Winners of the 2013 National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) "Leveraging Excellence Award"

University of Virginia

University of Washington

May 29, 2013, 10:00 ET from National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) from ,Follett Corporation

WEST HARTFORD, Conn., May 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) has announced winners of the 2013 Leveraging Excellence Award. The award, sponsored and supported by Follett Higher Education Group, recognizes best practices that have had broad impact within the higher education community. NCCI selected the University of Virginia's (UVA) Bay Game, a large-scale student participatory simulation game which explores complex systems, and the University of Washington for its Lean Implementation in Finance & Facilities (F2).



Leveraging Excellence Award recipients represent the brightest thinkers at some of the most forward-thinking institutions in higher education. The University of Virginia and University of Washington programs were selected by a panel of presidents, leaders of universities and educational groups, for their significant impact and scalability.

In recognition of these achievements, the 2013 awards will be presented at NCCI's 14th Annual Conference on July 12, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana, to:

  • Dr. David E. Smith, Professor and Associate Chairman, Department of Environmental Science, University of Virginia
  • Ms. LuAnn Stokke, Director of Operational Excellence, Finance & Facilities, University of Washington

The NCCI Leveraging Excellence Award program is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group, a leader in providing students with better access to course materials.  The company embodies the spirit of the award by implementing programs that more effectively manage operations at nearly 1,000 campus stores. 

"We thank Follett for its strong support of this program. With the challenges facing higher education today, it's more important than ever for NCCI to promote the dissemination of innovative and effective programs and this Award program does just that," said NCCI President Kathryn L. Burkgren, Director of Organizational Development for Faculty and Staff at Cornell University.

The University of Virginia and University of Washington programs, detailed below, demonstrate effective academic and administrative practices implemented beyond one department, campus, or institution. The programs have resulted in significant impact on quality, efficiency, service, and learning.

University of Virginia – UVA Bay Game

The UVA Bay Game was designed to educate students about complex systems. By combining a video game with current demographic, economic, and scientific data from the Chesapeake Bay, the student game players try to find a balance between economic and environmental sustainability in the Bay region. Through the games various stakeholders' roles, the students make complex, ethical decisions and as a result, learn the impact of those decisions with real-world applications.

The Bay Game is an adaptable educational and learning tool. With modifications of the UVA Bay Game, a standard template was developed which is allowing others to use their information to obtain basic data. For example, Marquee Professor Douglas Lipton at the University of Maryland has used the game with over 240 students the past two years. Professor Lipton mentions, "When the students have to make tradeoffs and they see the consequences it makes, there is a great teaching value to this. It has a very profound teaching pedagogical impact as well."

University of Washington – LEAN Implementation in Finance & Facilities

Since January 2010, Finance & Facilities (F2) has deployed process improvement extensively, using Lean across all units in its 1,350-employee organization. Complementary goals of high employee engagement and dramatic performance gains have netted an over-400-percent return on investment, and over 12,000 employee ideas.

Lean Value-Stream Mapping, popularized as a sort of project-management launch techniques, is actually the entry-point to learning a work way-of-life at F2, where clear goals, visual management, idea systems, and daily huddles are simultaneously improving performance and team dynamics.

While UW leaders are interested in the specific performance improvements and process changes, the larger and much more transformative goal is people-change. As Heidi R. Tilghman, Manager of the CAS Shared Services, and affiliate Professor of Germanics at the University of Washington mentions about one of the teams she facilitated, "...this team is now gathering data for the first time. And the Value Stream Mapping was key. It gets everyone out of their chairs and participating--everybody owns it and this is the start of making positive changes."

The Leveraging Excellence Award Judging Panel included: Mohammad H. Qayoumi, President, San Jose State University – who chairs the panel; Ronald A. Crutcher, President, Wheaton College; Muriel A. Howard, President, American Association of State Colleges and Universities; and Julie Furst-Bowe, Chancellor, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

About NCCI

National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) represents a wide range of member institutions, with many individuals working in organizational development, quality assessment, planning, and institutional improvement. Its programs promote sharing best practices and supporting professional development of individual members. To learn more about NCCI and the Leveraging Excellence program, and to view information on past Leveraging Excellence

Award winners and the annual conference where the awards will be presented, please visit

About Follett Corporation

Since 1873, Follett has served as the trusted partner in education for students and educators at all levels of learning. Today Follett delivers physical and digital learning materials, retail services, school content and management systems to more than 70,000 early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and on more than 1,000 college campuses. Headquartered in River Grove, Illinois, Follett is a $2.7 billion privately-held company.

SOURCE National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI); Follett Corporation