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Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive, High Engagement Process and Philosophy for Increasing Teaching and Institutional Effectiveness

Ray Wells, Ph.D., Company of Experts
Friday, January 9, 2009 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Regency Room, Holmes Student Center

Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) is both a worldview and a process for facilitating positive change in systems. Its assumption is simple: every system has something that works right - things that give it life when it is vital, effective, and successful. Ai begins by identifying this “positive core” and connecting to it in ways that heighten energy, sharpen vision, and inspire action for change. In the last 20 years Ai has found its way into every sector, including higher education. Ai has been used to facilitate positive change in medical schools, academic departments, student affairs, human resources, extension services, library systems and, institutionally, through work with boards of trustees. Its premises and practices have been integrated in instructional design and classroom pedagogy, academic and career advising, e-learning, and program evaluation.

This workshop, by Ray Wells (Company of Experts), will fully engage participants in the Ai process and provide an orientation to the possibilities for use throughout the University. Participants will leave with an understanding of how individual, small-scale and large-scale change can be promoted with an emergent, non-prescriptive strategy, an appreciative perspective, and sustained attention to everyday relational patterns. Faculty, staff, and especially administrators involved in strategic planning or organizational and leadership development will find this workshop beneficial. Appreciative Inquiry is mentioned as one of the suggested strategies in NIU’s recommended readings for strategic planning. For additional information on Ai, check

Ray Wells is the president of Wellbeing Systems, Inc., of Abington, PA, co-owner of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Consulting, LLC, and serves on the international faculty for the Foundation for the Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). Dr. Wells earned his Master of Arts from Bowling Green State University (OH) in college student development and his Ph.D. in applied social-psychology from Temple University, where his research focused on how leadership creates and maintains a sense of community on a college campus. He has held professional student affairs positions at Arizona State University, Southeast Missouri State University, and Temple University. Listed below is the tentative agenda for the workshop:

8:00 AM
Check-in and Refreshments
8:30 AM
Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Process, Discovery-Appreciative Interviews
10:00 AM
Refreshment Break
11:00 AM
Discovery – The Positive Core
12:00 AM
1:00 PM
4-D Process Continued
2:30 PM
Refreshment Break
2:45 PM
4-D Process wrap-up and Discussion
4:00 PM
Closing and Institute Evaluation

Registration Information:

The workshop is only for NIU administrators, faculty, staff. Registered participants will receive workshop materials, lunch, refreshments, and a certificate of participation. Advanced registration is required. You can register online at or by completing and returning the form below, or by phone (815) 753 0595, email Include your name, title, department, phone, NIU email, and special accommodations needed.

Due to the expensive nature of the program and the advance notice needed for arranging food and materials, please register by the deadline and plan to attend the entire workshop, if you register. Registration Deadline: December 19, 2008. After you register, if you are unable to attend, please inform the Center by January 6, 2009 so that those on the waiting list could be given the opportunity to attend the workshop or program costs could be reduced.

Registration Deadline: December 19, 2008
Please complete the form below to register.

Faculty/Staff Registration Form

Registration is closed for this program.

Last Updated: 03/15/2016