Giora Lehavi: His Job Is to Check
on Quality Management, and Other Standards
Can social responsibility be standardized? The University thinks so,
and University President Aaron Ben Ze’ev and Board of Governors
member Ziva Patir, who is director-general of the Israel Standards
Institute, have been involved with an international committee in
advancing an international standard on the matter.
Whether or not social responsibility, which is high on the
University’s agenda, alongside research and teaching, eventually
becomes a standard, the exercise of this feature necessarily
involves outreach to the community. The University is in fact at the
stage of implementing two already existing international standards,
each of which also has an orientation to the community: one is OHSAS
18001—occupational health and safety management systems; the other
is ISO 14001—environmental management systems.
If the University makes a commitment to be certified for these two
standards as it did for the prestigious quality management standard
ISO 9000, the person who will likely oversee their implementation on
campus is Giora Lehavi, head of the University’s Quality Management
who took up the newly created administrative position in October
2003, supervises a total of 22 University administrative units,
including academic administrations, that received individual
certifications from the Israeli Standards Organization attesting to
their quality management and functioning. In September 2004, the
University as a whole was certified as meeting the international
standard of quality management. The University of Haifa is the only
Israeli university, and one of the few in the world, to gain this
Focus talked with Lehavi about the role of the youngest
administrative unit at the University.
His guiding principle is that the University is “in the final
analysis, a service organization.” That means, “it must strive to
improve services to the consumer—mainly the student—all the time.”
Competition among the Israeli universities, but especially between
the universities and the growing number of colleges demand this
improvement, he continued. In addition, the students are more
demanding than in the past.
“It is impossible to provide the services without an orderly system
that can supervise it and propel it forward,” he stated.
The Quality Management Unit, Lehavi explained, helps the different
units to maintain a quality system by writing rules in cooperation
with his unit. It tested the practical application of these rules
and then reviewed and encouraged each unit going through the process
of their implementation.
Units that receive certification go through an internal auditing of
their procedures twice a year. He stressed that the regulations come
not from above but from the employees themselves, noting that there
is no rule that interferes with a worker. For that reason, he
prefers the term “work as a logical process” rather than work rules.
The process can change, he points out, if workers advance new ideas
that facilitate the work.
In his view, ISO has made things easier for administrative employees
in the academic departments, since each unit works the same way
toward students and toward faculty members.
Lehavi is perhaps especially sensitive toward the way students are
treated, since he had spent the previous ten years giving service to
them as Head of the University’s Students Administration Division.
Prior to that, he had been administrator of the Faculty of Social
Sciences and Mathematics (as it was then known). It is not
surprising to learn that the man who sees to it now that students
receive the services due them earned his B.A. (in Geography and
Political Science) here at the University.
His Master’s degree, gained at the University of Sidney in
Australia, was in town and country planning. Although he likely
never thought about it, that training may make it easier for him to
help his alma mater become one of the first organization’s to be
certified in the area of social responsibility when and if an
international standard is agreed.
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