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Case Study

First-class university results.

The rapid impact of excellence initiatives.

Performance constraints

Leaders at a top UK university were becoming concerned that global success was being constrained by process and system shortcomings. It was also felt that the university’s world-renowned research and education was not being supported by adequate administrative processes, skills and systems, with far too much academic time taken up by low value administrative tasks.

To complicate matters further, previous attempts at improving the administrative capabilities had repeatedly been flawed or stalled, leaving a trail of frustrated and demotivated staff. This was leading to distrust amongst the academic community about the administrative functions and defensiveness amongst administrative staff about the attitude of the academics.

The result? An inconsistent and sometimes very poor experience for both academics and students.


A platform for academic achievement

We helped design a five-year excellence initiative to transform the institution’s administrative capability by trialling a range of approaches. At the same time, we developed and unified their internal capability.

The overall approach was shaped and governed by a small, influential group of academics who placed student and academic value at the heart of the administrative processes. To support this, we tailored our proven improvement methods and tools to the higher education environment and people.

Focused initiatives were then launched to improve key administrative services to students and academics. Areas included:

• Pre-admission and applicant journeys
• Admissions processes, policies and tools
• Registration, progression and records
• Student finance & administration
• Timetabling & teaching room readiness
• Buildings maintenance
• Library support & other campus services
• HR, ICT and Finance functions


Top marks in administrative impact

During the initial 18 months we were able to demonstrate the benefits of our improvement techniques by delivering both administrative improvements and cultural successes.

• Dramatic reduction in length of queues for students at registration (from many hours to just a few minutes), the complex module selection process streamlined for students by the establishment of an early academic calendar and a formal window module selection
• 20% productivity increase in administration in the library
• Centralised book scanning increasing access for people with disabilities
• Elimination of 5000 emails per year in the library

These improvements have helped pave the way for long-term success on a global level.

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