Pennie Foster-Fishman, Ph.D.
Dr. Foster-Fishman is a professor in the Department of Psychology and a Senior Outreach Fellow in University Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University. She received her Ph.D. in organizational/community psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests primarily emphasize systems change, particularly how organizational, inter-organizational, community, and state systems can improve to better meet the needs of children, youth, and families. In her research and evaluation practice, Dr. Foster-Fishman is known for designing and applying innovative facilitation, team, and evaluation techniques that promote real-time learning, systems alignment, and participatory voice. To date she has published over 45 articles and book chapters that have examined how to effectively design and pursue change. Dr. Foster-Fishman also has over 25 years of experience as a systems, organizational and community change consultant. She has consulted with hundreds of public sector agencies, not-for-profit organizations, community and state-wide coalitions, and international, federal and state change initiatives aiming to improve their effectiveness and strategic alignment. She has worked closely with national foundations and state and federal funders to enhance their funding mechanisms and strategic approaches. Her frameworks for building collaborative capacity and for promoting systems change have been adopted by communities, coalitions, funders, and state and federal government agencies around the world.
Erin Watson, Ph.D.
Erin Watson is the co-director of the System Exchange, a systems change research and evaluation unit at Michigan State University. She received her Ph.D. in Community Psychology from Michigan State University. Her research and evaluation interests center on how organizations and communities can use systems thinking and participatory action-learning processes to design, implement, and evaluate transformative change efforts aiming to improve the lives of children and families. She has consulted with a variety of organizations, public sector agencies, community coalitions, and foundations around their efforts to promote place-based change, service delivery system reform, strategic alignment, and collaborative capacity. She has also had experience with designing and implementing action learning processes to support communities in aligning their efforts with local needs and conditions; engaging diverse stakeholders in designing and effectively carrying out change strategies; and using evaluation to promote adaptation and continuous improvement. She specializes in understanding and supporting complex adaptive change, specifically in the area of self-organizing change processes. Her frameworks for systems transformation have been adopted by numerous communities both nationally and internationally. Dr. Watson is the co-developer of the ABLe Change Framework, an action learning model for promoting the effective implementation of community systems change.