The People behind the Curtain: A Proposed Succession Planning Model for University-wide Research Institutes

By Kimberly Carlson.

Published by Change Management: An International Journal

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Public universities and their university-wide research institutes in the U.S. constantly search for ways to evolve to stay relevant and “marketable” in an ever-changing environment. The scholarly literature shows that the majority of higher educational institutes do not participate in succession planning, although numbers of research projects and researchers continue to increase over time, suggesting a pressing need for universities and institutes to learn how to sustain their work beyond current faculty and how to strategically develop their current employees. The purpose of this research was to review current succession management strategies in large complex organizations and to determine whether and how succession planning applies to university-wide research institutes in public, doctoral universities with very high research activity located in the United States. Based on an extensive literature analysis and surveys of experts, a model for succession planning for public organizations, particularly university-wide research institutes, was developed. This model synthesized the best practices across governmental, non-profit, and for-profit sectors to form a new framework to guide administrators in the process of succession planning. It focuses on short-term, immediate needs as well as on longer term, organizational development. This paper discusses the model’s concepts and steps with a practically applied focus to help participants better understand and explore processes related to succession planning.

Keywords: Succession Planning, Talent Management, Public Higher Education, University, Research Institute, Research Center

Change Management: An International Journal, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp.23-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.462MB).

Dr. Kimberly Carlson

Assistant Director for Presidential Global Scholars, University Honors, Center for European Studies and Architecture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA

Kimberly Carlson received her Ph.D. at the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech (VT), with a concentration in organizational and leadership management. She holds a B.S. in psychology and B.A. in theatre arts from VT, and an M.S.W. in clinical social work from Florida State University. Her teaching and research experiences include leadership, organizational, and workforce development in national and local organizations, governments, and universities. Before returning to VT, she worked as a director for community arts and arts education programs at various arts organizations. Since returning to school, she has completed three certificates and has worked on the Arts Initiative for Virginia Tech and with the University’s long range planning effort. She currently serves as the assistant director for the Presidential Global Scholars program in University Honors at Virginia Tech.