The Center for Organizational Reform [COR] was founded in 1995 by three faculty members in Gonzaga University’s Ph.D. in Leadership Studies Program. Designed as an optional internship program, COR trained doctoral students (and later, members of the wider community) in the skills of facilitation and process consultation, and then placed them in internship roles with expert consultants who worked with requesting organizations.
COR’s goals were to anchor this training in state-of-the-art research from the organizational sciences in three ways. First, its focus centered on how organizations of all types could increase their levels of effectiveness, health, and accountability; and second, COR taught the best practices in “professional helping” in ways that assisted groups to develop greater capacities to resolve whatever issues they faced in an increasingly complex world. Finally, COR sought to teach all of these knowledge bases and skill sets to organizational leaders who wished to build such learning into their leadership repertoires.
By 2002, due to the increased demand on its services from both local and national sources, COR became an independent educational nonprofit corporation in Washington state, and was designated as tax-exempt (501(c)(3) by the IRS the next year. Since its founding, COR has served organizations of all kinds (i.e., health care, K-12 education, higher education, nonprofits, religious, and corporate) as well as hundreds of individuals in its educational events. Throughout its life, COR has faithfully strived to achieve the same goals that formed the foundation of its incubation at Gonzaga—that to know, or have skills that can help others makes it mandatory to use them in this fashion.
In 2005, COR moved its headquarters to the grounds of The Clare Center, a former Franciscan retreat center just south of Spokane, Washington. The peace and proximity to the natural world so tangible on this site enhanced COR’s capacity to create the space for individuals and groups to focus on those things which matter most to them.
In 2010, when its Franciscan owners decided to sell the Clare Center, COR moved back to the city center area. Five years later, COR moved to its present location near the downtown area of Spokane.