All posts by acbaraja

Inclusive Access—Increasing Student Success!

Student Buying BooksInclusive Access is a method of delivering online courseware (in the form of interactive materials and e-books) in place of traditional printed text. The Campus Store, in conjunction with publishers, e-book vendors, and campus faculty, is participating in the inclusive access program to help offset course material costs and increase opportunities for student success in the classroom. It was first used on our campus during the Fall 2017 semester with two Engineering Fundamental courses, students saw approximately a 33% savings (negotiated by faculty with publishers) on their course materials. For Spring 2018, we expanded the program to include select sections in three additional departments: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Course participants are contacted via email before the beginning of the semester explaining the program. They are offered an opportunity to opt-out of the inclusive access program at the beginning of the semester; however, students are encouraged to stay enrolled in the program. If students choose to opt out of the inclusive access program, it will require them to acquire course materials on their own. If students wish to download the digital content and access it beyond the duration of their course, additional fees may apply. The Campus Store has also experienced benefits from inclusive access in the matters of less processing and storage of inventory, reduced costs on purchasing and shipping, and an even more open line of dialogue with faculty and administrators. The Campus Store will be looking to expand the inclusive access program for the Fall 2018 semester.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact us at campusstore@mtu.edu.

Read more about Michigan Tech’s Campus Bookstore at https://www.bookstore.mtu.edu/michtech/


Dashboards—Best Practices

A Dashboard is a visual tool that allows you to view data in real time. When coupled with your Key Performance Indicators, you can build a dashboard that enables you to gauge the health of your organization or business unit at a glance.

An image of an example of a quality dashboard.
An example of a good quality dashboard.

Best Practices for Developing a Dashboard

Dashboards normally have limited visual space, so choosing which metrics are displayed is a key decision. Remember that the goal of a Dashboard is to display only the most critical data and metrics to provide your staff with an “at a glance” view of how well they are meeting the business objectives.

“A picture is worth 1,000 words.” This is a great rule to use when trying to make your dashboards. Try to keep things as visual as possible with different chart types, colors, shapes, or interactivity and try to avoid turning your dashboard into a big spreadsheet.

When you start developing your dashboard, think about how you are going to keep it up-to-date. Your dashboard is only as accurate as the data it’s based off of, so determining the refresh rate of your dashboard should be taken into consideration.

The easier your dashboard is to access and use, the greater the chance that your staff will buy in to this new idea.

An image of an example of a poor quality dashboard.
An example of a poor quality dashboard.

Avoid the following Pitfalls

Adding in too much complexity during your starting phase. Keep it simple at first, and build in complexity once you have buy-in from your staff and have communicated your metrics.

Ensure that your metrics have been defined and communicated to your staff so that everyone is on the same page. Displaying a metric that your staff does not understand, not only takes up precious space on your Dashboard, but it adds in a level of confusion that could affect your staff’s level of buy-in.

Avoid clutter and non-value-added visualizations. Keep it simple and only include your most important metrics.

When developing your dashboard, be sure to account for the additional time and resources it will take to maintain and modify them.

Make sure that your metrics are aligned with your organization’s goals. Revisit your set metrics periodically to ensure that you are charting the correct course to achieve success.

Displaying poorly designed charts or graphs may add more confusion than understanding to your dashboard. Avoid this pitfall by having some outside eyes review your dashboards.

Contact us for Help!

For further information or questions, please contact the Office of Information Services.


Special Operating Hours Pilot

Business Operations has facilitated a pilot project designed to gather and organize the special operating hours from the various departments on campus into a single source. This special operating hours project was initiated in 2015 when the daily Tech Today feed was overwhelmingly populated with special notices from departments across campus communicating their specific hours for the fall, winter, and spring breaks. The ultimate goal of the project is to have Tech Today serve as a reminder for departments to submit their special operating hours to Business Operations where they will be posted on the /Business-Operations main page. The ultimate list of the department’s operating hours is also linked to from Michigan Tech’s main page.

According to Google analytics, the Business Operations website has been visited over 750 times in the last month that the special operating hours report has been active.

You can find the special operating hours form and list on the business operations website at mtu.edu/business-operations.

Business Operations | Special Operating Hours
Business Operations | Special Operating Hours

Did you use the Special Operating Hours webpage?

You can see it here! Let us know how we did! Please respond here: mtu.news/2E37DQ1


Mont Ripley Kids Kaizen

—Written by Rylie Store, Office of Continuous Improvement

Two students in Michigan Tech’s Office of Continuous Improvement, Ari Laiho and Rylie Store, initiated a kaizen with the university’s ski hill, Mont Ripley. During the winter, Ari and Rylie also work at the ski hill as instructors.

The kaizen group identified the “current state” using a process mapping tool called swim lanes. Once the process was mapped out, the group was able to clearly see areas of waste, or inefficiencies. The team discussed each area of waste to determine its root cause and then moved forward by establishing counter measures to tackle the given waste.
After all of these improvement efforts, the hope is to have a program that flows smoothly on all levels. This would allow for flexibility to incorporate some fun days into the lessons, increasing customer satisfaction. The improvements would also promote a higher level of consistent progression of ability for each student. Next to creating a program that flows and satisfies all that are involved, the desire is to also align the program more heavily with the mission of the Professional Ski Instructors of America association by inspiring a lifelong passion for skiing and snowboarding.

Mont Ripley Kids
Mont Ripley Kids

Some of the areas addressed included:

Problem: Information that the Ripley Kids Coordinator receives from the registration forms tends to be incorrect. Solution: Define each area of the registration form so that there is a clear understanding of what is being asked.

Problem: Customers are unaware of the details of the Ripley Kids program. Solution: Host a Meet and Greet session for parents to come to the ski hill and meet the staff and receive a packet containing all of the details & FAQ’s

Problem: It’s difficult to keep track of all students at all times, or to point them out from a child skiing through general admission. Solution: Purchase helmet covers, each group will have a different color (including instructor). Vibrant, and easy to spot from a distance while promoting safety.

For more information about this or other Lean Events, please contact the Office of Continuous Improvement or visit their website at mtu.edu/improvement.


Parent Ambassador Training

Danielle Davis
Danielle Davis, Business Operations

Danielle Davis, Office Assistant for Business Operations and Michigan Tech’s representative on the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative (CCGSC), along with four other parents from the community participated in Parent Ambassador training through the Copper County Great Start Collaborative. The Parent Ambassador training provided the parents with information on the local resources and services that are available for families in the community in times of need or crisis. Part of the training included a two-day intensive Strengthening Families Framework Training that was presented by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC). This is the first time this training has been offered locally and it was free for area family service providers and parents. If interested in future training sessions, please contact the CCGSC for more information.

Participants in the Strengthening Families Framework Training learned how to integrate what they learned into existing programs, strategies, systems, and community opportunities. Strengthening Families is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. The ECIC is focused on engaging families, programs, and communities in building protective factors into everyday life such as parental resilience, social connections, and knowledge of parenting and child development.

The newly trained Parent Ambassadors have already assisted many local families in finding resources and services in the community. The CCGSC, along with the current Parent Ambassadors will be training another group of parents in the future. If you are interested please contact the CCGSC or Danielle for more information.

Danielle also participated in the Strengthening Families Assessment with the CCGSC. The assessment helped the Great Start Parents Coalition set goals for the next year. They are currently working on “Welcome to the Community” folders that will include community resources for new employees and students with families who participate in orientation at Michigan Tech. Danielle will be adding community events to the WorkLife website in an effort to further network Michigan Tech’s community outreach and the CCGSC’s efforts to provide resources to parents in the community.


New Safety Initiative—Duo Secure

Important: please visit www.mtu.edu/two-step/ for further information and to register your devices before January 8th.

duo mobile iconStarting January 8th, Michigan Tech faculty and staff will use Duo’s Two-Step Login when accessing Banweb or the VPN. This additional layer of security will protect your account and personal information from being accessed if your password is lost or stolen.

Michigan Tech Information Technology recommends registering multiple devices in case your primary device is lost, stolen, or broken. Faculty and staff are encouraged to register their cell phones as a primary device and their office phone as a second device, if they have one.

For your convenience, you will only have to complete the 2-step login every 30 days after choosing the option to remember your device.

Information Technology will be providing another overview of the Two-Step Login process at 9 a.m. on January 3rd in the MUB Ballroom A2 for those who have questions or would like personal assistance getting setup.

Please contact Information Technology at it-help@mtu.edu or (906) 487-1111 with questions or concerns.


Lean Focus—Supply Room 5S

Cleaning Up!

Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area 5S Team (left to right): Colin Neese, Andi Barajas, Cayce Will, Danielle Davis, Ann Kitalong-Will, and Lean Facilitator Laura Harry.
Fifth Floor Supply Area 5S Team (left to right): Colin Neese, Andi Barajas, Cayce Will, Danielle Davis, Ann Kitalong-Will, and Lean Facilitator Laura Harry.

Business Operations and the Office of Information Services completed a 5S of their supplies area. The previous state of the supply area was unorganized, full of items nobody wanted or needed, and staff couldn’t find the supplies they need easily. The new, current state has an organized supply area, having supplies on hand that are needed, removing unused items, eliminating waste and to created an easy order process. The improvement ties into the University’s Strategic Goals by promoting safety, effectiveness, and efficiency and creates an aesthetic and sustainable infrastructure. A Kanban system was created for reorder and to determine inventory levels. Weekly audits of the space are posted in the supply cubicle that staff and students are included in to sustain the area.

Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area Before the 5S.
Fifth Floor Supply Area Before the 5S.
Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area During the 5S. “Keep, Return, and Rid”
Fifth Floor Supply Area During the 5S. “Keep, Return, and Rid.”
Photo of the Fifth Floor Supply Area After the 5S.
Fifth Floor Supply Area After the 5S.

UAW Certification Program

Michigan Technological University offers its UAW employees a certification program designed to provide a professional development opportunity for those who would like to increase their skills in business and administrative applications and tasks. The program consists of four courses including; Business Communications, Microsoft Office Suite, Social Media, and a Michigan Tech specific course comprised of several department liaisons from across campus who provide an overview of and information on their areas such as Banner, Google Suite, Discoverer, and Continuous Improvement. The program was created after a conversation between President Mroz and the Gogebic President, Jim Lorenson. From there a Memo of Understanding was negotiated with the UAW to form a committee and develop a recommendation. The UAW employees were surveyed, as were a select group of UAW supervisors, to gain insight into what areas where training was needed. The committee then met with Gogebic Community College faculty to determine what courses would look like, duration, location, cost, etc. Participants come from all over campus, as all UAW employees are eligible to participate. The benefits for completing the program is the education received, a graduation certificate, and those who graduate are encouraged to add the completion to their resume.

UAW Picture of Blizzard T. Husky, MTU's mascot at graduation

In 2016, 42 UAW employees graduated from the program. For more information about this program and other professional development opportunities please visit the Human Resources website: http://www.mtu.edu/hr/


New Initiatives—Policy Biennial Review

—Ann Kitalong-Will, University Policy Office

Michigan Tech’s Policy Office maintains the University Policies and Procedures Manual, ensuring that administrative policies are developed using best practices in policy administration and are in compliance with Board of Trustees’ policy. According to Board Policy 3.2 University Administrative Policies and Procedures, all university administrative policies must be enacted, published and periodically reviewed using uniform standards and formats.

Image of a Policy Memo

To ensure that University policies are up-to-date, we have implemented a biennial (every two years) formal review process. Please note that any office may still update their policies through our office at any time; this formal review is intended to be responsive to any change in regulation or legislation impacting policies, reflect updated practices and position responsibilities, and any other specific revisions that may be deemed necessary.

This process will begin in late November and will proceed through the spring of 2018.


On the Road—Ann attends the Diversity & Inclusion Conference

Kitalong-Will PictureAnn Kitalong-Will, Executive Director for Business Operations in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, attended the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Conference and Exposition in San Francisco, October 23-25. This annual conference is sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
The D&I conference provides opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices to grow a globally inclusive workplace through programs and knowledge-sharing that support employee development. Ann will be working toward enhancing Michigan Tech’s work-life initiatives by developing inclusive programming to support the University’s increasingly globally diverse employees.