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In this issue:
From the Director: M&O Improvement Agenda Update
Putting a Human Face on U.S. LHC Involvement
McCallum-Turner Focuses on HR
Word of the Week: Vacuum

SLAC Today

Friday - October 19, 2007

From the Director: M&O Improvement Agenda Update

(Photo - Persis Drell)

As discussed in the October 5th edition of SLAC Today, we are now in the process of planning the strategy and starting to identify the resources needed for successful implementation of the management and operations improvement agenda for the lab. Planning and thoughtful steps now are essential to ensure a successful outcome. However, we are now taking near-term actions to get the process started, even while the full plan is still being developed.

Recall that the goal of the management and operations (M&O) improvement agenda is to improve the functionality of SLAC M&O. As the laboratory becomes more multi-program in nature, we need to have an integrated approach to managing the lab performance that aligns with the lab's more complex mission. We brought in McCallum-Turner to help us develop the strategy for the transition as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The first steps in the process are foundational and structural to the way we manage at the lab. They may not be very visible, but they are absolutely crucial to our success; we must ensure decisive, consistent leadership at the highest levels. If you recall my analogy of "remodeling the house while we are living in it," we need to fix the structural elements of the house first.  Read more...

Putting a Human Face on U.S. LHC Involvement

(Photo - Tour de Leman)
U.S. LHC blogger Monica Dunford took part in the Tour du Leman last month.

Like many physicists, Monica Dunford often hears the question, "What exactly is it that you do?" As a blogger on the U.S. Large Hadron Collider (LHC) website, she and three other scientists are putting fingers to the keyboard to answer that query.

The website, supported by the Department of Energy, provides news and information about the LHC and U.S. involvement. While developing the website, US LHC communications officer Katie Yurkewicz asked people what they wanted to see, and many asked for blogs.

"It's something that puts a human face on the LHC project," Yurkewicz said. The bloggers hope to reach fellow scientists, the public, science policymakers, and students.

Followers of the LHC blogs have already had the chance to learn about the huge group of people behind the project, get travel tips for CERN and the surrounding environs, and read about a few things that physicists do in their spare time.

The blogs launched September 12 and are already bringing many eyes to the LHC site, Yurkewicz said.

Along with Dunford, of the University of Chicago, the bloggers are Pamela Klabbers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Steve Nahn of MIT; and Peter Steinberg of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Word of the Week:

A vacuum is a volume of space that is devoid of matter. A perfect vacuum is essentially impossible to achieve, but a partial vacuum can be maintained by removing air or other gasses using a series of specialized pumps. Vacuum quality is measured in units of "Torr," and in the laboratory, vacuum pressures can be maintained at 10-10 Torr—that's 10,000,000,000,000 times fewer air molecules than at atmospheric pressure. The vacuum pressure of interstellar space is 10-16 Torr.

McCallum-Turner Focuses on HR

This article, the fifth in a series of 11, explores the Human Resources Department as it relates to the McCallum-Turner, Inc., analysis of SLAC's management and operations systems.

The Human Resources Department at SLAC provides many services including employment, compensation, benefits, employee relations and training, personnel records, housing, international services, workers' compensation, diversity, and numerous employee events.

According to Lee Lyon, the McCallum-Turner Human Resources point of contact and the Director of Human Resources, McCallum-Turner will focus on six main areas including career development, management development, succession planning, performance evaluation processes, diversity and Human Resources systems. Career development assists employees in education and training to further their careers. Similarly, training programs for senior managers and succession planning at higher management levels will be examined. Performance evaluations provide feedback to employees while diversity seeks to create and maintain a diverse work environment. Finally, the team will investigate how to optimize the Human Resources systems.

"These are the main areas of our team's focus," said Lyon. "We welcome comments not only about these areas, but on any subject concerning Human Resources."

In past editions of SLAC Today, several articles have explained the scope of focus areas defined by McCallum-Turner's analysis of SLAC's management and operations systems. The articles are designed to help lab employees and users contribute useful insight to the examination of each area.

McCallum-Turner can by contacted with any ideas, comments or suggestions on Human Resources or any of the other focus areas via email at or by phone at 926-6200.

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