Black Staff Engagement at a Major Research University in Relation to Strategic Planning, Innovation, and Collaboration

Today’s public research university is constantly required to respond to financial, regulatory, technological, political, social, and academic pressures. Frequently, the response is to initiate strategic planning and innovation efforts. The success of those efforts rely largely upon execution which is dependent upon staff at every level of the organization. This qualitative phenomenological study used appreciative inquiry as its method of inquiry as well as its analytical lens to explore the experiences of Black staff in various roles at a primarily non-Black public R1 research university. Participants were actively involved in the execution of plans developed to address various areas and objectives, but not very involved in the process of providing input for inclusion in any of the plans. Leadership and supervision are critical influencers of drivers as well as drivers of staff engagement.