Student Affairs

Navigating Political Environments on Campus: A Guide for Getting Things Done

Date/Time: Thursday, 4/25/2019, 1 pm EST
Duration: 1 hour
Facilitator: Dr. Adam Peck
Price: $108.00

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is reported to have said, “Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.” This offers proof that even someone who navigated the waters of international negotiations during a time of great social change and war found the political environments of colleges and universities to be baffling and frustrating.

So, how can we understand the political environments of our institutions better and use that knowledge to achieve buy-in, advance our ideas, improve the experience of students and help our institutions achieve their goals and fulfill their mission? This webinar will focus on five concepts for making organizational change in a variety of organizations. It is particularly well suited for mid-level student affairs professionals, entry-level student affairs staff and faculty who wish to better understand how decisions get made at their institutions.


  1. Welcome/Introduction
  2. A fable of organizational decision-making (this story will set the context for the webinar).
  3. Know Your Environment: Understanding Organizational Types (Collegial Institutions, Political Institutions, Bureaucratic Institutions and Anarchical Institutions).
  4. Five Concepts for better understanding political environments:
    1. Using organizational planning (mission statements, strategic planning, master plans, etc.) to align with the mission of your institution.
    2. Understanding and leveraging shared values: Values Confluence
    3. Leading effective decisions-making processes using a decision-making framework.
    4. Fostering effective academic/student affairs collaboration by understanding differences.
    5. Understanding and capitalizing on “policy windows.”
  5. Question and Answer
  6. Conclusion

Learning Outcomes:

  • Participants will be able to identify the organizational type of their own institution and will understand how that structure impacts the ways that decisions are made.
  • Participants will be able to identify what institutional planning documents can help them interpret the strategic direction of the institution and align their initiatives with the strategy.
  • Participants will learn how to use a decision-making framework to make better decisions and increase buy-in for their decisions.
  • Participants will be able to identify ideological differences (differences in ways that academic affairs and student affairs see the political environment) in ways that help collaborate more effectively.
  • Participants will learn how to spot and perhaps create policy windows (environments in which organizational change can be made).

Who Should Attend:

  • Mid-level Student Affairs Professionals
  • Chief Student Affairs Officers
  • Entry-level Student Affairs Professionals
  • Faculty/Academic Affairs Staff


Dr. Adam Peck serves as Acting Vice President for University Affairs and a graduate faculty member in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Peck is also President and CEO of APEX Educational Programs, LLC, an educational consulting company that assists universities in engaging students and measuring the impact of that engagement. A former stand-up and improvisational comedian, Peck is a dynamic speaker who infuses his presentations with creativity and humor. He has presented at numerous national conferences, provided keynotes for a wide variety of groups and conducted more than 100 national webinars. He was the co-author/editor of “Engagement & Employability: Integrating Career Learning Through Cocurricular Experiences in Postsecondary Education” published by NASPA.

Peck earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from Lewis University, a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Texas at Austin.

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