OAA Operational Excellence

OAA Operational Excellence

A champion of transformation to support
Ohio State's academic mission.


The Operational Excellence team aims to be a strategic consulting partner to help identify, analyze and improve our business processes while serving as project mentors on targeted cross-functional initiatives.

The concept of operational excellence has countless definitions, but at its core, it is simply a mindset that embraces principles and tools to create a culture of excellence within an organization. As institutions continually find ways to evolve, operational excellence has become one of the most successful methods for improving all areas of organizational performance. The definition of “excellence” can vary for each person, unit, college or organization. Still, we can achieve our goals by fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment where all individuals are respected, supported and encouraged to provide input and thought leadership.


The Ohio State University’s Academic Plan is a multipronged initiative, and one of the goals involves achieving operational excellence. The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) will develop and continuously improve academic, administrative and business processes to advance the university’s academic priorities. We will enhance the operational effectiveness, transparency and efficiency of OAA’s academic, administrative and business processes. As a key step toward achieving this goal, OAA has installed an Operational Excellence program to help all units within OAA along our journey to excellence. 

Adding value to the work we do by
  • Providing a welcoming and inclusive environment where all individuals are respected, supported and encouraged to provide input and thought leadership ​
  • Utilizing resources​ efficiently
  • Quickly identifying problems at the root cause and then implementing solutions
Resulting in
  • Positive working culture and improved employee morale​
  • Improved employee retention and engagement​
  • Higher-quality work
  • Efficiency

OpEx Champion Curriculum

There are currently eight Operational Excellence Workshop offerings to choose from. If any of the offerings interest you or your team, please get in touch with our team to begin planning discussions for the event.


Operational Excellence 101

Introduction to the principle of Operational Excellence and how it’s deployed within OAA

OGSM (Objectives, Goals, Strategy & Metrics)

Designing, communicating & executing winning strategies

Process Improvement

Introduce process mapping, the 8 Wastes, and how to make process improvements

Work Outputs Workshop

  • Examine current-state work outputs/deliverables by team member
  • Support team future-state work design by identifying opportunities to remove non-value added work, realign work to the right individual, and/or rebalance work across the team
  • Create a Plan for the Week mentality & process rigor to ensure achievement of team deliverables


Learn how, when, and why to use a RACI responsibility matrix to define roles and responsibilities

Problem Solving

Focus on root cause analysis and elimination

Meeting Effectiveness

Learn to facilitate effective meetings to achieve desired meeting outcomes

Project Management Principles

Introduction to the project lifecycle and your role as a project manager

Change Management

How to effectively manage change by applying a defined Change Management methodology to your projects

In Support of the Academic Plan​

Academic Plan Goal: Achieve Operational Excellence​

We will develop and continuously improve academic, administrative, and business processes to advance the University’s academic priorities.​​

To achieve this goal, we will enhance the operational effectiveness, transparency, and efficiency of OAA’s academic, administrative, and business processes. ​

We will:

  • Redesign OAA’s organizational structure to align with academic priorities and provide optimal support for advancing the Academic Plan.​
  • Create an administrative modernization program to update processes, enhance coordination, and deliver efficient and effective results.​
  • Reestablish the Office of Institutional Research and Planning and promote data, analytics, and information to facilitate insights and improve strategic and evidence-based decisions.​

Action plan

Embrace learning and development

OpEx curriculum has been developed around various topics and tools that all OAA employees can leverage.  The goal of the curriculum is to arm OAA with the tools needed to operate efficiently and effectively. A few workshops are tailored to a more senior audience, while any employee of the university can attend others.  Courses will be developed for all position profiles, accessible for remote individuals, and continually refreshed and updated based on participant feedback.  A few examples of workshops offered include: 

  • Introduction to Operational Excellence 
  • Problem Solving Techniques 
  • Introduction to Project Management 
  • OGSM (Objectives, Goals, Strategies, Measures) 
  • Process Improvement 
  • Work Outputs & Capacity Planning 
  • Introduction to Process Improvements 
  • RACI 
Establish portfolio management

Each unit within OAA will develop a portfolio of OpEx opportunities to be managed by the  champion of the unit. This practice will foster an inclusive environment of continuous improvement where all employees can provide feedback and submit ideas of what could be improved within the unit. No idea is too small, as incremental improvements are the foundation for success in the program. The champion will partner with OpEx to identify project leads and report on progress of these OpEx opportunities to their senior leader. Large cross-functional projects will be vetted by the OpEx team and exist outside of this program. 

Enhance the culture

A foundation of developing our OpEx culture will be through the identification of champions. These individuals will be change advocates and influencers for the program. They are individuals who are genuinely curious about new ways of working and always trying to improve. They will go through a standardized learning and development curriculum and will socialize learnings through their units. They will lead the portfolio management function within their units and partner closely with the OpEx team on any potential cross-functional projects or initiatives.

Administrative staff

Vice President for Budget and Resource Management

Brad Harris

Operational Excellence Project Manager

Andrew Urbanski