Organizational Change Leadership

Program description

The Master of Arts in Organizational Change Leadership (OCL) is designed to address one of the most critical and sought after competencies required in today’s organizations— the ability to lead effective change.

Designed for a diverse assemblage of individuals working in a variety of organizations and industry sectors, this competency-grounded program combines research, theory and practice to build capacities to effectively lead and develop individuals, groups and organizations in an age of globalization. With a Western Michigan University degree in organizational change leadership, you will join other forward-thinking professionals who are setting new standards of excellence in change leadership. Connect with a group of professionals working in a variety of organizations who are studying and practicing methods that make the change process run smoother, smarter, faster and more efficiently. 

Intro to OCL

Why organizational change leadership at Western Michigan University?

If you have ever wanted to be a catalyst of change in your current work place or to take the next step to advance your career, OCL is for you. If you work at a for-profit, not-for-profit, health care, military, educational or government organization, having a bachelor’s degree and a passion to lead change is all you need to begin building your fitness to design, develop and implement sustainable change.

  • All courses are designed for full-time working professionals and are offered in a hybrid format with one or two face-to-face class meetings per month, with remaining coursework completed online.
  • We equip you with tools and best practices for leading and developing individuals, groups and organizations in an age of globalization.
  • We train you to conduct organizational consulting engagements using established diagnostic models and current theory and research.
  • We educate you in the knowledge areas of organizational change, organizational leadership, organizational culture, organizational learning, group dynamics and globalization.
  • Upon completion of the program, you will be able to execute the role of the research-based practitioner—one who applies theory and research to organizational challenges using rigorous data collection and analysis protocols.

Our Vision: To be known for our global emphasis in developing ethical professionals who lead effective change to increase the capacities of their employees and organizations.

"Our ultimate goal is to become a top organizational change leadership program by developing unique strengths in research and teaching that directly and readily benefit local, national and international practitioners and scholars in various types of organizations." — Dr. Kirsi LaPointe

Our Mission: To develop forward-thinking practitioners who have the ability to apply both scholarly and practice-based knowledge to lead effective change in diverse contexts, including domestic and cross-cultural settings. Designed for career-centered individuals, our program emphasizes the development of change leadership skills that can be immediately applied to the workplace. We ground our teaching in the most current research, theory and practice, and we recruit top professionals and academicians from around the world to engage with our students.

"We focus on the development of marketable skills—skills wanted by employers in a vast array of industries." — Dr. David Szabla

Hear from our students

Current locations

The program requires a minimum of 33 semester hours and is available at the main Kalamazoo campus, as well as WMU-Grand Rapids and WMU-Metro Detroit.

Contact information

Dr. David B. Szabla – Associate Professor

Dr. Kirsi LaPointe – Faculty Specialist II

Scholarship information

Scholarship application

Must be received by February 15.

Robert O. Brinkerhoff Endowed Scholarship for organizational change leadership

  • Must be pursuing a master's degree in organizational learning and performance and a full-time graduate student.
  • Recipient must have a minimum 3.0 GPA at the time of application.
  • Special consideration given to single parents and adult students with experience living or working in diverse environments.
  • Scholarship is renewable for a period of up to one year provided student remains a full-time or part-time graduate student in organizational learning and performance and has satisfactory academic progress.