Current and Recent Change Management Initiatives


The Office of Change Management facilitates change initiatives at Northwestern University. These projects engage stakeholders at the University across schools, offices, departments, and campuses. The projects evolve in stages of planning and implementation. The following list represents a sampling of recent and current projects engaged by the Office of Change Management. 

NorthWEstern WILL Strategic Plan Implementation

The implementation phase of the Strategic Plan supports leadership efforts throughout the University to actively engage in, and be accountable for, successfully addressing the NorthWEstern Will strategic priorities. This phase also includes highlighting these achievements annually in progress reports shared with the University community.

Stewardship of Endowment Funds and Tracking Attendant Fund Balances – Phase I

The project reviewed the current processes for stewardship of endowment funds and tracking attendant fund balances, and their linkage to the use of these funds by departments and schools. It addressed where source documents are retained and assesses how the University researches and problem-solves questions of appropriate fund usage.

Process Review: Restricted Endowed and Expendable Funds – Phase II

This is a cross-departmental initiative among central units focused on fundraising and schools/units responsible for managing spending to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of major restricted gift fund management. Comprehensive process maps documenting the lifecycles of restricted endowed and expendable funds—from gift cultivation through stewardship—were developed following discussions with staff in central units and schools/units.  The initiative focused on process improvements, role clarification, and system needs.

Transition Programs for Undergraduate Students

The Transition Programs project seeks to create a University-wide strategy to providing support for an increasingly diverse undergraduate student body, including low-income, first generation, and international students. This collaboration among academic, administrative, and student affairs leaders addresses a coordinated and comprehensive approach to providing co-curricular and curricular support and extends from the orientation and onboarding of entering freshmen through the successful conclusion of the undergraduate experience.

Travel Services Strategic Assessment

This initiative examines Northwestern’s current model for providing travel services and support for faculty and staff and recommends an overall strategy for Travel Services that will best serve the University and its priorities going forward. It addresses the current strengths and gaps of the Office of Travel Services and identifies opportunities for enhancement with respect to the overall strategy, communications, and service offerings.

Undergraduate Advising Initiative

The initiative comprises support for the implementation of an advising system across undergraduate schools and units that advise undergraduate students as well as the facilitation of longer-term objectives related to the undergraduate advising experience. The work is a collaborative effort across schools and units that deliver and support advising and seeks to address changes that the Undergraduate Academic Experience Task Force recommended to enhance advising for students, including the coordination of adviser interactions and greater transparency for students, and an overall increase in advising resources.

Communication and Engagement Initiative for Facilities Management Systems Implementation

Facilities Management and Northwestern IT are launching a new integrated work management software, which will provide data-driven solutions to complex facilities work and improve service delivery.  This change impacts a broad cross-section of systems users in schools and units across the University.  A communication and engagement plan was developed to thoughtfully prepare the impacted stakeholders throughout the multi-phase adoption process. The initiative also focused on the selection of external consultants to partner on the project management and change management components of this work.

Graduate Student Professional Development Support Structure Initiative

This initiative of the Graduate School assessed professional development support and resources for doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows across the University and recommended a coordinated approach to enhance support and prepare them for successful employment outcomes. Careful thought was given to designing a strategy and structure for professional development services that is flexible and adaptable to individual student needs and utilizes the expertise of faculty and staff across the University.

Budget Office Engagement Initiative

The Office of Budget and Planning initiative reviewed the Office’s interactions with academic and administrative units in terms of service delivery, engagement, and determining the Office’s optimal balance between providing consultative support and budget oversight. The project sought to improve engagement with schools in order to empower school and administrative units and shift more fully towards a consultative role. The initiative also focused on fostering a common understanding of the office’s role and developing a framework regarding openness, process, and internal office roles.