Waterbury presents the awards.
During a brief ceremony in College Hall on October 10, four AUB employees
received the first President's Service Excellence Awards and medals granted
under the University's new Service Quality Initiative.
Sadik Al-Assaad, associate director of the Development Office; Nellie
Ayvazian, registered nurse in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
AUBMC; Suha Kiwan, secretary in the Dietary Department, AUBMC; and Wafa
Masri, endoscopy technician, AUBMC were each honored at the ceremony as
President John Waterbury gave out the awards.
Also present were Provost Peter Heath, Vice President John Bernson, department
heads of the employees receiving the awards and SQI Task Team members
Karma el-Hassan and Ziad Yamut.
According to Physical Plant Director Ziad Yamut, the awards were based
"on a history of consistent high quality service towards the community
of the University and its customers, measured through feedback from past
records, supervisors, peers and entities receiving the service."
The four were again honored when some 250 AUB supervisors and managers
gathered in Issam Fares Hall on October 12 for a comprehensive overview
of the University's Service Quality Initiative.
"IT'S FUN TO BE NICE TO PEOPLE."
Service Quality Initiative, currently an on-going campaign at AUB, first
saw light on campus late in the summer of 1999 through the impetus of
an original Task Force consisting of Vice Presidents John Bernson, George
Najjar, and George Tomey (see AUB Today, March 2000). The Initiative is
a University-wide campaign designed to improve all services at AUB whether
medical, clinical, academic, or staff. Its purpose is to assure that the
University retains its position as the number one academic institution
in the area, capable of rendering superior, state-of-the-art services,
not only to students and patients, but within the organization itself.
On October 12 some 250 AUB managers and supervisors convened in
Issam Fares Hall with top administrators for a briefing on the Service
Quality Initiative and recognition of the first recipients of the President's
Service Excellence Awards, presented two days earlier.
Addressing the managers and supervisors gathered in Issam Fares
Hall, President Waterbury said that every task performed by each employee,
from top manager to janitor, is relevant to the image and effectiveness
of the University. Through improved levels of service excellence every
effort will be made to provide top-notch education for students and superior
care for hospital patients.
"We are all managers," the President insisted. "We
all have to deal with our subordinates, and how we do that reflects in
turn upon the service we give our students and our patients. Management
has to monitor its subordinates and itself." Waterbury added that
the SQI is the most important initiative he has taken part in since becoming
President of AUB.
Provost Peter Heath spoke about AUB's historic position in Lebanon
and the Middle East. "AUB," he said, "has always prided
itself on its quality." It is necessary to monitor that quality constantly
to make sure that the University remains a top-class educational institution.
The University has already undergone 18 months of internal reviews
of programs and facilities, including a report on the hospital and an
external review of academic programs. A task force is establishing teaching
workshops and preparing for accreditation in an all out effort "to
look at the way we do things," Heath said. "We need to work
on our weaknesses with pride in our strengths."
Vice President Bernson presented a comprehensive overview of the
Initiative, pinpointing the five major components of the program (training,
process improvement, management support, measurement, and rewards) established
by the original task team.
TRAINING: Training sessions in service excellence will be offered
to all non-academic staff during the year 2000-2001, while at least half
of the faculty will participate in workshops on teaching effectiveness
this year through a program directed by Associate Provost Wadah Nasr.
Training sessions for supervisors and managers, conducted by AUB trainers,
are now in full swing at the Al Bustan Hotel in Beit Meri, and will continue
through the end of the year. From January through May all non-academic
AUB employees will attend service excellence training sessions on campus.
PROCESS IMPROVEMENT: According to Vice President Bernson, in order
to improve, it is necessary for the University to "re-engineer the
way we do things in very concrete ways in order to change people's perception
of our service quality. . . . The program [will] identify every year,
three to five priority re-engineering projects and then work hard for
Process improvement has already begun in such areas as registration,
purchasing, hospital admissions, advising, and new faculty orientation;
a review of the Physical Plant is underway.
In the area of registration, excellent progress has been made. Students
registering this fall (2000) completed the process, Bernson reported,
"in a matter of hours not days." Improvement came thanks to
the "yeoman efforts" undertaken by I.T., the Registrar's Office,
the Admissions Office, the Comptrollers Office, faculty deans, and faculty
advisors. Working together, they corrected the "cumbersome, frustrating,
and extremely time-consuming" system of registration on campus, which
had peaked with much student distress in the fall of 1999-2000.
According to Task Team Chair Azmi Imad, the Purchasing Department
has been examining its role, delineating its mission, and revising its
procedures for some time now. Group purchasing for the hospital promises
to save much money. Most exciting for other departments on campus is the
new "Quick Purchases" policy, which makes it possible for orders
under $5,000 to be finalized in one or two days, and not more than five
working days. Paper work has also been dramatically reduced. Purchasing
now offers "one-stop shopping," pledging no more "run around"
for any of its clients.
"This initiative is long overdue," said Imad. "Can
you believe that right now, as we enter the third millennium, some offices
in this University still use carbon paper? That some are still using forms
introduced 30 years ago?"
The hospital Admissions Office is concentrating on cutting down
the time and paperwork involved for patients entering AUH.
Workshops have already begun on academic advising.
Enormous strides have been made in welcoming new faculty members:
Coordinator of New Faculty Activities, Ms. Khadija Lakkis, makes sure
incoming faculty are met at the airport and that their accommodations
are ready for occupancy. Newcomers are provided with necessary information
and assistance on paperwork and schools--basically all aspects of life
in Beirut; in addition, Lakkis organizes trips to historical sites such
as Baalbek and Palmyra.
SUPPORT: "Bringing people together and getting out the message are
of vital importance," Bernson explained.
Management support will take the form of improved communication through
quality forums, formal meetings such as the October 12 presentation in
Issam Fares Hall, and "more informal interactive gatherings."
E-mail, the AUB website, AUB publications, and videos will be used to
spread the word about the SQI. Management will also support AUB service
strategies as well as the important mission statement that each department
are defining for itself.
MEASUREMENT: A vital key to the success of the Service Quality
Initiative campaign is measuring its progress through the study of customer
feedback (e.g., on registration, new student orientation programs, advising)
and a computer-graded employee satisfaction survey to be administered
to some 3,000 AUB employees in early November. The Office of Tests and
Measurements, led by its Director and Task Team member Professor Karma
el-Hassan, will keep constant tabs on progress through a balanced scorecard
detailing continual appraisal of performance.
REWARDS: The final component of the SQI is celebration-- the recognition
of service rendered and rewards given for superior service. This year,
the President's Service Excellence Award was created to recognize and
acknowledge outstanding performance; a teaching excellence award will
soon be established as well. From a word of praise to a pat on the back
to a letter of recognition, to the President's Service Excellence Award--reward
and celebration remain basic fundamentals of the Service Quality Initiative.
Wrapping up his overview of the campaign at the October 12 meeting,
Vice President Bernson said, "So we are moving, moving on a number
of fronts. We have made some progress, but we've just begun. This effort
will be continuous; we are never going to get finished with it. But it's
going to be fun. It's fun to be nice to people . . . [and] make them happy.
As our service quality gets better we will feel better about [AUB], this
great organization we all work for."
Oversight And Task Teams Spearhead SQ Initiative
Chair: Provost Peter Heath
1. Vice President for Financial Affairs John Bernson
2. Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean, Faculty of Medicine Nadim
3. Vice President for REP and Dean of the New Business School George Najjar
4. Vice President for Administration George Tomey
Chair: Director of Business Services and Risk Management Azmi Imad
1. Assistant to the Vice President for REP and Director of Extension Programs
2. Assistant Director of Personnel Amal Hamadeh, responsible for logistics
of training program
3. Director of Tests and Measurements Karma El Hassan, in charge of surveys,
questionnaires, and performance measurement
4. Dean of Student Affairs Dean Kevlin
5. Assistant Hospital Director and Director of Nursing Gladys Mouro, directly
responsible for the hospital quality improvement program
6. Associate Provost Wadah Nasr, spearhead of teaching effectiveness programs
7. Director of the Hospital John Rhoder
8. Chief of Protection Saadallah Shalak
9. Director of the Physical Plant Ziad Yamut, in charge of President's
Service Excellence Awards
Both Azmi Imad and John Rhoder bring vast amounts of personal experience
in service quality improvement from long years of involvement in such
programs in the United States.