The History of the Office of Process Simplification
Process Simplification was created in 1994 by the Vice President for Management and Budget, Colette Sheehy, in response to challenging economic times and to further the goals of the state’s decentralization program by providing the University more autonomy from the state over its administrative requirements.
An Administrative Process Owners Group (ADMINPOG) was named to further the goals of process simplification by identifying and selecting potential processes for review and providing direction and support to team initiatives. These PS teams, overseen by ADMINPOG, originally focused on fourteen projects in the areas of finance, purchasing and human resources processes. ADMINPOG was purposively disbanded in the summer of 2000 as the University-wide Integrated Systems Project assumed most of the scrutiny of administrative processes.
From 1997 to 2006, the focus of PS shifted toward student services, processes affecting student life, with oversight from a newly established Student Enrollment Services Process Owners’ Group (SESPOG) which replaced ADMINPOG’s advisory capacity. The charge of SESPOG was to evaluate core operations in each functional area and identify opportunities for improving service, streamlining transactions, and integrating functions. The focus was on cross-functional areas, points of contact among those functions, and the student’s point of view. In addition, the group also addressed issues of other student services that interacted most closely with the core units. Twenty projects were completed by August, 2006 by SESPOG teams such as Summer Orientation, the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS), Virginia Student Academic Audit (VISTAA), and the System of University Reservations and Calendar of Events (SOURCE).
The imminent impact of the student systems project provided PS the opportunity to re-envision and broaden the scope of its work. In August 2006, the work of SESPOG was concluded, and a new advisory body was created, the Process Simplification Advisory Committee (PSAC). Similar to ADMINPOG and SESPOG, PSAC was charged with identifying, prioritizing, and initiating projects which seek to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of administrative and student services used by prospective and current students, faculty and staff. PSAC began its efforts by aligning with cross-functional institutional priorities, such as the implementation of the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act, implementation of a new student system, Vice Presidents’ critical function planning, and Board of Visitors’ priorities. More recently, Process Simplification continues to impact the University by developing effective efficient processes to support key initiatives such as the new financial model and the University training program.
University of Virginia's Commitment to Improvement
The concept of process simplification has received generous support from the highest levels of management at the University including the Office of the President and the Executive Vice President/ Chief Operating Officer which refer to process improvements as one of the University's key activities.
Teresa Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia
At a press conference on August 24, 2011, President Sullivan expressed the University’s commitment to improvement:
“We are constantly looking for opportunities to control costs, increase savings, and improve efficiency. Our areas of focus so far have included streamlining processes; consolidating units and positions; automating functions; creating shared services and resources; conserving energy; and studying best practices in other industries and in our higher-education peers. This year, we will comb through the University once again to look for additional savings opportunities.”
Michael Strine, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Michael Strine expresses his commitment to principles which include process improvement on his University of Virginia website:
“The Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer is charged by the Board of Visitors and President with overseeing the non-academic support areas of the University, including operations of the Health System, and supporting special initiatives that have a University-wide impact. The office is guided by the following principles:
The Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer upholds the charge to embrace the U.Va. brand of 'quality' and to deliver the skills, energy, and credibility needed to translate aspirations into established programs. We value the creativity of employees at all levels and strive to empower them to do their best, whether they teach, care for patients, or maintain the services on which the University relies, now and in the future.”
- Commitment to integrity and sound management practices.
- Commitment to academic excellence.
- Commitment to our customers, including students, patients, and visitors.
- Commitment to our people, respecting and empowering them, holding them accountable, and rewarding them for performance.
- Commitment to simplification of processes and improvements in effectiveness and efficiency.