Enhancing QualityIn today’s current economic landscape, ensuring that your education institution is delivery quality education in the most efficient way possible is of utmost importance.  To accomplish this, both the administrative and academic units must work together.

After recognizing the many challenges faced in higher education, a group of academic and administrative leaders presented their findings at the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education. Their goal was to share what they had learned from working with a variety of different institutions, which all shared similar challenges, in hopes of helping others find new opportunities to improve efficiencies, while also saving on cost.

By utilizing the information gleaned from this group of experts, who are also part of Penn State’s Priorities for Excellence, you might be better able to improve both the academic and administrative quality and efficiency at your institution.

  1. Simplifying How Your Organization Functions

When there are too many players playing the same role, systems can become over complicated. Instead, consolidate units where you see overlap, especially in Finance or HR. Create best practices for shared services and reduce layers.

  1. Managing Your Information Technology

Instead of having multiple systems running your IT, opt for a centralized hub. Create one unit that manages your infrastructure, while also managing the demand for additional applications or new developments.

  1. Streamlining Your Finance Processes

Start by reviewing your resource allocation models to see where processes can be streamlined, consolidated or even reallocated. Create a centralized data management system to more easily track where monies are coming in and going out.

  1. Streamlining Your Human Resources Department

The same processes you applied to your finance and IT departments and procedures also work for your HR department. Review your current systems and look for areas where you can centralize, standardize or consolidate. If you don’t performance management system already in place, this would be a good place to add one.

  1. Supporting Your Academic Ventures

Resources can be tight, especially when you might not have enough money to go around. To ensure that the most important academic needs are being addressed, review your current processes and see where things can be streamlined or standardized. Look for areas where automated systems might be of most use, and consider opportunities where consolidation of resources might increase efficiencies. You might also want to consider reducing any non-core activities that aren’t serving your students.

  1. Getting Everyone On Board

Making changes is also good, but only if everyone is onboard. As an administrator, you must champion the cause and led the change. Encourage everyone to become a part of the process and ask for his or her suggestions. You want allies, not enemies. Remember, to effectively communicate your reason for needing to improve efficiency and quality so that everyone has a clear picture of the role they will play in making your new plan a success.

Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

More posts by Rick J. Stern

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