Current and Recent Change Management Initiatives


The Office of Change Management facilitates change initiatives at Northwestern University that promote and support the University’s top priorities. The Office is a resource that advances a culture of change and improvement through project work that encompasses a spectrum from incremental to transformative organizational change. Our vision is to create and sustain an environment of impactful change and strategic action across the University. The following list represents a sampling of recent and current projects engaged by the Office of Change Management.

University Budget Planning and Related Processes

This initiative focused on developing a new approach for the University’s budgeting and planning processes. A revised set of resource planning processes were developed that would ensure resource investments are guided by institutional priorities. The new processes, with both operating and capital budget components, were implemented during fiscal year 2017-18, with stakeholder engagement and communication plan execution. Community feedback about the new processes will be gathered, and further assessment and refinement will be completed as needed.

Faculty Hiring Planning Process

An outgrowth of the larger planning study described above, this project examines existing funding and planning practices for faculty recruitment and retention. The faculty hiring planning process is being revised to better align school/unit hiring planning and central approval, with the University resource planning process. Additional outcomes include clarification of roles and responsibilities and more transparent and systematic processes.

Faculty Wellness

Begun in 2016, in partnership with the Office of the Provost and Human Resources, this initiative aims to develop a holistic, proactive faculty-centered wellness approach using benchmarking of peer institutions and broad engagement of faculty, faculty administrators and staff within Northwestern. Change Management is providing guidance to define program parameters, develop new policies and procedures, and embed structural supports for the program that will create greater alignment among central, school and departmental units. The new team framework will detect, mitigate and resolve wellness issues while enabling faculty to thrive personally and professionally.

Veteran Support Strategic Coordination

In this initiative, the Office of Change Management partnered with the Office of the Provost, Student Affairs, and the School of Professional Studies to better understand the needs of military-connected populations at Northwestern, identify gaps in veteran services and programming, and make recommendations for how Northwestern can better support, serve, and attract veteran students, staff, and faculty and enhance connections with alumni veterans. Assessment included a survey, focus groups, faculty/staff interviews, and peer institution benchmarking, with a representative committee and workgroups to provide overall guidance throughout the initiative.

University Strategy for the Undergraduate Student Lifecycle

This initiative aims to develop and implement a comprehensive vision, University-wide strategy, and holistic framework to ensure that all students have equitable opportunity to excel at Northwestern. The project focuses specifically on the University’s growing population of first-generation, low income, and underrepresented minority students and the supports provided across the student lifecycle from pre-enrollment to post-graduation. To address a broader set of needs beyond first-year transition for Northwestern students, this multi-phase project, initiated in late 2017, engages a broad set of stakeholder groups to inform and to address current gaps

Provost Advisory Council on Women Faculty – Qualitative Research

Change Management partnered with a committee of the Advisory Council on Women Faculty to facilitate collection of qualitative research in support of the Council’s aim to foster gender equity and career success among women faculty. Working with the Pipeline Advancement Committee, Change Management helped to design and execute faculty focus groups and interviews with faculty administrators, with the aim to better understand women’s experiences and to review the pathway of advancement from hire to tenure, and to full professor.

Undergraduate Residential Experience Committee (UREC)

Change Management has provided advisory guidance to members of the UREC and the working group tasked with translating findings and recommendations regarding the optimal undergraduate residential experience into changes in the student residential experience. The Office assisted in the development of a community engagement plan and is advising on an implementation planning process.

Undergraduate Advising Initiative

In 2016, the faculty Undergraduate Academic Experience Task Force recommended the implementation of an advising system to assist in the coordination of advising interactions between students and their numerous advisers. The aim of the recommendation was to address challenges undergraduate students reported with advising, which is the purview of the undergraduate schools, each of which has its own structure and practices shaping the student-adviser relationship. Building on the Task Force recommendation, a cross-departmental/school initiative commenced in 2016 to implement a shared advising platform system called AdviseStream. The system has enabled the coordination of adviser interactions, provided greater transparency for students, and enhanced advising interactions.

Travel Services Strategic Assessment

Change Management partnered with the Travel Services office to make recommendations for and support the implementation of enhanced strategy, tools, and communications for University travel. As part of the engagement, OCM initiated stronger coordination among key central units providing travel services and support, including communications planning and service enhancements. It also created a streamlined Travel Services website to facilitate travel booking and increase awareness about Northwestern’s travel program and its benefits.