First-Step Changes Implemented
In keeping with the two-step plan outlined by President Les Wong at his April forum, some campus units were restructured by June 30 to increase efficiency and reduce costs. The second step, which includes identifying academic and athletic programs that might be enhanced, created or eliminated, will be implemented between now and Jan. 1.
A single entity—Information Technology—now handles all computing and networking support on campus. It is a merger of Administrative Information Technology (AdIT) and Academic Information Services (AIS)-Academic Computing. The new department includes two divisions: Information Services, formerly known as AdIT Consulting and Support Services; and Technical Services, formerly known as AdIT Technical Services. AIS-Academic Computing has been merged into both.
“We used to distinguish between academic and administrative computing ,” said Dave Maki (Information Technology-Technical Services). “A lot of the technology used and services provided were similar, so it made sense to combine at this point to save money. There is no more Academic Computing—the director’s position was eliminated—the AIS programmers were relocated to Cohodas and combined with our Information Services and Technology programming staff to work on both academic and administrative tasks. The Micro Repair Services stayed in Learning Resources because it’s physically set to run there, but it now falls under the Information Technology Services umbrella along with Telecom Services.”
More efficient use of equipment, combined with the reduced personnel costs of eliminating the director position after a retirement and not filling a couple of vacancies, will save about $350,000. The Help Desk and the Center for Instructional Technology in Education (CITE) will remain in Learning Resources. These and other AIS divisions such as archives and the library are not impacted by the merger.
Based on a consultant’s recommendation, Conference and Catering Services now falls under Dining Services and the direction of Greg Minner. No positions were eliminated, according to Art Gischia (Business and Auxiliary Services). He said the shift was design to improve efficiency and customer service.
“There was an occasional disconnect between the intake of information and the delivery of service,” Gischia added. “Some customers went to Dining Services first; others to Conference and Catering. This merger allows us to close those gaps so that what the customer conveys to the person who books the event is carried out. With Greg hired as Dining Services director and given his previous experience in conference and catering at Penn State, it seemed a natural fit.”
Robin Rahoi will move from cash operations manager to full-time nutritionist, which is her area of expertise. She will deal with students who have special nutritional needs and work closely with Sean Murray (Dining Services) to develop menus with less fat and higher nutritional value.
Human Resources has saved $50,000 through the impending retirements of two assistant directors: one responsible for payroll and one for compensation/training. Lindsey Boutarac recently joined the staff as payroll manager. Duties associated with compensation/training have been absorbed by other HR employees. Additional restructuring to gain efficiencies in services to departments and units is still being explored.
The second step of the plan will be implemented by Jan. 1. Wong charged the provost, deans and Educational Policy Committee to develop the criteria used for identifying enhanced or new academic program initiatives that will best serve the economy and attract students. They will also develop the criteria used to identify programs for termination. The EPC is finalizing a draft that will be distributed to academic units during the fall semester.
Wong asked the directors of athletics, along with the U.S. Olympic Education Center, to evaluate the current portfolio of sports. Similar to the academic charge, new programs (intramural, club or intercollegiate levels) that enhance the student athlete experience will be identified and others will be considered for termination. Step two also calls for a new delivery model for counseling and health promotion services, a new delivery system for continuing education to enhance revenues, improved linkage between admissions processes and NMU international programs to improve recruitment and retention of international students, and a continuing review of employee benefits and health plans based on emerging changes and proposals at the federal and state levels.