Question 1 from Academic Enterprise Town Hall Meeting on 6/26/2019:
Please provide information regarding the Academic Enterprise Service Center.
Response from Charles P. Mouton, MD, MS, MBA (originally shared as an email to the Academic Enterprise on July 3):
I am writing in hopes of easing the concerns that many of you have expressed regarding planned changes to the Academic Enterprise’s (AE) Administrative Support structure. The first recommendation, creating an AE Service Center, is focused on the efficiency and accuracy of transactional activities, as discussed at my recent town hall. Establishment of the AE Service Center will take place on Sept. 1. We are also assessing the Administrative Service Group (ASG) model to increase efficiencies, clarify roles and consolidate responsibilities of ASG support to Chairs, Center Directors, faculty and staff. We will keep you updated on the progress of this initiative.
As shared on several occasions, the implementation plan for these changes does not include a large-scale reduction in administrative positions or a major layoff of employees. AE leadership, in fact, continues to believe we can achieve higher levels of efficiency in administrative services through attrition, closure of some vacant positions and by repositioning some employees within the AE.
Let me assure you that no mass layoffs are planned as part of this initiative. As we develop, launch and transition to this “business hub” model, AE administrative staff members may be required to learn and perform new processes or move into new roles. Reporting relationships may change as may actual office space assignments, but laying off staff is not part of this plan. If we discover that we can maintain or even improve services with fewer staff, we will manage that through attrition, not with a layoff.
As I discussed in my recent town hall and shared in a May 11 e-mail message from Loren Skinner and me, the AE Service Center will be comprised of three separate teams that will be responsible for the following transactions: 1) travel and entertainment, 2) procurement and 3) human resources transactions. Work teams led by Vanessa Hernandez (travel and entertainment), Andy McNees (procurement) and Alice Oberholtzer (human resources) are currently working with staff, IT, etc. to ensure systems and processes are in place that will enable these teams to be successful.
The President’s Office implemented a similar Service Center initiative late last summer. There were adjustments that had to be made, but within the first six months, the President’s Office “service center” model demonstrated better service, increased efficiencies and cost savings, and affected employees settled in and are thriving in their new roles.
We believe that the AE Service Center will allow us to provide better, more efficient services not only within the Academic Enterprise, but also across the university. We are grateful to have your support as we roll out this initiative.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (409) 772-4793.