Announcing the Staff Recognition Initiative

In recent years, ways in which outstanding staff members are recognized annually have become less clear. With change taking place in all parts of the University, it is increasingly important that outstanding staff work and length of service to the institution be acknowledged prominently and regularly. In order to improve, enhance and chronicle staff recognition efforts at SMU, the Office of Operational Excellence has launched the Staff Recognition Initiative.

Composed of members with years of service ranging from one to nearly 40, this initiative team is charged with identifying all of the ways in which SMU staff are recognized each year at the University, school and unit level. The team will strive to identify why previously esteemed celebrations, like the 25 Year Club ceremony, are not as well-known as they once were and create a University-wide comprehensive staff recognition program to be executed on an annual basis.

The Staff Recognition Initiative Team will begin meeting later in May and consists of the following members:

Project Manager: Rebecca Sampson – HR

Jim Dees -Lyle School of Engineering

Bill Dworaczyk – Central University Libraries

Ana Giron – HR

Tamara Hurdle – Staff Advocacy Council/Campus Services

Joan Jackson – DEA

Jennifer Jones – Student Affairs

Brinklee Noll -HR

Marjorie Rush – Staff Association/Payroll


Exit Process Initiative

SMU’s existing process for an employee’s departure from the University is problematic for several reasons. Termination notices are difficult to schedule, outstanding balances are difficult to collect, and often the employee’s termination date changes, further complicating things.

Currently the exit process requires interaction between a minimum of six offices, depending on the access level of the employee leaving and whether or not they are a faculty or staff member. The process is manual and managed through email, with no streamlined electronic way to coordinate between various departments.

To improve upon the handful of attempts to simplify the termination/exit process over the years, the Office of Operational Excellence has created the Exit Process Initiative.

The Initiative Team, led by project manager Sheri Starkey, will work to better understand the current system and identify ways in which SMU can more efficiently process departing employees.

Exit Process Team Members

Project Manager: Sheri Starkey (HR)

Holly Carter (HR)

Susan Howe (Legal)

Tommy Doan (OIT)

George Finney (OIT)

Paula Medders (Payroll)

Judy King (Provost)

Linda Sutton (Budgets and Finance)


President Turner Introduces Data Governance Initiative

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am excited to announce the launch of a new Data Governance Initiative with the goal of enabling SMU faculty and staff to access information more effectively to make better strategic, data-informed decisions.

In June 2016, an Operational Excellence initiative began to explore implementation of a data warehouse at SMU. A team of University staff and faculty conducted a thorough six-month review of the University’s data holdings, processes and systems. During its review, the team found discrepancies in how data was entered and defined by campus users, which highlighted a need to better define and organize data. Additionally, challenges were identified regarding inconsistent definitions, lack of integrative reporting, and the absence of robust data visualization capability.

For any organization, the process of moving from disparate data collections and definitions to easily accessible data requires careful planning and cooperation. Data governance focuses on improving data quality and access to data, establishing operational definitions, exploring business processes, and developing documented policies. While individual units and departments have responsibility for specific portions of data, often the University is called on to report information and make decisions based on institution-wide data. For some things as simple as what defines an academic department, degree or major across the University, it’s often impossible due to discrepancies to compare and contrast data from school to school or to report accurately across the University.

The new governance process recommended by the Data Warehouse Initiative Team will be led by Michael Tumeo, director of Institutional Research. He also will serve as the Data Governance director and lead two committees to address data governance issues at SMU. The Data Governance Steering Committee (DGSC) will include senior administrators from across campus who will discuss overarching data needs and challenges to help SMU make better and more timely decisions. This committee will provide guidance and direction to the Data Governance Committee (DGC), which will primarily include data administrators, or those with data management influence, in their specified areas. This group will make decisions about definitions, quality, and timelines, and will bring knowledge of how data is used in their functional areas. All areas of the University will be represented on both committees. Within the first two weeks of April, invitations to serve on these committees will go out to university faculty and staff. Initial work will begin prior to the end of Spring term.

Data governance is an important step forward for SMU as we strive to meet, and exceed, the goals and objectives outlined in the University Strategic Plan. Ultimately, having clear data definitions and better access to data across SMU will allow us to make better decisions.


Gerald Turner



Account Permissions Initiative

When a new employee is hired at SMU, the process to create their necessary accounts complete with appropriate permissions is complex. Although the employee base account is created automatically, supervisors must still request permissions to the various applications needed.

Currently, there are several different processes for approving and assigning the permission for an account based on the application and business units involved. Due to the complexity of some of the existing workflow processes, a request for permissions can easily take up to two or three weeks to process leaving some employees on the job without the permissions they need to do their work.

To address these issues and to reduce the amount of time between the submission of a request and the assignment of permissions, the Office of Operational Excellence has created the Account Permissions Initiative. The team will be led by project manager Rachel Mulry (OIT) and hopes to submit a first draft of improvements to the Operational Excellence Executive Committee by this summer.

Account Permissions Team Members

Project Manager: Rachel Mulry (OIT)

Yvette Castilla (Finance)

George Finney (OIT)

Curt Herridge (OIT)

Anna Kandasamy (OIT)

Jacqueline McKethan (OIT)

Lauren Nelson (OIT)

Joe Papari (Enrollment Services)

Josh Ruiz (OIT)

Marjorie Rush (Payroll)



Frequently Asked Questions About the Facilities Initiative

What is the goal of the Facilities Initiative’s inquiries on space utilization and energy consumption?

The goal is to create an accurate representation of spaces on campus, determine how they are being used, and consider if there are opportunities to relocate some functions to SMU’s main campus. These relocations could create rental revenues that would be reinvested back into the academic mission of the University.

What opportunities are being explored through this process?

Opportunities could be identified across a variety of different areas, such as making scheduling processes more efficient and making better use of current spaces, including the possible reconfiguration of existing spaces to improve overall efficiency, while also maximizing revenues for the University.

What is the process for arriving at recommendations?

Members from the Facilities Initiative will be collecting data from all critical stakeholders. This data will be analyzed and recommendations will be made to the Steering Committee; after they give approval, recommendations are sent to the Executive Committee, led by President Turner.

How can I provide input on this Initiative?

You are welcome to reach out to the group via the OE2C website online comment form to ask a specific question or provide any feedback or information you think would be beneficial to this process.