Baylor University served as the host of the 2018 Organizational Development Consortium (ODC) Conference as attendees congregated deep in the heart of Texas. 39 attendees from 29 institutions of higher education from across the United States gathered in Waco, Texas from May 21st through 23rd to network and share best practices regarding organizational development, professional development, learning, training, and coaching.
The conference began with a welcome reception and dinner with a wonderful view of the beautiful Baylor campus and the Waco skyline. Tami Nutt, Baylor’s Manager of Employee Experience and Engagement, provided insightful comments about Waco’s history and the origins of Baylor University which offered a depth of understanding about the host institution and our home for the next few days.
Tuesday found the group at the elegant McMullen-Connally Faculty Center and began with networking time and a review of ODC history, objectives, and aspirations. The group was fortunate to be joined by Cheryl Gochis, Vice President of Human Resources at Baylor University, who offered words and welcome and provided a glimpse into her strategic plan for HR at Baylor. The first session presenters were Susan Coan and Emily Wykle from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Their session, Moving from “Them” to “Us”: Lessons from Lead UAB, provided a look back and overview of their leadership development program and ended with an interactive, forward-looking activity that gathered feedback and ideas from knowledgeable conference attendees.
Lunch was followed by an exciting new addition to ODC events, the ignite session. Also called PechaKucha, these sessions featured higher education professionals speaking for 5 minutes on a topic of their choosing as 15 slides advanced automatically every 20 seconds. Ignite session topics and presenters included:
Learning the Lingo of Higher Education – Lorinda Schrammel, Oklahoma State University
There’s No Crying in Higher Education – John Champlin, Wake Forest University
Staculty – Dr. Jon Singletary, Baylor University
Hospitality in Higher Education – PaToya Hall, Baylor University
The short, fast-paced sessions were an exciting deviation from longer sessions and were made even more engaging by Mary Stall (Southern Methodist University) who made intricate visualizations of each ignite session in real time. Future ODC events will definitely feature the sessions in this format.
The afternoon concluded with Mark Trommer from the University of Arizona discussing how they have turned yearly performance reviews into career conversations that focus on significant accomplishments, key strengths, and plans for the future. Attendees returned to the hotel before being let loose in downtown Waco for group dinners that allowed for further networking and relationship-building.
Wednesday began with a keynote from Baylor University’s President, Dr. Linda Livingstone. She spoke to her professional background, the mission of Baylor, and the direction of higher education more broadly. Breakfast (burritos, of course) was followed by a session by Texas Christian University colleagues: Rachelle Blackwell, Whitnee Boyd, Leigh Holland, and Aisha Torrey-Sawyer. Their session, Breathing Room: Fostering an Environment of Inclusion, spoke to their work in creating space for affinity groups on their campus that focus on various dimensions of wellness.
An HR/OD Interventions panel, facilitated by Tanya Ladd (University of Cincinnati), concluded the formal conference sessions. Panelists included:
Greg Giesen, University of Denver
Melissa Clodfelter, Wake Forest University
LaTrese Ferguson, Georgia Tech
Nathan Strong, University of South Carolina
Many thanks to Broc Edwards, Tami Nutt, Drexel King, Nathan Sifers and the entire Baylor University Human Resources team for being warm and hospitable hosts and for organizing a fantastic event. Also, thanks to all of the conference attendees who were constantly engaged in the content and the spirit of this event.
The 2019 Organizational Development Consortium Conference will be held June 11th through 13th at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.
Institutions in Attendance: Baylor University, Brookhaven College, Brown University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Military College, Johns Hopkins University, Lamar University, McLennan Community College, Norfolk State University, North Central Texas College, Northwestern University, Oklahoma State University, Southern Methodist University, Tarleton State University, Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Arizona, University of Cincinnati, University of Denver, University of Georgia, University of Iowa, University of South Carolina, University of Virginia, University of Virginia – Health Systems, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University