The Change Academy

The Change Academy at Emory program is designed to allow leaders to develop and enhance skills within a cohort group of up to 12 participants. By creating a shared experience, participants have the opportunity to build relationships with colleagues from different departments and divisions.

About this Program

Emory is continually changing, and change involves new strategic priorities, evolving job functions, new leadership, and increasing demands on Emory’s workforce.

Training in best practices of change management will help Emory achieve its strategic goals and be better prepared for the future. It will have a positive influence on communication, culture, collaboration, productivity and efficiency.

"Change can come unexpectedly, and the better pace and skill at which our teams are able to adapt to and respond to change, the better we position ourselves competitively. The Change Academy provides a critical skillset for change leaders and change implementers at Emory to continue to position Emory for eminence, in support of Emory's mission to create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in the service of humanity."

   --- Chris Augostini, Executive Vice President for Business and Administration

Program Goal

The goal of the program is to create change catalysts that remove roadblocks and reduce the barriers to change.

Candidate Qualifications

Individuals managing a change in a people management role typically at a level that is Director or above (e.g., directors, senior directors, assistant/associate VPs, etc.). Some jobs that do not use “Director” in the job title may still qualify. The program is also appropriate for faculty and principal investigators that supervise people. 

Candidates are nominated by their supervisor. Approximately 12-15 participants will be selected for each cohort and selection will be based on stated goals, departmental representation and manager recommendation.

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Attendance is mandatory for all program events, including the kick-off, all classes, webinars, online discussions and the program graduation. In addition to the classroom sessions, addition to the classroom sessions, there are required interactive, online homework assignments and learning via the MS Teams platform.

If you are interested in applying to this program, please review the Program-at-a-Glance to understand the level of commitment involved.

View Program-at-a-Glance


Participants will be selected to attend engaging, interactive sessions and explore key themes including:

  • The Change Cycle: A model that shows how people react to and cope with change, how to tackle and overcome concerns about change, as well as how to help yourself and others navigate through it.
  • Change Fatigue: In this course, we will explore numerous factors that contribute to change fatigue, such as uncertainty, loss of control, and increased workload. You will be equipped with practical strategies and tools to manage and cope with these challenges effectively.
  • Emory Change Management Model: A step by step process and model for managing change at Emory, using the four Ps of change management: Plan, Prepare, Promote and Proceed.
  • Immunity to Change and Birkman*: Help self and others recognize needs and overcome personal “immunities” that are inhibiting the ability to successfully change.
  • Communication: A model and tips for communicating change in a way that respects the past while generating excitement for the future.
  • Systems and Change: Learn how systems work and their influence on change. Sustain change by understanding interconnectedness and relationships of various processes within a system and their influence on the culture of an organization.
  • Presentation: A presentation from each participant that integrates concepts and shows plans/current impact on existing change(s) being managed in his/her area. Each presentation will show link to at least 3 of the sessions.

Additional Features

  • In-class Facilitated Discussion: At each session, participants will share progress on their current change that they are managing and receive feedback from their fellow participants, as well as the Change Academy staff.
  • Online Discussion: Participants will share progress on their current change that they are managing and receive feedback from their fellow participants, as well as the Change Academy staff, throughout the entire program (and afterwards) using a specially designated online space within Microsoft Teams. The capacity to share files, articles and other supporting documents will also be available.

Program Cost

The cost to the department for each participant is $125. There is a $150 fee for the Birkman if the participant does not have one on file.

Overview Video

To learn more about this program, view our overview video.

View Video




"In the summer of 2019, the Learning & Organizational Development announced it inaugural session of the Change Academy. I applied for the program based on the premise that, with a new Dean beginning with the School of Law, being prepared to help employees with change would be important for my position. The lessons I learned were incredibly helpful through the fall and as the school began its strategic planning process as well in every-day challenges. The Academy was designed to exploit the strengths of each participant through collegial projects and conversations amongst Academy participants. More than a year after the conclusion of the program, I regularly collaborate with other Academy participants on projects across the university.   

Less than three months after the inaugural Change Academy was complete, a global pandemic required me to work with others to move all aspects of legal education and its related support to a remote status.  Employees were thrust into new situations and manners of working while trying to support students and, in many cases, caring for their families who were also suddenly remote. While we all found ways to manage, knowing the theories about helping employees navigate change was incredibly helpful for me. The information garnered in the sessions are useful in understanding how to assist others with change in the world—from the innovators and early adopters who are on the cutting edge of change to those who are hesitant to move from the status quo.       

The Change Academy prepared me for far more than I anticipated. Facilitators of the program challenged each of us to expand our understanding. The commitment of time and effort to the Change Academy generated awareness on multiple levels and, with that understanding, an ability to help move change forward without alienating others. I enthusiastically recommend Change Academy to both persons wanting to lead change within the organization and those who help implement those changes."

   --- Marshall Sampson, J.D., Division Director of HR, Emory University School of Law, Change Academy Graduate Cohort 1

"The Change Academy was one of the most impactful leadership training courses I have ever taken. Yes, it provided a stepwise plan to manage change and a lot of great tools and processes to accomplish those tasks. Much more importantly however was the insight it provided me into people, myself, and others, and how we respond to change. Those of us who manage others know that even the most well-conceived plans fail if we do not get buy-in from those who will execute those plans. This course changed my entire way of thinking about that reality, and provided great insight into how to help people accept and embrace change. Change is permanent and the ability of our Institution to embrace and drive change will in large part determine its success. This course drastically improved my ability to do that, and I believe it can do so for others."

   --- David Martin PhD, CPIA, Director, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Change Academy Graduate Cohort 2

"The Change Academy was a remarkable experience of profound discovery and growth for me as a leader. This expertly designed, immersive program has reshaped my approach, inspiring me to take healthy risks and engage in more meaningful self-reflection. The interactive exercises, accomplished instructors, and practical advisement from a community of engaged Emory leaders have all served to elevate my understanding of an array of relational and decision-making skills necessary for sustainable organizational change.

Because of The Change Academy, I understand that successful organizational transformations are about more than the mechanics of presenting new ideas and getting people to buy in. It is about inspiring others to drive change themselves, while also holding space and time for their individual needs. Change management leadership also involves building resilience and cultivating courage in others, starting with oneself.

This program has my highest recommendation. As the institution transforms and strives for continual improvement, leaders will find The Change Academy to be a vital component of enduring achievement and excellence."

   --- Prudence Goss, MA, Sr. Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Change Academy Graduate Cohort 4

"The Change Academy was a great experience. As a new supervisor managing a fairly significant change, this opportunity came at the perfect time and provided me with insight into not only how I deal with change, but also those around me. The instructors provided helpful tools/skills that can be incorporated into managing change more successfully. These are tools that everyone should be familiar with knowing that the world around us is always changing. The small class size allowed us to get to know the other participants who provided a great support system throughout the six months. I would definitely recommend this course to others!"

--- Jennifer McMillian, Manager of Training, Emory Primate Center, Change Academy Graduate Cohort 4

"The Change Academy program was truly a transformative experience for me. As the leader of a new program at Emory (IT Disaster Recovery), I've encountered my fair share of resistance to change, and the insights and techniques I gained from the program have already proven invaluable.

Change is hard. One of the key takeaways for me was the importance of using empathy to more effectively communicate and engage with stakeholders when navigating change. This has been a game-changer for me. The program emphasized the need to build trust and credibility with employees and provided practical tips for achieving buy-in and overcoming resistance to change.

I had a lot of fun learning together with change agents from across Emory, and the program facilitators were knowledgeable and experienced. The interactive nature of the program allowed for lively discussions and exchanges of ideas with my peers, which helped to deepen my understanding of the topics.

Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is responsible for leading others through big changes at Emory. Thank you for this valuable learning opportunity."

   --- Mark Kawasaki, Associate Director, Enterprise Information Security, Change Academy Graduate Cohort 4


Neffertiti Harwell, Manager, Learning & Development