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Plan, Do, Review, Improve Cycle

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Refer to Staff Connect for current information: Planning and improvement at UTS


The Plan, Do, Review, Improve (PDRI) quality management cycle is part of the UTS Planning & Improvement Framework.  PDRI aims for continuous improvement across all projects, processes and activities of the university.  Stated simply, it involves:

  • Plan - What is the plan or approach?
  • Do - Is the plan deployed?  How effectively is the plan deployed?
  • Review - What are the results and what do they tell us?
  • Improve - How can we improve?

As part of this quality management approach, the university benchmarks its performance, ideas and practices against other organisations and reviews its activities and processesPerformance data is integral to this.

Plan-Do-Improve-Review in practice at UTS

There are numerous examples of the Plan-Do-Review-Improve cycle in practice across the university.  Each workplace would have an example of PDRI in practice ... here are four.

Boosting research in FASS 

Introducing change into an organisation will often follow an approach similar to the UTS Plan-Do-Review-Improve (PDRI) cycle; how FASS bolstered research demonstrates this approach. 

PLAN: With the changing ERA landscape, together with the strategic priority of increasing research at UTS, FASS recognised that it needed to be more targeted and specific in its approach to lift research performance across the faculty.  

DO: The initiatives have included: delivering over forty-five workshops on topics such as ‘grant writing’ and ‘getting published’; centralising the data-collection of publications onto RMENet; introducing small faculty grants at significant points of the research process to help researchers to ‘get over the line’ with publication; and introducing a faculty grant program which linked early career researchers with academics with a track record in research.

REVIEW: Through a co-ordinated and planned approach, including greater overall focus and communication around research across the faculty and a series of specific initiatives, the research participation rate overall has risen from 48% to 71% and the number of publications recorded on RMENet has increased by 25%.

IMPROVE: Further initiatives currently underway are expected to result in further increases in research performance (the continuous ‘Improvement’).

This phased implementation of change and improvement follows the PDRI model with initiatives being planned and then done, evaluated and then improved on in a cycle of continuous improvement.   

Upgrading learning spaces on campus

Putting the plan-do-review-improve model into practice is everyday business for Facilities.

Take the recent refurbishment of learning spaces as an example; the changes have brought a new vibrancy and activity across the campus.  

PLAN:  Designing welcoming, comfortable spaces that enhance the learning experience at UTS and encourage students to stay around after class have been two guiding principles in the redesign and refurbishment of the learning spaces. 

DO: Building on these principles, the plan and design of the spaces have been informed by student and staff feedback so features like wireless internet, longer opening hours, collaborative spaces, computer and creative hubs for group work, labs that allow experiential learning, have been built.  

REVIEW: Facilities routinely undertake a post-occupancy review of all new sites to identify any improvements or adjustments that need to be made with user feedback being a standard part of a review.  

IMPROVE: The review, as well as on-going advances in building design and technology, informs the design of the next space ... a cycle of continuum of improvement based on the PDRI model.   


Subject development: Modifying delivery to ensure voices are heard

Subject development and subject renewal enables courses to remain current, topical and relevant.  Academics routinely review the delivery and content of their courses. An example of this is from the Law Faculty.

PLAN: A fairly new academic staff member is responsible for designing and delivering a new subject within a Law course. It’s a subject that covers content that, because of the nature of the topic, is likely to evoke strong opinions. In one particular class, the lecturer plans to get the class/ group involved in a healthy debate on the subject topic (which has legal, ethical, social and political aspects).

DO: The class started discussing the topic and as it went on, the lecturer became aware that there was a polarisation in the group on some issues and that the discussion at times became a little personal. As the group was quite large it was difficult to facilitate the discussion so that everyone had an opportunity to contribute. A few people dominated the discussion and the lecturer drew the discussion to a close and summed up the key points.

REVIEW: The lecturer reflected on that class and decided to do a short survey to the students to find out what they thought about the class and whether they would recommend any changes. The lecturer also drew on the expertise of staff in IML to provide advice on other strategies to support discussion and learning on this topic.

IMPROVE: As a result of feedback from students and the support from IML, the lecturer modified the approach to use small group discussion with guidelines to ensure that all members of the group had a chance to put forward their views. The students were surveyed again after that session and were very satisfied with the changes that the lecturer had made.  

Researcher capacity development initiative; increasing support for UTS researchers

Building and bolstering the research capacity is a strategic priority for UTS.

The Researcher Capability Development Initiative (RCDI) is one initiative taken to bolster research at UTS.  Its development demonstrates a Plan-Do-Review-Improve approach.

PLAN: The university research strategy provides the overall planning framework for the RCDI. It was recognised that researchers needed a better way of finding out about the range of researcher development tools and activities available at UTS as well as a better mechanism for enabling them to mix and meet with other researchers from across the university.

DO: The development and roll out of the RCDI is a collaborative process, involving the University Graduate School, the Research Innovation Office, the Institute for Interactive Media and Learning, ELSSA Centre, UTS Library, Human Resources Unit and the Mathematics Study Centre.  The RCDI will centralise the range of existing research-specific modules into an online repository that is accessible to individuals and groups. Activities will be offered as a combination of e-learning modules, face-to-face workshops and a collection of summer and winter school sessions.

REVIEW & IMPROVE:  Manager of HRU’s Organisation and People Development Dr Gloria Blonde has advised “a successful RCDI is a long-term goal for UTS which is being rolled out slowly, with on-going consultation and modification, to ensure it meets researcher needs in a meaningful way”.  Her comments echo the plan, do, review and improve approach that underpins this initiative.