The strategic plan emphasizes easier-to-manage services and internal systems | knowledge

Mike Van Hee faced the chaos of COVID-19 on several fronts when the 2020 March. the pandemic effectively shut down the university — along with the entire city and much of the world. and overseeing information technology (IT), human resources, environment, health and safety, facilities and campus safety/emergency management, Van Hee and his teams quickly focused on keeping UCalgary up and running.

While this scenario was not one that Van Hee would want to revisit, it did open his eyes to what UCalgary was capable of when circumstances forced it to abandon some of the complex institutional systems and processes that had been in place for a long time, removing overly complex obstacles when urgent action was needed. actions. .

But the same institutional obstacles also arise in moments of business as usual, Van Hee says, and that’s UCalgary’s 2023-2030. strategic plan problem. Before tomorrowcommitted to solving.

Mike Van Hee

Riley Brandt

Transformative services and support

Plan 4’s strategy is focused on making UCalgary’s processes “clearer, simpler and better than any other university” by redesigning our services, support and internal systems to make them “more nimble, easier and more efficient”.

“[UCalgary] is a big, complicated place,” says Van Hee. “We’ve grown quite quickly over the years and built together a lot of processes that had a purpose but can now be more complicated than they need to be.” We’ve looked at the different ways we provide services to students, faculty and staff, and we can see that they can be complex and confusing.

the main objective Before tomorrow is to streamline UCalgary processes wherever possible. “This goal is to reduce barriers and increase satisfaction for students, faculty and staff,” says Van Hee. “We will be implementing several key process improvement practices to streamline our core processes, and we are also exploring ways to improve customer service from UCalgary’s core functions.”

“We all know that UCalgary strives for the highest levels of teaching, learning and research and provides services that depend on great people, access to the technology we need to do the work, quality physical spaces and efficient internal operations.” These are some of the areas that my teams focus on.

Van Hee points to human resources as an example of how more streamlined processes improve teaching, learning and research. “HR supports the recruitment process, and if it’s not efficient and effective, we may not attract the very best people,” he says.

IT is also very important. “Our work is increasingly dependent on technology,” says Van Hee. “Our IT support needs to be very accessible when people need help implementing new technology or helping them use the technology they currently have.

He says the pandemic has been IT’s biggest test.

“Everything was shut down very suddenly and we had no choice but to go online literally over the weekend,” Van Hee recalls. “We had to do something in a few days that would normally take months. We have shown that we have innovative, solution-oriented people at UCalgary. When we had to throw out the regular book and figure things out quickly, we proved that we could do it perfectly.

“Obviously, we wouldn’t want to work like this all the time. But it’s worth thinking, “How did we do it?” How can we be more nimble on a regular basis when it’s not a crisis?”

Ellen Perrault

Ellen Perrault

Riley Brandt

Removing unnecessary obstacles

Many of UCalgary’s processes, policies and procedures need to be reviewed, says Dr. Ellen Perrault, Dean of the Faculty of Social Work, whose areas of expertise include teaching and learning, and human service organizations and systems.

“I’ve heard staff and faculty talk about helping their kids enroll in courses in our system,” says Perrault, BSW’93, MSW’95, PhD’09. “As employees, they were familiar with our system, but often also struggled with its complexity. So if they are struggling, consider someone who is the first in their family to go to university. Imagine how they could apply and sign up.

“Or if we’re asking for transcripts from outstanding international students whose institutions don’t provide digital transcripts, that student must receive a physical transcript to be accepted.” There are unnecessary obstacles.

But Perrault believes Strategy 4 is about more than creating user-friendly processes. “This is an opportunity for UCalgary to change our culture so that we can be more accessible and attractive to the entire community,” she says.

“Whether it’s skilled and talented newcomers, first-generation students, students of race, LGBTQ2S+ students or outstanding students with disabilities, it’s important to ensure they have the same opportunities as more privileged students.” We can investigate and then reduce any unnecessary barriers.

Perrault envisions creating policies and procedures that facilitate inclusion as well as an understanding of who we serve. “Let’s say an instructor adds an exam question about the dimensions of a hockey puck; we have to consider the possibility that some of our Canadian culture students may not be familiar with hockey,” she says. “We need to address these blind spots in our teaching and community relations so that UCalgary doesn’t feel so closed off to some.”

The biggest key to changing UCalgary’s culture will be her willingness to listen, Perrault says. “We have to look at our systems with openness and humility,” she says.

Explore how we can serve in a respectful, mutually cooperative manner. How can we reduce the transactional nature of our policies and procedures? This plan can help us transform and perform better as a collective.

“I would encourage us to listen to our community. To really listen and find out what they need from us. Because the truth is, we don’t always know.

Godfrey Kemp

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