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Comprehensive Administrative Review FAQs

What is the benefit of this process for UNG?

This is an opportunity for UNG to examine and address practices, processes, and policies that relate to our mission. Through this process, we will strengthen the aspects of our operations that are working well, and make changes where needed.

Why did the USG start this program?

Chancellor Steve Wrigley initiated the CAR in the spring of 2017 to achieve the following objectives:

  • Refine how USG and its institutions are structured to enhance our mission of teaching, research, and service.

  • Develop a more effective and efficient organizational model that is sustainable for a multi-campus, diverse university system in the 21st century.

  • Identify how to be more administratively effective and efficient at all levels of the organization.

  • Identify administrative cost savings that can be redirected into the System’s core functions of teaching, research, and service.

What did the CAR assessment entail?

As part of the assessment, Huron Consulting, on behalf of the USG, collected organizational data for the university as a whole. In addition, they asked employees to provide input through three methods:

  • An activity assessment that includes input from 795 UNG employees who perform administrative functions. This assessment was designed to understand the tasks and activities performed across the university.  Participation in the assessment was expected for the selected individuals. Supervisors reviewed and validated the responses from their direct reports.

  • An opportunity identification survey was completed voluntarily by approximately 200 UNG supervisors, managers, and leaders across the university. This survey was designed to understand which functions and processes work well and where there are opportunities for greater effectiveness.

  • Huron Consulting used UNG human resources and financial data to inform additional analyses, including a review of the organization’s reporting spans and layers and benchmarking against 15 self-identified peer institutions.

  • Finally, 60 staff, faculty, students, and senior leaders participated in focus groups and interviews to explore the results of the activity assessment and opportunity identification survey.

How is student benefit defined?

Student benefit refers to investments that can be made to enhance or expand the learning experience, provide student support services, or reduce or avoid increasing student costs. These are the three major objectives of the action plan with regard to redirection of administrative savings.

What is the target set by USG for administrative savings at UNG?

The USG did not articulate any specific savings target or goal. In fact, no specific numbers were mandated or provided. UNG was expected to make every effort to create a meaningful action plan that will redirect administrative spending toward the academic enterprise. Any savings will remain with the university to be redirected as appropriate. This is not a “cost-reduction exercise” it is an “efficiency-improvement exercise.” Through the action planning process, the working group identified monetary and non-monetary benefits that can be achieved through more efficient and effective administrative operations.

What is the expected timeline to achieve meaningful redirection of administrative spend?

The action plan was developed for an initial three-year period. Some savings will be achieved within the first six months, while other efforts may take a few years to reach fruition. For instance, efficiencies that will be achieved through implementation of the proposed sustainability program will not be measurable until after those new systems are effectively utilized by the university community.

What did the report indicate?

There were three primary areas noted in the report:

  • Organizational Layers and Spans of Control

Although there is no “right size” that fits all organizations, too many or too few spans or layers can affect organizational and operational effectiveness. UNG has nine layers of administrative staff hierarchy (levels of reporting) in its structure. Current spans of control average 4.2 employees for every supervisor. In both spans and layers, the guideline is between six and eight. The working group has examined each layer and areas where span of control could be optimized through restructuring.

  • Alignment and Distribution of Administrative Functions

The activity assessment helped identify areas where similar work is performed both in the units across the university and also within centralized functions. Three key areas noted were general finance, communications / events, and human resources. The working group conducted a detailed review of subdivisions and departments in these areas to determine whether efforts are misaligned and duplicative, or if the division of labor is intentional and supportive of the university’s mission and multi-campus environment.

  • Best in Class and Room for Improvement

Based on the 200 survey responses for this part of the study, select processes within information technology, student life and services, and facilities management were noted for best-in-class operations. Other processes in human resources, facilities and space management, and purchasing and travel were identified as opportunities for improvement. The working group has studied these areas to determine where opportunities exist to make a positive impact on these operations.

What is the action planning process?

Action planning is a process to understand, interpret, and develop a focused response to the results of the CAR report. As part of this process, the working group prioritized how UNG could make the most progress in supporting the chancellor’s objectives.

What areas does the action plan focus on?

The working group explored all aspects of the report from Huron: spans and layers, activity assessment and the opportunity identification survey.  The opportunity identification component revealed several areas where things are working well and where we have room for improvement and provided the greatest avenues to achieve greater efficiencies.

Who served on the working group?

The working group was composed of members who bring perspectives needed to assess changes in administrative costs – budget and finance, information technology, human resources, and risk management. It also included administrators from various operational areas, including academic and student affairs, representation from multiple campuses, and a member the Faculty Senate.

Is the CAR process expected to generate immediate cost savings?

While some cost savings may be realized immediately, others will be realized over the course of several years. The university will track costs and savings as the plan is implemented.

How will the CAR change UNG’s organizational structure?

The results of the CAR action phase will result in some new or modified organizational structures and processes. The analysis of spans of control (the number of reporting to a supervisor or manager) and layers (the number of levels of hierarchy) indicates UNG a few opportunities to adjust its structure to be more efficient and effective.

The activity assessment revealed that similar functions and activities are performed by people across the university.  There are good reasons for this, particularly given UNG’s multi-campus environment and the need to have the right levels of support available. However, there are activities that could be performed more effectively and efficiently if organized differently.

How will the CAR process change our work processes?

The opportunity identification survey results indicate that some processes and procedures may need to change to be more efficient and effective. The working group engaged with people who perform administrative functions across the university to identify new ways to address operational challenges.

How will the CAR process change jobs at UNG?

Through this process, it is expected that some administrative roles will change. Responsibilities may be combined, adjusted, or distributed differently. Some vacant positions may no longer be needed.

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