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This fall, Penn’s Organizational Dynamics department in the School of Arts and Sciences plans to introduce a new Organizational Consulting and Executive Coaching concentration to its Master of Science degree in Organizational Dynamics.

Those who complete the 18-month course of study will receive an OCEC Certificate in addition to the masters’ degree.

Candidates for the concentration include “those with at least five years of management experience, senior leaders in organizations who want to lead internal change and those who want to strengthen their competencies as consultants and coaches,” according to a press release.

Jointly coordinated and principally taught by Organizational Dynamics faculty members Rod Napier, Ruth Orenstein and Charline Russo, the program will take a cohort-based approach to instruction, which requires that each group of students in the concentration takes all its classes together.

Larry Starr, director of the Organizational Dynamics Degree Program, said he and his colleagues agreed that the cohort approach would be ideal for the program because students will learn not only from the instructor and course content but from their classmates as well.

After undergoing rigorous training, which encompasses both classroom instruction and hands-on fieldwork, students will take an internship before completing the program’s curriculum.

In the past, students pursuing a degree in Organizational Dynamics have worked with staff from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and also performed as interns at other institutions.

Those who take internships within the University “have a remarkable opportunity to help Penn’s staff community,” Starr said.

He added, “The OCEC program could be both a place where students learn to be internal consultants and a place where internships could be managed.”

Starr said the OCEC certificate could be especially useful now because of the difficult economic climate.

“There are a number of people who have either lost their jobs or are trying to find new ones who might prefer to redefine what they can do in the future through developing their expertise through coaching and consulting,” he explained.

Starr elaborated that due to the global financial crisis, organizations now prioritize “getting the work done” and can no longer afford to instruct employees the way they have traditionally. As a result, skilled consultants and coaches are now in higher demand than ever.

Starr added that “someone who can learn [coaching and consulting] skills … would be really valuable.”

While the skills which the OCEC concentration will enable students to develop may prove especially useful in light of the conditions governing the current job market, Starr emphasized that they will continue to yield significant benefits even after the economy has stabilized.

“The competencies [students] learn here will be valuable not just in turbulence but in constant change as we move forward,” he said.

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