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UC San Diego's Continuous Improvement Journey

register-button.pngTuesday, May 18, 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Continuous improvement shapes the mindset that has taken hold all across UC San Diego. Small, incremental improvements power the mindset; the efficiencies we realize get reinvested back into our educational and research mission. This session showcases everything we've done to make continuous improvement a core component of our operations. 

Featured Panel: Living Lean for Return to Learn 

  • Bob Neuhard, Executive Director, Office of Operational Strategic Initiatives, UC San Diego

 A virus like COVID-19 does not care about our best practices, our policies, our titles, our hierarchies, our approval flows, or even traditional medical clinic and testing lab processes. To compete with a lethal adversary, UC San Diego developed an adaptive, science-driven, behaviorally informed model that integrated daily innovation cycles that allowed us to “mutate our campus operations faster than the virus.”  Our comprehensive approach is labeled Return to Learn and has become a model for universities, communities, and corporations worldwide. Learn how we failed faster to ensure success.  

Case Studies: Process Improvement in Action 

We'll check in with program leaders who are driving process improvement initiatives, including the impacts made and results achieved. You'll hear from:

  • Staff scholarship recipients of Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt courses, including the savings realized through their class projects
  • The Transformational Healthcare unit and its work in the medical setting
  • UC San Diego's Lean Bench and its role in bringing process improvement to light as part of a campuswide ERP initiative 

Additionally, we'll check in with business process owners from the Great LSS Race 2017 and 2018 for their perspective on implementing improvement ideas from the winning teams. 


Speaker Bios

Featured Panel

  • Bob Neuhard, Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives, UC San Diego

    Bob Neuhard, Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives, UC San Diego

    Bob currently serves as the Executive Director of the Office of Operational Strategic Initiatives which is charged with identifying, responding to, leading, and supporting unique initiatives and opportunities across campus on behalf of the Chancellor and the Chief Financial Officer. He specializes in building consensus in highly dynamic situations by developing comprehensive strategies and solutions to the most complicated and novel issues and opportunities. His focus is on strategic leadership and alliances, high impact negotiations, and delivering transformational outcomes.

  • Greg Nishihira, Assistant Director, Fleet Services, UC San Diego

    Greg Nishihira, Assistant Director, Fleet Services, UC San Diego

    Greg has been with UC San Diego since 2008, serving first as Operations Manager and now as Assistant Director of the Fleet Services department. He spearheads his department’s efforts to support UC’s goal to be carbon neutral by “greening” the campus fleet through the procurement of alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids. Additionally, he serves as co-chair of UC’s Fleet Sustainability Working Group and serves on the campus’ Transportation Working Group committee. Greg holds an AAS in Transportation Management from Milwaukee Area Technical College and a BS in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University. He also maintains active Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and California Underground and represents UCSD on the local San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition Board of Directors.


  • Rachael Lapidis, Strategic Program Manager, UC San Diego

    Rachael Lapidis, Strategic Program Manager, UC San Diego

    Rachael Lapidis is the Strategic Program Manager in the Division of Social Sciences Dean's Office.  Her primary focus is Education Innovation, collaborating with faculty and staff to dream up, plan for, and launch innovative academic programs, and Student Affairs matters, including student data analytics for the division. Since 2005, she has been a proud Triton, as a graduate student, lecturer, graduate coordinator and Student Affairs Manager. Rachael cultivates communities, asks questions, and creates solutions as the convener of a divisional Student Affairs Community of Practice, as a participant in the STRIVE leadership development program and campus strategists group, and as a subject matter expert for the Student Information System. After her Lean Six Sigma yellow belt training in 2017, Rachael was selected as a team captain for the inaugural Process Palooza's Great LSS Race, leading the Sunshine Squad to victory in improving the travel process for Associated Students. She has emceed Process Palooza events ever since, and is continuously inspired by the ethos of continuous improvement.