2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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New Institute for Learning in Organizations

Growing numbers of organizations experience the need to reassess their focus and direction quickly, or to rethink how people work together. People and organizations must learn more effectively as they work and solve problems. The benefits to those who are able to address these challenges are great, as are the risks for those who do not. To assist organizations in meeting these challenges, the College has established a new institute for learning in organizations with up to $2.5 million in underwriting from the J.M. Huber Corporation.

The J.M. Huber Institute for Learning in Organizations will help people and organizations put in place learning strategies that promote innovation and change. Founding Co-Directors of the Institute are Professors Victoria J. Marsick and Martha A. Gephart. Both are faculty in the Department of Organization and Leadership which is chaired by W. Warner Burke, Professor of Psychology and Education. They describe the focus of the new institute as "transformative learning that helps people and organizations make deep, basic shifts in thinking and practice that can lead to dramatic organizational and personal gains."

The Institute will work through partnerships with organizations, including businesses, schools, not-for-profit and government agencies. Partner organizations and researchers associated with the Institute will create and share learning tools, strategies, and results as they work together to solve problems. Groups of organizations working together on common problems will study their solutions and interventions in order to improve knowledge about their effectiveness.

Tools and technologies that are developed and lessons learned from this research will be made available through an interactive database to members of the Institute's Research Network. Network members will be encouraged to experiment with products and ideas and provide feedback that will be incorporated in the database. This cumulating body of tested experience will assist members in adapting tools, technologies, or practices to their situations, and identifying critical success factors for their use.

The idea for the Institute originated with Peter Francis, President and C.E.O. of the J.M. Huber Corporation, who is committed to learning for improved outcomes. Huber is a diversified, multinational supplier of engineered materials, natural resources, and technology-based services. Founded in 1883, Huber is one of the largest family-owned companies in the United States, headquartered in Edison, New Jersey.previous page