NCCI believes that sharing stories between our member institutions is a key way to cultivate change within higher education.
NCCI’s Innovation Spotlight gives member institutions the opportunity to tell other member institutions about a program, project or initiative successfully implemented that involved change, continuous innovation, or the enhancement of academic or administrative excellence and effectiveness.
Read about the University of Washington’s finance and facilities departments eight-year lean journey, which was recognized by the Shingo Institute.
While diversity is a wonderful gift to college learning and campus life, it also poses a real challenge to all institutions in terms of full awareness of the specific life circumstances and educational needs of students of different academic, racial, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds; financial, family, and citizen status; and age, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more. We strive for every student’s success. We know how much students stand to gain for themselves, their families, and their future generations with that college degree, and we know how much our communities and country stand to gain, as well. But we may not always know how best to serve our many different students in our classrooms or across our desks or counters, especially those most in-need and at-risk in their education.
Listening to Students is work done at California State University, Sacramento and Sierra Community College in Rocklin, California, that is meant to inform and inspire those in higher education and foster greater awareness and advocacy for all students, and especially those most at risk and in need in academia.
One of the best ways to learn about the different types of students that you teach or work with is to just ask. Accordingly, students were invited to take a survey asking them to share their thoughts and feelings regarding their education. Hundreds of student responses were received and then categorized into sections that include: Students of different grade levels, ages, cultural backgrounds, disabilities, and more. Each of these sections contains: (1) the stated perspectives of that type of student, (2) information and suggestions for faculty and staff to better work with or teach that type of student, and (3) a list of applicable campus services for that student group. One section per week was shared with the campus. All of the sections may be seen at the website, and there you will see the power of student voices and potential value of this project to an institution.
Contact: Donna Knifong
Further Information: www.csus.edu/saseep/listeningtostudents.html
University of Washington is a sprawling, growing, and urban campus, and one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Ranked No. 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s 2015 rankings, the UW educates more than 54,000 students annually. Diversity and innovation are hallmarks of the UW, and long-time membership in NCCI has positively impacted many at UW—particularly the administrative side of campus.
The UW’s “2 Years to 2 Decades” initiative after the 2008-9 recession focused on preserving academic strength, while introducing the concept of “organizational excellence.” An outgrowth of that has been the “Transforming Administration Program” (TAP)—dozens of projects and initiatives in all areas of the University. In June 2015, the Provost conducted a broad survey on Central Administration. Its aim was to get a quick take on issues to help prioritize near-term efforts and resulted in a broad spectrum of targeted improvements to campus services.
In 2016, UW’s Provost and TAP leadership tasked a team to conduct a UW-wide TAP administrative services survey of faculty, staff, and a segment of central administrative services. The effort seemed monumental and complex to the team.
NCCI’s 2016 Conference featured a contingent from UC San Diego speaking on their campus climate- and customer-service surveys, which they were expanding to other California schools. UW conference participants were very impressed with what they heard from UCSD, and alerted them when the survey RFP was advertised.
Through a competitive-bid process, UCSD was awarded the contract and will administer this large-scale survey of over 80 support services in January 2017. The UW team is excited about the quality and sophistication of UCSD’s process, and looking forward to receiving the data, analysis and recommendations that will come from UCSD’s work…not to mention the ability to benchmark with other West Coast universities, some of which are also NCCI members!
NCCI membership is well known for providing ideas, support and development opportunities for individuals who are “change agents” at their institutions. What is less known is the institution-wide benefit—even for very large schools—that is possible when we share best practices and seek to apply it at our own institutions.
Contact: Ruth Johnston, email@example.com
The University of Virginia recognized that a significant percentage of faculty and staff would be eligible to retire in the next 24 to 36 months. The University decided to take a proactive approach and incorporate staff succession development into its five year strategic plan. “Succession
development” is different than “succession planning.” Succession development is the process of identifying and developing employees (at all levels) who have the potential to fill key positions in the organization. This increases the availability of experienced and capable employees who are prepared to assume key roles.
Instead of building a program and then finding people who “fit” the parameters of the program, we asked VPs and Deans to identify their high potential employees. This allowed them to look at all levels of their organization – both broadly and deeply. The pilot program was built to be
one year long, and included a 360 feedback assessment, mentoring from an executive outside their normal work area, traditional learning utilizing existing leadership development programming and a project. Mentoring was key; while asking for nominees, we also asked executive-level leaders for a commitment to mentoring (at least 4 times during the 12 month period). Selected participants were met with one-on-one after completing a statement of interest and a mentoring interest questionnaire. The meetings provided an opportunity to get to know the participants better, which helped in the mentor matching. The final Cornerstone Program participants (n=25) represented 11 units and four schools. The mentor pool represented 13 units and three schools. Lessons learned include to hold a mentoring orientation session, obtaining project ideas from leadership rather than participants, and plan for the departure of some participants.
Contact: Carolyn Cullen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information: http://www.virginia.edu/leadershipexcellence/our-offerings/succession/
Fresno State has been implementing successful lean projects across administrative and academic units for nearly a decade. Our challenge was to move from individual projects to a sustainable culture of innovation and improvement. In Fall 2014, we launched a pilot program, “Creativity and Innovation for Effectiveness” (CAIFE). CAIFE was designed to engage faculty, staff and administrators in the process of institutional transformation in order to harness and embrace a lasting culture of innovation and creativity. The program blends individual development with focused efforts to
enhance organizational effectiveness. The pilot included three distinct phases:
- Bold Idea Challenge – an all campus call from the President for ideas to improve services to students, teaching or learning innovations or ways to fix an inefficient process.
- Implementation of ideas coupled with Professional Development focused on innovation, process improvement and change management.
- Showcase of Excellence
The “Bold Ideas Challenge” involved a call from the President to faculty and staff to submit Bold Ideas to improve services to students, teaching or learning or fix an inefficient process. At the close of the challenge, 157 ideas were submitted. Over 100 were sent directly to departments for
assessment and potential implementation. Twelve (12) ideas were selected and assigned to teams for review and possible implementation. CAIFE teams were formed to assess and potentially implement 12 of the bold ideas. As a part of the CAIFE process, team members (faculty, staff and administration) participated in a series of professional development workshops designed to expand their capacity in managing change, process improvement methodologies and innovative thinking and innovation. Participants received $1,800 stipend. Each team was assigned a facilitator and executive sponsor from the Cabinet. Finally, our first Showcase of Excellence was held to recognize all examples of innovation and improvement. The 12 project teams along with 61 other posters presented at the 2-hour, inaugural, President’s Showcase of Excellence. This event was a celebration of success stories, innovation and best practices.
Contact: Kathleen Scott, email@example.com
Further information: http://www.fresnostate.edu/adminserv/learning/caife/
Chief Information Officer Larry Levine was looking for a way to unify the Office for Information Technology (OIT) behind a data-based strategic plan. To do so, he engaged the Office for Performance Improvement to help OIT create and implement a strategic plan following the Performance
Excellence strategy. The strategic plan was then translated into specific tasks to be accomplished across OIT using a combination of data analysis and expertise in information technology. Deploying the strategic plan and cascading the metrics throughout the organization gave managers a clear
understanding of how their work translated to the organization’s goals. The four areas targeted for improvement were employee empowerment, point of service customer satisfaction, overall customer satisfaction, and value contributed to the university by OIT.
OIT followed the Performance Excellence model to accomplish their objectives. Performance Excellence is achieved when an organization is generating the maximum level of value possible, given the human, financial, capital, and other resources it possesses. The implementation of
this comprehensive model for effectively managing a unit starts with the execution of a Policy Deployment (Hoshin Planning) effort, designed to align everyone in the organization on a set of goals and objectives consistent with the Vision, Mission, and Value Proposition for the unit. In executing the subsequent phases of the model, data based and client-centric strategies are executed to maximize value at the lowest possible cost; with headcount reduction and capital investment constituting last versus first choices for process improvement.
Contact: Steven Ouellette, firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information: http://www.colorado.edu/opi/2015/10/26/office-information-technology-oit
As with most institutions, the complexity of the work in the departments was increasing, the central units were stretched thin, as well as there was a need to increase the infrastructure for grants administration and/or other priority initiations. Errors rates on incoming work was higher than they should be and lots of time was being devoted to one-on-one help.
As part of its ongoing efficiency and effectiveness efforts, the executive officers of the University of Memphis charged a small working group with seeking out solutions to the challenges the school was facing at the time. At the suggestion of a colleague, a few members from the University
attended a NCCI conference where they gained not only process improvement ideas but chances to network with other institutions who were experiencing similar challenges. The group did not know where to begin with some of these ideas; however, as a result these relationships and subsequent conversations, the University was able to develop an effective blueprint. For example, Shared Services was one idea implemented in 2012 as a two year pilot for selected administrative processes. This business model creates a single service-oriented unit by bringing together similar business activities historically managed within individual departments. The goal is to assist departmental staff with the completion of transactional processes and optimize the amount of time spent on University, College, Division, and departmental initiatives. This is accomplished by transferring some of the more routine work to the Shared Services Center.
Contact: Holly Rounds, email@example.com
Further information: http://www.memphis.edu/ssc/
Prior to 2012, Tarrant County College (TCC) did not have systems in place to identify and automatically award Certificate and Associate Degree completers/graduates their earned educational credentials. TCC graduates were required to login to TCC’s Student Portal and submit a
petition to be granted their certificate or degree. This student initiated petition process was problematic because many students failed to realize they were eligible to graduate. The reduced number of completers became a bigger challenge when the State of Texas began to issue a percentage
of TCC’s funding based on the number of students who graduated from TCC.
In an effort to increase our graduate volume, TCC’s Records Department collaborated with its IT department to create systems and processes that automatically identified certificate and associate degree graduates. The custom processes scan the Student database, identify students who have completed their designated certificate(s) and degree(s) and award the student their earned credential automatically. In addition, these custom processes identify students who are within 12 credit hours of completing their program and place these students on spreadsheets that are shared
with campus Advising staff. The Advising staff reach out to these students, inform them how close they are to graduating and finalize a plan for the student to graduate. In addition to the system enhancements, a Graduation Outreach Specialist Position was created to oversee TCC’s automatic
graduation process. The results of TCC’s automatic graduation process have been impressive. In the 2 year period from 2013 to 2015, TCC has increased its student credentials earned from 5,593 graduates in 2013 to 7,215 graduates in 2015. TCC’s graduates have grown by 29% in 2 years!
Contact: David Ximenez, firstname.lastname@example.org
At the University of Missouri, if a student’s academic performance is adversely affected by unforeseen circumstances or when there are administrative errors on a student’s transcript, students have the option of requesting a revision to their academic record. However, this paper-base process was riddled with problems (e.g., ROR form was not available to students unless they asked for it from their advisors, differing practices across academic units, lost paperwork, signature bottlenecks, no tracking system), leading to frustrations for stakeholders (students, administrative staff, academic advisors, and faculty). Additionally, the faculty committee appointed to make the final decisions about whether or not a record should be revised did not always receive useful information about the student’s situation.
A team made up of registrar staff, academic advisors, student success staff, and a faculty member was convened to redesign the process. Key changes made: information about the process and the ROR form was posted to the registrar’s website rather than held by academic advisors;
the form can be submitted electronically to the Registrar’s office who then obtain electronic signatures from necessary individuals; the signature process is no longer linear – the form goes out simultaneously and electronically via Qualtrics and only the instructor is required to sign/make comments; the chair and dean, who were required to sign with the previous process are asked to provide context or input if they have it. Outcomes: paperwork is no longer lost; the processing time went from 56.5 days to 1.5 days; and because key individuals are asked for context or input, the faculty committee is receiving more valuable information. The team anticipates that petitions to revise the academic record will increase, but feel this is desirable: this process is meant to help students who have unforeseen events occur that can temporarily or even permanently derail their academic career. Key words: registrar, process redesign, record revision
Contact: Julie Brandt, email@example.com
Further information: http://registrar.missouri.edu/policies-procedures/revision-records.php
The Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) has had great success with twice weekly 15 minute stand up meetings to replace the traditional two hour staff meeting every Monday morning. In addition to consistent, high quality information sharing, the format contributes toward building community and organizational pride. These standup meetings foster professionalism, collegiality and personal development by providing a wide variety of opportunities for each staff member to contribute individually or as part of a team. The only rule is to respect the 15 minutes. OCG has been conducting stand up meetings since June 2013. Because standups have shown to be an effective way to transmit information and create meaningful professional and social connections, we expect to continue using this form of communication, allowing the format and content to evolve to meet the changing needs of the organization.
Communication channels within OCG have vastly improved. The culture has changed to one that values each individual and their importance to the organization. Because we routinely gather and communicate, concerns are quickly addressed keeping unhealthy rumors at bay. Individuals seek out others to accomplish goals and objectives, creating high caliber teams. There is a high level of trust across the organization. By leading standup meetings, staff members have the opportunity to successfully experience a leadership role in a safe environment, allowing them to confidently practice with leading teams. Some staff members successfully transitioned into supervisory roles, practicing the skills and strategies that had been modeled in the standup meetings. Topics are wide and varied including latest federal regulations or policy, status updates on various operational
matters, strategy for responding quickly to unexpected events, professional development, team building, health and wellness. Staff members have created a culture where they feel safe to take risks whether it be a new approach with conducting standup meetings or an innovative strategy for
Contact: Cynthia Husek, firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information: http://www.cu.edu/blog/ouc-news/cusp-submission-shows-benefits-standmeetings
Cornell decreased by approximately 1,000 staff in 2009 and was not in a practice of revising processes over time, leading workloads to continue growing and trying to do all of the same work, plus new work with fewer staff. Lean process improvement was implemented to address issues of
workload. It was believed that if we improved processes we could reduce workload or focus on value added work. In addition to helping in these areas, we have found Lean is a great team building activity, increases communication, develops expertise and individuals which in turn may lead to people moving into new or expanded roles. For Cornell, learning about Lean through NCCI colleagues has been a huge gain. We are thankful that NCCI is a huge value-add.
Cornell learned what other universities were doing around Lean. In December 2012 a few Cornell staff traveled to the University of Washington and learned about the tools they were using and came back, created the tools to work for our environment, and launched our first team in January 2013. Since then we have launched 82 teams, After talking with NCCI colleagues at Miami Ohio, Carleton University, and University of Washington in fall 2012, Cornell launched Lean process improvement and to date have completed 82 launches and colleges and divisions have completed
countless other Lean projects because our method is “teach them to fish,” meaning Organizational & Workforce Development (OWD) does not have to be in the room for a group to launch a team. The 82 Leans OWD has launched have led to saving/repurposing $4,950,643 plus $6.5M in deferred
maintenance while spending $583,694 in Lean participant FTE costs for a total Lean added value to date of $4,266,949.
Contact: Kathy Burkgren, email@example.com
Further information: https://www.hr.cornell.edu/life/lean.html
A growing realisation that Sheffield needed to focus support to improve management capability emerged between 2010-13. The success of the Sheffield Leader in raising leadership skills, combined with feedback from a number of reviews around equality and diversity and ‘Investors in People’ highlighted this need further. There was management development provision in place, but it was reactive and disparate. 1,400 individuals have line management responsibilities and it was proving very difficult to ensure that those who most needed support (as opposed to those who
wanted it!) in improving their management skills and performance received it. The biggest problem however, was raising the profile and value of the management role, both amongst academic and Professional Services staff. Management has traditionally been seen as a burdensome administrative task that detracts from the real business of the University. We needed to change this perception.
A University-wide consultation took place with over 100 managers at different levels and in different roles. A cross-University steering group working with several external experts (including an esteemed Professor in Higher Education) drove the process. Two key priorities emerged –
developing managers’ skills and confidence to have constructive conversations; and helping managers to understand the importance and value of their role (particularly in relation to the application of equality & diversity policies). ‘MANAGE’ was launched in October 2014, adopting a parallel approach whereby ‘core sessions’ for academic Heads of Department and key Professional Services roles combine with Faculty tailored provision which uses an organisational development (OD) approach. In its 1st year, 66 sessions were delivered with 738 attendees. Although it’s too early to gauge long-term impact, feedback is very positive, particularly in relation to improving the quality of conversations. Learning points include
the need for a more robust research phase as part of our OD approach & having a greater oversight of communications rather than relying solely on faculty communication channels.
Contact: Phil Wallace, firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/hr/sld/manage/year1
Organizational growth has caused a discord among policies, operations and risk. The healthcare environment is ever-changing with increased regulatory pressures and rising costs. Thus, it is necessary to increase focus on effective policy management in order to reflect current operational
standards and minimize overall system risk. Our management of policies was decentralized and ineffective. There was a lack of governance structure, broken processes and workflows, fragmented knowledge and training, and inability to easily access policies due to multiple storage locations. Each storage location has its own collection of databases with documents that may be duplicative, misclassified, or hold inaccurate/outdated content. In total there are close to 11,000 policies scattered across the system. The current systems have an impact on organizational performance, cause staff confusion, and prevent clinicians from finding the right policy – occupying time away from clinical care.
Emory University’s internal consulting group, Business Practice Improvement (“BPI”), launched the EHC Policy Review and Consolidation Project in November 2015. This project will make improvements in policy management around the areas of governance, technology, workflow, training and education, and compliance. The project has three major phases; Phase 0, Phase 1 (with two parts A & B) and Phase 2. During Phase 0 we inventoried policies and assessed the current policy management structure. During Phase 1A we conducted a nationwide benchmarking study to identify best practices in policy management and evaluated technology options to establish a single source of truth (centralized repository) for all document types across the healthcare system – regardless of operating unit, division, or department. We also worked with stakeholders to develop a new governance structure designed to mitigate issues associated with decentralization, local policy ownership and approval. Phase 1B consists of consolidating and cataloging policies. In addition an enterprise-wide change management plan will be developed. The new policy management structure will be implemented in Phase 2.
Contact: Ross Nicholas, email@example.com
Managers have always been encouraged to get out of the office and walk areas where the “real work” is happening. But there was no real purpose or structure to the walks, resulting in little more than casual comments or instructions to employees.
A new GEMBA-inspired tool powered by SharePoint automation, helps managers ask the right questions and observe what’s important to help improve processes, develop employees, and evaluate quality of performance as they tour work spaces. Because it’s automated, all comments
get deposited into a database for reporting, action and follow-up. Data stored can be accessed, sorted and used for a variety of purposes including contributing to performance evaluations, improving customer service and relationships, and overall improving how the work is being done.
Contact: Sandra Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org