Office of Faculty Development and Diversity

Team Science Initiative

Since its inception in 2008, OFDD has been developing programs for Team Science education and training, with the goal of creating more effective research teams.  During 2009-2011, two programs were launched:  four half-day workshops on team dynamics with Margaret Neale, PhD, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a workshop on team communication with Michael O’Rourke, PhD, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Idaho and PI of the NSF-funded “Improving Communication in Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration” project.  Based on feedback from participants in those two programs, a new Team Science Workshop Series was created, the first program with a multi-part curriculum focused on the principles of and strategies for team effectiveness.

The Team Science Workshops Series consists of five 2.5-3-hour workshops designed to address five key issues raised in the previous programs (see topics below). The goal of the series is to provide a forum for faculty researchers to come together to learn about and discuss new directions and pathways to increase team effectiveness and productivity. The workshops are led by leading scholars and practitioners in the area of team process and team effectiveness, focusing on the following topics:

Workshop 1

Leading Team Science:  Resources, Funding and Support for Collaborative Research, Holly Falk-Krzensinski, PhD.  Holly Falk-Krzesinski is Research Assistant Professor and Director of Research Team Support and Development at Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Science Institute (NUCATS).  In this workshop, she discussed the science of Team Science and the resources available for funding and supporting collaborative research, and shared two case studies to start a conversation about how teams can work effectively.

Workshop 2

Tools and Strategies for Collaborative Effectiveness and Success, L. Michelle Bennett, PhD and Howard Gadlin, PhD.  Michelle Bennett is the Deputy Scientific Director for NHLBI, NIH, and Howard Gadlin is Ombudsman and Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution at the NIH.  They have collaborated and authored (with their colleague Samantha Levine-Finley) the publication Collaboration & Team Science:  A Field Guide, which won an NIH Plain Language Award.  In this workshop, they shared the insights from the Field Guide and their experiences with building and rebuilding cross-disiplinary teams.

Workshop 3

Practices and Conditions to Foster Innovation in Interdisciplinary Research Science Teams, Maritza Salazar, PhD and Theresa Lant, PhD.  Maritza Salazar is Assistant Professor at Claremont Graduate University School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, and Theresa Lant is Associate Professor at Pace University Lubin School of Business.  Together, they conducted an in-depth mixed methods study of interdisciplinary research science teams at a medical center.  In this workshop, they facilitated participant discussions based on their “burning questions” about challenges to and strategies for team success, and a case study of a real-life translational biomedical research team.

Workshop 4

Approaches to Leadership to Foster Collaboration in Teams, Barbara Gray, PhD. Barbara Gray is Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director of the Center for Research in Conflict and Resolution at Pennsylvania State University Smeal College of Business.  In this workshop, she led participants through an activity called the Five Squares Exercise to discuss the foundations for team effectiveness, and used a survey on collaborative capacity to discuss key characteristics of effective teams.

Workshop 5

Strengthen Teamwork, Mindset and Performance with Applied Improv, Dan Klein and Rich Cox.  Dan Klein is a Performance Coach, the Head of Improv at Stanford University Department of Drama, and Lecturer at Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Design School (, and Rich Cox is a Business and Performance Coach at ImprovImpact.  Dan and Rich lead improv workshops that engage participants in experiential learning about interactions and behaviors that can increase organizational and team effectiveness.  In this final workshop of the series, they will demonstrate the application of the principles and practice of improv to develop team orientation and strengthen teamwork and team effectiveness.

The Participants: A total of forty-five faculty members and eight research professionals and administrators have taken part in the workshop series.  Participants represent fourteen departments in the School of Medicine (basic science and clinical), nine institutes and centers of research, all ranks and faculty lines, and varied positions and roles in research administration.  Their research teams span across basic science and clinical departments, often also reaching into disciplines in the natural sciences, math and engineering.  The majority of participants hold leadership roles in their teams (such as PI, Core Director).  Participants also included three colleagues from UCSF.

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