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Ph.D. in Organization Development
Ph.D. in Organization Development

In the News: Benedictine professor receives lifetime achievement award

October 25, 2017

Peter Sorensen Jr., Ph.D., a world-recognized Organization Development (OD) pioneer and professor at Benedictine University, has received yet another accolade to add among his many honors as a distinguished scholar who has helped prepare hundreds of managers and executives to successfully organize and implement change for more than five decades. 

In recognition of his lasting impact in the field, Sorensen was honored with the Organization Development Network’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday, October 16. 

The award is given to individuals who have served the profession over an extended period of time, have earned the respect and admiration of professional colleagues and have freely engaged not only contemporaries, but also have been committed to maintain a dynamic connection to all generations of OD practitioners. 

“Peter is an icon,” said Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., a professor and colleague of Sorensen’s. “He has literally been teaching in this field of study from the very beginning and has not only produced a mountain of work on the subject, but has helped launch the careers of a great number of men and women, many of whom are now widely considered among the most influential of OD practioners. People come to Benedictine from all around the world just to meet and learn from him because his enthusiasm for what he does is so infectious and inspiring. This award affirms his life’s work and is much deserved.”

Sorensen shared the award with a former pupil, David Cooperrider, Ph.D., the Fairmount Minerals Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Cooperrider is the founder of the revolutionary theory on Appreciative Inquiry, an approach that examines the positive attributes of organizations in order to solve problems, and has served as an advisor to former President Bill Clinton and Nobel Laureates the Dalai Lama and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez. He is also a regular speaker in the OD doctoral program at Benedictine. 

Sorensen’s contributions include 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 Services.

He 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, and was an invited, distinguished scholar to the first Academy of Management Conference on Global Change.

Sorensen has been a leader in the field for more than 50 years and established one of the first Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior programs and Ph.D. in Organization Development (OD) programs at Benedictine University. 

Both programs have since become top-rated, award-winning programs recognized locally, nationally and internationally for teaching emerging and senior managers how to effectively address challenges and implement workplace efficiencies to help their organizations successfully navigate through a rapidly changing business climate. 

In addition to Sorensen, students in the program are taught by Yaeger, who is acknowledged as a leader in corporate and organization dynamics and Ramkrishnan Tenkasi, Ph.D., whose work is widely recognized and includes organizational knowledge, learning and change, and mediation/moderation by organizational design choices.  

Recently, Sorensen, Yaeger and Tenkasi were prominently featured in “The Palgrave Handbook of Organizational Change Thinkers,” a book that profiles the professional backgrounds, key insights and contributions of the field’s top scholars. 

The reputation of these faculty members continues to attract other top OD leaders from all over the world who come to speak and teach at Benedictine. 

Students build important relationships with these influential thinkers and are able to connect with other scholars and professionals through one of the largest alumni networks of executive leaders in the international Academy of Management.

The OD programs at Benedictine prepare individuals for high-level careers including human resources, health care, consulting, research, business, higher education and public administration. Weekend classes in the Chicago area allow professionals to work full time while learning the skills needed to facilitate change and increase productivity at their company.

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