Registrar's Override Project

Registrar's Override Project
classroom with large yellow paper covered in notes on the walls
Lean Value Stream Mapping (Registrar's Project)

The Pawley Lean Institute supports Continuous Improvement projects within Oakland University.  These Lean projects provide additional exposure to Oakland University working teams to reduce waste, improve process, as well as improve the student experience. In September of 2017, Jeni Wenson led a group of eleven individuals gathered together using the Kaizen approach of continuous improvement to aid the University in their massive override project. The project was sponsored by Anne Hitt, Interim Associate Provost and Steve Shablin, Registrar. The project team consisted of: 

  1. Dennis Wade, Director, Pawley Lean Institute
  2. Jeni Wenson, Pawley Professor in Lean Studies/Visiting Professor
  3. Irene Shabazz, Manager, Undergraduate Education
  4. Tricia Westergaard, Senior Associate Registrar
  5. Roberta Rea, Director, SEHS Advising
  6. Sandy Dykstra, Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  7. Josh Stotts, Assistant Registrar
  8. Chris Goeth, Assistant Registrar
  9. Jen Wieske, Office Assistant III, Scheduler

The issue the group faced was 12,000 to 14,000 overrides per semester occur at Oakland University. Each override wastes the student’s time and can cause immense frustration. Due to the massive number, the group first looked at the data to create themes. Data supported that 8,400 of the overrides fell into four key areas that the group then determined would be the focus of the project. Otherwise, the scope was too large to focus on. The four areas lead the team to concentrate on the three registration permit override issues. The issues identified were:

  • No overall view of the process
  • Governance was ill defined
  • Coded did not match with the course action form

After creating value stream maps for each of the areas, using 5 Why’s to pinpoint root cause, break out teams were created that focused on the three problems. The first area one team concentrated on was bypassing the process results in errors. The second area was to ensure that the section is updated to match current catalog. The last problem focused on assisting chairs and schedulers in leveraging technology to check for errors while building a course schedule. In addition, create a metric to evaluate reduction of overrides. 

From the team’s work, several recommendations were decided upon: 

  1. Establish a liaison in each school
  2. Create a standard operations manual
  3. Mandatory training
  4. Audit the IT processes
  5. Centralize personnel
  6. Assign a designated headcount to address issues within the schools that would reside either in the Provost or Registrar’s Office that would mirror the function of Assistant Dean in College of Arts and Sciences 

To implement the recommendations, a task force will be created and a project manager assigned. The kick-off meeting will be held in January 2018 and the project sponsor will again be Anne Hitt. Monthly meetings will occur with an action plan to accomplish the recommendations made. Once the improvements have been put in place an update on the lowering of the overrides will be transparent to the entire Oakland community.