At our December Town Hall meetings, I announced the “Educational Lean” concept as an important new initiative for MSUM. Lean will help us succeed in the “new normal” environment at MSUM that resulted from the recent budget cuts. It will help us understand our current environment (“how do we operate today”) and create improved future processes (“how can a process better serve our customers”).

At the January 20th Town Hall meetings, I will explain how Lean is one tool within the broader context of organizational change for MSUM. After that discussion, members of our Lean team and the Winona Lean directors will provide more detail on Lean and how we will roll it out at MSUM. Supervisory staff will have attended a half-day session the day before and will have received more detailed information to be shared with their teams. Communication sessions, facilitator selection, training and project selection will follow in the coming weeks. A dedicated Educational Lean website will be set up so that new information can be easily and quickly shared.

Karen Mehnert-Meland was named to oversee the Lean Initiative. An Advisory Group will assist in launching and managing the ongoing process. Members are: Dan Heckaman (Chief Information Officer), Jean Hollaar (University Planning and Budget Officer), Joan Justesen (VP Alumni Foundation), Michelle Malott (Dean, Social & Natural Sciences), Pam McGee (Assistant Professor-Technology), Pat Staples (Director of Marketing) and Herb Trenz (Interim Human Resources Director).

The Advisory Group will seek ongoing project nominations and prioritize the projects based on their potential impact on student satisfaction and retention, as well as financial impact. The Group will also select 20 trained facilitators to guide project teams to review existing processes and recommend changes. If you are interested in becoming a facilitator, please see the information below.

Designating Lean Facilitators:

  • To volunteer to become a facilitator or to nominate someone as a facilitator, complete the Facilitator Application and send it to Karen at by noon Friday, Jan. 22.
  • Facilitators must meet predetermined criteria, attend training on February 9th-12th from 8am-4pm, and commit to managing a minimum of two projects within a year of training.
  • It’s important to know that facilitators cannot be assigned to projects that directly affect them. One of the hallmarks of a facilitator is to be objective about the process they are guiding.

Please attend one of the Town Hall meetings on January 20th. This will be an important introduction to the Educational Lean Initiative that will have a significant impact on our campus. If you have questions, please email Karen at