions to stretch beyond the relationships each might have normally developed.
OL served as institutional representative for Rutgers’ participation in this national initiative. Membership in this consortium — and the development funding afforded by our participation — proved to be a very helpful vehicle in our efforts to heighten collaboration across the university. The MAC-LINC consortium received a three-year, $300,000 grant to support organizational change at the member institutions and to share ideas and approaches. Rutgers was awarded grants totaling $49,000. Grant-supported activities included:
“Baldrige Goes to College” Conference
A three-day “Assessing and Promoting Organizational Excellence” conference focused on the Kellogg Foundation goal of supporting leadership development within each institution, and the exchange of information among consortium members to strengthen leadership development efforts at member institutions.
Two separate events, one for Rutgers faculty and staff and one for external participants, provided an opportunity for information sharing with colleagues from UC-Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Missouri–Rolla, and the North Central Regional Accrediting Association. Panelists outlined their experience with Baldrige-based assessment models, including Excellence in Higher Education (EHE), and provided insights on how this kind of assessment was being used in higher education.
Academic and administrative leaders were exposed to and trained in the EHE model for use within their own organizations, and were provided an opportunity to enhance intra-institutional networking and dialogue around common issues and shared goals. The conference was attended by 79 faculty and upper- and mid-level administrators from Rutgers and other MAC-LINC and LINC members.
Rutgers Academic Leadership Program (RUALP)
A survey of current and former chairs and deans identified the need for a forum for sharing information on policies and practices within the institution, addressing theoretical and practical problems of academic leadership, sharing effective practices across disciplines, and creating a collaborative network of administrators and faculty members charged with providing academic leadership for the institution. Based on that survey, the RUALP program was developed to provide an integrated approach to addressing the information and networking needs of deans and department chairs. Administrators and faculty members from 84 disciplines and 10 academic units have participated in these sessions since their inception.
Advancing Community Engagement
The goal of the study was to review community engagement practices and to develop an infrastructure that would clarify, enhance, and advance the public service external leadership mission of the land-grant university. To that end, the research identified current faculty contributions and community engagement leadership characteristics, and outlined mechanisms for strengthening and sustaining community engagement programs. The study was led by Mark Aakus, a faculty member from the School of Communication and Information.
Student Leadership Conferences (2002, 2003)
The conferences brought student leaders and leadership development organizations together to share ideas on how leadership education and practices can be expanded with and between the respective schools and their communities. Several hundred students from MAC-LINC member schools attended these two-day events held at the University of Delaware in 2002 and again in 2003.
Student Leadership Development Program
The creation of the student leadership development program at Rutgers University was based on recognition of the responsibility higher education has to provide the university community and our graduates with the desired leadership competencies critical to their future success.
It served as a university-wide academic program designed to be a national model for the promotion, study and practical application of leadership development, organizational quality, and leadership theory through the use of interdisciplinary courses and experiential instruction.
The program touched all aspects of the academic environment with a goal of bringing these new leadership skills to bear on the work at Rutgers, and in refining those skills in relation to future employer needs, expectations and competencies.
Originally coordinated by OL, the program was incorporated into the School of Communication, and Information in 2002, and formed the basis for the school’s certificate in Organizational and Community Leadership.
Contemporary Issues in Leadership Lecture Series
The Leadership Lecture Series was created as a forum for the discussion of leadership frameworks, perspectives and experiences, and as a way to showcase research and practical application of such a variety of leadership topics: Specifically, to:
- showcase research on current leadership topics and issues
- provide opportunities for best practices sharing and networking
- link the higher education, K-12, business, healthcare, and government communities
These events served as valuable opportunities for faculty, staff, students, and others to expand their personal knowledge and professional development. The sessions also provided forums for faculty, staff and students to come together to listen, share experiences, and interact. (click here for list of lectures.)
The Rutgers lecture series has become a model for The University of Delaware and several other colleges and universities who have established similar programs.
Network for Change and Continuous Innovation (NCCI), Higher Education’s Network for Change Leadership-was founded in 1999 by professionals in quality improvement in higher education and as a spin off from NACUBO. It is a non-profit association, dedicated to improving higher education nationally and internationally through a collaborative professional network for change leadership. OL Executive Director Brent Ruben served as NCCI’s first president.
In their respective institutions across the country (and internationally), members are involved in addressing critical issues by converting policies and ideas into action and results to advance the effectiveness of member institutions. Collectively, NCCI works to advance critical issues at a broader, national level.
Student services offices were showcased in a project to increase interdepartmental collaboration, develop skills in the area of service orientation, and provide a “one-stop-shopping” student services experience. Impetus for the focus came from concerns about a Blumenthal Hall renovation and less than ideal working conditions in the building. In response to employee concerns, focus groups were held with Hall staff and students to identify problems. The information was used to identify key areas of focus/need related to the soon-to-be-opened Student Services Mall within the building. Improvement teams were created in five areas – Student Traffic Management; Mall Grand Opening/Marketing; Inter-department Communication; Service Expectations, and Reward and Recognition. Teams were composed solely of non-director staff, and every employee from every office in Blumenthal Hall (financial aid, business office, registrar, admissions) was engaged on one or more of the teams. The Associate Provost met weekly with directors of those offices to discuss progress. All team recommendations were made directly to the Associate Provost and Provost.
The overwhelming success of this initiative was directly attributable to the Provost’s decision to take a “hands off” approach to the teams’ recommendations, accepting and funding the recommendations, communicating the role of the executive team to work with him to get what was needed done, and celebrating the work of the teams and the successful changes made. Support at all levels guaranteed that Blumenthal would become a model for collaborative service to the campus.
Red Bank Education and Development Initiative (2003)
As part of an ongoing effort to assure the academic success of the children of Red Bank, the Community Characteristics Team of the Red Bank Education and Development Initiative engaged OL to conduct focus groups and administer a survey with parents of children enrolled within the Borough. Of primary interest were parent perceptions, experiences, and needs related to their children’s education, and the recognition and desire that parent input play a significant role in the town’s educational offerings.
Six focus groups were conducted involving a total of 39 parents. To ensure representation of the diversity of the town and to capture the broadest range of responses, groups included African American, Latino, and White parents from the Red Bank school system, and parents of Charter School students – all of whom were known to participate in school events. A brief survey related to community service needs and usage was also completed during the sessions. Data from the surveys were shared with education leaders in the city and served as input into their decision making.
Asbury Park High School (2002)
New Jersey was the first state in the nation to adopt the Baldrige criteria as an alternative to State Department of Education certification. Rutgers OL and Quality New Jersey, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of quality principles and process in education, were involved in assisting schools in K-12 in the use of the Baldrige criteria. A proposal submitted to the NJ Commissioner of Education was approved allowing QNJ, Rutgers, and Hunterdon Central High School (a past recipient of the Governor’s Quality Award) to create a partnership with Asbury Park High that would result in a model approach to quality improvement for urban districts across the state. The Excellence in High Education model was used to facilitate the formal organizational assessment of the school. The Center oversaw the administration and analysis of the OL Organizational Climate Survey for 150+ faculty and administrators. Results served as input into changes focused on improving student achievement, management system capability, and removing barriers to improvements.
A survey of current and former chairs and deans identified the need for a forum for sharing information on policies and practices within the institution, addressing theoretical and practical problems of academic leadership, sharing effective practices across disciplines, and creating a collaborative network of administrators and faculty members charged with providing academic leadership for the institution. Based on that survey, and with funding from the Kellogg MAC-LINC project, the RUALP program was developed.
The Rutgers Academic Leadership Program, is sponsored by the Center for Organizational Leadership (OL), the Graduate School-NB, and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Administrators and faculty members from 84 disciplines and 10 academic units have participated in these sessions since their inception. Click here for Chronicle of Higher Education coverage of the Rutgers Academic Leadership Program and a listing of session topics.
Strategic Planning in Higher Education outlines a comprehensive approach to planning that has proved successful at Rutgers University. The SPHE framework provides a blueprint for planning—a step-by-step approach that guides leaders on strategic thinking; helps them align organizational goals with the mission, vision, and values of the department or program, as well as the larger organization; and offers practical approaches for advancing each planning phase. Case studies and planning exercises allow leaders to facilitate the planning process. The second edition offers lessons the authors have learned since the first edition was published in 2004. Academic Pioneers Article
The Rutgers PreDoctoral Leadership Development Institute (PLDI) annually welcomes a select group of doctoral students from across all disciplines to its two-year certificate program. The PLDI Fellowship program, which comes with a $2000 honorarium, provides an orientation to higher education practices and challenges, and an introduction to an array of leadership concepts and skill-building opportunities. The experience is designed to complement the disciplinary education provided in one’s primary field, and to enhance leadership insights and competencies. Participating program mentors include: President Emeritus, Senior VPs, Deans, Department Chairs and Directors, Campus Deans, and Distinguished Professors. Since its inception, 61 Fellows have participated in the program.
A program, based on the Rutgers’ PLDI has been established by South Florida University. PLDI has also been an influential model for Northwestern University and the University of Missouri.
OL has published numerous articles, book chapters, white papers, and DVD series on a variety of leadership development topics, including
- Assessing the Impact of the Spellings Commission: The Message, the Messenger, and the Dynamics of Change in Higher Education
- NACUBO Organizational Development Series
- Pursuing Excellence
- Snapshots of Academic and Senior Administrator Leadership Programs at Big Ten Academic Alliance Universities
- What Leaders Need to Know and Do: A leadership Competencies Scorecard
For a complete listing, go to Publications and Resources.
The Mission Alignment and Assessment Planning system (MAAP) was designed to document and assess the contributions of the many programs and units that play a role in the Rutgers-New Brunswick undergraduate educational experience mission/goals, and to facilitate and encourage assessment and alignment of outcomes and progress toward those goals.
While MAAP was initially developed in the context of a major reorganization of the undergraduate education schools and functions at Rutgers New Brunswick, the MAAP concept can be employed in virtually any domain within a college or university.
The Network for Change and Continuous Innovation (NCCI) Leveraging Excellence Award, sponsored and supported by Follett Higher Education Group, recognizes best practices that have had broad impact within the higher education community. NCCI selected the Business Higher Education Forum for its initiative to increase the number of U.S. students graduating in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and Rutgers University Center for Organizational Leadership (OL) for the development and national influence of its Excellence in Higher Education (EHE) organizational self-assessment and planning framework.
The Excellence in Higher Education (EHE) model addresses the challenge of meaningfully integrating assessment, planning and improvement efforts in colleges and universities. The program integrates the Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria for assessing organizations with the standards and language developed and used by accrediting agencies.
Over the years OL has hosted a number of international education and government leaders interested in the Center’s mission and its programs, including:
- 1998 – UNISINOS Brazil – Brazilian faculty and administrators visited the New Brunswick campus as part of a tour of quality programs in schools and colleges in the Eastern United States and Canada.
- 1999 – Singapore Ministry of Education – Representatives from the Ministry of Education, Singapore met with OL to discuss the Excellence in Higher Education (EHE) Program, the Baldrige Criteria, and how the university maintains its quality program.
- 2003 – University of Ulster, Northern Ireland – A group of senior administrators and faculty visited the Center as part of their study of OL’s leadership development program. A subsequent partnership to provide leadership development for senior Ulster faculty and administrator was established.
- 2004 – The Conference Board of Canada – The Conference Board of Canada’s Higher Education group—composed of 15-20 senior leaders of many of the top colleges and universities in the country— visited Rutgers to learn about our Center for Organizational Leadership, and more generally about the university’s approach to institutional assessment and improvement.
- 2013 – College of the North Atlantic-Qatar (CNAQ) – In addition to visiting Rutgers to discuss the EHE model with Brent Ruben, the group also visited American University and Marist College, which have implemented EHE in distinctive ways. The Health Sciences Department at CNAQ was the first unit to complete the EHE self-assessment process.
- 2014 – Rutgers-China Higher Education Administrator’s Program – OL provided instruction as partof the partnership with the Dongfang International Center for Educational Exchange in Beijing. The training program for Chinese university administrators is hosted by the Rutgers China Office. The groups of high-ranking administrators, who represent various universities across China, attend lectures at Rutgers on different areas of university administration, such as financial administration, leadership and organizational practices in American higher education, undergraduate and graduate admissions as well as globalization in education. During this program the participants also have the opportunity to visit other elite universities in other US cities.
- 2015 – Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA) Fellow – OL Executive Director,Brent Ruben served as a mentor to a GAIA Fellow from Makerere University in Uganda. Topics of focus included change management, academic leadership, organizational assessment and strategic planning.
The Rutgers Retired Faculty and Staff Association serves as the official university-sponsored retiree organization of Rutgers University. It aims to enhance collaboration, coordination, and consistency among the current various university retiree organizations and to provide a single association that guides the connections between retired faculty and staff and the university. Its primary functions include pre- and post-retirement programing and information sharing about retiree-specific university benefits; programs, and activities; promotion of social and professional interactions; and matching retiree expertise and university volunteer activities. The Rutgers Retired Faculty and Staff Association Center was established by a generous grant from Todd Hunt, former faculty member at the School of Communication and Information.
Rutgers joined the prestigious “Big 10” athletic and academic conference in 2013 and gained membership in the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Our affiliation provides a variety of opportunities for Rutgers faculty and academic administrators, including, but not limited to active engagement with the CIC in areas related to leadership development. Go to CIC activities related to leadership development, or contact: Brent Ruben, who serves as a Rutgers liaison to CIC Programs.
The development of the New Brunswick Campus Strategic Plan followed, and was aligned with, the University’s plan. OL designed the proposal submission process and facilitated the meetings of the Chancellor’s Coordinating Committee charged with reviewing nearly 150 campus proposals and making selection and funding recommendations to the Chancellor.
Excellence in Higher Education Assessment Program (EHE), What Leaders Know and Do, and Strategic Planning in Higher Education: A Leaders’ Guide were translated into Chinese by NACUBO in spring, 2015. The materials are made available by Wuhan Publishing and Media Company, Wuhan, China.
The Rutgers Leadership Academy (RLA) is a two-year program for mid-career faculty and staff within Rutgers-New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences units who aspire to broadened leadership roles within their units, the University and/or higher education, more generally. The Academy focuses on the development of cross-cutting leadership concepts, competencies, and tools to enhance professional capabilities for those in academic, professional and administrative leadership roles.
Built on the foundation of existing OL initiatives, the RLA will draw on the knowledge and skill of Rutgers leaders with input and support from senior campus and university leadership as well as CIC Fellows.
Approximately 94,000 copies of the Excellence in Higher Education Guide and Workbook have been distributed since first published in 1994. Formalized EHE programs have been implemented by approximately 50 Rutgers schools and departments, and approximately 540 other colleges and universities–in academic departments and centers, student affairs, service areas and administrative units, and across entire institutions. Publication of this 8th edition is anticipated in 2016.