On Thursday, May 25 at the lawn area in front of Hinderaker Hall, UCR’s first Organizational Excellence Showcase took place to recognize the dedicated and hard-working staff and faculty on campus.
Organizational Excellence (OE) at UCR is an initiative that strives to improve available resources so that the campus may run more efficiently. Chancellor Kim Wilcox, Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services Ron Coley and Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Cindy Larive made a few opening remarks to initiate the event. “Our goal is excellence,” Wilcox remarked. “We need to focus on our excellence individually and collectively.”
When the opening remarks concluded, everyone dispersed to their booth of interest. There was a total of nine booths, and they focused on the four key areas of transforming the campus: Streamlining business processes, solidifying a culture of collaboration and innovation, standardizing business processes and maximizing professional and leadership development.
“It all starts with UCR 2020,” Coley stated. UCR 2020: The Path to Preeminence is a strategic action plan that provides a framework for the growth of the campus. “We are working towards the UCR 2020 goal, and that is to be the best university possible. A way we can achieve that goal is to work on the infrastructure, the administration.”
Our goal is excellence … We need to focus on our excellence individually and collectively.
One of the booths was the UCPath initiative. Jack Greaney, UCPath’s business process lead, stated, “We are striving to convert the UC system into a single payroll and human resource system,” Greaney stated. “We want to create one place where students can go and ask questions regarding on-campus jobs or about hiring processes,” Greaney remarked.
Another initiative was a lab decommissioning process, brought upon by the Environmental Health and Safety Department at UCR. Their goal is to make sure the science labs are clean and safe for the students to use. “We just want the students to know that we’re there looking out for them,” Karen Janiga, the research safety manager commented when asked how they want to be recognized by the UCR students.
Taking a unique approach to improving the campus was the UCR Lean Thinkers Book Club. They are a volunteer book club who meets up for five weeks, discussing the book “Lean Thinkers,” a book about business methodology by Daniel T. Jones and James P. Womack and how they can apply the concepts from the book to UCR. Sean Cason, a student affairs manager, spoke about how this book club is all about looking for ways to make students’ overall college experience better. “First we identify the client,” he stated, “And then we look at what we’re doing and try to see if it has value in their eyes.” Their goal for the future is to add more members to their already existing 200 members and to make a true change to the school.
Some booths were also offering certification programs as part of their initiatives. The Employee and Organizational Development (EOD) Department, which is a unit of human resources, has an OE Certificate Program which is all about professional development where they will learn how to assess an organization’s culture and environment. “We try to splash our focus on the four key areas on how to improve the campus,” Kim Allain, the director of EOD, explained. “Our goal is spread the message of collaborative leadership.”
Amongst the ambitious approaches showcased in this event was the Chancellor’s Office Attendance System. This system is an easier way for students to be able to schedule the chancellor if he is needed at an important event. “The chancellor is always willing to attend; it’s just a matter on whether he’s booked or not,” Jorge Ruelas, an administrative specialist of the Office of the Chancellor, stated. “We also want the students to view the chancellor as we see the chancellor. He’s a very laid back guy and he loves the students.”
Walking around the event and being able to talk to some of the participants made students realize how hardworking the staff and faculty at UCR are. Coley described them as the “unsung heroes” who are all working collectively to make the UCR 2020 goal a reality.