Thursday, March 17, 2011
Registrar's Office implements new grade change processA new grade change process has been implemented by Oakland University's Registrar’s Office, which has streamlined a previously manual process into an online one that is more convenient and efficient. The impetus for eliminating the paper grade change form was Dave Vartanian, Internal Audit, who reviewed the university’s grade change process and made recommendations for improvement.
Recommendations for this new process came from a student kaizen (process improvement) team from HRD 304: Lean Principles and Practices in Organizations, which consisted of Cassie Bell, Michelle Mich, Ed Yates and Donna Beauchamp, under the guidance of Mark Doman, special instructor in Human Resource Development.
The students identified how to dramatically reduce the amount of time and number of steps that it takes to change grades at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. A process, Bell said, that was streamlined from over 30 steps to six.
The Registrar’s Office worked with University Technology Services and Academic Affairs to create a web form to act as a poke-yoke (mistake proofing) for the process. With this poke-yoke, errors would be detected at the beginning of the process and wouldn't be able to go any further.
“Putting the system online forces accuracy because it’s pulling information from Banner,” said Associate Registrar Tricia Westergaard. Banner is a computer information system that contains information on courses, students, faculty, staff and alumni.
This online system also automatically generates an e-mail to the student and professor when a grade is changed. This new process will save the university an estimated $30,000 annually in paper and labor costs.
According to Steven Shablin, OU's registrar, the new process will significantly reduce the amount of time for grade changes – especially for the faculty going through the process.
Before the new process was implemented, several faculty were invited to test it and offer their feedback. According to Shablin, the test faculty really liked the new process, and it was also met with a lot of support and positive responses when presented at a recent OU Senate meeting.
Tamara Machmut-Jhashi, OU associate professor in art history and former associate provost, was the project sponsor.
Shablin added that it’s always good to take a look at the processes and identify how to improve them, not only to help the staff but ultimately to improve service for all constituencies.
For more information about the new grade change process, visit the Registrar’s Office website under Faculty Resources. For more information about lean courses and student projects, visit oakland.edu/lean.