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Continuous Improvement, Faculty, Six Sigma

Faculty Profile Pages Project

Churchill plans quote Opus College of Business has been updating the faculty profile pages and the faculty directory for the OCB website. This nearly completed update was accomplished through the efforts of a Continuous Improvement (CI) group that was formed in the fall of 2012. We all know how long-term projects can get buried under the avalanche of daily emails, phone calls and other activities. We stayed on track through regular meetings and updates in SharePoint.

The CI team used three of the tools that we learned during our Six Sigma training – discovery interviews, a fishbone diagram and process mapping. We then used Microsoft Project to create a timeline to stay on task for a project that will have extended over almost two years before completion.  

The first thing we did was to identify and interview the major stakeholders – faculty, students, administrators and members of the media. Using post-it notes we wrote down the issues that came forward in these interviews. These were grouped in categories. Using these categories we created a fishbone diagram which really looks like a fishbone. The spine of the project was updating the look and content of the profile pages. On the spine we listed the post-it note categories and the bones were all of the issues. We color-coded these issues by the ease in which they could be addressed. Doing this gave us a clear picture of where the problems were and the actions/approvals that were necessary to complete the tasks. At the same time we created a process map which allowed us to look at how profile pages are created for new faculty and how their information is kept current. Again, we were able to see where the bottlenecks were and how they could be fixed.

The profile page team worked through the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013. A few tasks remain to be completed as we get ready to transition to TerminalFour (T4), the university’s new content management system. As a team, we held weekly meetings from September, 2012 through January, 2013 and then moved to once every three weeks through July, 2013. These  were 15 minute meetings  conducted by conference call between campuses and took the form of “stand-up” meetings. The idea is that if everyone stands during a meeting everyone is likely to stay on task and the meeting can be finished quickly. As the time nears for our transition to T4, the team will be pulled together again to be certain everything is ready to go forward.

The current profile pages were given a first update which included adding a narrative bio for each faculty member and a new photo. The final updates will happen after OCB has converted to a new content management system for our website. Watch for the updated pages, we anticipate the new look will appear near the end of February, 2014!

Members of the 2020 Faculty Profile Pages Project team: Suzanne Krzmarzick, Lisa Burke, Jess Durant, Sandy Beach, Joyce Wilking, Cindy Lorah, Jean Gabler and Bob Gaffney.

Posted by Suzanne Krzmarzick

2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement, Faculty

Welcome to 2020 Vision

Nothing is more certain than change, and that is certainly
true for higher education.

The challenges we face today are only going to grow more daunting in the future. Whether these are the unique financial challenges of private colleges and universities, including our very own UST, or the changing nature of students, classrooms, media and course delivery, we will all face the need to embrace new ways of doing things. Those who learn to excel at thoughtful and purposeful change will succeed; those who do not will be left behind. No one wants to be left behind.


Frances 3 quote

That’s why, nearly three years ago, the college launched the 2020 Vision task force to address the need for continuous improvement in all we do. Our goal was to start slowly, learn the discipline and tools of the continuous improvement process, take on some small projects to build confidence and prepare ourselves to handle any challenge that comes our way. In 2010, Dr. John Olson instructed a team of nearly 30 administrative and staff support personnel in the fundamentals of continuous improvement. We picked a few projects and set out to create a new culture that validates and values people looking constantly for ways to do things better. Today, we’ve made a lot of progress with projects such as Printer/Copier Utilization, Mail Distribution, Faculty Expense Reimbursement Processing, and Administrative Support to Faculty Research. Our teams are learning quickly and applying their newfound knowledge to real opportunities around the college. Dr. Olson continues to train and retrain, mentor and counsel our project teams. We are slowly but persistently developing an incredible organizational capability to understand work flow, organize our information and data, devise innovative approaches and use the disciplines of continuous improvement to make the OCB a better college.

Today, we are introducing the 2020 Vision: A Continuous Improvement Project Blog. It’s important that everyone in the college learn about our team, what we have accomplished, and where we have set our sights on new projects. Of course, we hope that the excitement of this blog and ongoing posts about the projects will inspire many of you to join our team. That would be wonderful, and we have plenty for you to do. But even if you don’t officially join our team, being aware of what we are trying to achieve and supporting us is important as well.

So, thank you for reading the Opus College of Business 2020 Vision blog and be sure to check out the site each month as we add new and interesting stories and facts on our continuous improvement journey.

John McCallMcCall at work
Associate Dean & CFO
Opus College of Business

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