Category Archives: Business Operations Services

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.

Safety Topic—Active Shooter Training

Police officer with students

Business Operations and the Office of Information Services received hands-on active shooter training from Public Safety. The training was on the 5th Floor of the Huntington National Bank Building where the offices are housed. The training focused on customizing a response plan that could be executed in the office’s daily location in the event of an active shooter threat. After the training, our staff developed and recorded the customized active shooter response plan for the staff and students who work on the floor. The plan includes three different threat scenarios: “Get Out,” “Lock Out,” and “Take Out.” The “Get Out” plan involves everyone on the floor safely leaving the building and meeting up in a safe place. For the “Lock Out” plan, the offices are creating a “goBag” in case those on the floor need supplies while they wait out the threat and are in a safe, barricaded place to do so. The “Take Out” plan is only used in the event that those on the floor cannot use the “Get Out” or “Lock Out” options. When the students who work in the offices come back this fall, there will be a training on what the new response plans are in order to ensure everyone understands the plan and that it’s easy to follow.

Having these plans in place and regularly practiced will give the staff and student employees an set of instructions in-case of an active shooter on the floor or in the building.


Lean Focus—Social Media Planning Board

In an effort to organize and streamline the process of planning out social media posts, Andi Barajas in Business Operations has assigned common categories specific sticky-note shapes and colors. There are several categories that articles, blog posts, and social media posts fall into, such as “Points of Pride,” “Safety,” “Lean,” “Worklife,” “Staff/Student Spotlight,” and “Miscellaneous.” Andi has assigned each of these categories a specific shape and color sticky-note, for example, “Points of Pride” are represented by a pink heart. When an article, blog post, or social media post is needed, the title is written down on a sticky-note that corresponds to the category that the subject falls under. They sticky-note is added to the “To do” column of the Kanban board and at the end of the day the sticky-note is moved to the appropriate column that indicates where it is in the creation process.

Social Media Calendar
Photo of The Social Media Scheduling Calendar

After the post has moved down the Kanban board past the “Gather Information” phase, the “Find a Photo” phase, the “Write Post” phase, and has been reviewed by a staff member, the post is ready to publish, and the sticky-note gets taken off of the creation Kanban board and moved to a space on the social media scheduling calendar that represents what day that post will be published online. Using the various colors and shapes of the sticky-notes helps to quickly identify what category is going to be published that day. It also makes it easy to find a pattern in the categories of posts that have been created and allows for easy future planning and for consistently publishing a variety of subjects in an organized way.
Andi is happy with the Kanban board and scheduling calendar so far, and is excited to continue to improve her process in the future.


QR Code Customer Service Surveys

The Office of the Vice President for Administration is rolling out a Customer Service Survey Pilot Project using QR codes stationed at various locations around campus. Look for the code at the cash registers in the Campus Bookstore, the Portage Lake Golf Course, and the Central Ticketing Office. Please participate in this survey to help VP Administration better improve customer service, the Michigan Tech experience, and enter yourself into a drawing for a free coffee!

Announcement Ad

 


Hazard Analysis—Learn and Be Safe!

Think back, deep in to your memory, when was the last time either at work or at home that you did something that gave you pause? Something that made you think, wow, that could have really hurt. Most people do not have to think very hard, or for very long. Life is full of hazards, and we all take risks.

The severity of these risks and their social, or legal acceptability is where we must stop and really think. Driving to work each day is a risk, there are countless automobile accidents every day resulting in injuries, property damage, and fatalities, yet the vast majority of us get behind the wheel and drive every single day. Am I asking you to stop driving? Maybe, depending on your driving record, but that decision is typically left up to a judge.

So maybe driving is a bad example, but now I have your attention. Think about processes in your workday that involve hazards; paper shredders, ladders, hazardous chemicals, the possibilities are endless, the next few paragraphs will outline a basic process for hazard analysis that can help you stay safer at work and at home.

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To start, think about the task at hand, let’s use shredding paper as an example. So the task is to shred paper. The hazard is the paper shredder, it is sharp, it has a motor, and its purpose is to suck things into it and destroy them, a bad place for your clothing, hair, or appendages.

After identifying the hazard we have to consider the potential exposure you may have to it, this creates risk. Risk is only in play when you have an exposure to the hazard. The paper shredder sitting the corner is a hazard, but as long as you do not turn it on or use it, there is no risk, once you engage the equipment you have exposed yourself to the hazard, and therefore have created risk.

In our example, your job requires you to shred paper, so there is a possibility of harm, thus risk. If we have risk, then we must employ controls to attempt to control the risk. There is an entire hierarchy of controls that we can put into play to control the risk, they range from eliminating the hazard completely, to wearing personal protective equipment, the hierarchy is interesting and will serve as a good topic for another blog post. In the case of the paper shredder we will put engineering controls into play in the form of guards that shield the blades of the shredder, as well as administrative controls in the form of training, procedures, and warning signs.

So have we taken it far enough, we have a task with a hazard, we have identified risk, and put controls into place? No, the final step is a standard procedure that outlines these items and describes a consistent way to utilize the controls to stay safe. That all important procedure drives consistency, eliminates variables, and keeps us all safer.

So that’s it, a basic process (evaluate the task, describe the hazard, identify risk, develop appropriate controls, establish safe procedures) that will help you analyze hazards. Give it a try, choose something simple to start, and take a few minutes to analyze the hazard, I’d love to hear about the results in the comments section of this blog.

If you have questions on safety protocols, situations, or procedures please contact the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at 906-487-2118 or email ehs@mtu.edu.


Student Spotlight Series: Rylie Store, Office of Continuous Improvement

A picture of RylieStore
Rylie Store

Rylie Store is a third-year student here at Michigan Tech who is currently majoring in both Medical Lab Science and Pre-Medicine. Rylie is also a graduate of the Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP). Rylie is currently working with the Office of Continuous Improvement as a Process Improvement Coordinator (PIC). A typical day working for the Office of Continuous Improvement, in Rylie’s words, “is hard to describe” because she often finds herself engaging in different activities almost daily. Some days, for example, she can be in the office creating powerpoints for a report out on a past Kaizen, and on others, she might be out at meetings facilitating a Lean improvement process. One thing is always consistent though whenever she is working, Rylie is always trying to help improve the school and campus. Working at the Office of Continuous Improvement comes with a lot of responsibility but Rylie likes the challenge and is overjoyed to be working with and learning about Lean Improvement.

Working in the Office of Continuous Improvement involves using and practicing Lean principles on a daily basis, and Rylie has been involved in designing Lean training events around campus and coordinating the events to run effectively and efficiently. Since the Office of Continuous Improvement has started coordinating Lean events the office has hosted over 240 successful kaizens. The Office of Continuous Improvement is proud to have facilitated or been involved with a large number of successful events that have improved a wide range of processes around campus, from a process to check out keys to improving the commencement ceremony for graduation.

Rylie is originally from the Houghton/Hancock area and has explored much of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and is always looking for new and exciting places to visit. Over this summer, Rylie has plans to cross off more U.P. destinations from her bucket list that she hasn’t had the opportunity to visit yet. During her free time, she enjoys downhill skiing, photography, hunting, fishing, and pretty much anything else outdoor related. Rylie is also part of the Ski and Snowboard Club of Michigan Tech and has traveled with the club out west for spring break this past semester. Skiing has been a big part of Rylie’s Life, she grew up downhill ski racing and training in Colorado before college. She has also obtained her Professional Ski Instructors of America Level 1 Certification her senior year of high and is hoping to achieve her Level 2 certification this winter to better help instruct her students at The Mont Ripley Ski Area.

Before college, Rylie started her own photography business as a junior in high school. A big portion of her business was photographing senior photos for fellow students at her school. Rylie shot senior pictures for over 50 clients in the first two years of establishing her photography business. She also shot weddings, shooting 20 wedding as a second photographer at the events to capture the more candid shots and participating in a few weddings as the main photographer.

Rylie in front on the Improvement Office Kanban Board.
Rylie in front on the Improvement Office Kanban Board.

Working in the Office of Continuous Improvement, Rylie gets to meet with many new people every day from across campus and enjoys the diverse amount of people she gets to interact with and, as Rylie said, “how everyone is unique.” Her favorite things about Michigan Tech go hand in hand with each other; she loves the community and the people, she appreciates that everybody is readily accepted at Tech and that there are not people considered “outcasts” here. She believes that there is a place for everyone to fit in and make new friends and she believes that she has found that in the Michigan Tech community.

Children are a big part of Rylie’s life. Over the past few years, she has taught over 100 kids at Mont Ripley, babysat for over 50 others, and has been a Summer Camp Counselor for a Girl Scout Camp for the past three years. She loves being around kids, their imaginations, their language, and how they see the world.

As for Rylie’s plans for after graduating, she has deemed it the “Magical Question” and is currently torn between going to medical school or into the research field for medical lab science. Above all else, she knows that she wants to be a mother when she is ready.


On the Road—2017 Michigan Lean Consortium

A number of Michigan Tech staff and students attended the 7th Annual Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC) Conference that was held on August 2-4 in Traverse City, Michigan. The conference was well attended and focused on topics including: enabling organizational improvement through effective change management, business engagement in Lean Facilitation through participant centered learning, coaching for professional performance improvement, and a workshop called “The 7 Quality Tools for Steering to True North” taught by Ruth Archer, Director of Continuous Improvement at Michigan Tech. Also, Michigan Tech student Process Improvement Coordinators from the Office of Continuous Improvement prepared materials for a display table and met with MLC leadership to brainstorm on the start-up of Student MLC Chapters.

Theresa Coleman-Kaiser, associate vice president for administration, participated in a pre-conference Board of Directors meeting and has been elected to the position of Vice Chair of the MLC. She is entering her last year of a three-year term of the ten-member board. The MLC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is governed by an all-volunteer board, with a membership that is dedicated to spreading Lean principles throughout every public and private sector industry in Michigan.

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Conference attendees include Theresa Coleman-Kaiser; Ruth Archer; Brenda Randell, Executive Assistant for the Associate Vice President for Administration; Colin Neese, Business System Analyst for the Office of Information Services; Andi Barajas, Communications and Media Specialist for the Business Operations office; Annelise Doll, Scholarly Communications and Repositories Librarian for the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library; Laurie Stark, Staff Development and Lean Initiatives Coordinator for the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library; and three Process Improvement Coordinator (PIC) student employees from the Office of Continuous Improvement, Rylie Store, Matt Chard, and Ari Laiho.

Staff and students alike were very pleased with the quality of presentations and the wealth of new information and perspectives on Lean methodology that the networking events and active learning sessions provided.

If you would like more information on this or other Lean events, please contact the Office of Continuous Improvement at 906-487-3180 or email improvement-l@mtu.edu.


2017 ACUPA Policy Conference

Andi Barajas, Media and Communications Specialist for Business Operations under the Office of the Vice President of Administration, attended the annual Association of College and University andiPolicy Administrators (ACUPA) conference held on June 21-23, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The conference was well attended and focused on topics including analyzing gaps in a university’s policy collection, University Policy in tumultuous times, student organizations, Title IX, enterprise risk management, employing student interns, automating policy and procedure management, contract management, and the partnership of forms with policies.
Andi has been a part of the Business Operations Office and assisting with University Policy since late 2016. She thought this was a great opportunity to expand her knowledge-base on policy and network with other university policy offices to gain insights on how our peers are handling the same challenges and situations we find ourselves in.
You can find more information on this and other ACUPA events at The ACUPA website: acupa.site-ym.com. To discuss a need for a policy or policy changes please contact policy@mtu.edu.


Standing Committees Website Changeover

The Vice President for Administration’s Business Operations Office is changing the Standing Committees webpage from the HTML webpages that it lives on now to the new CMS that UMC is working to standardize across campus.

Currently found here: admin.mtu.edu/admin/committe/

If you or your department has any standing committees or task forces on this website, please review:

  1. Who the committee reports to
  2. The committee charge
  3. Membership requirements
  4. Currently listed members

If there are any edits that need to be made, please email Business Operations at business-ops@mtu.edu.


2017 Mediation Training

The Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP), Community Dispute Resolution Services Program conducted a 40-hour workshop on Mediation Training from March 17th to the 21st.

UPCAP Dispute Resolution Services Program provides mediation services in Delta, Menominee, Schoolcraft, Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, Ontonagon, Baraga, Houghton, and Keweenaw Counties. Graduates of the program are able to volunteer to mediate disputes involving workplace/neighborhood disagreements, divorce and parenting time issues, and special education concerns.

The Office of the Vice President for Administration (VPA) had five staff members join the UPCAP for Mediation Training. This training is the first step in becoming a certified Mediator and being able to mediate in court a civil cases.

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The VPA staff who attended the training include: Ann Kitalong-Will, Business Operations; Cori Massoglia, Merchandising Operations; Heidi Reid, Human Resources; Ashley DeVog, Ticketing; and Madeline Voelker, Human Resources.