York continues to uphold vision for service excellence

Students entering Vari Hall during winter

In 2020, York University introduced its vision for service excellence. Developed after extensive community consultation, the vision affirmed the University’s commitment to provide exceptional services for students, faculty, instructors and staff and enable the successful delivery of its University Academic Plan (UAP).   

At this time, York also introduced the Service Excellence Program (SEP) – an initiative focused on improving processes, structure, systems and culture by introducing sector-based best practice approaches to administrative service improvements.  

Over the last three years, SEP has delivered a wide variety of improvements to embed a culture of service excellence at York and make the University a better place to learn, teach and work. These improvements have included several initiatives to streamline finance, human resources, and IT processes, as well as the implementation of the University Services Centre (USC), a shared services centre that will over time make accessing high-volume administrative services simpler, faster and more consistent.  

Three years into its implementation, much consideration has been given to the future of SEP and where to best situate this work within the University’s structure to ensure its success as we enter the next phase.   

Effective Feb. 1, 2023, SEP’s Program Management Office (PMO) shifted from the Office of the VPFA (OVPFA) to the Provost’s Office, reporting directly to Senior Executive Officer Richard Ooi. The work of the PMO will continue in collaboration with the University Services Centre (USC), and service provider departments in all divisions. The program’s current Executive Sponsors will also remain the same.  

Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps noted, “Our commitment in the University Academic Plan to Living Well Together includes embracing a culture of service excellence, in which we all are responsible for supporting each other’s success. Upholding this vision for service excellence is fundamentally important to how students, faculty, instructors and staff experience studying and working at York. It is a vital underpinning for advancing all the other priorities in the UAP.” 

Following the announcement of current Director, PMO, Service Excellence Denise Mirabelli’s retirement, the program will also welcome new leadership. Mario Verrilli, formerly assistant vice-provost, resources and strategic planning, has been appointed as the new executive director of SEP. Verrilli will be supported by Azeez Dawodu, who is responsible for organizational change management, and Matt Zilli, who will continue to lead the Process Improvement stream.

To ensure success, the program is being put on a slower track to give immediate and focused attention to the highest priority areas for service improvement in HR and Finance. These areas are being identified through discussion with Faculty and division leads and addressed through cross-functional tables that include service users and providers. Supported by the PMO, these tables will leverage information already gathered from service users to map related end-to-end processes from a user perspective – identifying pain points, redesigning, piloting new approaches and evaluating their impact on service standards – with the end goal of scaling as appropriate and articulating clear targets for improvement that will be monitored over time.  

As this work progresses, SEP will continue to keep the community informed of progress on key initiatives and seek to provide engagement opportunities to develop solutions together.  

For up to date information, visit the SEP website or FAQ page