Phase One Focus Areas Status Updates
Select the sub-committee below to view updates on their progress.
This page will be updated as progress develops. It was last updated in March 2021.
Summary of survey responses: Duplication of effort in academic areas
Status: Provost Paul Jensen assessing academic structure.
Summary of survey responses: Contract process and systems access inefficiencies
Status: Committee actively brainstorming methods to relieve administrative burden of hiring adjuncts, e.g. annual vs. term contracts, student add/drop schedule in relation to when adjuncts are hired or courses cancelled, etc.
Summary of survey responses: Too reliant on mass emails; improve communication from top down and bottom up, across colleges/divisions
Status: The committee has completed the accomplishments listed below and presented the following list of further recommendations to senior leadership in February 2021.
- Determine communication needs for each IEC sub-committee, with a focus on technology
- Document the University communication process
- Continue discussion with Faculty Senate (see below)
- Form a subgroup of the Drexel Communications Group for those responsible for internal communications within their University unit to share ideas, challenges and information. This group could be connected personally or through a listserv/Microsoft Team/Slack channel so they can drill deeper into ways to improve communication efficiency. As part of this, University Communications would like to invite an outside communications expert to share with the group ways to maximize the effectiveness of internal newsletters.
- Discuss communication lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis (from both UComm and the Drexel community)
- Explore social media for communication with faculty and professional staff
Accomplishments: As a working group within the Institutional Effectiveness Committee, to date, the Communications Action Planning Sub-Committee has made the following contributions.
- Development of a comprehensive Communications Playbook, which is an easy-to-use resource for all communication at Drexel
- In collaboration with Human Resources, the Employee Separation Checklist was updated to include email and voicemail process steps to ensure smooth personnel transitions
- Engagement with Faculty Senate regarding shared governance, including increased and broader communication dissemination
- Consider the possibility of providing funding to Faculty Senate to enable them to create and publish a monthly newsletter about issues under consideration and news reports from standing committees. Discussion of this suggestion with Faculty Senate remains pending.
- Contact with The Triangle to discuss possible student report coverage of monthly Faculty Senate meetings and follow up with key Senators in between sessions. Discussion of this suggestion with Faculty Senate remains pending.
- Compilation of information from peer institutions regarding their publications and coverage of Faculty Senate
- "No smoking" signage posted at Academy of Natural Sciences in response to a specific comment from the Institutional Effectiveness survey
- Delivered message of “transparency needed” and “training needed” to the appropriate committee/office: Human Resources and IT
Summary of survey responses: University-wide issue of delayed/lack of response, general lack of ownership/responsibility and lack of collegiality
Status: Having identified collegiality, respect, and partnership among Drexel units and individuals as critical to providing outstanding service to students, the sub-committee interviewed several Drexel units and individuals to understand their ability to build positive, productive, relationships with colleagues and other units The interviews uncovered individual best practices, leader expectations, and leader actions that led to success in working with colleagues to ultimately serve students. Some of those practices include:
- Individual practices
- Show that you value colleagues as partners – we are all trying to help, support, educate students
- Take ownership of a question or problem instead of passing it on
- Build trust; do what you say you will do
- Leader expectations for collegiality and partnership
- Educate colleagues on our processes so they understand what we do/don’t do
- Understand other departments’ processes; what they do/don’t do
- Listen actively
- Ask questions to understand the concern/request
- Provide warm handoffs
- Know when to ask for help
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
- Leader actions to encourage collegiality and partnership
- Model the behavior you want to see; set an example
- Make sure hiring, training, coaching, development lead to desired behaviors
- Hold regular check-ins and team meetings where collegiality and partnership are discussed
- Use surveys to gather feedback; not for attack/blame, but for growth/development
- Train staff to be good listeners; escalate if needed
- Provide checklists, job aids for team
- Recognize staff accomplishments
- Support staff/have their backs
The next step for the committee is to find a way to package the disparate best practices into a cohesive, branded offering tied to Drexel’s strategic plan imperatives and shared values.
Summary of survey responses: Improvements needed to the hiring process, development of professional development opportunities/career paths for professional staff, and review of performance and compliance processes; customer service issues
Status: A new project was initiated in July 2020 that will focus on enhancing the entire employee lifecycle from recruitment to professional development and career paths, including the development of job descriptions for every position at Drexel. The Talent Management team is also reviewing current performance management and compliance processes for streamlining opportunities and to increase engagement in the processes. Electronic budget transfer are expected to be implemented in spring 2021.
- Implementation of new applicant tracking system: allows for streamlined, electronic completion of onboarding documents for faculty and professional staff. Future enhancements include adjunct position posting, integration with background check processes, and an enhanced onboarding module
- Revised the DrexelOne Employee tab to provide a more user-friendly experience with a streamlined layout that includes links to all administrative tools and resources, such as to the new applicant tracking system, effort reporting, and p-card reconciliation. A new “Spotlight” section highlights important announcements relevant to faculty and professional staff.
Summary of survey responses: Concern was raised regarding the number of systems and lack of perceived integration between the systems; a stronger IT infrastructure is needed to support administrative processes
Status: Committee has drafted the following areas of concern to discuss with IT senior leadership:
- Discuss what are the current IT priorities and projects, short and long term. Is there a formalized plan?
- Three new initiatives IT was just funded to implement:
- Expansion of Sales Force
- COEUS replacement
- Sitecore redesign
- IT leadership is aware that there are too many systems
- They gave example of several different digital signage platforms across the campuses
- Indicated that governance over software purchases would help
- Any recent wins on system consolidation or integration?
- Any new items added to SSO/CAS?
- Any movement on consolidating Admissions systems?
- Formalize the communication plan for items such as system outages
- Some of this is drafted and IT will review, update, and share
- Consider the timing of implementing changes based on the availability of support
- Discussed seeking ways to expand service
- Talked about the expanded blackboard support and its limits
- Policies: what does IT has in place and where there are gaps (https://drexel.edu/policies/)
- Distributed IT model
- Tom agreed that distributed IT will continue to be the model at Drexel.
- Discussed exposing more functionality to distributed IT (e.g. password resets)
- Tom is open to that and bring him team’s ideas to assist.
- Discussed Queen Lane IT and how to integrate that into central IT
- Assistance IE committee can provide to IT
- As part of faculty refresh, and any refresh, getting the old machines back to be decommissioned
- Re-open lines of communication: re-establish recurring meetings that used to take place with distributed IT
- Business continuity: Best practices for file retention and safeguards for current employee and managing those that leave
- Protection against hardware failures
- Is One Drive the answer? Is Crash Plan the answer? Is there another idea?
Summary of survey responses: Duplication of processes due to departments working in silos; poor communication across university; lack of cross-training/shared services
Status: The committee recommends the following goals to remove duplicative processes and silos, initiate streamlined practices, improve communication, and cultivate a path to shared knowledge.
- Merge DUO with Drexel: Eliminate the separation of DUO and merge with central university operations. This will reduce dual roles, and allow for the merging of HR policies, accounting systems, and various internal codes.
- Establish internal consultants, assessment: Use our internal university knowledge and competitive intelligence rather than recruiting external consultants. Seeking an outside source could be potentially costly for a task to re-package what we already know to fix and implement. Have this committee be the foundation to reward collaboration and synergy.
- Improve communication, shared calendar: Instead of flooding individual emails, have one centralized area to view all announcements and news/alerts. Establish a central location for all calendars with the ability to separate crucial fiscal non-academic operations vs academic deadlines/events, creating a sense of collaboration and accountability. The sub-committee intends to work with the Communications sub-committee to pursue this initiative.
- Increase transparencies, reorganization, remove silos, cross train: Create a master list of point-of-contacts for stakeholders to access based on functionality and type of the individual’s job/role, promoting efficiencies. Create a standard guide for common policies and procedures, including dates of revisions. Build a greater internal knowledge base by cross-training and sharing common best practices and establish open communication channels.
- Reimagine space, rethinking office environment: Rethink how we envision our office space and on-campus workers, including considering hoteling office space, relinquishing rented spaces, rethinking of roles that could work remotely without an office, and transitioning our space to an open concept layout.
- Invest in technology: Support a major shift to convert business functions to paperless processes that include electronic tracking measures. This will increase our sustainability as a university, saving money in paper, toner cartridge, copier machine lease, space in filing, etc. Invest in collaboration tools to build open networks and resources to support them.
Summary of survey responses: Processes reliant on paper forms result in inefficiencies and duplication of work.
Status: The committee is in the process of drafting the following recommendations:
- Student processes: withdrawing from course, GPA petition, leave of absence, etc.
- Human Resources processes
- Migration to a new Document Management Solution (Onbase) from NOLIJ
- HR review of their paper processes to streamline in various systems (PageUp, Banner Employee Self Service, Career Pathways, Onbase)
- Accounting: budget transfer process
- Procurement: Business meal expense/catering/event forms, p-card reconciliation, online receipt upload directly into PaymentNet
- Accounts Payable: process for issuing student payments
- Research: Utilize implementation of InfoEd to streamline paper processes
- IT: telephone request (current form can be signed digitally but most print, sign, and email it)
- Investigate ways to encourage less printing: managed print, share documents through established routes (One Drive, SharePoint, Teams), review all print publications for electronic distribution or more thoughtful distribution, default double-sided printing, and default anything printed from Banner to publish to a database (complete).
- Establish a university-wide electronic signature policy
- Implement Banner functionality that enables electronic processing for graduate PHD life-cycle (in process, piloting to begin in August)
Accomplishments: Graduate College Eforms system implementation migrates PhD student paper forms (D-Forms) to a sophisticated electronic system. The system tracks the academic programs of PhD students and allows for the elimination of paper forms (14 in total), ability to gather key information on PhD programs, and monitor how students are performing by recording all key milestones for each student on their road to achieving a PhD.
Summary of survey responses: Processes/policies could be simplified and made more efficient.
Status: The committee has identified three key areas of focus:
- Vendor Registration Process
- Standard Operating Procedures
The committee is collaborating with the Procurement managers to gather information of the current infrastructure supporting these topics, identifying areas for enhancements and streamlining the business process. The goal is to develop action items and establish a project plan with timeline that addresses these deficiencies, while complementing and supporting the efforts of the Procurement office that are already in progress.
Summary of survey responses: Inefficiencies in processes/procedures; COEUS Lite should be replaced.
Status: The committee is exploring ways to improve the administration of the research enterprise. IRB and COEUS were identified as major current impediments. After speaking with Gabrielle Rebillard it is apparent that she had moved the IRB issue forward dramatically. A replacement for COEUS has finally been identified (InfoEd), but we are still seeking clarification about project scope and timeline. Other various impediments have already been identified and solutions proposed, including a simpler way for investigators to track their grants, and a more efficient process for hiring student TAs. A longer term goal is for our committee to fully map the research process thereby systematically exploring other roadblocks.
Summary of survey responses: Lack of consistency with processes - some electronic, some paper; lack of standardized advising practices
Status: On hold for IEC due to duplicate effort. Inter-college Advising and colleagues have been implementing processes/systems that improve these issues since the survey was administered.
Summary of survey responses: Course/program approval needs to be faster and more efficient; address accessibility issues with online courses
Status: The Provost’s Office partnered with Faculty Senate leadership to reexamine many aspects of the curricular review process. The primary goals were to: reduce the review process time, increase accountability and to facilitate the creation of more market-centric programs.
- Piloting a six-month publication cycle for the course catalog with the goal of reducing our review cycle time
- Jointly-owned programs are now moving through the review process
- Streamlining the work flowing through SCAA: Three different paths
- Developing clarity around effectively building and offering certificates
Summary of survey responses: Contract process and systems access inefficiencies
Status: In collaboration with OGC, Risk Management, Procurement Services and other departments, the committee is in the process of completing the following action items:
Master Contract Repository: Maintain a central repository of vendors that already have current signed agreements with the University, or OGC approved terms and conditions. Even if the departments were prevented from viewing any terms that may be confidential, knowing that the general tax, legal, and insurance approvals have already been granted centrally would prevent multiple reviews of the same vendor, speed up processing time for the departments, and improve vendor relations.
Key partners: Office of General Counsel, Procurement Services
Status: In Progress. Procurement and committee and are actively working to build repository.
Contract Management Workflow: Incorporate legal and risk management into the purchasing approval workflow. This will provide central tracking of pending requests to these departments and time stamps to determine where there is a backlog. Review the delegation of authority policy.
Key partners: Accounts Payable, Office of General Counsel, Office of Risk Management, Office of Tax Compliance, Procurement Services
Status: In Progress. OGC workflow has been developed in Smart Source. Training and implementation are scheduled for Winter 2021. The Contract Management module implementation is progressing on schedule with a target implementation of summer 2021.
Define the role and requirements of Risk Management: The contract process and lag time can be improved if it can be determined whether Risk Management is approving/denying the vendor’s insurance or simply offering a recommendation to the department that ultimately is at their discretion to follow. Clarifying this will reduce confusion and the amount of back-and-forth that occurs during the contract process. Clear and reasonable insurance requirements for certain levels and types of contracts will help with compliance and reduce the need to have an individual insurance review of each contract outside of the normal procurement process.
Key partners: Office of Risk Management
Status: ORM and Procurement Services are actively working to establish an insurance review workflow in Smart Source. Additionally, ORM is reviewing their internal processes to determine if more clarity and efficiency can be achieved which may include resources on the web, an exception request form, and workflow changes.
Documentation/Training: Develop more transparency in the process. Until an electronic contract management system is in place, a flow chart should be developed that shows the life cycle of a contract at Drexel. It should include a checklist and general expectations for how long it takes a contract to route from start to finish, is this a repeat vendor, size of the contract, etc. If departments know that it takes x weeks, then they can give the contract enough time to get through the system.
Key partners: Office of General Counsel, Procurement Services
Summary of survey responses: Concerns regarding cleanliness and maintenance issues, including a lack of budget/deferred maintenance budget, for university-owned facilities
Status: The committee recommended the following and is working with the Campus Master Plan team to incorporate recommendations:
- Building Maintenance Recommendations
Quality Assurance Recommendations
- Create and publish a 5-year preventative maintenance plan for all campus buildings
- Fund a deferred maintenance budget: University needs deferred maintenance budget (Per Chris Plummer Exec Director, Fiscal Ops; University Facilities) a recent study indicated a $550M deferred maintenance need, but there is no dedicated deferred maintenance budget.
- Establish cycle for improvement for common area and student study spaces that are not allocated to a specific department
- Implement a QA process that is accountable for the results. This includes custodial and housekeeping, as well as work for maintenance and repair and new project construction.
- Hire staff to regularly walk spaces to inspect and report issues (should be non-facilities staff or students)
- Streamline work order process and communicate status regularly and transparently
- Establish baseline service level agreement (SLA) for each building, assignment or project so deliverables and expectations are communicated, and all staff are accountable.
- Determine process/resolution if SLA is not met
- Include contact information for supervisory support
Custodial & Housekeeping Coverage Recommendations
- Identify and train an assigned Facilities liaison for each building to expedite and improve communication
- Share contacts with building occupants as a method of communication
- Advance notice of planned projects (with consultation of events or scheduled activities in the affected building)
- Utilize WebTMA to its full potential
- Annual training for WebTMA (perhaps as part of annual staff compliance training or university onboarding orientations for new staff hires)
Research and Academic Initiatives Recommendations
- Implement cleaning logs in all restrooms throughout campus, including supervisory assessment
- Establish a process to ensure custodial coverage for events including performing arts, athletics, and other programs that are part of normal business operations but are not held during regular business hours.
- Need to ensure communication about event needs
- Need to ensure affordability of these regular events so that overtime and shift differential costs are not passed on to business unit or colleges.>/li>
- Establish communication strategy to understand and allocate resources clearly between academic administrators, faculty researchers and Facilities staff.
- Establish Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) as an independent unit from Facilities. EHS should have a dotted line to academic units or academic units should have separate OSHA expert.
- Establish mechanism to appeal EHS judgements imposed on lab design requirements, especially when Drexel’s EHS proposes constraints that have direct budget implications
Summary of survey responses: Difficult to navigate which department to contact; customer service issues
Status: After reviewing all comments submitted via the survey, our team collectively decided to focus staffing and training of Drexel Central employees, undergraduate scholarships, and process transparency/who to contact. After meeting with the process owners, the issues identified in the survey either had been addressed, were in the process of being addressed, or the issue appeared to be singular/specific and it was decided to not review further.
- Staffing and Training of Drexel Central Employees: Survey feedback indicated that there is confusion when students/parents call Drexel Central with questions (they do not know who to call or do not get a satisfactory answer to their question, feels like everything is in a silo, contact is not personal). From our meetings with Drexel Central leadership, there has been a concerted effort to emphasize that Drexel Central should be the first point of contact, allowing calls to be routed appropriately and providing a seamless first contact with Drexel Central for students/parents/staff. Due to this consistent messaging, Drexel Central has recorded improvements in the answer percentage of calls, as well as a significant reduction in the average wait time of a call. Drexel Central leadership has also developed career paths and intensive and ongoing training procedures for its staff, which help with staff retention and, in turn, the retention of knowledge.
- Scholarships: Survey feedback and real-life examples from the team indicated that delayed response time results in students having accounts put on hold due to lack of application of scholarship funds. The scholarship fund application process is manual in nature, and it was unclear if students were getting notified when they received scholarship funds in their account. The scholarship process has since changed and is less manual, allowing undergraduate endowed scholarships to be directly loaded in Banner and into student accounts through Blackbaud Academic Management Scholarship System (BAMSS). Some of the delay feedback may also be related to the type of scholarship being awarded. External scholarships and tuition remission, for example, are not managed by Financial Aid, but the Bursars Office. Future system implementations include granting college staff access to BAMSS to verify posting of scholarships to student accounts. In the interim, staff can request a list of students who might meet the scholarship criteria.
- Process Transparency/Who to Contact: Survey feedback indicated that there was no cohesion among the various departments under the Drexel Central umbrella and there was a general feeling that calls/emails were not being returned. These issues are improved by the new, robust training required of all Drexel Central employees, which includes weekly meetings, live call training, and management feedback.
Summary of survey responses: Institute uniformity around format and approval process and regular review process for all policies; more input from stakeholders; better communicate new policies and policy revision.
Status: The committee, in consultation with the previously formed University Advisory Committee on Policies, drafted a revision to the Policy on Policies that:
- Changes the administrative oversight from the Office of the General Counsel to the Office of Compliance
- Establishes a standard university policy template
- Appoints a central university administrator in the Office of Compliance to manage the policy revision/approval process
- Administrator is responsible for ensuring that an equity lens is applied to all policies, as well as ensure that a standard DEI glossary of terms and definitions is incorporated into University Policies
- Administrator must ensure that all new policies and policy revisions include a comprehensive communication plan to the university community
- Establishes a stakeholder engagement process and the creation of a Policy Council, consisting of elected Drexel faculty, staff, and students who will be responsible for reviewing the policy and engaging appropriate stakeholders to review and comment on policies before they are approved. The Policy Council will include a diverse and inclusive committee of representatives who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a Person of Color, and members of similarly underrepresented groups.
The policy revision was approved by Cabinet in February 2021. In addition, the committee has reviewed policy approval software, which will electronically manage the creation, revision, and approval of policies, as well as retain previous versions of the policy. This software will ensure transparency during the approval process, as well as consistently manage the review of policies on a regular basis.
Summary of survey responses: Lack of recycling options; focus on energy savings in all buildings; need for an office of sustainability
Status: The following projects are currently underway:
- Launching a student case competition series linking student creativity to climate problem-solving on campus
- Coordinating a cohort of faculty engaged in environmental justice research
- Planning a Philadelphia regional cross-sector climate convening in partnership with the City of Philadelphia
- Coordinating the completion of STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating) for Drexel as a member of ASSHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education)
- Created a Climate & Sustainability team utilizing existing personnel to coordinate the Drexel Climate & Sustainability Initiative to prioritize sustainability and environmental justice across university functions, including naming a University Sustainability Officer
- Created a Climate & Sustainability website that was used to launch Climate Year at Drexel
- Helped launch Climate Year with a team from Academy of Natural Sciences, College of Engineering, Office of Research, Office of University and Community Partnerships, Office of Global Engagement and USGA
- Created a team of Drexel Community Scholars, work-study students and co-ops to support the work
- Established regular communication with USGA and collaborate on projects
- Coordinated pilot efforts to provide applied learning supports and generate “campus as living laboratory” programming
- Coordinated Drexel’s membership in UC3, a coalition of R1 universities addressing the climate emergency
Summary of survey responses: Lack of flexibility in work hours/telecommuting: affects morale
Status: The committee submitted the following recommendations:
||Level of Impact
||Leverage the existing Flexible Work Arrangement Policy and require that all units develop and communicate a plan and goals around policy utilization. Ensure that each manager is aware of and understands the policy and creatively considers how to implement it within each business unit. Utilize messaging from senior university leadership to emphasis support for and the importance of this policy.
Buy-in from Senior Leadership
||Revise the Summer Friday policy to allow for staff to benefit from the 4-hour closure even if they take the first half of the day off.
||Moderate financial implications
||Reduce Drexel’s current workday for exempt staff from 40 hours to 37.5 or 35 hours. Instead of a typical schedule of 8am-5pm with an hour break for lunch, consider revising to 9am-5pm with an hour or half-hour break. This policy change would be in line with other local institutions including the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University.
||Significant financial and business operation implications
||Institute a policy that guarantees a period of paid parental leave beyond what is available via short-term disability usage. Many institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, provide 4+ weeks of paid parental leave which can be used all at once or intermittently throughout the year following a birth or adoption. Some institutions offer additional time off for a parent who gave birth.
||Significant financial implications
Accomplishments: The new Vacation Leave Donation Policy was developed in response to feedback from the Institutional Effectiveness Survey and staff who wanted a process to assist their colleagues in need of additional time off. Effective July 1, 2020, the policy allows professional staff members to voluntarily donate a portion of their accrued vacation leave balance to assist other employees. The donated vacation leave time is allocated to a University-wide leave donation bank, which professional staff can draw upon following approval by their HR Business Partner. The donation of time is limited to vacation only.
Summary of survey responses: Comments regarding the university's budget and RCM were among the most common responses to the survey, however, the Academic Resource Planning (ARP) group is in the process of analyzing this area. The IE Committee will work with ARP to determine whether the concerns raised in the survey results are addressed through their efforts, and, if not, convene a group to address.
Status: On hold due to duplication of efforts with strategic planning group.