Benedictine’s Ph.D. in OD program brings the world’s top organizational change leaders to campus through its Distinguished Visiting Scholars program. Renowned authors, practitioners, faculty members and thought leaders in the field of OD all gather at Benedictine throughout the year to discuss their insight, new trends and the future of the industry.
The internationally acclaimed programs are overseen by Peter Sorensen, Ph.D., an international leader in the field and an integral founder in the development of one of the country’s first master’s programs in OD. He, along with Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., another recognized name in the field who is acknowledged as a foremost leader in corporate organization dynamics, have put Benedictine on the map in the OD world.
Peter Sorensen Jr., Ph.D., is an award-winning scholar, a distinguished educator and a world-recognized pioneer.
For nearly a half-century, Sorensen has been a leader in the field of Organization Development. The director of the Ph.D. in Organization Development (OD) and the Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior programs at Benedictine University, Sorensen was instrumental in developing one of the first master's-level programs in OD at George Williams College in 1967 and one of the first Ph.D. programs in OD at Benedictine in 1996.
A prolific author and editor, the Naperville resident has written more than 300 articles, papers and books, including a number of best paper selections. His work has appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Group and Organization Studies, Leadership and Organization Development Journal, Journal of Management Studies, and Organization and Administrative Sciences.
Sorensen has worked with more than 100 organizations including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Steel, the DuPage County Health Department, Commonwealth Edison and CNA. He was an invited, distinguished scholar to the first Academy of Management Conference on Global Change, has been chair of the Organization Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management, and is a past recipient of the "Outstanding OD Consultant of the Year Award" from the OD Institute.
In 2014, Sorensen was presented the Judith Ann Whinfrey Distinguished Faculty Award for Leadership by Benedictine University. The award recognizes a faculty member who has provided exceptional leadership during their tenure.
“One of the biggest benefits of the OD program at Benedictine was learning from scholars and practitioners who I would consider OD superstars,” said Meghan Wright, Ph.D., assistant professor of Management at Texas Wesleyan University and a 2013 graduate of the Organization Development program at Benedictine. “It was great to be in person with these OD ‘greats’ and also be able to engage with them in such an intimate fashion.”
Sorensen, who still calls teaching his greatest joy, earned a Ph.D. in Management from the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., has been breaking down barriers, defying stereotypes and rewriting the rules for nearly two decades.
Yaeger is a former division chair for the Management Consulting Division of the Academy of Management, has served as executive board member of the Southwest Academy of Management and is a registered consultant through the International Society for Organization Development and Change.
She frequently presents at national and international conferences such as the Academy of Management, the OD Institute and the American Psychological Association, is a recipient of numerous awards such as the Best Paper Presentation at the OD Institute's Annual Conference, and was a team member of three Outstanding OD Institute Project Awards.
The author of more than 50 papers and articles including three books on Appreciative Inquiry with Peter Sorensen, Thomas Head and David Cooperrider, Yaeger is an active member of the Academy of Management, the Midwest Academy of Management, the OD Network, the OD Institute and the American Society for Training and Development.
She has been teaching in the Benedictine’s Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior and Ph.D. in Organization Development programs since 2001.
Ramkrishnan (Ram) Tenkasi, Ph.D., began his academic career as an assistant professor with the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1993, and joined Benedictine University in 1998 as an associate professor.
Tenkasi’s research and practice interests are in the areas of organizational knowledge, learning and change and their mediation/moderation by organizational design choices, including the role of information technologies in facilitating/inhibiting these processes in organizations. He approaches the study of these issues from both interpretive and positivist frameworks usually combining these traditions to draw on their unique strengths.
Multiple grants from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Defense, and corporations such as Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Lucent Technologies, Texas Instruments, AlliedSignal, Merck and Co., Pfizer, Pratt and Whitney, and Procter and Gamble have funded his research.
Tenkasi serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Organizational Change Management and has been a program review panel member for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and is currently part of a core team brought together by the National Cancer Institute to assist in the identification of effective implementation systems for tobacco control in the United States.
Tenkasi is also the division/program chair-elect for the Organization Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management. His more than 50 articles and book chapters appear in both academic and practitioner outlets such as Organization Science, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, International Journal of Technology Management, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Employee Relations, Acquisition Review Quarterly, Research in Organizational Change and Development, Advances in the Interdisciplinary Studies of Work Teams and the OD Journal.
He is also a reviewer for several leading journals of the field such as the Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Information Systems Research, Organization Studies, Human Relations, Journal of Organizational Behavior, MIT Sloan Management Review and Journal of Organizational Change Management.
“The program helped me open my eyes to higher levels of collaboration and team building. I learned to be more patient for others’ individual perspectives and to try to see where they were coming from, why they were thinking the way they were thinking and to allow people to feel the way they were feeling. I learned that in a work environment where we’re all involved working on issues, problems and opportunities, everyone’s opinion matters.”
Jeffrey Swallow, Ph.D., Organization Development ’07
Owner, Magnetrol International Incorporated
“Some of the biggest benefits were learning from scholars in the field and practitioners who I would consider O.D. superstars. It was great to be able to meet these O.D. greats in person and approach them in such an intimate fashion. I was able to engage in conversations with scholars from Harvard and on an international level that I don’t feel any other program can say. Those conversations added a lot of depth to my curriculum vita.”
Meghan Wright, Ph.D., Organization Development ’13
Assistant Professor of Management at Texas Wesleyan University