In an environment of diminished resources, growing enrollment and increasing accountability, Dr. William Balzer, dean of BGSU Firelands, says there are ways to develop and sustain a Lean Higher Education transformation. He explains how in his new book, Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes. Lean is a term used to describe a simplified and streamlined approach to doing business.
Using many examples and step-by-step guidelines, Balzer introduces his “Lean interventions” and provides methods for uncovering and eliminating activities that overburden staff and provide little or no value to students. He also details standardized methods for correctly diagnosing workplace problems and implementing appropriate solutions.
“The success of Lean at other colleges and universities, and in pilot projects we completed here at BGSU, led me to write this first book that specifically addresses how to implement Lean in a higher education setting,” Balzer explained. In one example from the book, the BGSU Student Counseling Center created an LHE team made up of center employees who applied these principles and practices and were able to reduce student waiting time for an appointment from 16 days to same-day appointments – without adding any staff.
“Lean principles and practices have been extremely effective in improving a wide variety of organizations from manufacturing to health care,” Balzer said. “I felt that the extension of Lean principles and practices in higher education could offer a great opportunity to use the knowledge and talents of all university employees to help redesign critical university activities and processes to better serve our students.”
Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes is available on Amazon and through Productivity Press.