W. P. Carey Forward:
Business Education Redefined
Change is the only constant. At W. P. Carey, we’re an incubator not just for the next generation of business leaders, but also for the ideas and prototypes that will transform the future of business itself. And it’s because of who we teach, what we teach, and how we teach.
The (new) future of business is here. We are redefining business education.
- A case for change: Dean Hillman's presentation to faculty and staff, August 2017
- Goals and outcomes
- Task force notes and reports
- Academic transformation
- Space redesigned
- "Don't get too comfortable at that desk," New York Times, Oct. 13, 2017
Organizational Culture Profile survey
In Fall 2017, W. P. Carey employees were invited to participate in an organizational culture survey that was administered by our colleagues at the Haas Business School at the University of California-Berkeley. The Organizational Culture Profile (OCP) survey is a well-validated measurement tool for helping organizations understand not only their current cultural strengths and challenges, but also the desired culture and gaps between the two.
The results are in! The great news is that we are significantly aligned about the desired culture we aspire to achieve; even more promising is the desired culture is not unreachable from our current situation. The areas we collectively wanted to see improvement in are:
- Adaptability and innovation, which speaks directly to our W.P. Carey Forward Initiative
- Ensuring we focus internally on our people
- A more transparent and collaborative culture
- Maintaining a high level of integrity in all that we do
Review the findings of the OCP and learn how we can all work together to ensure a better culture, and be sure the read the notes at the bottom of te slides:
We’re always changing. This and other taskforces launched previously this year and to be launched later this year are indicative of these changes. We are one of the largest schools within the #1 Most Innovative University in the U.S. This change, along with our innovative multi-disciplinary Bachelors of Arts degree concentrations, rapid development and launch of specialized masters, realization of one of the most advanced business education buildings in the nation with McCord Hall, rapid adoption of increased analytics in all our curricula, newly created data team, newly combined career services for both undergraduate and graduate students, and increased attention that will begin on talent development and our service culture, allow us a unique positioning among business schools. You’ll see the tag line “Business Education Redefined” as our overall branding of our ability to innovate and change, which we believe will further differentiate us from other business schools.
The changing nature of business pedagogy and increasing number of practice-oriented teachers necessitates a more professional, targeted approach toward innovation in the classroom. This change represents the unique positioning of our business school as places where innovation occurs, where students learn from those who create new knowledge as well as those who specialize in applying this knowledge to practice and an increased focus on use-inspired research driven by practice.
To improve our focus on students, Professionals in Practice will develop programs to on-board new faculty to teaching, disseminate best practices in teaching and technology, and create development opportunities for all faculty to improve teaching. They will also oversee an expansion of our experiential learning and applied research opportunities (e.g. Honors theses, course projects) and the establishment of a “Solutions Lab” where students participate on client-based challenges.
To gain focus on our goals for every department/school to reach Top Ten status in scholarly research productivity, department chairs/school directors will be able to more singularly focus on developing faculty and doctoral student research and creating an environment conducive for progress to this goal. This will also reduce complexity in managing faculty with very different requirements.
ASU has defied traditional higher education structures within the two other large Schools: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, along with the establishment of new schools. This change, unlike those that eliminated disciplinary departments/schools in favor for thematic organization, embraces the unique nature of business education — that research meets practice and that our students need both knowledge and the ability to apply it to practice in order to learn.
Programs at ASU Polytechnic (including the Morrison School of Agribusiness) and ASU West will function as they are now, with no plans to change the physical infrastructure or staff structure of W. P. Carey operations at these campuses.
Classes offered by the Morrison School of Agribusiness are largely taught by tenure track faculty in the unit. This will continue until needs require additional use of non-tenure track faculty.
We have terrific faculty and staff supporting them in our current academic units. The reorganization will not eliminate jobs, although the jobs may change in terms of reporting lines and physical space. No matter what form of faculty contract you have currently, only poor performance, changes in enrollment, or changes in need for specific course staffing could adversely affect employment with the School.
To achieve our goal — and overcome our current challenges — we need bigger thinking. More importantly, we need better thinking. We have developed a groundbreaking organizational structure that can help us become more efficient and more effective.
In this structure, academic units would remain, but we would balance Scholars — tenure and tenure-track faculty and researchers who lead research expectations and curricular development — and Master Teachers — lecturers, clinical faculty, leaders of practice, and executives in residence. We will elevate the reputation and the presence of our Master Teachers (titles, industries, organizations), develop a center for business education innovation, and foster their engagement with experiential learning programs.
Master Teachers would be co-located, and led by an innovative faculty member tasked with developing faculty on-boarding, monitoring syllabi/content to reflect content domains, working with faculty on student issues and creating teaching advancement sessions, open to all faculty.
Research faculty (tenure-track and tenured) will be hired and evaluated by department chairs/school directors as they are currently.
Professionals in Practice (all others) will be hired, evaluated, and renewal decisions will be made with consultation of department chairs/school directors, the head of Professionals in Practice, and teaching leads by subject matter. The head of Professionals in Practice, with these consultations and those from the dean’s office will be the lead of these matters.
Annual hiring plans will be made by topical area by department chairs/school directors and Head of Professionals in Practice in consultation with the Associate Dean for Faculty and Research.
The Department of Economics serves two large groups of undergraduate students; one is the B.S. in Economics awarded by the W. P. Carey School and the second is the B.A. in Economics awarded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. They also contribute to interdisciplinary degrees in Political Economy with the School of Politics and Global Studies and Environmental Economics with the School of Sustainability in addition to their PhD in Economics. Given these unique circumstances, the positioning of W. P. Carey Forward, where research meets practice, does not apply, nor are their non-tenure-track faculty representative of the large numbers of professionals in our other units. Given this, leadership of the School and Department decided not to include them in the new structure.
We’re going to ask for everyone’s patience as construction occurs, just as we have in the past when offices needed asbestos abatement, new carpet, ceilings, lighting, etc. We’ll temporarily find the best space possible for those displaced and ask those who remain in their offices during construction to help us accommodate those affected.
Research faculty (tenure-track and tenured) will be evaluated by department chairs/school directors in consultation with the Associate Dean for Faculty and Research as they are currently and teaching loads will continue to vary based on research productivity and tenure status.
Professionals in Practice (all others) teaching loads will be based initially on “participating” versus “supporting” classification for AACSB.
“Participating” faculty are a part of the fabric of the school, engaged in service as well as teaching whereas “supporting” faculty focus on teaching only. This designation will be determined at the annual evaluation as described above, by department chairs/school directors and teaching leads by subject matter. “Participating” faculty will have a full-time, nine-month teaching load of 4-4 and “supporting” will have a full-time, nine-month teaching load of 5-5. Deviations from this base load (either up or down) will be made by the Head of the Professionals of Practice in consultation with the department chairs/school directors and Associate Dean for Faculty and Research.
As a part of this change, class scheduling will be done centrally for both undergraduate and graduate (masters) classes under the supervision of the Associate Dean for Academic Programs. Doctoral course scheduling will be done by research department chairs/school directors and put into a “master schedule.” All faculty will be asked for their preferences for courses, days and times and we will use a roll-over schedule (meaning courses taught one year on same days/same times in the next year) as an initial base schedule. Changes from the base schedule will begin with research faculty, staffing all doctoral, then masters’ classes and undergraduate and rely, as now, on the department chair/school director. Professionals of Practice will be scheduled by the teaching lead by subject matter in conjunction with the Head of the Professionals of Practice and department chairs/school directors. Changes from the base schedule will be made first to fill all masters’ classes then undergraduate.
Like today, if there are performance issues with faculty which persist after intervention, faculty directors can recommend faculty not be reassigned to teach in the programs they oversee.
Research colleagues have slowly absorbed a significant shift in the amount of time they have available to focus on advancing scholarly pursuits. This shift happened as the School’s assignment in the New American University context required us to reinvent teaching to address significant enrollment growth, launch new programs (e.g., those associated with the BA degree) and deal with our need to onboard and manage a growing group of non-tenure track colleagues. Most noticeable in time allocated during unit meetings, unit-level resource allocation decision-making effort and aspirations to balance research and non-tenured track career development, this change will enable a more productive research focus strategy and a revitalized research-oriented culture. It will also allow the physical space to continue to grow by accommodating more faculty and doctoral students.
Growth in the number of W. P. Carey’s non-tenured faculty members has created an opportunity to re-design career advancement protocols, performance evaluation metrics to recognize many forms of service and use-inspired research, new hire onboarding processes and many other aspects of the daily work-life of our Professionals in Practice. This change will stimulate faculty-wide sharing of best practices for delivering high quality educational experiences to our growing student body. With rapid changes in educational technology, the advent of learning analytics methods to complement traditional pedagogical research and the excitement and real-life experience afforded through more frequent interaction with business practice, non-tenured faculty have an opportunity to focus on innovations that enable W. P. CAREY to lead the world through a business education redefined focused strategy.
Yes. We need leaders in all areas of faculty who can manage the assimilation of new research and curriculum content throughout our new structure. And we need leaders to manage the assimilation of new teaching and pedagogical innovations throughout that structure. Two areas of strategic focus, fused together by leadership that transcend, with innovation-driven agenda at the heart of each, will result in business education redefined.
We have terrific staff who support our academic units. Once the task force devoted to the establishment of the Professionals in Practice unit and their workspace has completed its work this spring, we’ll ask for academic staff to engage in their own task force to make recommendations about the best structure to support the reorganized faculty.
We believe the future of office space is not what we have today. However, we know many research faculty may want to retain their current four-walled offices co-located with the PhD students and support staff. By fall, 2018 when the Professionals in Practice move into their new space, we will move research faculty from Supply Chain into a new home, most likely in the BAC building.
We also believe that the new space built for the Professionals in Practice may be inspiring for research faculty. If it proves to be so, we will engage in discussions with faculty about developing similar spaces elsewhere.
We’ve asked for the department chairs/school directors to nominate candidates to the task force. Faculty can also self-nominate. After the deadline for nominations, the task force will be created in collaboration with the dean, associate deans and department chairs/school directors. The taskforce will be facilitated and led by Mike Goul, associate dean for faculty and research.
This group will first establish a job description for the leader of the unit. We expect both an internal and national search will commence by late fall, 2017. They will also consider whether “Professionals in Practice” is the ongoing moniker for these faculty, work with department chairs/school directors to establish the roles for discipline specific teaching lead(s) who will be the chief liaison with the research units. They will make recommendations on matrix structure to retain strong discipline identification and rich connections with the research units, priorities for teaching development workshops, begin work on a mentoring program for all new teachers and related activities. We will task this group with recommendations on these matters by the end of fall, 2017.
To what extent has the desire to remain the # 1 innovative university influenced the proposed change (or timing of the change)? What further changes do you believe will occur due to the pressure to keep this ranking?
Dean Hillman: No pressure at all, and this did not affect the change or timing.
Based on the presentation, it seems that this change is supposed to maximize the use of the expertise that the professors of practice bring in. However, in taxation, accounting, and auditing, the professional experience is very specific to these subject matter areas and to careers that accounting students pursue. I see how this change could create synergies for marketing or management, where a lot of the skills are shared across general areas, but I am not sure how accounting would benefit from this change. If anything, it harms the accounting department.
Specifically, research faculty benefit from conversations with professional faculty down-the-hallway or during department lunches. Such talks help come up with and re-frame research ideas. Considering the specific nature of accounting: An exception was made from this change for the Economics department based on their subject matter; why has such consideration not been given to Accounting?
Dean Hillman: The Economics Department is not involved in the change not because of their subject matter, but because the vast majority of the students they teach are not business students. They operate in a matrix structure not in reporting, but in degrees to both W. P. Carey and ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Their student advisors are located with faculty, for example, not in our UPO and there are many other operational differences given this.
I understand you all don’t want this to affect Accounting, but as explained this is a schoolwide initiative and we will rely on you in the School of Accountancy to come up with ways to continue the strong connections.
In your presentation, you seemed to imply that we'll see many other changes in the future, as we shift toward "Business Education Redefined". What other major changes do you see on the horizon, and how do you anticipate those changes will affect our long-term employment prospects at ASU?
Dean Hillman: There are two other work streams: the administrative support of the new faculty structure and second, the “Business is Personal” workstream. I do not have any others planned, but as discussed, when we embark upon change, we may find other areas that need addressing unknown to us at this time.
Will the new professionals in practice group be a new department? Will non-tenure track faculty have voting rights in the new department?
Dean Hillman: Depends on the nature and formality of the structure. The School of Accountancy has several members of faculty council who you should see for more on this. The taskforce will be working with them, as well as with us, to decide what the best structure is and faculty governance will be an important consideration.
Is the plan to have only two groups of faculty — those mainly engaged in research and those mainly engaged in teaching? Our department has some faculty who fall in the middle of the continuum as well as some faculty who in addition to their teaching responsibilities have a very strong presence in the department and contribute to its functioning in many ways. Is there a way to create "a group in the middle" that would stay with the department?
Dean Hillman: This is too black and white. The reality is all research scholars teach and do service. Some non-research active tenured faculty teach the same loads as non-tenure-track faculty. All “teaching” faculty do service and some do research, so no this is not a two group model and as cut and dry as you portray.
Research suggests that full-time non-tenure track faculty members do not view their jobs as substantially different or inferior compared to those in tenure-track positions which underscores the importance of conceptualizing the full-time faculty as an integrated whole (Ott and Cisneros, 2015). Promoting a sense of collegiality between the non-tenure track and tenure-track faculty and attracting and retaining exceptional non-tenure track faculty are both paramount to the success of our teaching, research and service missions. How will we achieve this under the new plan?
Dean Hillman: As explained, this will be up to our faculty to plan and implement as appropriate for their discipline. No one will impose separation or connectivity other than you in the School of Accountancy. Across the country and across departments, female faculty tend to weight more toward the non-tenure track faculty than the tenure-track faculty.
Without a critical mass of female faculty in a department, it can be difficult to recruit new female faculty members. Are you concerned at all that separating the non-tenure track and tenure-track faculty might exacerbate the gender imbalances, especially in some departments?
Dean Hillman: Great question. We’ll have to consider this. Open to any and all ideas.
Have we assessed whether we concur that these criticisms are well founded? And, to the extent that we view the criticisms as legitimate, how does the proposed reorganization better allow us to respond?
Dean Hillman: We don’t have hard evidence to support them all, much less test whether they apply to us at W. P. Carey, but there is evidence that fewer people are valuing the MBA world-wide and the rate of potential substitutes for the credentials once provided solely by a diploma are improving (e.g. online micro-credentials). Many smaller, less resourced colleges and universities are closing or eliminating once key programs. The plenary I heard from AACSB last week said we are probably overestimating the pace of change, but underestimating its depth.
Can you clarify how teaching assignments and course scheduling will be determined going forward, so as to accommodate the important role of reducing the number of preps and the stacking of teaching for research productivity?
Dean Hillman: Same as currently. Goal is always to reduce preps and stack for research productivity.
What changes do you envision, if any, in the current governance structure of the school with respect to hiring decisions, new course offerings or degree programs, and voting rights?
Dean Hillman: Hiring decisions, no change. New courses and degree programs, no change although there might be some interesting ideas presented by the professionals in practice. We’ve asked Faculty Council to take on the form of the new unit, which has voting and representational rights depending on its manner, so this is to be determined.
Why and how should students be better off following the reorganization? What cannot be done today regarding improvements in efficiency, effectiveness, innovation, use of technology, and interdisciplinary teaching? Is it a leadership, quality of people or really an organizational problem? Or is the reorganization mainly driven by space constraints? How do we “sell” the reorganization to students?
Dean Hillman: In several ways: first with improved focus on teaching pedagogy, innovations in learning and greater investment in teaching by all faculty. Second, by increasing opportunities to engage in experiential, use-based research through the “Solutions Lab.” Third, by a more motivated professionals in practice faculty to engage in important service related to student learning (e.g. Honors Theses). As discussed, having more focus on these areas will, I believe, advance us in ways that partial focus has not.
In the past, the professional teaching faculty have not been meaningfully financially rewarded for teaching excellence even though there were good quality performance measurement metrics in place. What will the new model do to change that, if at all?
Dean Hillman: Yes, this is the plan.
Will the current title structure of professionals in practice remain in place (clinical professors, clinical associate professors, clinical assistant professors, professors in practice, adjunct professors, lecturers, etc.)?
Dean Hillman:That is our plan — these are “PeopleSoft” or official organizational titles. The working title of “Professional in Practice” or whatever the end name is, will be a working title.
The reorganization will create a very large unit (teaching professionals) with multiple reporting lines and organizational layers. Are large units really supporting innovation, efficiency, agility, and creativity?How can the potential problem of being “too large”, “too bureaucratic”, or “too centralized” be overcome?
Dean Hillman: Yes, as discussed we have to avoid this. As discussed in the FAQ, there is likely to be a lead professional in practice for each topical area as well, but we’ll do our best to allow this group to break free from the bureaucracy that was designed for tenure-track faculty without recreating an onerous one of their own.
How can the head of Professionals in Practice credibly assess the teaching performance and curriculum development, or course content delivery, of discipline-specialized faculty?
Dean Hillman: This person will be more focused on pedagogy than content. We will still need domain, content experts.
Innovation, creativity, use of labs, new ways of teaching, etc. are key goals of the reorganization. Is there a meaningful financial budget allocated to achieve the above? Is there a commitment to significantly invest in the teaching faculty?
Dean Hillman: Yes.
Who will be owning and leading successful FIN Department initiatives like IBIS and the SIM Fund? Professionals in Practice or Research Faculty?
Dean Hillman: They will be shared and led by the people best suited to the individual objectives, just like service roles.
Clearly an organization does not undertake significant change without a clear and significant goal or problem they wish to address. What is the specific goal or problem that we believe the proposed reorganization will address, and what metrics were chosen to assess our success in doing so?
- Elevating our teaching quality, innovation, sharing of best practices and learning outcomes
- Improving service and experience of our students
- Relatedly, recognizing and rewarding the many types of contributions by our “professionals in practice”
- Advancing use-inspired research and a “solutions-lab” where corporate partners can interact with faculty and students to solve real world problems
- Gaining organizational agility and effectiveness without sacrificing efficiency
- Advance our reputation as a leading innovative business school and embrace our place in the #1 most innovative university
- Make better use of our corporate partnerships
- Allow us to continue to hire faculty on Tempe campus without moving units to other campuses
As a top research institute, we clearly value the knowledge our research generates and its power to meaningfully inform decisions. How does the relevant extant research on features of the proposed reorganization support its ability to solve the problem(s) or enable the goal(s) identified in question 1?
Dean Hillman: Great question. There is a vast literature on organizational design and strategy that informed the decision. There is also a little work on faculty and organizations in education policy we’ve reviewed as well as the work on space design for collaboration. The first generally informed the decision to reorganize in ways to advance both teaching and research and to achieve the goals in question 1.
The work in education policy largely establishes what we already know: non-tenure track faculty often lack appropriate on-boarding, mentoring, career laddering and appropriate incentives and recognition (see Ott & Cisneros, 2015), which helped us confirm the need for this. Finally, open concept space research has generally found improved collaboration. It also suggests there will be an adjustment period in which the loss of four-walled offices out shadows the gains. Prospect theory (Khaneman & Tversky) suggests this is true and what is generally happening right now as a result of the announced change. We all tend outweigh loss versus gain and in this case, the loss is tangible whereas the gains are not only in the future, but not well defined because the taskforce is going to help us get to detail.
References have been made to how the proposed reorganization is modeled after 1.) other business environments and 2.) other academic environments.
What lessons from those models support the expectation that the proposed reorganization will solve the problem(s) or enable the goal(s) identified in question 1?
Dean Hillman: Some are mentioned above. We know from management literature on strategy and organizational design and from implementation in business organizations that simplifying structure to enable focus on specific goals is successful, if implemented well. In terms of academic environments, I’m not sure really what you’re asking, but there are some lessons from ASU in the thematic reorganizations within the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. These reorganizations have been successful in reducing disciplinary silos, although implementation has varied in success. There is no academic environment that we’re aware of that has reorganized the way we are.
Our motto is “Business is Personal”, and this has been argued to define our organizational culture. This suggests that we value a high level of rich student engagement, with the teaching faculty acting as the primary mechanism for this engagement.
Given the proposed reorganization’s creation of barriers and distance between teaching faculty and students (e.g., through disincentives for faculty presence, through the creation of coordination overhead), how does the proposed reorganization support our motto and identity?
Dean Hillman: I am eager to meet with you all and discuss in more detail to better understand this question. Our desire is to make this a place our professionals in practice want to come to work in and students will want to engage with faculty in, so I’m not sure how we are assumed to incent faculty absence or coordination overhead in this change.
While this is certainly a novel approach to take with customer facing front office units, the proposed reorganization appears to be modeled after those environments that wish to transition their existing back office labor force who provide a commodity service, e.g., the accounting department of a typical firm, to either rudimentary jobs (University of Phoenix) or disposable third-party contractors (typical corporate).
To what extent is the proposed reorganization intended to transition teaching at W. P. Carey into one of these?
Dean Hillman: Again, this is not the intent so I think our time together at month’s end will really help all understand this better.
It seems like the reorganization means there will be a huge change to department finances. Presumably the Dean’s Office will now receive and control a substantially larger share of tuition dollars that were previously allocated to the Departments. Is this the case? How will this affect things like governance, staff, and faculty including research budgets?
Dean Hillman: We haven’t decided the budget implications and how they will work. We don’t intend to keep any funding centrally. Research budgets will not be affected, nor will staff support, although staff will need to support the new group as well as the old. In terms of governance, we’ve asked Faculty Council to take on the task of recommending a form of the group to best preserve connectivity and governance.
Right now, the future of marketing is being created outside of the university. What are the plans to foster a greater connection and organized engagement with industry? What are the plans that would enable us to be more innovative in this regard? The faculty closest to practice are in the best position to facilitate knowledge transfer yet, in the reorg deck these faculty are described as receiving knowledge from researchers to then share with students. This doesn’t match what I know about the industry and relegates the clinical and practice faculty to a passive role.
Dean Hillman: This is a great question and the impetus behind the Solutions Lab and also the research initiatives that span research and professionals in practice. We hope to also leverage our strong corporate partners who are not faculty in this as well as students.
What is the vision for W. P. Carey three to five years out? Are there other major changes planned going forward?
Dean Hillman: Not that I have in mind or that I’m aware of. We realize we may uncover other processes that need addressing during these changes, but they’re unknown at this point. We will have a “Business is Personal” task force as described in response to a cultural audit you will soon see.
The vision for W. P. Carey in 3-5 years is to be seen as a leader in teaching innovation including experiential experiences for all students, use-inspired research, and scholarly preeminence.