Organizational Development for Academics

Programming and Services for the Academic Community

The Division of Human Resources supports Cornell's academics with courses that examine interactions with staff, students, faculty, and other professionals; increase awareness of policy and legal issues, and foster professional and leadership skills.

Register for the programs below at CULearn.

Effective Interactions in Organizations (EIO): For Department Chairs

Overview: This 3-day professional development program will allow new and continuing chairs to focus on the interactions they have with staff, students, academic professionals, faculty and a variety of other individuals in their role as chair. Cases brought to life by Cornell Interactive Theater Ensemble, set the stage for discussion of a variety of issues where law and policy may be the backdrop but the challenges are to create a climate of inclusion and respect. Appropriate responses to legal and policy issues as well as responses to issues of academic and workplace climate, diversity, inclusion, and individual performance and the emotions those situations surface.

  • Schedule: Twice per year (June and December)
  • Location: TBD on campus
  • Registration: Capped at 20

Program Goals:

  • Ensure department chairs understand the expectations of formal leadership positions in their departments, whether it is in the classroom, laboratory, research project, or other department, college or university sponsored initiative.
  • Provide chairs with practical information about law that applies to situations they are likely to encounter.
  • Optimize effective interactions with staff, students and faculty by providing concrete tools to work through challenging situations. 
  • Explore a framework for behavior feedback that recognizes and addresses the key role of emotions and the need to address individual/institutional concerns.
  • Practice using the framework, with cases similar to situations participants might encounter, and the emotional reality that professional actors bring to the antagonist role.

Chairs will gain:

  • An understanding of the expectations Cornell has for members of the academic community.
  • Self-awareness which allows them to understand how they translate intentions into behavior. They will also learn how to modify their behavior to have a positive effect on the students, faculty colleagues, and academic and administrative staff who are part of this academic community, and the larger constituencies that the Chair serves.
  • An understanding of specific behaviors associated with successful leadership in the academic environment.
  • Specific tools and practices that can be applied to a variety of situations.
  • An awareness of the resources available to help the Chair succeed in the multi-faceted role.
  • A community of practice in which scholars explore and discuss best practices in leadership, scholarship and pedagogy, share their own experiences of these things and are enriched be the experiences of their colleagues.

Conflict Resolution Skills for Faculty at Large (EIO series)

Develop your conflict resolution skills through our one-day workshop on January 22, 2018.

Program Overview: Faculty members going about the business of teaching, research, and outreach typically understand what brings about conflict in their role as program/laboratory directors, principal investigators, committee chairs and know that it important to achieve a resolution.  However, it is often challenging for academics to address conflict and simultaneously maintain productive relationships and an inclusive climate.

The program works together with the Cornell Interactive Theater Ensemble to enact common conflicts such as: difficulties with a graduate student or post doc, conflict among a teaching team, lab group or program, performance issues with subordinates, different expectations across a research collaboration, and conflicts with a more senior or more influential faculty member.  These performances serve to spark discussion and skill development for academics.

Program Goals:

  • Explore an approach to conflict resolution that recognizes and addresses both individual and institutional needs.
  • Practice using the approach with cases similar in situation and degree of emotion, which you might encounter.
  • Become acquainted with university resources available to help you address conflict.

Program Details:

Duration: Full day session (8.30 am to 4.30 pm) 

Schedule: twice per year

Location: varies, central campus

Seats available: Capped at 20 persons

Registration:  Contact Pam Strausser at, phone 607 254 1525. 

Cornell Faculty Leadership Program

Overview:  Originally developed for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2005, this program for academics is now sponsored by the VP of Human Resources for all Cornell faculty. The Cornell Faculty Leadership Program offers participants an opportunity to gain professional and leadership skills, reflect on career and personal goals, and connect with colleagues. Case-based and experiential learning help faculty shape their future by enhancing self-awareness about personal style and impact in the unique and inclusive academic environment. Participants will apply their experience and knowledge to situations consistent with challenges in academic institutions today. A colleague feedback process begins during the program and continues after the immersion with a formal 360 degree feedback process followed by three personal coaching sessions to review the data and integrate it with each individual’s personal development plan. Coaching sessions can be arranged in person in Ithaca, via Skype or phone.

  • Audience:  Faculty, and senior-level academic professionals
  • Schedule: Twice per year (January and June)
  • Location: TBD
  • Cost: Internal to Cornell – $600 External to Cornell -  $1,600


  • Define and analyze the role of leadership in higher education
  • Determine the traits, competencies, capabilities, and skills needed to perform the role successfully
  • Examine and practice techniques and tools for understanding oneself and others, setting direction, communicating with individuals and groups, building teams, appraising and coaching performance, resolving conflict, and leading change.
  • Provide faculty an opportunity, away from day-to-day responsibilities, to reflect on themselves, the diverse challenges they face, and to share practices and techniques for addressing those challenges.


  • Enhanced self-awareness about personal style and impact.
  • Enhanced interpersonal communication skills for increasing personal influence, giving and receiving feedback, and resolving conflict.
  • Greater team effectiveness through understanding how to build strong, cohesive teams that work well together.
  • Understanding the dynamics of change at an organizational level: how to design it, embrace it, and guide it effectively.
  • Increased awareness of alternatives available to participants, and to resources within Cornell.
  • Increased effectiveness in responding to the needs/expectations of colleagues and administrators.

Management Institute for Academic Professionals (FACDEV400)

Sponsored by the VP of Human Resources and Cornell University Libraries, this certificate bearing program is designed for Academic Professionals who periodically lead projects, labs,  initiatives, or classes and formally or informally direct the activities of staff, students or volunteers. The focus is on development of intentional behaviors that foster respectful and inclusive human dynamics in the academic context through discussion and case analysis. The Institute is organized as an intensive immersion after the end of classes in the fall term.  Certificates are awarded at program completion.

  • Audience: Academic Professionals (Research and Extension Associates, Lecturers, Instructors, Scientists and Scholars, Librarians and Archivists)
  • Schedule: December 18th, 19th, & 20th, 2017, 8:30-4:30 each day
  • Location: 100 Mann Library
  •  Cost: $100 

Registration is capped at  20.

Post Doctoral Leadership Program

Post Doctoral Leadership ProgramLeadership involves effectively engaging people to work together to achieve organizational, political or social goals. Skill in this arena is a critical factor in organizational and career success. Every postdoc, no matter what field of endeavor, will face a variety of complex leadership challenges. How these challenges are met will have a significant impact on the postdoc’s career and life. 

Cosponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Studies and the VP of Human Resources, this 10-session program uses lecture, discussion, simulations and cases to introduce postdocs to key concepts and skills of leadership in today’s complex environment. It provides a practical forum to assess and develop personal leadership skills in self-knowledge, individual and group dynamics, power, the importance of organization structure and context and the role of communication in conflict resolution, team function and change.

Contact: Christine Holmes, Director Post Doctoral Studies

Schedule: September through April

Issue-Specific Services

In addition to formal programming for academic professionals, faculty and chairs, coaching and consultation is available on the following topics:

  • Department climate assessment and consultation on climate improvement 
  • Conflict management
  • Cultural fluency and inclusion dynamics
  • Team development & optimization (teams that include faculty, academic and non- academic staff, post-doctoral staff, and students)  
  • Change management
  • Strategic planning
  • Working with committees (structure, charge, process) Individual coaching
  • Developmental 360 assessments
  • Human dynamics in research collaborations
  • Influencing across different power structures
  • Process consulting/retreat design and facilitation
  • Managing performance issues

Contact Pam Strausser or Rehana Huq