Written By Gregory Fischbach

June 23, 2023
Share this article:
HPU offers the newly revamped MAODL program to students with the flexibility to complete the program online, in-class, or in a hybrid format

HPU offers the newly revamped MAODL program to students with the flexibility to complete the program online, in-class, or in a hybrid format.

For over 20 years, HPU’s Master of Arts in Organization Development and Leadership (MAODL [formally known as MAODC]) has been the sole degree of its kind in Hawai’i. Recently, the program underwent a major revamp to reflect the latest trends and best practices in the field of Organization Development (OD). The new curriculum places a greater emphasis on developmental leadership and cultural studies, providing students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this dynamic and rapidly evolving field.

The role of an OD professional is to promote organization success by aligning the structural, cultural, and strategic aspects of work to address the demands of a constantly changing business environment.

With highly experienced OD faculty at HPU, and partnerships with businesses and organizations, students can engage in academic and experiential learning to learn how to make decisions based on research and behavioral science. The MAODL program at HPU is designed to teach students how to introduce solutions and interventions that influence an organization's strategic objectives, making them the leaders modern businesses need.

Kenneth Rossi

Kenneth Rossi.

“The first course of the MAODL program centers on leadership, organization culture, and group dynamics,” said HPU Assistant Professor and Program Chair of MAODL Kenneth Rossi. “These three topics are woven together, and students examine the impact they have on each other. This gives anyone coming into the program a foundation in how they interconnect.”

Rossi emphasizes the importance in understanding culture in everything we do in society. He has carefully designed the MAODL program to incorporate the study of culture throughout the program so students have a solid understanding in the occupational development career.

“We have a course on systems thinking,” said Rossi. “So, if a person changes something at an organization, they must take everything into account. Sometimes when you try to fix a program it creates more problems down the road. Systems thinking makes you look at everything and the interconnections. All the parts. We look at change in this program, and who could possibly be impacted by that change. 

Rossi explains that an OD professional may review a company and any difficulties the company is experiencing in the same fashion a therapist examines a patient. 

“An OD professional could join the internal human resources team, or they would work as a consultant,” Rossi said. “OD professionals are called in and are tasked to assess the problem, but they do not take the role in telling the company what to do. OD professionals present the problem. They can help with intervention, but the company must make the change and be accountable for the change. They should make sure that senior leadership buys into the change.”

Graduates of the HPU’s MAODL program can find rewarding careers in various industries and organizations, including human resources, policy analysis and planning, science and research, training and development management, business/management analysis, ODC consulting, social science research, and general management.

“The MAODL program offers hands-on learning with real-world cases and partnership organizations, mentorship opportunities, and a multi-disciplinary view of systems in science and learning,” Rossi said. “It’s designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to become agents of change who can master the rapidly changing world, new technologies, workforce needs, and government regulations.”

HPU offers the newly revamped MAODL program to students with the flexibility to complete the program online, in-class, or in a hybrid format. The program is four semesters long and has entry terms in the fall. Students in the program get a free membership in the International Society of Organization Development and Change (ISODC), which is the largest OD professional organization in the world.

“The disciple of OD is all about leading change. Creating change,” Rossi said. “The opportunity for HPU to return to the military bases brought back the chance to bring leadership into the degree so those in the military would go through the program and learn how to be leaders and how to effect change.”

Rossi holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from USC and master’s degrees in HR Management, Org. Development, and Counseling from Chapman University. He has extensive experience working in the US and the Pacific, including Samoa, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Panama, and other areas of South and Central America. He was previously NASA's Org. and Employee Development Training Manager and researches leadership development, focusing on the impact of simulations on leadership and organizational behavior.

To apply or learn more about the MAODL program at HPU click here.


The Ohana teal logo