About Operational Excellence

Our Goals

Discussions about opportunities to work smarter, reduce costs, enhance services, and generate revenues have led to the development of several widely agreed upon goals.

The University of Minnesota will unceasingly endeavor to:

  • Become less risk averse. We must remove barriers and find more ways to say “yes” to innovation.
  • Promote entrepreneurship, intelligent risk-taking, cooperation, and engagement across all campuses and with business and community partners.
  • Consult broadly, but not to the detriment of innovation and the hindrance of creativity.
  • Become more nimble, better able to alter course when needed.
  • Improve operations and processes, resulting in a more efficient, better run, less redundant organization.

By working toward these goals, we will create an invigorated culture—a culture of ambition, challenge, exploration, and innovation.


In the fall of 2011, President Kaler charged the U community with reducing the University's operational costs, thereby freeing up dollars to reinvest in the University’s core teaching, research, and public engagement mission.

The efforts led to university wide engagement in streamlining rules and regulations, setting meaningful goals and metrics, and empowering faculty, staff, and students in finding solutions.

Today, Operational Excellence has become an integral part of the U of M’s Strategic Plan. Through the efforts of our faculty, staff, students, and engagement with the community, we continue the search for ways to maintain our quality with less effort, time, bureaucracy, and expense.

Guiding Principles

Operational Excellence is a long-term commitment to working smarter, reducing costs, enhancing services, and increasing revenues throughout the University.

Successes allow the reallocation of resources and effort into the University’s core teaching, research, and public engagement mission. Projects and initiatives are prioritized and selected based on their ability to:

  • Achieve administrative cost reductions and productivity improvements;
  • Reduce redundancy and duplication;
  • Promote entrepreneurialism and enhance organizational flexibility and adaptability;
  • Reduce the institution's risk-aversion while enhancing service.


Katrice A. Albert, vice president for equity and diversity
Kathy Brown, vice president for human resources
William Donohue, general counsel
Karen Hanson, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost
Brian Herman, vice president for research
Brooks Jackson, vice president for health sciences and dean, Medical School
Eric Kaler, president
Gail Klatt, associate vice president, internal audits
Richard Pfutzenreuter, vice president and chief financial officer
Amy Phenix, chief of staff to the president
Bernard Gulachek, interim vice president and CIO for information technology
Pam Wheelock, vice president for university services

Historical Documents

University of Minnesota Implementation Plan of Huron Consulting Services Recommendations, September 2013.

Sibson Spans and Layers Report

Administrative Services Benchmarking and Diagnostic Study executive summary and full report, developed by Huron Consulting Services, June 2013

Administrative Structure Analysis and Key Cost Benchmarking at the University of Minnesota full report, March 2013

Financing the Future