Continuous Improvement: Spotlight on RAS

In January, the Office for Research Administration released the Huron report to the Emory community: an in-depth assessment of the research life cycle at Emory. The major strengths identified by the Huron team reflect the strength of ORA’s biggest asset: its people. As a whole, leaders and staff are committed to identifying areas for improvement and change in their work. The organization is well-positioned to implement processes to augment current operations.

Huron identified challenges that largely center on inconsistency across ORA offices. These include inefficient processes, varying levels of expertise among staff, and data integrity. Furthermore, siloing among Emory’s various offices and schools hinder the implementation of unified systems. This creates opportunities to examine current practices within the institution, comparing them to best practices both on campus and among peer institutions. Current areas of active consideration include award setup and expenditure monitoring, with cross-functional leadership teams actively working towards solutions.

Consistency in RAS is an ongoing topic of conversation. Many projects are underway to improve operations across RAS units.

RAS is in the process of hiring and onboarding Navigators who will collaborate with RAS staff and RAS leaders to identify local and enterprise-wide problems and facilitate timely resolutions.  The Navigators will provide enhanced support to faculty by offering onboarding to research administration at Emory and serving as key points of contact (or project managers) for multi-PI proposals and awards, as appropriate.  RAS Navigators will serve as valuable resources identifying areas for improvement across the award lifecycle.

RAS also launched a number of initiatives in Spring 2020 designed to improve faculty service, enhance staff engagement, support ongoing staff development, and increase staff retention.

  • Revised RAS Orientation—Welcome to ORA: Discover Your RAS Path. The revised RAS Orientation is designed to help new employees build their Emory network, learn about ORA offices, understand the RAS structure and communication strategies, and explore RAS professional development opportunities.  The RAS Orientation will be offered each month and is mandatory for all new hires.
  • Revised RAS onboarding. A more coordinated and centralized approach to onboarding began in fall 2019. The new RAS onboarding model officially launched in February 2020.  The transformation of RAS onboarding includes a comprehensive onboarding plan, transparent and consistent tools and resources to engage RAS Central and local RAS Units as partners to onboard new staff, and the launch of RAS SOP Boot Camps.  The Boot Camp program is designed to provide consistent training to all RAS staff on pre- and post-award standard operating procedures to position new staff to support the navigation culture and be prepared for local RAS unit training.
  • RAS Coaching.  All RAS employees hired January 1, 2020 or later will be assigned a RAS LEAP (Lead, Energize, and Accelerate Performance) Coach in their first year.  LEAP Coaching is designed to support new hires to achieve the results that are important to their individual success, quality faculty service, and the long-term functioning of RAS.  RAS will also launch the second LEAP training cohort to increase the number of trained coaches available to support new hires.  The spring 2020 LEAP Coaches-in-training includes RAS, RGC, and OTT staff.

This entry was posted in ORA, RAS and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.