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EMOD class members (left to right) Kim Fleshman, Serena Williams, Gina Martinez and Amy Lewis report the class’s findings at a Crime Victim Services board meeting last September.

EMOD class members (left to right) Kim Fleshman, Serena Williams, Gina Martinez and Amy Lewis report the class's findings at a Crime Victim Services board meeting last September.

Spacer Master's program students engage with service agency


Although they have experienced misfortune, clients of Crime Victim Services (CVS) of Allen and Putnam Counties also have some caring people on their side. Now they also have the benefit of BGSU’s Executive Master of Organization Development 2011 class enhancing the agency’s ability to help them recover from their ordeal.

The class chose the nonprofit agency for its final project from among 16 applicants.

“The goal is to assist organizations to become more effective both in serving the needs of their populations and internally,” said Dr. Deborah O’Neil, management. “We’re not fixing broken organizations, we’re helping good ones get better. The students choose the organization they feel offers the most learning in that they have the most potential for help and best fit their experience and expertise.”

In the case of Crime Victim Services, “it is the capstone class that continues even post-graduation,” she said. Even after the course was finished and the class’s report and recommendations were delivered, several of its members continue to work with the agency to help with strategic planning and board development, two of the class’s recommendations.

“They have an extremely strong executive director who frequently gets grants for the agency and who helps others get on board,” O’Neil said.

When he saw program’s request for proposals, CVS Executive Director David Voth said he was excited about the possibility of “having 10-20 professionals in a management class help you as a nonprofit with organization development and management help. Usually if we get a donation, it’s chairs or something. This is not typical.

“They treated me as if they were paid consultants for a strategic plan I didn’t have to pay for. They were completely professional. We had a point person proactively contacting us regularly, but with the entire team working on the project.”

Voth said there was a real synergy among the group that made it very effective. “Every one of those people is an experienced professional and they’re coming from different fields. They’re managers, administrators, supervisors, and they bring their professional and life experience as well as their master’s degree experience to the project.”

In studying CVS, its clients and its processes, the class interviewed nearly 40 people, from the victims to the staff and board members, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement. Though Voth and his staff had been focused on quality measures, and he had even written a book on the topic, the primary need the EMOD class identified was a strategic plan for the agency.

“They changed my mind. If you don’t know where you’re going, the quality measures aren’t as important,” Voth said he learned.

“We helped them be more focused,” said Kim Fleshman, manager of BGSU’s Academic Resource Center and one of the EMOD graduates still working with CVS. “We also made recommendations to help them make their funding more sustainable.”

In deciding to continue her work with the agency even after she had received her degree, Fleshman said, “I felt that if we just gave them all these recommendations and didn’t help walk them through the process, it would be hard for them to know what to do. This has been a good experience for all of us who’ve been involved. It helps to see your work in action and apply what you’ve learned. I also feel good knowing that, by our helping the organization, they’re better able to go out and help others.”

January 24, 2012

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