A Journey to Excellence

Forum members learn about plans for a new administrative operating model.

A new administrative operating model for Carolina is now in the works.

During the Nov. 7 meeting of the Employee Forum, Senior Vice Provost for Business Operations Rick Wernoski announced that the Provost’s Office has begun work on the new model, which he described as“a journey to excellence.”

The goal for the Operational Excellence project is to create a high-functioning administrative operation that will improve service for end users and align with the operational priorities in The Blueprint for Next, the University’s strategic framework. The initiative will be one of the biggest efforts the University will undertake in the next 18 to 24 months. But the starting point has been to gather information by engaging the whole campus community in a structured, collaborative and transparent process, Wernoski said.

Wernoski and his team have conducted more than 30 listening tours at the schools and with many departments. More tours are scheduled through the end of the semester.

“The success of this effort involves all of you in this room and everyone around campus,” said Wernoski, who is leading the project.

An 18-member steering committee, with representatives from schools, central administration, faculty and staff has been created. Among its members is Employee Forum Chair Shayna Hill.

“We will be heard,” Hill told forum delegates.

More campus input will be sought in the weeks and months ahead with the creation of two “early impact” teams that will consist of about 15 people who represent a mix of staff from central administration and the schools and units. One of those teams is working to improve the hiring process for EHRA non-faculty and SHRA positions and the other is looking at streamlining procurement processes.

Wernoski outlined the key themes of Operational Excellence:

  • The primary objective is to improve service levels while taking into account the culture at each school and unit. There is no presupposition of solutions;
  • The focus is to improve the quality, speed and accuracy of services in a way that benefit end users, while creating a platform to accommodate future growth. Cost savings is not the driver;
  • Showing early impact will build momentum for this work; and
  • Once a desired end state is identified, services of greatest importance to end users will be prioritized, building a culture of performance management and continuous improvement.

Forum delegates also heard an update on the Cam- pus Master Plan from Anna Wu, associate vice chancellor for facilities services. The plan is scheduled to be presented to the University Board of Trustees at its January meeting.

In other action, the forum voted unanimously to pass a resolution to permanently remove the Confederate Monument and its pedestal from campus. The resolution echoed and was in support of a similar resolution that Faculty Council passed last month.

Hill said the resolution reflects the results of a staff survey the forum conducted in October that received more than 400 responses. Hill said what she gleaned from the survey results was that people “wanted to mend and they wanted to move forward.”