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Best Practices Forum

We value showcasing practices that have a positive impact on the organization and its people. Each year we host the Best Practices Forum to highlight how change has happened across administrative and academic units. Staff across Northwestern share learnings from a range of successful initiatives and make connections with colleagues across our three campuses. This unique event features session content ranging from transferable work practices to inspirational and innovative initiatives that highlight Northwestern’s excellence in its many forms.

Goals of the Forum

  • Enhance visibility and awareness of University priorities, values, and goals to make clear linkages between staff roles and the University’s mission.
  • Provide professional development that builds staff capacity to lead change and that focuses on translating learning to action.
  • Create space for community, connection, and networking. Provide positive energy, excitement, and pride in working at Northwestern.
  • Recognize and express gratitude to staff for their work and contributions to the University’s mission and strategic priorities.

Staff with responsibilities for planning and implementing strategic priorities for their school/unit are invited to attend the Forum. Each year, staff are invited to submit a proposal that showcases an initiative or practice that highlights excellence in one of its many forms and advances learning for staff leaders. All proposal submissions are reviewed by the Office of Organizational Strategy and Change and its Advisory Group.

Proposals should fit into one of three broad categories:

Operational Excellence

  • Processes, tools, or resources that have improved everyday work, removed roadblocks, enabled better use of staff time, and resulted in better data, enhanced knowledge, skills, or ways of operating. Presentations in this category should focus on describing a tool, process, or resource that has applicability to others’ work at Northwestern.

Change and Innovation

  • Complex initiatives that highlight how to make changes, innovate, and navigate institutional barriers and opportunities. These may include collaborations, cross-unit improvements to key systems or processes, clarifying roles and structures, or bringing about broad cultural change. Presentations in this category should focus on telling a story with clear takeaways that can be applied to other situations across Northwestern.

Inspirational Northwestern

  • New initiatives or practices that highlight what Northwestern can accomplish when we collaborate to function at our best. Presentations in this category should focus on exciting or emerging practices or stimulating topics that showcase our ingenuity, intellectual and research strengths, reflect our aspirations, and remind us all why Northwestern continues to grow and succeed.