Organizational Excellence (OE) at UCR is a grassroots initiative that seeks to create a culture that inspires all members of our campus community to improve the use of available resources so that we operate at maximum efficiency.
The effort is rooted in the campus’s Strategic Plan: “UCR 2020,” which set firm goals in achieving Academic Excellence, increasing Access, serving as a national exemplar for Diversity, and leveraging the power of a major research university to strengthen Engagement.
The concept of OE was first introduced to the campus through a speaker series which invited distinguished guests from other universities and organizations to share their own OE experiences and to reflect on the value of incorporating OE into their particular environments. These sessions began a season of exploration at UCR, a time of engaging stakeholders, researching best practices and asking incisive questions to determine what OE might look like here at UCR; how OE would fit into our own story.
At other institutions OE often consists of a set of top-down, leadership driven initiatives that see a measure of success, but do little to inspire staff and faculty. UCR has approached OE with the driving principle that change needs to happen from the bottom up. OE at UCR has been defined by staff and faculty. Through campus-wide events, over 200+ staff and faculty voted on the priorities that should drive the OE initiative. These priorities included:
- Streamlining Business Processes
- Standardizing Business Processes
- Creating a Culture of Collaboration and Innovation
Professional development has also been a central theme of UCR’s OE journey. As staff have taken ownership of OE principles, they have been given opportunities to develop professionally and to collaborate effectively. OE Workgroups have begun forming organically across campus to tackle many of the underlying efficiency issues that may not yet be on a senior leader’s priority list, but still affect the overall efficiency of the university. Leadership provides guidance, but staff have been empowered with a voice to propose and enact solutions.
Through these events and workgroups, the broader UCR community has defined the trajectory of OE at UCR and has played an active role at each stage of the initiative’s development.