Toby Egan, an expert on organization change in government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, leadership development, human resource development, and leader behavior, has joined the University of Maryland School of Public Policy as an associate professor. Egan has worked in the Human Resource Development Program at Texas A&M University, in a leadership and organization development program at Purdue University, and as a vice president of a Minneapolis-based consulting firm.
“Early in my academic career I found this really fascinating intersection between practice and academia that was really interesting to me in terms of looking at the impact of social sciences, development as well as organization practice and looking at how organizations and leaders, groups, and teams develop strategies for supporting that,” Egan says. “I think my background brings both an opportunity to support students in their individual development and careers as well as their exploration of their leadership development as well as policy related to human resource development and how that aspect will be growing over the next decades or so.”
What I hope to contribute to the School is to think about not just the curriculum, but how our students intersect with the curriculum in a way that is about their envisioned future while appreciating that along the journey through the program they may actually change their minds or have new ideas about their careers.Toby Egan Associate Professor
While working in both the academic world and the working world, Egan says he has witnessed a shift in the way people think about organizational change and human resource development. “What we’ve seen over the last 20 years is that human resource management strategies have moved from an organization lens to a national and international lens,” he says. “We’re starting to think about how policies, practices and individual and community understanding of human development and human resources development can lead to more effective, more rewarding and more human-centered policies that really are about the challenges of our future.”
Egan adds that the United States has to improve the way it thinks about setting policies to facilitate human resource development. “The U.S. has a long way to go in thinking through how we support development across our multicultural nation,” he says. “I think there’s a lot that we can do and a lot we can learn from other countries as well.”
One of the courses being taught by Egan at the UMD School of Public Policy will be PUAF711: Public Management and Leadership, which is a class designed to provide students with essential knowledge of management and leadership concepts as they relate to public organizations. Egan says he also hopes students will be open to exploring new and changing ideas about their careers while at SPP. “It might seem like a small thing, but what I hope to contribute to the School is to think about not just the curriculum, but how our students intersect with the curriculum in a way that is about their envisioned future while appreciating that along the journey through the program they may actually change their minds or have new ideas about their careers,” he says.
Egan goes on to say he hopes to pass his social learning strategies on to SPP students. “In addition to students’ intentional engagement with faculty and with their peers, I hope that they’re intentional in identifying individuals who have careers or organizations that have missions in which they’re really interested and take the time to engage and reach out. I hope students will structure themselves to be assertive about figuring out ways to put themselves out there to take a few risks. I want them to see themselves as not only the pilot in their career path, but as someone who if they are willing to take a few risks and willing to be persistent can really make connections for themselves,” he says. “So I hope they’re better than just a consumer of our academic program but they’re positioning themselves to see the ways in which our program can add to them as individuals.”