31 October 2019 • TIS Faculty
Faculty Office and Education: Stronger Together
Faculty Offices like to work together with degree programmes. So it’s ideal when a team leader is active in both areas – as was the case for M&O the previous academic year, when the PAQ team leader went on maternity leave and Phine van Doorne stepped in. Phine explains how this came to be:
“I’m the team leader of the Business Administration degree programme. I’ve previously held several management positions within Facility Management, which was the subject of my master’s degree, so you could say service is in my DNA. I believe that primary processes and supporting service departments not only need each other, they improve each other. We are stronger together.” As a team leader, Phine also manages a host of operational processes. As such, it seemed only natural that she would assume the managing position within PAQ. She already wanted to connect the two, and also realised the importance of strengthening the relationship.
*What is PAQ, exactly? PAQ stands for Policy, Advice and Quality and is one of three teams within the Faculty Office.
A Win-Win Situation
Assigning Phine as the PAQ team leader proved to be a great move. The situation benefited both teams, because Phine could act as the ‘bridge’ between their two worlds. She was now better able to explain to her team of lecturers how procedures work whilst also telling the PAQ team why it’s so important to inform the degree programmes on the status quo in good time. After all, lecturers work in a different environment than their supporting colleagues. Phine noticed, for instance, a difference in the professional culture: “PAQ is much more oriented on short-term results. If you agree on something, it will be done by next week.” The MT meetings within the Faculty Office also gave Phine the opportunity to deploy her educational experience.
The Importance of Direct Communication
Phine herself profited from this new situation too: she realised she would not mind being the Faculty Office manager. Not just because she likes the people and the environment, but also because she likes improving quality and procedures. She is convinced that streamlining procedures can yield amazing results. According to her it’s good to get together and review whether all these different steps are actually necessary. According to Phine, it’s all about direct communication and open dialogue between the degree programme and the supporting services. Her advice? Start talking, align interests, inform each other, visit colleagues instead of emailing them, and leave responsibilities with the appropriate people. We are all busy, so complicated procedures and lengthy email discussions don’t help. They just drain flexibility and jeopardise the level of service to our students.
True North: A New Way to Communicate
Phine has been working extra hours to free up two days to supervise the PAQ team. Her natural instincts are to be involved with everything, but for PAQ she chose a different tactic. (But also, let’s be honest, because she only had two days.) This new tactic resulted in a wealth of input from the team, which in turn improved collaboration. Phine has really seen the team grow. How did she do it? At the time that Phine stepped in, the faculty was already scheduled to implement the Lean strategy even further. The MT was already working with True North, a method in which you set out strategies in the form of a roadmap on a piece of A3 paper. Phine finetuned this method with the PAQ team. The team members started having weekly meetings at a yellow wall which displays the essential issues. Everyone converges at the wall and discusses these issues for about fifteen minutes so everyone is kept informed on each other’s activities, which prevents duplicate work being done. For example, now there is piece of A3 paper on the wall containing a programme for the educational advisers to chart the PAQ-related questions from the degree programmes in a timely manner, thereby allowing the PAQ to divide the available hours more evenly among the degree programmes.
How do changes to a process impact people and how do you manage this impact? That was the theme of the PAQ team outing to the COMM Museum. The team worked with Wouter de Vries’ service provider model, which defines five interrelated segments ; any change to one of those segments naturally affects the other segments. Together, the team members decided what this model means for PAQ and how they can deal with its ramifications proactively rather than reactively. The team now has a more solid footing for its negotiations with the degree programmes and is becoming more focused on true PAQ activities.
Faculty Offices Cooperating As Well
This article is based on a conversation between two members of the PAQ team for TIS and Phine. Another great example of cooperation between the TIS and M&O Faculty Offices! If you’d like to know more about the collaboration between PAQ and education within M&O, then contact Phine van Doorne: firstname.lastname@example.org