What We Do


The McPhail Group helps develop leaders at all levels of the institution: individual, departmental, and college-wide. We work to inspire leaders to examine issues and execute strategies to solve them.

Our training approach focuses on proactively cultivating classroom experiences that are relevant and engaging to all students. This is informed by the basic principle that "students" don't want special attention, yet they want to be acknowledged as individuals. We believe that an inclusive approach is engaging, and this in turn has positive outcomes for students and institutions in relation to student retention, persistence, achievement, and progression.

To schedule a workshop or seminar for your institution on the following topics or others, or to learn more about our services, please call us at (410) 245-9955 or email us at Christine@themcphailgroup.com or Irving@themcphailgroup.com.

Minorities in Engineering

Success Factors for Minorities in Engineering Workshop

This one-day workshop aims to help institutions isolate specific success factors for improving outcomes for underrepresented minorities in undergraduate engineering programs. It provides a wide range of strategies for promoting student success in the engineering field.

The workshop will help institutions

  • Understand the importance of hands-on exposure to problem-based courses
  • Use research to inform curriculum and student support efforts
  • Determine how internships are powerful catalysts for engineering success
  • Understand the importance of programs to integrate both college adjustment and academic skills into engineering education

Leadership Development

Leadership Tune-Up Workshop

This one-day workshop blends elements of practical leadership skills, personal self-discovery, practical skills, and a framework for learning new skills in a way that emphasizes the uniqueness of the individual. It is designed to excite, engage, and empower participants to develop the skills needed to navigate challenges in the workplace. It provides a welcoming environment in which to reflect on personal and professional experiences and examine the thinking and behavioral attributes that might be standing in the way of achieving your desired goals.

This workshop will help you

  • Tune up your mind and behavior by increasing your awareness of your leadership competencies and how to use them in and outside the workplace
  • Step outside your comfort zone, stretching and pushing yourself toward new experiences, meeting new people, and feeling inspired by the things and people around you
  • Have fun developing new skills and competencies through an engaging and interactive session
  • Empower yourself by using your personal strengths to learn to communicate in a way that leads to success.

Conquering the Challenges of Leading Contemporary Community Colleges: How Presidents Can Survive

This workshop provides executive training and leadership development for new and experienced community college presidents and boards of trustees. It will help leaders identify their internal strengths and weaknesses to help them understand the potential opportunities and challenges they may encounter.

While community college leaders face significant challenges, this workshop identifies the opportunities and strategies that are available to help them adapt to the changing landscape of community college leadership. Training and development modules include

  • Establishing and maintaining a shared understanding between the president and board about the president’s job
  • Leading transformational change, including addressing resistance to change
  • Developing strategies for talent management and execution at all levels of the organization
  • Connecting and sustaining relationships with constituent groups
  • Leading and managing diversity, equity, and inclusion issues
  • Creating strategic communication plans
  • Building strategies for crisis management
  • Understanding ethical and legal obligations
  • Understanding the importance of soft skills for executives
  • Knowing when it is time to leave

Emergenetics—Meeting of the Minds

Meeting of the Minds is a full-day workshop developed to reveal your thinking and behavioral preferences through experiential learning to realize greater individual and team potential. This workshop is a talent development platform that empowers individuals and sets the tone for a positive culture. The Meeting of the Minds workshop is an inspiring development event for individuals and teams.

Through the Meeting of the Minds Workshop, participants will be able to

  • Understand self and others
  • Communicate more effectively
  • Understand others’ perception of you
  • Make better decisions
  • Value your gifts
  • Build effective teams

The Meeting of the Minds Workshop can be customized to emphasize specific themes relevant to your needs, such as communication, personal effectiveness, and team effectiveness.

Leadership Development Academy

Leadership development is essential to organizational success in today's fast-changing and complex institutions. We help institutions develop their own Leadership Development Academy (LDA) that establishes a leadership center of excellence on site for the development of leaders throughout the institution. We encourage institutions to identify emerging leaders from all sectors of the institution who are interested in positively impacting the environment. The training provided through the LDA is a personal and professional empowerment experience for participants.

We routinely work with the Office of Human Resources to design a program (10 to 12 days) that is usually offered 1 day per month during the academic year. We conduct an assessment of training needs and design the curriculum based on the assessment results. The curriculum focuses on the environment in which the institution operates, the key functional areas of leadership, and the development and implementation of higher education strategy. Classroom learning is brought to life by hands-on exercises that demonstrate how a community college practitioner applies the concepts in a holistic and integrated way.

LDA participants gain knowledge about their own institutions as well as regional and national leadership issues. They develop their leadership acumen, team-building skills, communication skills, knowledge to build organizational effectiveness, and an expanded professional network with others necessary to become effective contributors within their institution.

Participants will learn how to

  • Empower employees by creating conditions for their success
  • Become a more successful leader
  • Improve communication
  • Make better decisions
  • Manage conflict and build a team
  • Collaborate more effectively as a team
  • Align unit goals with organizational goals

Leadership in Transition Services

The McPhail Group can provide leadership transition coaching services for colleges and universities. Having an external coach can assist in assessing the organization in an objective manner and provide direction and support when the new leader comes on board.

The McPhail Group LLC can provide the following leadership transition services:

  • The Individual: Transition in the Job 90-Day Plan of Action
    We help new leaders develop a plan of action for the first 90 days. The plan includes assessment of the position, role clarification for key employees, and articulation of vision and plans for the institution.
  • The Institution: Climate and Condition Review
    The purpose of the Climate and Condition Review (CCR) is to assess the condition of the college/university from an objective and informed perspective. A completely objective assessment can openly identify and address issues affecting the institution and help the new leader and the governing board establish a tentative agenda for the immediate future. Our CCR typically examines the following in terms of strengths, limitations, and opportunities: academic programs, student services, constituent group perspectives, resources such as technology, internal and external partnerships, leadership, and other issues and conditions that emerge during this review.

We can also help your institution

  • Develop onboarding materials to ensure a smooth and efficient executive transition
  • Provide team building to maintain staff morale and commitment during the transition
  • Ensure that strategic and operational plans continue to move forward

Organizational Development

Leading Equity-Centered Institutions

In this seminar, equity within higher education institutions is examined in two parts: practices and policies. The phrase "equity in higher education" refers to creating opportunities for equal access and success in higher education among historically underrepresented student populations, such as ethnic minority and low-income students. The session explores how institutional practices and policies influence aspirations, motivation, and outcomes.

This four-hour session is designed to help institutions understand the connection between equity and success and completion. Participants will learn

  • How to connect equity practices and principles to the open-door policy of the community college
  • How equity impacts the organizational culture
  • How institutional policies and practices can promote equity
  • How to engage stakeholders in maintaining equity standards
  • How to embed equity into the culture of the organization

Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning

The link between culture and classroom instruction is derived from evidence that cultural practices shape thinking processes, which serve as tools for learning within and outside of school. Thus, culturally responsive education recognizes, respects, and uses students' identities and backgrounds as meaningful sources for creating optimal learning environments. This four-hour session is designed to help teachers understand how to create and sustain culturally responsive classrooms and student service programs.

Participants will learn how to

  • Use culturally responsive pedagogy to redesign classrooms and student service programs
  • Foster culturally responsive communications
  • Improve interactions with students
  • Improve campus climate by empowering self and team members to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion

Creating and Sustaining Culturally Responsive Higher Education Institutions

Many educational institutions are trying to create an environment that naturally fosters cultural sensitivity and responsiveness. How do you bring cultural responsiveness to the level of "normal" within the institution? What are some innovative ways to establish cultural responsiveness in the institution and support it?

This daylong session is designed to help leaders and other stakeholders connect cultural responsiveness to the mission of the institution. It provides information that can be used by colleges to create culturally responsive environments. The daylong work session brings various campus constituent groups together to help them learn how to enhance their understanding of cultural responsiveness.

Participants will

  • Learn the benchmarks of cultural responsiveness
  • Clearly understand how cultural responsiveness is an integral part of the community college's open-door policy
  • Link cultural responsiveness to the mission of the college
  • Learn how to integrate cultural responsiveness practices into the work of the college

Strategic Planning Workshop

Strategic planning is important to an organization because it provides a sense of direction and outlines measurable goals. This session will introduce participants to the foundations of a strategic planning process. The workshop is organized so that participants will have the necessary information to develop strategic plans when they return to their organizations.

The workshop will help participants:

  • Understand the importance of strategic planning
  • Articulate the strategic planning life cycle
  • Write clear mission and vision statements
  • Develop operation plans to execute an activity to identify primary objectives
  • Develop performance indicators to evaluate the strategic plan
  • Develop strategies for linking planning to budgeting

Program Evaluation

Program evaluation is the systematic assessment of the processes and/or outcomes of your program with the intent of furthering its development and improvement. Our program evaluation process is a collaboration in which our evaluators work closely with your program or project staff to craft and implement an evaluation design that is responsive to the needs of the program.

We provide cumulative and summative findings that can be used to make decisions about program continuation or expansion. The cost of an evaluation is usually based on the scope of the activities and measures requested. We help institutions develop evaluation designs for programs and provide external evaluation services.

Our program evaluation process is a carefully planned and systematic approach to documenting the nature and results of your program evaluation.

Our evaluation process includes the following seven steps:

  1. Crafting purpose and scope of the evaluation
  2. Developing guiding questions for the evaluation
  3. Developing evaluation design based on goals of the program being evaluated
  4. Creating the data collection and analysis plan
  5. Designing the evaluation implementation plan
  6. Compiling the evaluation results and creating the final evaluation report
  7. Conducting evaluation debriefing with responsible parties.