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Operational Excellence in Academic Affairs

Prior to 2020, UC San Diego had been hard at work creating a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Innovation is in our DNA.

  • In UC San Diego’s Strategic Plan, goal #5 encourages us to create an agile, sustainable, and supportive infrastructure by ensuring a dedication to service, people, and financial stewardship. This goal empowers us all to work as a team to examine our work and implement solutions to make our work better.  

Continuous improvement has been woven into our culture. 

  • We began our transformation journey by selecting Lean Six Sigma, a powerful and measurable methodology that can provide a common vocabulary and set of practices that can be shared by all, regardless of role or project.   
  • To date, we have trained 4500 individuals in Lean Six Sigma (White, Yellow, Green and Black belts) throughout the institution!  The impact of this training has been immediate and profound.
  • As a campus, we have shifted the way we conduct business processes and deliver services by empowering staff and subject matter experts to drive change, and continuously seek opportunities to make improvements, large and small. 


In the spirit of continuous improvement, we have dedicated resources to operational excellence in Academic Affairs by creating the Center for Operational Excellence (COE). Over the next couple of months, we hope to highlight our successes in process improvement and share our lessons learned with other institutions. We invite you to celebrate the inspired solutions developed through the dedication and creativity of our Triton community.


Call for Proposals: Academic Affairs Transformative Business Services Pilot

May 18, 2022







SUBJECT: Call for Proposals: Academic Affairs Transformative Business Services Pilot


We are pleased to announce a call for proposals for a new Academic Affairs Resource Administration Transformative Business Services pilot program.


Business and operational services in Academic Affairs schools range from financial, to human resources, to academic personnel services and beyond. The current models for delivery of these services have been impacted by an unprecedented set of challenges, including the launch of the Enterprise Renewal Systems (ESRs), the pandemic, and an incredibly competitive job market leading to increased staff turnover. This new two-year pilot program aims to encourage schools to collaborate and experiment with new models of service delivery to improve efficiency and customer service, and also potentially reduce frustration for staff performing critical work across the university. 


Proposals for this business services pilot initiative must be transformative and demonstrate an increase in efficiency and efficacy as well as improvements in customer service. Proposals should also demonstrate collaboration by including partners across Academic Affairs and show strong utilization of Lean Six Sigma/continuous process improvement principles. Each school may submit up to two proposals in total: one proposal with an initiative internal to the school and one proposal engaging other schools. Proposals must be led by the school’s Dean’s office and demonstrate cooperation and support throughout the school. 


A successful proposal will be granted up to $250,000 seed funding allocated over two years and two years’ use of up to one FTE project manager, under the supervision of the Office of Associate Vice Chancellor - Resource Administration’s Center for Operational Excellence (COE). In addition, the COE will assist with defining and implementing clear Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for the project.


Deans and Assistant Deans are invited to submit proposals via email to Ahren Crickard at no later than Monday, August 1, 2022.


We look forward to working with the schools on initiatives to transform and improve the delivery of our business operations in service of Tritons. For additional information or to submit an application, please visit the Center for Operational Excellence website or contact Ahren Crickard at


Elizabeth H. Simmons

Executive Vice Chancellor

Marie Carter-Dubois

Associate Vice Chancellor, Resource Administration


Proposal Submission Form