Nine certified as Green Belts

Author: Angela Knobloch

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Improving work processes across the University

2017 Green Belts Mc1 0149 1200px2017 Certified Green Belts

Providing safe dining options for students with food allergies or medical conditions was the primary focus of one of nine Office of Continuous Improvement (OCI) Six Sigma Green Belt projects this fall. 

Green Belt projects focus on “making Notre Dame better every day” by improving services, reducing rework, mitigating risk, and giving back to people the gift of time that can be transferred from administrative tasks to more value-added activities, says Carol Mullaney, senior director of sustainability and continuous improvement.

As a result of one project, ND NetNutrition, complete nutritional information (including the identification of potential allergens) is now available for 100 percent of all recipes served in the dining halls. 

“This tool provides critical information for the 8 to 9 percent of students who have a serious or life-threatening food allergy or dietary-related medical condition,” says Cheryl Bauer, associate director of sourcing and sustainability in Campus Dining. “It’s also a win-win for all of our diners who want to be able to make food choices that are best for them.” 

In another project, University Health Services recognized the need to enhance the office’s ability to respond to student and parent health insurance inquiries. 

“During the summer, our volume of inquiries was well over 3,000 in just an eight-week period. Most of this volume relied on the expertise of one staff member,” says Connie Morrow, assistant director of UHS. “A key improvement implemented was equipping our staff members, as well as campus partners, with the information needed to directly respond to inquiries.”  

In many instances, students and parents received answers without having to contact UHS, saving time and unnecessary frustration. The improvement actions taken to proactively address inquiries resulted in a 30 percent decrease in volume during the same eight-week period in 2017.  “The reduction was primarily on easily answered inquiries. We were better able to focus on the more complex health insurance inquiries in a timely manner,” says Morrow.

In addition to the nine Green Belt certifications, Duane Wilson, program director in the Office of Continuous Improvement, received Black Belt certification, indicating a post-Green Belt project of greater complexity and impact across campus.

“The University congratulates all those who have completed Green Belt and Black Belt projects,” says Mullaney. 

For more information on OCI, visit Prerequisite Yellow Belt classes are offered several times a year. Visit Endeavor for information or to register.


Green Belt Certifications

Rebecca Hutchinson, Rachel Parks, Notre Dame Research Administration: Identified key effectiveness measures for supporting research and implemented a task-tracking tool to provide workflow oversight, load balancing and informed decision-making in support functions.

Erin Abbey, Athletics Compliance: Restored more than 400 hours capacity annually in managing reimbursements to student-athletes.

Deana Northern, Office of Information Technology: Ensured 100 percent of Notre Dame affiliates tracked when accessing Rockne and Rolfs sports facilities. 

Cheryl Bauer, Campus Dining: Created database including 100 percent of nutritional and allergen information for recipes currently available to students and guests.

Constance Morrow, University Health Services: Reduced the volume of health insurance inquiries by more than 30 percent and improved overall response time.

Kara Palmer, Mendoza College of Business (formerly in rotation program in Auxiliary Operations): Streamlined Irish1Card processes for ancillary card requestors and reduced the variety of ancillary cards on campus from more than 30 to three.

Suzanne DeGuilio, University Relations: Reduced the overall time required in the President’s Circle renewals process by more than seven weeks, or one FTE annually.

Lauren Plennert, Audit & Advisory Services: Improved the documentation of the employee separation process ensuring that deactivation of building and netID access was completed within one business day of the last day worked. 

Black Belt Certification

Duane Wilson, Office of Continuous Improvement: Led the employee separation project with Green Belt support from Lauren Plennert.

Photo by Matt Cashore: Front row, left to right: Lauren Plennert, Rebecca Hutchinson, Rachel Parks, Duane Wilson; Center row: Deana Northern, Suzanne DeGuilio, Constance Morrow, Kara Palmer; Third row: Cheryl Bauer, Jocie Antonelli (co-leader, previously certified), Erin Abbey.


Originally published by Angela Knobloch at on December 14, 2017.