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How has Change Impacted Your Institution's Ability to Serve Students?

All aspects of higher education organizations have been disrupted and disruption decreases capacity to achieve goals. While there’s a natural tendency to immediately begin solving urgent problems, underestimating what it takes to navigate the impact of change on your organization's people, culture and systems can lead to failure to provide equitable student outcomes.


Between where you want to go and where you are is a very messy middle. Navigating changing circumstances requires leaders to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN to understand the current state of affairs from a variety of perspectives in order to make the crucial paradigm shifts necessary to proceed in an informed way.

Does your Institution have the Capacity to Support your Initiatives?

Whether it's Covid, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), enrollment, student affairs, academic or technology initiatives, or whatever else keeps you up at night, it is essential to first recalibrate. Otherwise, initiatives and interventions are apt to fail causing chaos and squandering valuable, finite time, opportunities and resources. We help leaders engage teams to:

  • Determine how change has impacted their organization

  • Develop relevant goals 

  • Implement practical strategies that help the organization's people, processes and systems adapt to change to accomplish the mission.

Can your Institution Afford to Get it Wrong ?

When failure is not an option, we help leaders build strategic agility to balance what is desired with what is possible.

Even the best leaders cannot outperform their organization's
capacity to deliver the mission. Crucial Shift Consulting uses our proprietary change model to provide real-time program planning and implementation support designed to build --rather than destroy-- a culture of trust, community and effectiveness.



Research Brief

“Change requires more than money and the desire to innovate. Inspired leadership and a way to gain buy-in from campus stakeholders are also important. Managing change was cited as 'one of the toughest challenges I face as an administrator' by 72 percent of survey takers." p.19

Stepping Up to Innovate: College Administrators Assess Higher Ed's Ability to Change Itself  (2022) Chronicle of Higher Education and Watermark

In March and April 2022 The Chronicle emailed the survey to 6,000 administrators and 565 responded. Directors made up the largest portion of respondents (42 percent), followed by deans (18 percent) and vice presidents (9 percent). Smaller numbers of presidents, provosts, vice provosts, department heads, and others also answered the survey.

Crucial Shift Consulting can Help You Manage Change!

There can be no transformation without effective implementation. We offer customized services and retreats at your venue or a Southern California retreat center designed to help campus coalitions implement complex initiatives in this new era. 

We help leaders methodically leverage diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure the organization's ecosystem of people, systems, programs, processes, policies, technologies and resources are working effectively and in sync to produce excellent outcomes for all students. What could be more important?

Other Services


Donna M. Buchanan, Ed.D., President


Dr. Donna Buchanan has over 20 years experience planning and implementing effective change strategies across industries and projects.

Building Strategic Agility to Balance What Is Desirable with What Is Possible

The Department Chair, Wiley Publications

Winter 2023

What Should Academic Leaders Consider as they Manage Change?: Five Common Hindrances to Navigating Disruption in Higher Education

The Department Chair, Wiley Publications

Summer 2022

(Free access for the remainder of 2023)

COMING SOON! Managing Change, Part 1: Pivoting into the Future
Wiley Publications, The Department Chair


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