Lean Higher Education : Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes book cover
1st Edition

Lean Higher Education
Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes

ISBN 9781439814659
Published April 19, 2010 by Productivity Press
312 Pages - 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In an environment of diminishing resources, growing enrollment, and increasing expectations of accountability, Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes provides the understanding and the tools required to return education to the consumers it was designed to serve—the students. It supplies a unifying framework for implementing and sustaining a Lean Higher Education (LHE) transformation at any institution, regardless of size or mission.

Using straightforward language, relevant examples, and step-by-step guidelines for introducing Lean interventions, this authoritative resource explains how to involve stakeholders in the delivery of quality every step of the way. The author details a flexible series of steps to help ensure stakeholders understand all critical work processes. He presents a wealth of empirical evidence that highlights successful applications of Lean concepts at major universities and provides proven methods for uncovering and eliminating activities that overburden staff yet contribute little or no added value to stakeholders.

Complete with standardized methods for correctly diagnosing workplace problems and implementing appropriate solutions, this valuable reference arms you with the understanding and the tools to effectively balance the needs of all stakeholders. By implementing the Lean practices covered in these pages your school will be better positioned to provide higher quality education, at reduced costs, with efficient processes that instill pride, maximize value, and respect the long-term interests of your students, faculty, and staff.

Table of Contents


The Case for Lean Higher Education
The Need for Change in Higher Education
Implementing Improvements and Change in Higher Education
Lean Principles and Practices: An Approach to Organization-wide Change and Improvement
Lean Higher Education: The Application of Lean Principles and Practices in Higher Education
The Potential of LHE

Lean Higher Education in Practice: An Overview and Case Study
Higher Education – Falling Short of the Mark
Lean Higher Education (LHE)
An Example of the Application of LHE: The Freshman Move-in Process

"Proof of Concept:" Examples of the Successful Application of LHE
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Iowa
University of New Orleans
Bowling Green State University
University of Scranton
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Getting Started: The Successful Launch of LHE
LHE: University-wide versus Local Implementation
Institutional Readiness for LHE: The Importance of Workplace Climate and Leadership Practices
Creating Structure to Support LHE
Selecting an LHE Initiative
Organizing LHE Project Teams

What Do They Really Want? Identifying What the Beneficiaries of Higher Education Value and Expect
The Beneficiary Defines Value; The University Delivers Value
Listening to the Beneficiaries of Higher Education: What Do They Value and Expect?
Establish Metrics for Assessing What Beneficiaries Value and Expect
Final Thoughts: Higher Education as a Monastery or Market

Preparing Visual Maps for a Comprehensive Understanding of University Processes
Preparing a Current State Visual Map
Creating a Visual Map: The Approval Process for New Courses

Eliminating Waste and Improving Flow
Identifying Waste in University Processes
Eliminating Waste from University Processes
Improving Flow in University Processes

Implementing LHE Solutions and Sustaining Improvements
Identifying and Implementing LHE Solutions
Sustaining the Gain: Institutionalizing the New Process
The Approval Process for New Courses: Identifying, Gaining, and Sustaining Support for LHE Initiatives

Realizing the Promise of LHE: Current Challenges, Future Directions, and Next Steps
Challenges to the Broader Adoption of LHE
Opportunities for the Broader Adoption of LHE
Next Steps

Each chapter concludes with a "Summary"


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William K. Balzer, Ph.D., is a Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University and dean at the BGSU Firelands College. He has over 25 years of experience in the field of psychology and is an active member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

For the past five years, Professor Balzer has been involved in promoting and applying lean principles and practices in higher education. His research interests include the psychology of lean systems, performance appraisal, job attitudes, and applied decision making. Balzer has consulted with national organizations including Procter & Gamble, Owens-Illinois, and Pepsico Incorporated in the areas of performance evaluation, job satisfaction, and strategic planning.


"Dr. Balzer’s five-step model can help colleges and universities better align their key processes to deliver value for all constituents."
—David LaHote, President of Lean Education, Lean Enterprise Institute

"… a must read for all university administrators–it helps them build processes and services that truly serve students."
—Professor Tom Andrews, BGSU Firelands College, Former Director of Advanced Computer Technology, Eaton Corp. (Winner of the 2002 Shingo Prize for Lean Operational Excellence)

"… will benefit any institution of higher education that recognizes that traditional approaches to improvement cannot deliver what the future calls for … ."
—Professor M.L. "Bob" Emiliani, School of Engineering and Technology, Central Connecticut State University, and President of The CLBM, LLC