Quality Endeavors Issue No. 143

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October 2011

Penn State has assumed the responsibilities for product management and is also a large user of the latest initiative recognized by the Leveraging Excellence Award. The recipient of the 2011 National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education Leveraging Excellence Award is the University of California, Berkeley for UC Ready, an online tool for continuity planning. The Leveraging Excellence Award recognizes examples of innovation and improvement which have been implemented (‘leveraged’) beyond one department, campus, or institution. Key to the initiatives recognized by this award is their scalability.

Faced with the risks due to their location on an earthquake fault, as well as other risks faced by most organizations, such as illness, fire, or other environmental or natural disasters, Ron Coley, Associate Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services, and Paul Dimond, Manager, Office of Continuity Planning, designed an online application to develop a business continuity plan for the University of California, Berkeley. Having the plan allowed the university and its units to continue serving its constituents and maintain its viability following a disruptive event of any size or type. Using the application, planning begins at the departmental level, with items not under the control of the department moved up to the college or campus administration level to be addressed. Planning starts with identification of the critical functions of a department, and includes identification of information technology and other key resources used, and development of action items needed to complete the plan. Completed plans are reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Development of UC Ready was an iterative process. Restarting Berkeley was the first version in 2005. Version 2, The Berkeley Continuity Planning Tool, was implemented in 2007. In 2008 it was expanded into UC Ready, customizable and adopted for use by all ten University of California campuses and University of California medical centers. Finally, in 2009, the application was transitioned to the Kuali Foundation, which, as an alternative to ‘home grown’ or vendor solutions, coordinates use by member institutions of comprehensive administrative enterprise-scale information technology applications developed by participating institutions. Now known as Kuali Ready, in 2011 the application is used by over 70 universities in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

As UC Ready transitioned to Kuali Ready, Penn State was one of the founding and developmental partners. In 2011, management of Kuali Ready transferred from Paul Dimond at UC Berkeley (where the software is still hosted) to Ken Schroyer, Manager, ITS Disaster Recovery Strategy, Information Technology Services, at Penn State. In this role, Schroyer is responsible for coordinating further development and refinement of the application at the national level. Additionally, he was involved in developing the local version, Penn State Ready, from Kuali Ready.

Penn State recently approved AD70: Emergency Management which addresses budget executive responsibilities including business continuity planning. Currently 23 University Park units and 20 Commonwealth Campuses are in the process of developing continuity plans with a total of 85 plans in progress and 10 completed plans. To develop a unit plan, Brian Bittner, Director of Emergency Management, and Pam Soule, Planning Manager, first meet for about 90 minutes with a group from the unit, including both unit leadership and administrative staff. Bittner and Soule assist unit members in identifying the three to five things that would need to be done for the continuity of the unit in the first 72 hours to five days following a disruption. After the meeting, Ken Schroyer is available to provide training and assistance in working with Penn State Ready, but experience has shown that the application screens are self-explanatory and little assistance is needed.

For more information about business continuity planning contact Brian Bittner (bpb4@psu.edu) or Pam Soule (pjs37@psu.edu). For more information about Penn State Ready contact Ken Schroyer (krs5@psu.edu).

The Leveraging Excellence Award is based with the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) and sponsored by the Follett Higher Education Group. Applications for the 2012 Leveraging Excellence Award are due February 15, 2012.