Before the players can begin, the board must be set up and all the pieces moved into their starting positions.
It’s a process required for any number of games, including the Great Game of Education – a first-of-its-kind initiative that will create an open-book management system at Missouri Southern State University. The university is working with the Great Game of Business division of SRC Holdings Corporation in Springfield, Mo., which seeks to create of a culture of openness, employee involvement and financial awareness on campus.
“We’re pioneers,” said Scott Cragin. “This has never been done in higher education before.”
Cragin, a marketing/management professor, and Jeff Gibson, director of budget and operations, are coordinating the Great Game launch of the Great Game on campus.
The top-level scoreboard – which will track the university’s revenue and expenses – has been created, and preliminary statements have been produced. Testing of statement formulas and verification of information is continuing.
“Additional operating units have been created in our financial system and we are in the process of populating individual operating statements for all units on campus,” said Cragin. “Each academic department will have its own operating statement showing the number of credit hours being taken, tuition revenue and expenses. These statements will ‘roll up’ into our comprehensive university scoreboard.”
To facilitate the rollout of the Great Game this fall, a number of teams have been formed that will be critical to its success.
“When we started to develop training materials, we realized we needed a representative body to review them,” said Cragin. “We’re viewing the Culture Committee as the engine that will drive this initiative forward, and help us get as many of the bugs worked out as possible before we roll it out. The committee has formed four subcommittees focused on training, minigames, communication and our upcoming fall rollout.
Equal numbers of the faculty, staff and administration were tabbed to serve on the committee: Landon Adams, Elisa Bryant, Randon Coffey, Felicia Morley, Julie Wengert, JJ Spurlin, William Delehanty, Nick Nicoletti, Scott Wells, Jordan Wilson, Becca Diskin, Wendy McGrane, Scott Snell, Albert Stadler and Josie Welsh.
Gibson said a financial training team has also been assembled. It includes Cheryl Dobson, Julie Wengert, MaryAnn Mitts, Ken Surbrugg and William Delehanty.
“We are in ‘train the trainer’ mode at the moment,” he said. “Our objective is for them to be able to go out to the various departments and deliver financial training as part of our fall rollout.”
Cheryl Dobson, registrar, said that serving on the Financial Training Team is giving her a much clearer understanding of the university’s finances.
“All of the team members are trying to learn the terminology and details that go into the university’s finances so we can turn around and teach the campus this information,” she said. “The key is trying to keep the whole financial picture simple enough that we can teach people what they need to know in a short time and not overwhelm them.”
The objective of the financial training, said Gibson, is to give all employees the opportunity to understand the university scoreboard and to see how operations in their area impact the scoreboard – which in the Great Game of Business is known as “line of sight.”
“We want to help people get a line of sight from their individual area to how it ties in with the bigger picture and the university’s critical number of operating cash,” he said. “It’s a daunting task, but one with such a huge payback. The reward is really worth the time and investment in order to achieve a common understanding through transparency.”
The Great Game of Education teams are preparing for a major rollout of training and other initiatives this fall. Stay tuned.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas