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Published October 28, 2019
The University of Wyoming working group, formed in response to UW’s “Great Colleges to Work For” campus climate survey, has made some progress in recent months for the campus community.
The 12-member Strategic Improvement Working Group is working with stakeholders across campus on several improvement plans in four general areas assigned to four subgroups: staff relations; decision-making, shared governance and faculty relations; resource and position management; and administrative systems and business processes.
The four subgroups have made some progress in improving UW on different levels and will continue the work in coming months, says civil and architectural engineering Professor Michael Barker, who chairs the Strategic Improvement Working Group.
Barker says the group has had success in helping implement improved university procedures and processes, and in building relationships among staff, faculty, administration and the UW Board of Trustees.
“The input has had or will have positive impacts for individual faculty and staff members; departments, colleges and units; and the university as a whole,” he adds. “The working group is optimistic that continued efforts and future progress will lead to further improvements for the University of Wyoming community.”
Listed are some of the updates of work performed by the four working subgroups:
-- Administrative systems and business processes: The subgroup has worked collaboratively with stakeholders across campus by serving as a catalyst to initiate conversations that have led to process improvements with graduate assistant and other hiring processes. Committee members also are working with units across campus to share feedback on various processes to ensure that items are being addressed and proactively resolved. The subgroup, along with area experts, is collectively developing suitable, streamlined solutions that serve campus.
-- Decision-making, shared governance and faculty relations: The group is exploring strategies to improve communication among faculty, staff and the administration. The committee also is working together with Faculty Senate to develop a number of faculty forums; developing approaches for improving faculty morale; working together with Faculty Senate to develop ideas for increasing interaction between faculty members and the UW Board of Trustees; and collaborating with the shared governance committee to develop a survey for campus regarding shared governance ideas.
-- Resources and position management: The group is working on the onboarding process for new staff that varies around campus from detailed paper checklists to memorized routines, which rely heavily on individual staff members who may not always be there. The group is working with Human Resources and some interested early adopters on integrating onboarding with UW’s Human Capital Management system and the Employee Learn Center, allowing new employees to begin work right away, in a productive fashion, and relieving supervisors of “finding tasks” to keep new employees busy until training is available. This also will speed up their access to systems and necessary debriefings on departmental policy and culture in a way that allows everything to be tracked and checked off in a more automated fashion.
-- Staff relations: The group is reviewing a climate survey that will be distributed to staff members later this semester. The survey is based on the results and comments from last year’s “Great Colleges to Work For” survey. Committee members want to obtain information that is more detailed from the staff community. A proposal for a workload survey was suggested earlier this fall and has been approved. The survey is now being created, and additional communications will be made later this semester.
Barker says that, overall, the entire Strategic Improvement Working Group is working to improve opportunities for more professional and personal development for UW staff members.
The overall working group meets monthly, with subgroups meeting every other week. It has three general categories for recommended improvement plans: “low-hanging fruit” for immediate action; straightforward changes that should and can be implemented; and substantive, complex and intricate improvements requiring significant effort, Barker says.
The Strategic Improvement Working Group will continue with its efforts through the academic year and will report regularly to campus on specific improvement efforts, progress and success.
For more information, email Barker at email@example.com.