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Operations Group lays out plans

Wednesday, 15 March 2017 9:31pm

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The University of Otago Operations Group has many plans to enhance life on the Dunedin campus.

The University’s Operations Group aims to make the campus more vibrant in the evenings, produce an app for students and combine help for everything from IT to building problems in one call centre and one online portal.

In addition, Student Services will also investigate creating a student-led Student Wellness Centre, in line with many international examples of peer-to-peer support.

These are just some of the targets set by the Group, which is led by Chief Operating Officer Stephen Willis.

Information Technology Services (ITS) will develop the University-wide student app.

Students have already helped identify features they would like in the app, including information about Student Services, Academic Services, libraries, information technology, the colleges, security, and safety.

In Property Services, 98 percent of staff are doing their second round of customer training, as part the Operations Group’s overall goal to boost customer satisfaction by 10 percent.

Other goals include centralising all the Operations Group’s information technology buying, to make the best use of existing specialised purchasing staff and the relationships ITS has developed as a big purchaser.

A new Office of Sustainability aims to deliver a University-wide framework for sustainability, and annual action plans. Manager Dr Hilary Phipps reports directly to the Chief Operating Officer.

A new division in the Operations Group is bringing together some existing services under the banner of Division of Campus and Collegiate Life Services.

The new division is led by Director James Lindsay - formerly director of Accommodation Services – and is made up of Accommodation, University Print, and the University Union.

That division will develop a plan to bring more life to the campus after normal business hours, while also enhancing the campus environment and the quality and range of services available on campus.

Student Services will rebrand to reflect its role more accurately, while also bringing its component parts closer together. The Service will also increase opportunities for students to volunteer and contribute, through initiatives like the Wellness Centre concept.

Other Operations Group initiatives include:

Establishing the new division of Campus Development, responsible for major projects, campus master planning, and strategic space. Its director will report directly to the Chief Operating Officer and the division’s tasks will include:

  • Developing standard design guidelines for the adoption of all new major projects and refurbishments, including sustainability initiatives
  • Completing an update of the Campus Master Plan

Establishing the new Project Management Office. Its manager Tracey Huntleigh-Smith is reporting directly to the Chief Operating Officer, and she will be:

  • Developing a University-wide project management framework, including policies, procedures, tools and templates

Embedding the new Risk Assurance and Compliance Office. Its director, Mark Cartwright, reports directly to the Chief Operating Officer and is:

  • Developing a University-wide business continuity framework

Information Technology Services’ (ITS) goals:

  • Developing a strategic roadmap for information and communications technology at the University
  • Developing and implementing a Voice Communications Strategy, to combat an ageing University telephone exchange
  • Developing a Campus Wayfinding solution and implementing it – with Property Services – to help people find their way around Otago campuses, using everything from signs to electronic maps containing information about each area.
  • Reviewing processes to encourage the identification and consideration of new technologies

Property Services’ goals:

  • Pursuing commercial opportunities to increase external revenue
  • Enhancing the system for service requests and feedback – with Information Technology Services

Student services’ goals:

  • Investigating options for improving the services’ spaces and locations
  • Investigating opportunities to enhance collaboration with the colleges, and with Health Sciences on Otago’s campuses in Christchurch and Wellington
  • Monitoring funding changes to ensure the University can help the rising number of students with diverse needs for support

Campus and Collegiate Life Services’ goals:

  • Embedding the notion of partnership with industry through the Sustainability Office, to develop ‘green colleges’
  • Developing a coordinated approach for supporting accommodation needs for major events on campus and in Dunedin.