Organizational Excellence Showcase Brings Campus Involvement (video and photo slideshow)

The OE Showcase offered a unique opportunity for community togetherness, engagement, and innovation

UC Riverside’s Organizational Excellence, or OE, initiative continued its momentum with the inaugural OE Showcase event on May 25. OE, launched about two years ago, encourages and empowers departments across campus to introduce process improvements.

More than 350 staff and faculty attended the event on the Hinderaker Hall lawn. The event spotlighted nine campus groups implementing OE principles. Through activities, demos, presentations, and discussions, each group shared its successes standardizing and streamlining business processes, as well as their collaboration, innovation, and professional development.

“The OE Showcase is a live demonstration of what we have believed all along; that real change happens from the bottom-up,” said Ron Coley, vice chancellor for business and administrative services.

“When staff at all levels are empowered to facilitate change and offer solutions, we begin to develop the culture of service excellence and innovation that’s envisioned in UCR-2020,” said Coley, referring to the university’s strategic plan.

At the event, Interim Provost Cynthia Larive said open communication and collaboration will be key to OE success, adding that the campus must create an environment in which staff feel safe candidly discussing problems with supervisors and campus leadership.

UCR’s OE journey began two years ago when speakers from external organizations shared their OE experiences. Over the course of multiple campuswide events, staff and faculty decided what OE should look like at UCR.

UCR’s Dining Services created “Dining Excellence,” in which four subgroups studied issues such as resources, guest services, processes, and people. In the photo, Duane Gornicki, director of Residential Dining and Retail Services, speaks to OE participants who stopped by his booth on May 25, 2017. carlos puma

Among presenters at the May 25 event were Jenelle Nila, dining services supervisor of campus food trucks.

Nila said that, after participating in OE, UCR’s Dining Services created “Dining Excellence,” in which four subgroups studied issues such as resources, guest services, processes, and people. The last category became the “People Group,” which has been working for nearly a year streamlining the onboarding process for their department’s new hires. The group is comprised of six to eight employees that include custodians, supervisors, storekeepers, and managers.

The team created an application process and brochures, and is making sure employees have all the tools needed to begin work.

“We just hope people can take our idea and adapt it to their own departments,” Nila said. “The event was really great. There were a lot of great ideas, new ways of doing things. It’s a testament of what we can do when we work together.”

Another presenter at the showcase was the Conference and Events work group. The team of 30 people from across campus has created a website – and aspires to eventually create a department – to help students, staff, and faculty members plan for conferences and events on campus. The website,, has tips on how to plan events – everything from contacts to parking services information, said Ian Foster, a member of the work group.

“We want to eventually have a department that can be of assistance, a sort of consulting group, to walk you through, look at available rooms, and provide contact information for parking and other needs,” said Foster, chief of staff for University Advancement. “This would be especially helpful for people who are not familiar with planning events.”

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox was also there to show his appreciation for the work the various teams have put into their projects.

“I want to applaud everybody whose done so much in the last couple years to move us ahead. Administratively, it’s already showing benefits and I just want to say thanks,” Wilcox said.

Showcase attendees were treated to ice cream from the Moo Moo truck and Starbucks iced coffee as they visited the booths.

Coley said he plans to support a similar OE Showcase event next year. Sponsors of the OE Showcase included KUCR, UCR Auxiliary Services, UCR Healthy Campus Initiative, UCR Dining, Hospitality and Retail Services, Enterprise Risk Management, TAPS, and CARE.

“Our community is ready to connect, to collaborate, and to spur further innovation. OE will continue to serve as the catalyst for those efforts,” Coley said.

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View a slideshow of the event: PHOTOS BY CARLOS PUMA


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