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The Futures Project: Transforming a Division of Student Academic Affairs. Ann Groves Lloyd, Ph.D. Assistant Dean, Assessment & Development College of Letters & Science, Student Academic Affairs University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Opportunity.

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the futures project transforming a division of student academic affairs

The Futures Project: Transforming a Division of Student Academic Affairs

Ann Groves Lloyd, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean, Assessment & Development

College of Letters & Science, Student Academic Affairs

University of Wisconsin-Madison

the opportunity
The Opportunity
  • New Dean of College of Letters & Science fall ‘04
  • Student Academic Affairs Associate Dean left role to assume new position in Jan. ‘05
  • Challenges with organizational culture
  • Need to assess structure, mission, vision, and working relationships with departments and across campus
  • Dean authorized hiring an outside consultant in January, 2005
the organization
The Organization
  • Division of Student Academic Affairs in the College of Letters & Science
  • Over 80 full-time academic and classified staff, as well as graduate students, part-time staff, and student hourly workers/interns
  • Restructuring had occurred in 1999, just prior to the previous associate dean’s arrival
the plan
The Plan

Key Strategy Areas

Adapted from the work of Russ Ackoff, Creating the Corporate Future

  • Announce Project to Staff – Feb. 14
  • Background Work – February through March
  • Background Assessment – All Staff Session on March 14
  • Interim or follow-up work
  • Ends Planning; SAA in 2015? – All Staff Session on April 8
  • Interim or follow-up work
  • Vision 2015: Key Decision Items – All Staff Session on May 13
  • Next Steps – Shifting to Implementation
planning deliverables
Planning Deliverables

Background Assessment – Where are we starting from?

  • History, Current Operations, Environmental Trends, and Industry Practice
  • Internal and External Challenges or Opportunities Facing the Organization
  • Analysis of Current Situation, including relationships with Key Stakeholders
  • Ongoing Data Collection: What should we be tracking and why?
planning deliverables continued
Planning Deliverables continued

Ends Planning – Where do we want to be?

  • Clarify Identity, Values and Direction
  • Define Mission, Vision, and Key Strategy Areas
  • Challenge Earlier Assumptions and Revisit Larger Questions of Purpose
  • Organizational Implications: Potential Shifts in Direction, Tactics or Measures?
planning deliverables continued1
Planning Deliverables continued

Means Planning – How do we get there from here?

  • Identify Gaps Between Current Situation and Desired Future
  • Objectives, Action Plans, Accountability, and Timetables
  • Resource Projections: What Will it Take to get this Done?
  • Establish Measures that Link back to Mission and Vision
planning deliverables continued2
Planning Deliverables continued

Implementation and Feedback – Monitor progress and adjust

  • Making it Happen – and Making Changes as Needed
  • Regular “Checks on Progress” to Monitor and Make Adjustments
  • Plan as Working Tool (vs. Document that Sits on Shelf)
  • Ongoing Data Collection: What are we learning? What should we do about it?
background assessment areas
Background Assessment Areas
  • SAA Climate and Culture: Staff Input (Kent Led)
  • Division History and Earlier Planning Work – Staff led
  • Current Operations – Staff led
  • Looking Outside – Staff led
saa climate and culture
SAA Climate and Culture
  • Focus Groups
  • Individual Interviews
  • Electronic Input (survey, on-line forum)
  • Engage partners in process (Office of Human Resource Development, Human Resources, Equity and Diversity office, and Office of Employee Assistance)
division history and earlier planning work
Division History and Earlier Planning Work
  • Brief overview of division history and evolution
  • Major self-study themes and recommendations – what did we learn
  • Summary of earlier planning work (Mission, Values, Core Processes)
current operations
Current Operations
  • Whom do we serve (students, partners, etc.)?
  • What programs and services do we provide, and how do we provide them?
  • How does work get done (work flow, especially administrative functions)?
  • What contributions do we make (outcomes measures)?
looking outside
Looking Outside
  • Survey of National Scene: General overview of emerging trends, best practices, peer institutions, relevant literature regarding student academic affairs
  • Organizational Structure/Service Delivery: Explore models from other institutions
  • University Environment: Interview key partners or stakeholders (Chancellor, Provost, Deans, Committees, Advisors, etc.)
format for all staff sessions
Format for All Staff Sessions
  • Participation in everything has been optional but encouraged
  • Sessions are a combination of large group presentations followed by small group processing, along with “café discussions” to engage as many staff as possible
  • Dean has included breakfast, lunch, and breaks for all sessions – big morale boost
march 14 background assessment
March 14 – Background Assessment
  • Reports from all three background assessment groups – major themes and key issues/questions
  • Café discussions, adding Staff Climate and Culture – each staff member went to two café sessions
  • Large group reflections – SWOT
  • Conclusion & next steps
april 8 saa in 2015
April 8 – SAA in 2015

Morning café topics – Paint a picture of SAA in 2015.

  • Organizational structure, programs, service delivery?
  • Major features of our vision?
  • How does this picture make SAA better?
  • Potential challenges or risks in this vision?
  • Tough decisions?
april 8 saa in 2015 continued
April 8 – SAA in 2015 continued

Afternoon café sessions – key strategy areas:

  • Internal Work Systems
  • Staff Culture & Work Environment
  • Information Technology

Large Group Reflection – points of convergence and divergence

Conclusion & Next Steps

may 13 key decisions
May 13 – Key Decisions

Major initiatives for 2005-06

  • Centralize administrative services
  • Improve working relationships with partners
  • Broaden financial strategy
  • Implement new meeting forums to create a more horizontal organizational structure
  • Improve unit working relationships and communication
  • Intensive management training
may 13 key decisions continued
May 13 – Key Decisions continued

Two key strategy areas identified:

  • Develop services, programs, and delivery systems based on student point of view
  • Develop clearer message, identity, and visibility with students and other constituencies on and off campus
may 13 key decisions announced
May 13 – Key Decisions Announced
  • Personnel Changes – Eliminate one Deputy Associate Dean position; one other lateral move for staff person
  • Announced an interim Associate Dean until the permanent hire is made
  • New organizational structure flattening the reporting lines to the Associate Dean
may 13 key decisions continued1
May 13 – Key Decisions continued
  • New meeting structure – Management Team meeting each week, with larger number and more diverse group of staff
  • Initiatives to improve working relationships among colleagues
  • Some decisions have been left for the Associate Dean to make
may 13 staff input
May 13 – Staff Input

Afternoon café sessions

  • Staff culture and work environment
  • Work systems
  • Information technology
  • “Crazy Café”
implementation plan
Implementation Plan
  • Develop a Master Work Plan for 05-06 that outlines priorities and sequence of activities
  • Clarify lead accountability, timelines, and outcomes for major initiatives
  • Estimate staff time and resources required to support the respective initiatives
  • Monitor and support progress, reporting back to the Management Team and SAA staff
what we ve learned
What We’ve Learned
  • Sense of “self” – there are other divisions of student academic affairs across the country
  • Affirmation of purpose
  • Affirmation of quality, commitment, and passion of staff
  • How much we enjoy working with one another, especially across units
  • A greater sense of our community
current initiatives
Current Initiatives
  • Design Team – gathering data to redesign student academic affairs based on student, staff, and faculty input and current literature.
  • Centralizing Administrative Services Team – flowcharting essential administrative processes; Management Team reviewing necessity of processes and reinvestment of staff resources.
current initiatives cont
Current Initiatives, cont.
  • Organizational Development Team – addressing issues such as climate and culture, developing training for supervisors, orientation for new staff, and performance appraisal systems.
  • Broadening Financial Resources – expanding funding from private donors and grants.
challenges moving forward
Challenges Moving Forward

Major Gaps Regarding Implementation

  • Human Resources and Organizational Development
  • Planning and Implementation
  • Information Technology
key planning principles
Key Planning Principles
  • Promote ownership and buy-in to strategic direction by involving campus partners, students, and staff in the planning process.
  • Make choices. Begin with your vision of the future and plan backward to the present.
  • Emphasize flexibility and reframing the problem vs. quick-fix or one-shot solutions.
  • Approach problem-solving from a systems level.
key planning principles continued
Key Planning Principles continued
  • Utilize the planning process to develop better relationships with various constituencies.
  • Push decision-making power to the lowest appropriate level.
  • Create ongoing vehicles to keep your planning efforts alive – this is one of the biggest challenges!
  • Strategic Planning Workbook (for Nonprofit organizations): Revised and Updated by Bryan W. Barry (St. Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation)
  • The Institute for Cultural Affairs,
special thanks to

Special Thanks to

Kent Lesandrini

Consultant Extraordinaire