Administrative Activities Review
This message was sent to faculty, contract professionals and staff on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018
We want to thank everyone involved in the preparation of the Administrative Activities Review.
This initiative was a significant undertaking and produced some of the most thorough self-analyses done in this institution’s history. This process was accomplished swiftly and effectively and we appreciate your efforts.
This self-study of administrative functions throughout the University (both academic and non-academic units) will inform our forthcoming Three-year Action Plan and the FY2020 budgets. The full Administrative Activities Review Report and the reviews developed by the individual units are available at the AAR website.
The report contains a great deal of basic information about the administrative activities and personnel of the colleges, academic support units, and auxiliaries. This information may be new to you and others across campus. It includes:
- Unit activities. Concise descriptions of the purpose and administrative activities of all the units, including the college deans’ offices.
- Employees. The number of full- and part-time employees in all the units broken down by faculty, staff and contract professionals.
- Expenditures. The funds budgeted for the administrative activities of all units, and where relevant, the source of the funds (general fund, auxiliaries, sales accounts, and so forth).
Here are a few key conclusions from the review:
- Lean administration. Many administrative areas, including college dean’s offices, are thinly staffed given their responsibilities. This correlates with a 2017 report from the governor’s office that indicated UA had the lowest non-academic administrative costs, as a percentage of overall expenditures (17 percent), among Ohio’s public universities. There are some areas where there is a need to examine the organization and staffing, as well as the range of services provided.
- Concentration on core academic and academic support functions. Several recommendations are made to consider outsourcing of some services. Many universities already have done this and found that they are better handled by groups with more expertise and efficiency in those areas. By many accounts, our own experience outsourcing Dining Services has worked well for the University community as well as visitors and enabled us to focus more attention on other essential priorities. The same is true for the implementation earlier this year of the Call Center for Financial Aid. Areas identified in the report for evaluation of this option include Residence Life and Housing, the Recreation Center/Natatorium and Health Services, among others.
- Centralization/coordination of administrative functions. We may be able to increase efficiencies and productivity while reducing expenditures by consolidating administrative functions into their core areas. For example, some budgeting, marketing, development or information technology operations now performed in academic or administrative units perhaps could be done better within a centralized environment. This may allow academic units to tighten their focus on academic and research activities.
We now have additional reliable and relevant data that will be invaluable for our decision-making. These are recommendations at this point, but they are made to encourage all units – academic and non-academic alike – to think creatively and aggressively about efficiencies and effectiveness and incorporate them into the process of developing the Three-Year Action Plans.
Once again, thank you for your fine work on this project.
John C. Green
Nathan J. Mortimer
Chief Financial Officer