New online master's degree focuses on organization improvement

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—The Penn State College of Education is partnering with Penn State World Campus in 2014 to offer a new master of professional studies (M.P.S.) in organization development and change (OD&C).

The 33-credit master’s degree program is aimed toward professionals in fields such as talent management, corporate development and performance improvement in government, nonprofit organizations and industry. Classes are planned to start in summer of 2014.

Taking advantage of the world-class delivery system that World Campus offers, the program will include on-demand viewing for classes, interactive online forums with classmates, and courses taught by highly respected faculty members who are experts in their fields.

In addition, World Campus program delivery provides flexibility for individuals who are working full-time as well as access for individuals who are living throughout the world.

Organization development is about improving how people work together effectively to achieve desired results.

According to William Rothwell, professor of education and lead faculty of the program, individuals with a skill set in organization development are more qualified at dealing with human implications of change.

“Students should be interested in organization development because the world is changing faster and faster,” said Rothwell. “Some business leaders say that the key skill for business leaders in the future is the ability to manage change. This program gives students the way to do that.”

The program will have an international focus, ensuring that students are exposed to global issues and the way change is occurring around the world.

The program will also emphasize the importance of technology in facilitating change.

“Companies want people to be able to work together virtually in teams across the globe,” said Wesley Donahue, associate professor and program coordinator. “This program will help people gain these skills.”

Courses offered will help students improve the vital skill sets necessary to succeed as an OD&C specialist, including diagnosing and evaluating needs, effectively communicating with others, engaging people during consultations, project management and more.

Students in the OD&C program will also have the opportunity to build portfolios and showcase their work samples with prospective employers.

“Organizations need to be innovative to survive. They need to be looking ahead,” said Donahue. “How do they do that? Someone needs to facilitate that process, or it is not going to happen. A person with OD&C skills and competencies will be able to help facilitate initiatives to maximize organizational effectiveness or perhaps initiatives that lead to the next big idea.”

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Last Updated February 06, 2014