Streamlining Events: SMU’s New Site Features Venues, Campus Partners and More

Last spring, the Operational Excellence Event Management Initiative team began implementing a list of improvements developed to streamline the event planning process at SMU. Among their recommendations was the creation of a one-stop website for both internal and external event planners.

The site,, went live in October and features information about venues, University policies and campus partners which should prove helpful to those planning all kinds of events including, receptions, luncheons, weddings, student events, conferences, and more. Photos, location details, capacities, and the Event Lead to contact for scheduling or more information are given for each major SMU venue in addition to a venue directory.

The Event Leads are members of a group recently created by the Event Management Initiative and serve as primary logistics contacts or representatives for the spaces in their area(s). Event leads are also responsible for keeping information about their venues current on the SMU Event Services website and meet quarterly to discuss standards and best practices. This group is co-chaired by Denton Bricker, Director of Operations for Conference and Event Services and  Jay Hengst, Director of Operations and Events at Meadows School of the Arts.

The new website is managed by Denton Bricker.

For questions about the site, contact


Operational Excellence June-July News and Highlights

This summer, the Operational Excellence website is featuring a series of staff spotlights: stories about staff members who’ve taken on new leadership roles since the implementation of OE2C and are helping bring more innovation and efficiency to campus operations. Employees highlighted in June and July include Melanie Bailey, Yvette Castilla and Vali Discus in Business and Finance, and Rachel Mulry, Teena Newman and Jason Warner in OIT.

Staff and faculty can now sign up for a new surplus office supply listserv, a cost-saving recycling measure implemented by the Repurposed Property Initiative team. Everyone who joins will receive periodic email notices of free surplus office supplies across campus in new or gently used condition, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants can also add their own surplus items to the list.

And, in response to a question about SMU’s policy on water purchases, guidelines were explained for buying bottled water and filtered water.

Featured News

Staff Spotlight – Melanie Bailey

Staff Spotlight – Yvette Castilla

Staff Spotlight – Vali Discus

Staff Spotlight – Rachel Mulry

Staff Spotlight – Teena Newman

Staff Spotlight – Jason Warner

Sign Up for Office Supply Listserv


What is SMU’s policy on water purchases and is there a way to streamline our spending in this area?



Operational Excellence April – May News and Highlights

April and May were busy months in the Office of Operational Excellence. Two new initiatives were announced: Exit Process to streamline the process for facilitating departing employees, and Staff Recognition to identify, create and promote annual staff recognition opportunities. The Repurposed Property Initiative announced its first two ideas to reduce duplication of office supplies and the re-use of furniture on campus: an office supply email list-serv and an office furniture website, both to be introduced this summer. 

Streamlined purchasing practices enabled SMU to save $84K on technology and pushed the University to the $20M mark for savings from the OE2C project. Of the savings identified, funds have already been allocated to general academic reinvestments, the University Research Council, graduate fellowships, high performance computing and more. For more details visit the updated Operational Excellence Metrics here.

In early April, President Turner announced that the University is complementing its exploration of a data warehouse with the creation of a Data Governance committee structure. The work will be overseen by Michael Tumeo with the support of the Data Governance Steering Committee and the Data Governance Committee. Both groups gathered for an inaugural meeting on May 25. 

Some of most thoughtful cost savings and operational improvement ideas implemented at SMU have come directly from faculty and staff members. If you have an idea for how the University could save money and/or streamline processes, submit your thoughts via the online comment form. All submissions may be submitted completely anonymously.

 Featured News 

President Turner Introduces Data Governance Initiative

Exit Process Initiative Announced

The First Two Ideas of The Repurposed Property Initiative

Streamlined Technology Purchasing Saves SMU $84K

Staff Recognition Initiative Announced

SMU Now Saving $20 Million Annually From OE2C

Data Governance Committees Begin Assignments


SMU Now Saving $20 Million Annually From OE2C

After a final group of cost savings was realized in FY17 in Procurement, the Office of Operational Excellence is pleased to announce that the University is now saving $20 million a year as a result of Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C) initiatives.

The purpose for embarking upon the OE2C project was to identify funds from administrative operations that could be reallocated to academic purposes in order to drive the University forward.  Of the $20M saved, currently $14.1M (70.5%) has been committed for new uses.

The largest portion of the $14M goes to general academic reinvestments (27.9%). Another 41% is being distributed to the University Research Council, Research Staff Support, Academic Fellowships, High Performance Computing, the Academic Initiatives Fund, Undergraduate Equalization Fund, an Interdisciplinary Institute and the OIT Academic Technology Group.

To see specific allocations for the money saved and the breakdown of where saved funds came from, visit the updated savings tracker.


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)