Office of the Provost

March 28, 2018

Health Services Administration shares services to better support academic, clinical work

Jerry Baldasty

Two years ago, Dave Anderson, executive director of Health Sciences Administration, pointed out the duplication of services throughout the 10 health sciences units that reported to him. From human resources to IT support to accounting, each unit’s staffing, resources and practices were a bit different. There was little doubt this duplication was costing units resources – resources, both people and funding, that could be spent elsewhere on essential and innovative services.

Dave and Bob Ennes, director of finance and administration for Health Sciences Administration, set out to change that. They marshaled resources, worked with unit directors to determine needs, and formed teams to meet those needs in an effective and efficient way.

The result is a Shared Services Center in a newly redesigned area of the Health Sciences Center where subject matter experts work across various health sciences units to provide seamless services to support academic and clinical work. This frees the units to pursue other projects and innovations.

A few weeks ago, I attended an open house for the center. The excitement – and pride – of staff permeated the room. They were proud of what they had created: their approach to customer service, their teamwork, the space they designed, the work they are doing.

Health Sciences Shared Service Center, which was profiled in a recent provost’s report on shared services, is a model of taking decentralized modes of operation to more efficient, effective team approach to service. (Some best practices are posted here.)

This is just one example of how units across the University are transforming administration through continuous process improvement. Nearly 60 process improvement projects were highlighted recently at the Transforming Administration Program (TAP) Showcase. Outstanding examples included UW Bothell’s student employee applicant tracking system. Organizational Excellence and Human Resources partnered with IT, campus hiring managers and students to develop a student employee job board and applicant tracking system – built using an existing UW-licensed platform.

Units from across the University shared how they are transforming their work to better serve the UW's mission.

Units from across the University shared at the TAP Showcase how they are transforming their work to better serve the UW’s mission.

At UW Tacoma, 10 projects, identified through the campus’ strategic planning process, are reshaping the UW Tacoma experience through cross-campus collaboration and making a broad impact. Projects include creating and evaluating a flexible student space in the library, and a program that informs prospective students about the majors they can pursue at Tacoma.

Certainly, one reason we engage in continuous process improvement is to save money. But it’s not the only reason – and not the most important reason. We are looking for ways to better serve the academic mission of the University, to better serve students, and to better serve faculty in their teaching and research.

This is the work our units are doing every day. And we know they’re doing it well – as the TAP customer satisfaction survey told us. I have reviewed survey results and action plans, and what is clear to me is the commitment of leadership and staff to excellent service and constant improvement and innovation.

Thanks to the staff of Health Sciences Administration – and to all the wonderful UW staff – who are working so hard and so effectively to improve our core service operations.