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Continuously Improve by Working Together

Agility is the UA’s Continuous Improvement program using Lean Higher Education as a guide. It’s a way to make your day-to-day work better!


Way of Thinking:

Train employees to make better decisions, be more productive, continually identify non-value-add activities or inefficiencies, and use problem-solving tools to remove inefficiencies from their processes.

Way of Behaving:

Engaging employees and departments by respecting each other, having a willingness and ability to collaborate to solve problems, actively soliciting ideas for improvement, encouraging teamwork, and helping each other be their best.

Set of Tools:

Provide the support structure and methods by which process improvement can happen. Used correctly, the tools help identify underlying problems and their causes which can then be addressed vs. guessing at solutions in the absence of Lean Higher Education.

Hear From Campus Leadership

“Continuous improvement is a vital aspect of any successful organization.  The University must strive to evolve, both organizationally and operationally, to remain on the cutting edge of success in higher education.”

Bob Pierce – Advancement

“What are the processes that you dread? Your agility team needs to hear about them so we can discover methods to improve them.”

Matt Fajack – Finance and Operations

“We want to encourage our staff to branch out of their silos, collaborate across the division and think broader about our stakeholders. Who is impacted by or benefits from changes made? Include them in our discussions and empower them to make recommendations and decisions.”

Ryan Bradley – Strategic Communications

Success Stories

Learn from what others accomplish using Agility skills!

Engage Users

The HR Operations team wanted to improve the New Hire Onboarding checklist. They wanted to get the demo more defined before they showed it to anyone. Then they remembered one of the tenets of Agility: to respect people by engaging stakeholders early to ask their opinions. HR Ops invited four key hiring managers to discuss their plans and discovered the design wouldn’t be helpful. Asking the right people early on saved many hours of working in the wrong direction! HR Ops will now build a project team including these representatives with the goal of delivering an even better solution!


Prior to implementing the new portal for academic misconducts, each college was importing them by hand from emails. It was taking about 30 minutes per case to put them into the Maxient system. Now it takes less than 60 seconds! For the College of Arts and Sciences alone, that means a savings of around 250 hours per semester. The College of Arts and Sciences collaborated with OAA and the other colleges to improve this process for the University.

Picture of a collaboration scene. There is no link from the picture.

Picture of a collaboration scene. There is no link from the picture.


We began auditing the medication expenses of older OJI claims to ensure that they are related to our injury.   We also review any medication alternatives that may be available. This often involves conversations with our pharmacy contacts.  We’ve let our pharmacy contacts know that they can contact us regarding any possible improvements or any medications that may need to be reviewed.  In the long run, we expect these audits to save UA a considerable amount of money. It has the potential to save UA $250,000 annually. 


Capstone College of Nursing Committee Restructuring Project. CCN was experiencing the burden of too many committee meetings, and employees felt that there was often redundancy in meeting content.

In Spring, 2022 a task force was formed with members of the Agility Team and the chairs of the CCN Faculty Organization committees to evaluate the committee structure. The task force reviewed the functions of their committees, the structures of other colleges as well as other schools of nursing. They recommended that 4 of the committees be discontinued and their functions absorbed into the remaining 5. The new committee structure went into effect Spring, 2023. In addition to reducing the number of committees, the review highlighted that the existing committees could meet less frequently.



Agility Spotlight

Student Life

The Spotlight this semester is for Laura Thomas, Director of Professional Development at the Division of Student Life. Laura is the Team Leader of the Student Life Agility Team and a great partner and active supporter of Agility Concepts.

Laura believes that Agility at UA is important because the work of continuous improvement is everyone’s business. More efficient processes make customers happier, staff more satisfied in their roles, boosts morale, and creates more positive relationships through the process.

In Student Life, some innovative teams that have been working with the Agility concepts include University Recreation, Business Services and Student Engagement.

“Overall, I think one of the most impactful Agility concepts that we have used is to get everyone at the table when we talk process improvement. That means staff at all levels, student employees, student participants, etc. All people involved in the process can have a voice and a different perspective to ensure any continuous improvement outcome is mutually beneficial and enhances efficiency.”

The Process Improvement Department has been invited to present to the Student Life Division wide monthly meetings and we have the opportunity to share some of the Agility Concepts such as Psychological Safety, Change Management and Liberating Structures. Regarding the sessions Laura mentions: “The presentations have been well received and inspirational for staff of all types. Whether a staff member has worked for twenty years or is in their first year at UA, these principles can be helpful to everyone!”.

The Student Life Agility Team permanently encourage the staff to attend the Agility trainings offered through HR LMS.

Agility Team Spotlight

College of Continuing Studies Agility Team

Image of the CCS Building

Members: Tim Salazar (Team Lead), Keslie Fendley, Erica Gambrell, Ashley Chambers & Jessica Ezell.

The CCS Agility team meets every two weeks and focused on two areas recently. The first is to promote the knowledge of Agility including how to increase awareness and adoption throughout CCS. Second, they are developing new projects to automate processes that will increase efficiency at the staff level.

The team faced numerous challenges. There were technical challenges where they tried to do things no one had ever done before, political challenges as they navigated the examination of processes that go beyond CCS’ control, and human challenges as they sought to navigate behaviors that are entrenched in status quo.

Image of the CCS Agility Team

To work through the challenges, they brought in perspectives from individuals with different areas of expertise and spoke with staff members who had never been engaged with this type of process to use their ability to look at the process differently. They engaged with the campus partner and presented compiled information showing the impact of their process on the CCS staff along with a demonstration of a proposed replacement that CCS designed.

Congratulations to the CCS Agility Team for engaging stakeholders and staff and collaborating with teams outside of your college!

Their next effort is the “Agility Team Efficiency Project,” where they invite CCS colleagues who have ideas on better ways to accomplish daily tasks to share with those who use similar resources.

How have Agility ideas benefited CCS? “I think it is a great move toward more efficiency.”

Dr. Amanda Ingram, discussing the electronic supplemental pay form (ePA)

Agility Metrics

The benefits from improvements can be measured into these categories:

Image of Agility metrics categories, that are explained on the text in front.


Reduce lead time, cycle time, waiting time, time to complete a form, motion, and travel time.


Reduce process steps, handoffs, decision points, delays, complaints, number of forms, and backlog.


Increase beneficiary satisfaction, cost savings, beneficiary cost savings, and redirected work hours due to gains in efficiency.

Improvement Projects from across the University

Check out what UA teams are doing to improve employee morale and create efficiencies


Agility Book Club

Books & Schedule