Building Teams and Increasing Collaboration among Members

Most successful universities seek to build an environment in which collaboration and multidisciplinary research can flourish. Because of rapidly changing conditions and the complexity of major issues facing society and individuals, team-based approaches are critical for success at both intellectual and administrative levels. 

When leaders embrace team approaches, they are also responding to shifts of funding agencies that range from the large sciences-oriented agencies to smaller, humanities-focused foundations to projects and initiatives individuals increasingly support. When those organizations and leaders call for interdisciplinary research centers and teams, they echo the concerns of 21st century leaders from all sectors of the economy. 

Amplifying academic collaboration is a defining characteristic of Susan’s work. Whether the goal is to sharpen the institution’s intellectual profile or to build programs as the foundation of a fundraising campaign, she is skilled at helping scholars articulate new concepts to advance their ideas and plan collaborative programs to carry those ideas forward.

In the administrative arena, she recognizes the importance of building and leading strong teams. Typically, she uses team concepts to expand the field of ideas and solutions in a variety of settings. Recent examples include encouraging leaders of functional units to combine forces and use collaboration to increase the effectiveness of staff, for example. 

At several colleges and universities, she has formed strategies to engage scholars with leaders to shape the institution’s future. At several major research universities, she has coordinated the efforts of groups of faculty and senior administrative leaders to investigate research conditions and recommend ways of strengthening support. 

Her volume, Using Teams in Higher Education, is a leader in the series, “New Directions for Institutional Research.” Along with Peter Senge, who believes that people bring their tendencies to acquire knowledge into their organizations, she encourages institutions to help individuals draw collective benefit from their ideas.