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Awards honor employees for achieving administrative improvements

May 12, 2015

Three teams and one individual have been selected to receive the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s 2015 Administrative Improvement Awards.

The award recipients are being recognized for their exceptional performance in administrative roles supporting academics, research, student services, outreach or administration. Emphasis is given to outstanding work that results in improved efficiency, increased revenue channels, cost savings or improved service delivery.

“These award recipients set a high standard for their commitment to improvement and innovation,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank says. “I appreciate their efforts — and results — in providing a high level of administrative service.”

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell says the achievements of the award winners demonstrate the importance of administrative efforts to the success of UW–Madison.

“Each of these award winners has made UW–Madison a stronger, more effective institution,” Bazzell says.

The award recipients will be honored Monday, June 8 at Union South. The ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. The campus community is invited.

Recipients of the 2015 Administrative Improvement Award are:

UW-Madison Housing Move-Out Reuse/Recycling Program: Laura Shere, Mike Henry and Jason Rittel of University Housing; Sabrina Bradshaw, Office of Sustainability; Professor Cathy Middlecamp, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies; Lyle Jelle and Brad Schenkel, Physical Plant; Aaron Conradt, We Conserve; and Colin Higgins, Sustainability Council.

In response to demand from residents, University Housing began working toward a comprehensive waste reduction program in 2009 by establishing donation collection stations for Goodwill Industries and St. Vincent DePaul. Since then, the program has developed a more strategic approach to educating students about eliminating waste while living in the residence halls.

The move-out event has been integrated into coursework through an academic incentive for participation. In addition, a multifaceted move-out team was created with partners from University Housing, Physical Plant, We Conserve, the Office of Sustainability, UW–Madison faculty and the community. In 2014, 130 individuals supported the waste reuse/recycling event by providing more than 430 hours of staffing and diverting more than 82,000 pounds of materials from landfills.

This year, University Housing is partnering with the Office of Sustainability to provide a thorough evaluation of the program to ensure that it can sustain the growth it has experienced. The team will use the results to create and prioritize recommendations to strengthen the program.

Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene Toxicology Team: David Webb, John Shalkham, Miel Barman, Amy Miles, Daniel McManaway, Kristin Drewieck and Ed Oliver from the State Lab of Hygiene. Staff support from Jim Thompson and Nevin Olson of Administrative Process Redesign.

The Lab of Hygiene’s Forensic Toxicology Section provides alcohol testing and drug testing, testimony and support services for about 17,000 biological specimens annually. Over 90 percent of these samples are collected by law enforcement officers in conjunction with operating while intoxicated (OWI) investigations.

Increased demand for lab services caused the average turnaround time for drug testing reports to increase from 64 days in 2003 to 263 days by the end of 2012, causing problems for law enforcement and the court system.

Working in collaboration with UW–Madison’s Administrative Process Redesign, the toxicology team identified ways to reduce turnaround time without compromising the quality of testing. The result has been a dramatic improvement in overall turnaround time. Data from February 2015 showed that project goals, including a stretch goal of having 90 percent of all OWI blood drug samples reported in less than 60 days, have been met.

Agencies that previously reduced their submissions to the Lab of Hygiene increased their submissions based largely on the improved turnaround time, and courts rarely have to request expedited service for drug testing.

University Health Services Travel Clinic Improvement Project: Linda Johnson, Cheryl Jones and Jenny Kind of University Health Services.

The UHS Travel Clinic provides health evaluations, travel advice, immunizations and health certification to students planning to travel abroad or returning from international travel. It is important for both individual well-being and campus population health that students evaluate their travel risk and take appropriate precautions prior to travel and upon their return.

Problems identified at the UHS Travel Clinic in fall 2013 included inadequate capacity to meet demand during weeks of high travel volume (which led to long wait lines), referrals to private clinics or pharmacies, and impacts on primary care. The Travel Clinic also was not taking full advantage of online technology.

The project team clarified the current state and workflows, identified inefficiencies, waste and gaps in the current state, and determined relevant operational and financial metrics. A new online scheduling process allowed more students to receive services more efficiently.

There were no wait lists or referrals to outside clinics following the initiation of changes. A post-improvement satisfaction survey indicated students were very satisfied with the new process and felt their travel habits and safety were positively affected. The Travel Clinic’s use increased from 468 in fall 2013 to 650 in fall 2014.

Adin Palau, Office of Human Resources: UW–Madison recruits extensively through publications, journals and job boards to attract well-qualified and diverse candidate pools. The Office of Human Resources made a commitment to increase the effectiveness of recruitment advertising, especially to attract candidates from under-represented groups.

Palau conducted the first-ever comprehensive campuswide assessment of recruitment advertising activities. He also held a series of conversations with the campus human resources community to discuss implementing a consolidated effort to increase effectiveness and reduce costs.

As a result of the initiative, UW–Madison expanded the scope of discounted recruitment advertising agreements from one local publication to discounted agreements with 18 publications. Discounts ranged from 15 to 70 percent and saved the University nearly $500,000 in 2013-14. Palau also developed an easy-to-use online tool for campus recruiters to access the contracts.

Palau’s initiative has increased advertising in publications that serve women and minorities and has provided comprehensive and reliable data to track campus spending on advertising.