Mandatory Education

Case Study


The University of California has a diverse environment with different business operations that require training periodically due to a regulatory or legal requirement, UC Policy, and/or Regental Policy. Across the system, training that is “mandatory” for all employees or a segment of the employee population could be determined by the campus, Presidential, or Regental level of authority. There is no one point of contact at the campus or system level for education tracking, trending, or determining criteria for making a particular training mandatory. Faculty and staff have expressed concerns that these trainings are requiring more and more of their time which detracts from their primary mission of research and teaching. Logistically, it is difficult from either a campus or system perspective to follow or keep track of requirements or completion on an individual basis. Appropriately tracking and reporting on completion of training that is required by specific job functions and/or job categories is a significant undertaking.

Lack of a centralized or consistent process for development, approval, and evaluation of mandatory training increases the potential for inadequate quality of content, ineffective dissemination methodology, and misuse of the mandatory label. Without communication between campuses and/or between professional schools, there may be increased potential for lost time/productivity or increased expense. It is clear that UC system can leverage training solutions in a more organized manner.

UC’s online learning management system (LMS) has been implemented at most campuses and will be completed in 2011. While this will be a helpful system for providing online training and tracking, it will not address other issues such as the definition of mandatory training, faculty/staff concerns, and whether there is a legal, regulatory, or policy requirement to conduct and complete these trainings.


The project has two distinct phases:
1. Phase I: Inventory and confirm “mandated” (as defined by local terminology) training for each UC location and combine for a system wide review.

2. Phase II: In collaboration with the Faculty Welfare Committee, the Office of Ethics, Compliance & Audit Services (ECAS) will co-lead a multidisciplinary committee composed of training staff, LMS staff, faculty, ECAS and select campus representatives to determine the most efficient method to address: (1) the adoption of a consistent and accepted definition of mandatory education; (2) identify areas where courses could be consolidated with subject overlap; (3) confirm rationale and criteria for continued applicability, and (4) submit recommendations for academic and administrative leadership review and approval to apply systemwide.


Phase I of the initiative has begun the process of identifying and cataloguing any mandatory training provided by each campus or the system. This is an ongoing process as additional courses may be identified when this project becomes more visible on each campus. The LMS has afforded UC the initial solution for a consolidated approach to providing on line web access for employees and providing the campus and system the ability to track such training as applicable. However, opportunities to improve this process exist especially as the new payroll system is implemented and employee tracking and records improve.


The greatest challenge comes from the fragmentation of training efforts across the system. There is no central point of contact or systems at either the campus and/or the system that conveys all this information is one place. In addition there are no dedicated resources to harness this effort. Inefficiencies in training methods, tracking, access, etc. are dealt with by incident vs. as a concentrated effort to improve processes.

Initial investment

Labor hours related to collection of information. There may need to be modifications to the learning management system to accommodate any recommendations from this initiative.

Fiscal results, current and anticipated

Savings will result by reducing duplicative development of training modules, enhancing training access, influencing behaviors towards compliance, and decreasing employee time spent on duplicative or unnecessary training and/or related training logistics. At this time, it is difficult to quantify actual numbers due to a lack of available data.

Current action and next steps

Phase I of this project entails data collection on “mandatory” training at the campus and system level. Phase II will entail the formation of a multidisciplinary committee that will identify ways to achieve an efficient, systemwide approach to training management.

Concluding statement

The mandatory training initiative will be an asset to UC management as they look to find hidden resources, decrease duplication, increase access and availability of training that is meaningful to the participant, improve workplace safety, define criteria for training, define mandatory, and improve faculty and staff satisfaction related to these activities.