MOD/MPOD program celebrates 40 years

Posted 8.11.2016

The Master of Science in Positive Organization Development and Change (MPOD) program celebrated 40 years together with over 100 faculty, staff, and alumni July 1-3, 2016.

The MOD/MPOD 40th Anniversary Celebration was a weekend-long recognition of “Our Roots, Our Impact, Our Edge.” Originally the Master of Science in Organization Development (MOD), the program enrolled its first cohort in 1975.

In one of the highlights of the weekend, Eric H. Neilsen, the program founder, accepted an award on behalf of the Organizational Behavior department and MPOD program honoring the legacy of the program in the field of organization development. Neilsen describes the unique perspective Weatherhead’s MPOD program gives to the field through these six lenses:

  1. Thinking of organizations as person-centered and nested systems
  2. Combining organizational strategy and people relationships
  3. Centering on the practitioner-consultant as an instrument of change
  4. Strengthening the system through collaboration
  5. Integrating theory and practice
  6. Risk-taking and transforming through a capstone adventure

With these lenses in mind, the weekend long celebration-turned organization development conference included a keynote address from James K. Stoller, MD and MPOD Class of 2001, as well as more than a dozen other sessions with alumni who shared the transformation and impact of their professional experiences as inspired by Weatherhead’s particular outlook on organization development.

“The MOD experience was among the most impactful learning experiences I have ever had,” Stoller says. “It had a profound impact on my practice of medicine, on the way I see my organization and the clarity with which I see my alignment with the Cleveland Clinic; finally, my MOD experience profoundly affected my own career development and trajectory. I ascribe my service in my current role as Chairman of the Education Institute at the Cleveland Clinic to be an important net effect of my MOD training.”

Richard Boyatzis joined Corinne Coen and Chris Laszlo by video recording for a Saturday panel of professors from the Organizational Behavior department to discuss the program's cutting edge focus. The panel was moderated by Loretta Randolph, MOD 6.

A Saturday evening reception celebrating the legacy of the program engaged the full alumni audience along with key program representatives, including Neilsen, Diana Bilimoria (chair of the Organizational Behavior department and moderator for the conversation), Harlow Cohen (program director), Ron Fry, and Bonnie Richley.

The weekend concluded with a presentation of the new MOD/MPOD Alumni Community, an open space discussion on topics introduced by OD practitioners themselves, and a farewell from the anniversary celebration hosts: Martha Janssen (MPOD 11), Joe Kane (MPOD 1), Patricia Leonardi Petty (MPOD 10 and associate director), Loretta Randolph (MOD 6), Sarah Spengler (MOD 6), and Argerie Vasilakes (MPOD 5).

"As the faculty director of the MPOD program for 10 years, it was exciting to see graduates of this program coming together to celebrate our common vision and challenge each other to continue leading in the field of organization development and change management," said Harlow Cohen. "These alumni and their contributions to the OD field are the hallmarks of this program's success."

Alumni are already looking forward to the OD Network event October 7-10 in which our own David Cooperrider will serve as the keynote. Look for more information about the MPOD program’s plans for this event on our website.

Mod/mpod 40th anniversary event photo
Mod/mpod 40th anniversary event photo
Mod/mpod 40th anniversary event photo
Mod/mpod 40th anniversary event photo
Mod/mpod 40th anniversary event photo

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