Speeches and Writing

Operational Excellence: Administrative Optimization and Dotted-Line Reporting

Email from President Kaler to select University leadership

September 14, 2012

To:  Senior Leadership Team, Chancellors, Deans, Unit and Collegiate Directors of Human Resources, Information Technology, Budget and Finance, and Communications

From:  Eric W. Kaler, President

Re: Operational Excellence: Administrative Optimization and Dotted-Line Reporting

As you know, Operational Excellence is a long-term commitment to work smarter, reduce costs, enhance services, and increase revenues throughout the University. We are undertaking this effort for one simple reason: to advance our teaching, research, and public engagement mission.

To that end, it is imperative that we function as a single enterprise. As a step in that direction we must better align, standardize, and professionalize our core operations, starting with our human resources, finance, information technology, and marketing-communications functions.

Specifically, I believe that these functions have become far too decentralized with too much variation between units. This results in duplication of effort between administrative units, colleges, and campuses; a lack of role clarity; and the inability to effectively standardize work processes, decision-making, and procedures to adopt best practices and reduce costs across the enterprise.

To address this problem, I have asked the leaders of these functional areas to work with other administrative units and collegiate and campus leaders to define roles, responsibilities and accountabilities, and develop service-level agreements for each functional area. As a starting point for greater alignment and improving communications and coordination, I support creating a dotted-line reporting relationship between collegiate and campus functional leadership and the senior leadership of University Finance, the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Information Technology, and University Relations. I have asked those senior leaders to convene cross-unit functional teams to achieve these goals and develop an implementation timeline in each area by December 1, 2012.

To meet the unprecedented funding challenges the University faces today, we must operate more efficiently and effectively. I hope that you, and all others involved, will embrace this opportunity to re-envision how we structure our administrative support services to ensure excellence in our operations. Thank you in advance for your leadership in helping plan, manage, and support change.