Lean Management & Institutional Operations

The University at Albany’s International Education Leadership Expert Series presents a module with Dr. David Di Maria to help you understand how Lean Process Improvement can help you “do more with less”.


Offered Periodically


Registration Fee: $399

About the module

Higher education administrators are often tasked with doing more with less. This course recognizes that reality and provides participants with training on how to increase capacity in ways that are independent of resources. Specifically, the course will enable participants to learn and apply core concepts related to Lean Process Improvement (LPI) and systems thinking to maximize institutional program capabilities on their campus. In this course, for purposes of illustration, LPI will be applied to international operations.

Lean process improvement (LPI) techniques, which are heavily influenced by Japanese and US production and organizational leadership philosophies, serve to eliminate wastes while increasing operational efficiencies. When applied to international programs, LPI can substantially decrease workload, reduce errors and result in higher student yield (without expanding budgets or staff). While LPI has proven its value within the manufacturing and healthcare industries, far too few higher education institutions have tapped into its benefits.

This interactive course, Lean Management & Institutional Operations, is designed to help participants develop a lean mindset and acquire both skills and strategies that they can apply to enhance programs and operations at their own institutions or organizations. They will complete an initial lean process plan for the institutional operation of their choosing.

Successful participants will receive a digital micro-credential acknowledging their completion of this professional development expert module from the International Education Management & Leadership Program at the University at Albany (SUNY).

Who Should Attend?

Senior International Officers, Deans, Directors and other higher education administrators interested in expanding organizational capacity to support internationalization most effectively through innovation.

Who Should Attend?

Staff at higher education institutions, companies and associations who are interested in helping their team maximize workflow efficiency for international operations and their supporting teams

Expert Series Presenter

Dr. David L. Di Maria

Dr. David L. Di Maria is Senior International Officer & Associate Vice Provost for International Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Prior to joining UMBC, he served as Associate Provost for International Programs at Montana State University, Director of International Programs and Services at Kent State University and Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Services at St. Cloud State University. He is also a former President of the American International Recruitment Council and Chair of NAFSA’s International Education Leadership Knowledge Community. Dr. Di Maria regularly presents, publishes and consults globally on critical issues in international education. His most recent book is Achieving More with Less: Lean Management in the International Student Office. Dr. Di Maria earned a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, where he focused his research on campus services for international students.

  • Participants will receive a set of resources tailored to the course, both readings and workbook materials.
  • 3 case studies of LPI use and results in international higher education (study abroad, international students and the international education office).
  • Other recommended resources include: The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge and Lean Higher Education by William Balzer.

Pre-course task: Participants will describe their motivation for taking this course and an international higher education administrative process they wish to improve in terms of workflow and efficiency.

  1. International Education from a Systems Perspective

Participants will…  develop an understanding of systems thinking from historical and contemporary perspectives. … be able to map core elements of administrative processes within their own work environment (micro-level) and utilize data sources to predict shifts in global systems (macro-level). … be able to apply systems thinking to advance change within various types of organizational structures including their own.  

Systems thinking is the foundation of lean process improvement. Various systems and global operations will be introduced to frame future sessions. We will examine systems thinking as a management philosophy, a discipline and a tool for maximizing efficiency within international education operations. We will explore why lean process improvement has been slow to make its way to higher education even though manufacturing, healthcare and other sectors have fully embraced it. 

  1. Managing Wastes within International Education Processes

Participants will…  be able to describe the eight forms of waste commonly found within academic and administrative processes. … will understand how these wastes impact efficiency and jeopardize strategic goals. …will utilize tools for assessing waste to perform a waste walk within their own work environment.

When work exceeds capacity, a manager can ask employees to work harder or help employees to work smarter. We will focus on smart workflow as an extension of strategy. We will explore the most common wastes found within our international education administrative processes as well as essential tools for identifying them.

  1. Tactical Approaches to Lean Process Improvement

Participants will be able to describe select lean process improvement tactics and apply them to international higher education processes and begin applying them to their work/campus situation.

We examine techniques for eliminating wastes within administrative processes and promoting a “culture of lean” among teams. We will introduce and discuss various methods and tools that participants can easily implement within their own work environments.

  1. Value Stream Mapping

Participants will be able to describe the steps a value stream mapping exercise and apply the techniques to their own work/campus situations.

We focus on the core steps and considerations for effectively facilitating a value stream mapping exercise. Value stream mapping is a dynamic flow-charting activity used to map steps, decisions and delays inherent within any business process. The process is then re-engineered to include enhancements that shorten completion time and increase value from the perspective of students.

  1. Executive Summaries

Participant will be able to describe select lean process improvement techniques used within manufacturing and apply them to higher education processes.

Participant/groups will present executive summaries of their mapped process with recommendations for streamlining operations. We will discuss challenges and approaches to pursuing these plans in their workplace/campus.

  • Before Session 1: Participants will describe their motivation for taking this course and their background with regards to lean process improvement. This will help the IEL Fellow instructor to form working groups to support each other in the applied work.
  • During session 1: We will form working groups to pursue the applied work.
  • After Session 2: Participants/teams will perform a waste walk within their own work environment, or international operation of their choosing
  • After Session 3: After session #3, participants will identify which tool or set of methods best fit their work situation, would be most useful in improving their operations
  • After Session 4: Participants/teams? will complete a Value Stream Mapping exercise for the international operation of their choosing. This will include creation of a current process map, future process map and calculation of summary metrics (e.g., “takt” time).

Expert Series Design structure

Participants will receive 7.5 hours of synchronous sessions with the instructor and 4.5 hours of asynchronous sessions where participants prepare their final project. The synchronous sessions will include the following 5 meetings of 90 minutes each via Zoom (UAlbany).

Synchronous Sessions:

  • TBD
  • TBD
  • TBD
  • TBD
  • TBD

Instructions for connecting to synchronous sessions and accessing the online material will be provided after registration.

Registration Fee: $399

15% Discount on registration for SUNY employees.

Reach Us

1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY, 12222

+01 (518) 442-5080


Leave A Message

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This