Category Archives: Notable

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.

Office of Information Services Website Launch

The Office of Information Services (OIS) announces the launch of its new website!

OIS serves the Vice President for Administration division in an information support role. Our key areas of expertise include Business System Analysis, IT Project Management, and Business Intelligence and Data Visualizations.

Our mission is to engage people, cultivate continuous improvement, and innovate through technology and process to enhance strategic decision making as one administration.

We partner with each business unit within the Vice President for Administration division to assist in improving our business processes through the use of innovative information systems and services. We believe in, and use in our daily work, lean methods and the tools of continuous improvement.

Dashboard Icon

We are dedicated to advancing the mission, vision, and goals of the University through effective and efficient information support services.

Visit our website to view the service catalog, common questions about dashboards and information analytics.

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


Facilities—ET and Internal Dashboards

In an effort to improve transparency and customer service, Michigan Technological University’s Facilities Management Department has adopted the use of online dashboards to provide answers to frequently asked questions and quick access to regular reports.  The dashboards are an opportunity to have the needed information available even when Facilities employees are not at their desks. The dashboards contain information regularly requested of Facilities Management such as project lists, Board of Trustee reports, links to master planning documents, or ones that are used and reference often within Facilities Management. A version of a dashboard was created several years ago by the previous interim director – before moving to a cloud-based solution. The goal behind creating these dashboards was to be able to find the items that customers and employees were looking for on frequent basis. This system allows people to find answers wherever they are, without having to wait for a response from someone in the office at the time of the request. This cloud-based solution allows for instant information updates and excellent customer service to all members of the campus community.

Facilities Internal Dashboard

For more information on dashboards and how they can help your department, please contact the Office of Information Services at 906-487-2129 or visit their website at mtu.edu/ois.


On the Road—Colin Neese

Colin NeeseColin Neese, Business Systems Analyst for the Office of Information Services, under the Vice President for Administration, attended the 10th Annual Tableau Conference in Las Vegas held October 9th through the 12th. Tableau is a data analytics and visualization company dedicated to transforming how people use data to solve problems. Over two hundred unique breakout sessions were offered at the annual conference in addition to hands on training sessions presented by Tableau Employees and sponsored partners. Colin will be working to enhance existing Vice President for Administration dashboards and developing new visualizations using best practices and training received at this conference.


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.


Fixing the Door to Nowhere

There was a door at the North East corner (campus side) of the Memorial Union Building originally meant to have steps to a patio. The patio and stairs where never built and the door was thereafter known as a door way to nowhere.

North East Door 005
Fixing the Door to Nowhere—Before
North Ramp 0662
Fixing the Door to Nowhere—After

Auxiliary services decided to make a capital request to construct a ramp and replace the existing door with an automatic sliding door. The request was approved and construction began in June. The railings were powder coated, the new threshold installed, and the sliding door was activated before orientation week, 2017. The handicap entrance is now open for the new academic year.

North Ramp 069

Before this ramp was built, the Memorial Union did not have a handicap accessible entrance on the campus-side of the building. The new ramp is the first heated handicap ramp on campus, and it should not have to be shoveled to keep the ramp clear during snow events—allowing year-round access to those who need it.


IT Ticket/Technology Tip of the Month

Michigan Tech IT Support Center – support.it.mtu.edu

Michigan Tech IT hosts a self service support center located at support.it.mtu.edu. Many resources are available to assist you in answering questions about IT services at Michigan Tech. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How to change your ISO password
  • Instructions to connect you to campus resources when you are not physically on campus – VPN connections
  • Web Conferencing options available to staff – Zoom and GoToMeeting
  • Instructions to purchase a $10 personal copy of Microsoft Office 365
  • Installing software on your office computer through the Software Center

Head over to the Michigan Tech IT Support Center at support.it.mtu.edu and check it out.

Michigan Tech IT Software Center

Did you know IT provides a self service Software Center application on your office computer that allows you to install certain software at the click of a button? If you open your Start Menu and navigate to Microsoft System Center -> Configuration Manager -> Software Center you will be able to browse and install available pre-approved applications provided by IT.

Screen shot of the help menu


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.

warning sign

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.