CAAI – Center for Applied Appreciative Inquiry

The Center for Applied Appreciative Inquiry (CAAI) at Rutgers University-Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration assists community organizations and groups with strategic planning, reorganization, and community engagement initiatives toward facilitating positive change. Through the use of positively constructed questions and a structured dialogue process, Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) seeks to discover the conditions, factors, and strengths that contribute to success and how they can be replicated to create new possibilities for greater future success. The center has provided technical assistance to colleges and universities, nonprofit and public sector organizations.

The center facilitates customized AI summits for:

  • Organizational strategic planning
  • Organizational culture change
  • Redesign/reorganization of structures, systems, and processes
  • Mergers, consolidations and shared services
  • Community engagement and visioning
  • Creative solutions to public policy issues

In addition to customized organizational programs for:

  • 'Appreciative' Leadership and Team Development
  • Development of Positive Communications

Certificate Program

The non-credit Certificate in Appreciative Inquiry for Strengths-based Leadership and Innovation in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors provides students with an opportunity to learn how to apply Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) and the SOAR methodology (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results) for positive organizational change and innovation and strategic planning. Through coursework and fieldwork, student apply what they learn by designing an Appreciative Inquiry-based project unique to their organization or community.


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CAAI Projects

Newark, New Jersey

  • Newark Fairmount Promise Neighborhood Community Engagement/Strategic Plan
    CAAI was commissioned by Rutgers University Newark Community Partnerships, the Urban League of Essex County, and the YMCA of Essex and West Essex to facilitate a process of strengths-based community engagement in developing a strategic plan for the Fairmount Neighborhood Promise Neighborhood.
     
  • Newark Fairmount Promise Neighborhood – Community Advocates Workshop
    CAAI trained a cadre of community advocates in the utilization of strength-based dialogue with local residents in solving problems and issues.
     
  • Newark Fairmount Promise Neighborhood – Parent/School Relationship Workshop
    Using Appreciative Inquiry, CAAI coached community advocates in conducting a workshop for parents and teachers in collaborative communication.

Around New Jersey

  • Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Center (BSRC)
    BSRC, the oldest poverty agency in America, commissioned CAAI to assist in developing and facilitating strengths-based organizational culture change.
     
  • Atlantic City Free Public Library (ACFPL) Staff Development Workshop
    ACFPL engaged CAAI to conduct a one-day professional development workshop for all staff in the principles and practices of Appreciative Inquiry.
     
  • East Stroudsburg University- Enrollment Management Services
    CAAI assisted the Office of Enrollment Management Services of East Stroudsburg University address and resolve operational problems using whole system, strengths-based dialogue.
     
  • Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCETP) Strategic Plan
    JCETP commissioned CAAI to lead and facilitate a community wide strategic planning process using Appreciative Inquiry and the SOAR methodology.
     
  • Pennington Borough Free Public Library Strategic Plan
    CAAI designed and facilitated a community-wide strategic planning process for the municipal library.
     
  • Essex County College (ECC) Strategic Plan
    ECC engaged CAAI to design and facilitate whole system strategic planning process using Appreciative Inquiry and the SOAR methodology.
     
  • Middlesex County College (MCC) Strategic Plan
    MCC commissioned CAAI to design and facilitate whole system strategic planning process using Appreciative Inquiry and the SOAR methodology.
     
  • College of St. Elizabeth (CSE) Board Retreat
    Using Appreciative Inquiry, CAAI facilitated a Board of Trustees retreat to reaffirm the college’s mission.
     
  • College of St. Elizabeth (CSE) Strategic Plan
    CSE commissioned CAAI to design and facilitate whole system strategic planning process using Appreciative Inquiry and the SOAR methodology.
     
  • Touro College Enrollment Services – Professional Development Workshop
    CAAI conducted an all staff professional development workshop in enhanced communications and engagement using Appreciative Inquiry.
     
  • YMCA of Montclair Strategic Plan
    CAAI designed and facilitated a strengths-based, community-wide strategic planning process for the YMCA of Montclair.
     
  • Trenton Public Schools Community Summit
    Working in partnership with Educational Testing Service (ETS) and using Appreciative Inquiry, CAAI designed and facilitated a community summit to address long-standing labor/management problems within the district.
     
  • Trenton Public Schools Community Engagement SOAR Forums
    The Trenton Public Schools commissioned CAAI to design and facilitate SOAR forums for local residents in each of the four wards of Trenton.
     
  • Trenton Public School Central Office Customer Services Summit
    CAAI designed and facilitated a one-day improving customer service 130-person summit for all staff of the Trenton Public Schools central office and school principals.
     
  • Villages In Partnership Board Retreat
    CAAI facilitated an executive board retreat for a foundation (VIP) that provides support services and clean water for the villages of Malawi, Africa.
     
  • Hudson County Chamber of Commerce Board Strategic Planning
    CAAI facilitated a strategic thinking retreat of the Board of Trustees in examining its mission and developing short-term goals over a three-year horizon.
     
  • St. Francis Hospital PACE – Staff Development Workshop
    St. Francis PACE, an all-inclusive program of care for the elderly, commissioned CAAI to conduct a one-day professional development workshop for improved performance and services.
     
  • Jersey City Office of the Deputy Mayor – New Job Readiness/Training Model  
    The Office of the Deputy Mayor of the City of Jersey City engaged CAAI to facilitate whole system dialogue in developing a new job readiness-training model for unemployed mothers.
     
  • The College of New Jersey Office of Human Resources – Professional Development and Organizational Assessment
    CAAI was commissioned to conduct a professional development workshop in strengths-based practices for organizational improvement and to conduct an organizational assessment to address key personnel issues.
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