IAS Staff Integrates and Reorganizes

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The School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences has realized a long-term goal that has consolidated its staff and reorganized its offices.  The new office configuration was envisioned and designed by staff to facilitate their work with faculty and students, and deliver greater value to the school.

In UW1-360, you will now find IAS Student Services and Advising for both undergraduate and graduate students. Our mission is to provide a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive space in which students can access the tools and knowledge to achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals.

Next door, in UW1-390, is the IAS Administration and Deans’ Office.  Housing staff from the Operations, Academic Services, and External Relations teams, the office develops, manages, and mobilizes human and financial resources for the unit.

The vision of a single, integrated IAS office emerged from a staff-driven (LEAN) improvement process. In summer 2014, staff came together across two historically disparate offices to assess how to manage effectively recent growth in faculty, students, and majors.  (All had doubled (or more) in the preceding years.) Their analysis suggested that an integrated offices would reduce excessive crowding, improve resource and knowledge sharing, and facilitate collaboration and innovation.  

With space constraints a major challenge on campus, staff held strong to the vision of an integrated office for the intervening four years.  They worked practically to enact what they could: integrating their separate network drives into a “one school” comprehensive filing system, holding regular all staff meetings and retreats, and collaborating across offices in communications and hiring initiatives.

Their co-location in UW1 approved this summer, staff worked together, with the help of Sherri Willis in Organizational Excellence and Human resources, to design workflows and community agreements that would support their work together in and across their new spaces. A cross-office Implementation Task Force continues to facilitate the transition through communications and assessment.

We are all excited about the new configuration, and invigorated to have the opportunity to collaborate on a sustained basis.  Staff shared their transition story with faculty at the annual retreat through a small performance.  The IAS Dean Bruce Burgett commemorates their journey with this tribute:

There once was a large school in transition
And a fine staff with gobs of ambition
They hoped and they prayed
They never dismayed
On 9/14, their dreams came to fruition.