Information Technology Report Released
In response to one of the recommendations in UPAC’s January 2011 report, the University engaged the services of Huron Education, a consulting firm with expertise in information technology. Huron’s final report, as well as an executive summary, can be viewed at the links below. Please note that you will be required to login to the SF State Gateway to view the documents.
UPAC Announcement: December 21, 2010
Over the course of the last year, UPAC has undertaken a broad review of the University’s systemic budget shortfall and diminishing state support. This analysis underscored the need to find budget savings, to consider institutional restructuring, and to seek out ways in which the university might streamline its efforts--all in a manner geared toward creating a stronger, leaner institution. Toward that goal, the Council has worked to foster an exchange of information and ideas among the university community. The Council received well over 100 proposals from members of the campus community focusing on cost-saving or revenue-generating measures for consideration. The Council circulated four concepts for the campus’ consideration related to college restructuring; it also received 30 models for reorganization submitted via the “Design Your University” tool.
After a comprehensive review of these submissions, as well as of the feedback garnered via two all-university forums and other feedback mechanisms, the members of UPAC have begun drafting a report of their findings and related recommendations. The members of UPAC anticipate that the report will be ready for release in January or February and at this stage have determined to consider any impacts on the University from the release of the Governor’s budget prior to finalizing the report.”
All-University Forums on Restructuring
The Academic Senate will host its second all-University forum on University restructuring, on Thursday, October 21 from noon to 1:30 in Knuth Hall. Members of the campus community are encouraged to attend and to contribute to the dialogue on these important issues. Please bring your questions, ideas and concerns. Members of the University Planning Advisory Council (UPAC) will be available to answer questions at the meeting.
With the help of Academic Technology, those wishing to participate remotely can do so through Elluminate by going to: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?password=M.F4BD90880BEF0E818508D60972B96A&sid=2010182 While those participating remotely will be able to submit questions and comments through a moderator, they will not be able to speak directly through the Elluminate system.
A statement on UPAC's Rationale and Assumptions
Recently, the University Planning Advisory Committee (UPAC) released a draft six -- -college structure in the hope of beginning a broad campus dialogue on the desirability of moving from the existing administrative structure within Academic Affairs to a new one that would be more cost efficient. In releasing that draft, UPAC was concerned that the campus embrace the draft as tentative and preliminary, and UPAC wanted to ensure concerned members of the campus community that we would be responsive to all feedback and possible alternatives. Several who have responded to the draft have asked for UPAC’s rationale and the assumptions that were driving our process, and we want to respond to that request.
Members of the campus community should know that UPAC took up the issue of college structure based on the large number of recommendations in this area received from the campus community. In our judgment, this was one of the few areas where there appeared to be significant campus interest in a change that would not compromise the quality of our academic programs but would also yield substantial savings.
The submissions that we received included a number of draft structures that suggested five or six colleges rather than the existing eight (a list of these proposals can be viewed at http://www.sfsu.edu/~upac/proposals.html ; please check back in a couple of weeks, when the full proposals will be available for review). After reviewing those proposed structures we developed some preliminary understandings that guided the formation of the draft structure that we have circulated:
We determined that a six -- college structure was superior to five, because a five college structure could make one or two colleges so large that they would be difficult to manage and because it would too heavily constrain the available options for configuring departments within colleges;
We were guided by the understanding that college units should, to the degree possible, be of roughly equal size;
We decided that any new structure should reflect our commitment to Ethnic Studies as a critical strategic priority;
We thought that academic and intellectual affinities would be the best guide in placing departments within colleges. This is the point on which we need the most feedback from the campus community; and
We are committed to setting forth recommendations that would create a stronger institution with the ability to provide high quality educational opportunities to our students both now and in the future, but at a lower administrative cost.
Many have pointed out that the draft structure would not save enough money to solve our budget shortfall (which could be as high as $18 million). While that is true, we believe that a change to a six -- college structure could save significant resources and would, at a minimum, decrease the amount of budget cut that might have to be absorbed within the academic program. Initially, the transition from eight to six would have long-term savings between one and two million dollars annually by eliminating six administrative positions (two deans, two associate deans, and two college development officers) -- perhaps 10% of the total we need to save. While it is true that current personnel would be likely to exercise retreat rights, the personnel costs of administration would be permanently reduced, representing over a million dollars in savings annually. UPAC is convinced that saving between one and two million dollars in administrative infrastructure would be superior to absorbing cuts of that size within the academic program.
Additionally, a six-college structure would reduce the need for dedicated college support infrastructures in fiscal services, website and information technology, human resources, and communications and public relations, for additional long-term savings. These savings could be redirected to our core academic mission.
Finally, we anticipate that a thoughtful reorganization of existing departments is likely to yield structural collaborations among existing departments. At present we have departments that are vastly different in size, ranging anywhere between two and forty tenured and tenure track faculty. Smaller departments are less able to absorb resource reductions, and we expect that faculty in smaller units will find advantages in sharing resources or even in merging departments. In this way, a new college structure might facilitate the ability to achieve additional efficiencies through reducing administrative expenditures (though the amount of that savings is difficult to determine at this point since it would rely upon the various interests of faculty within the units.)
While members of UPAC are unanimous that a six -- college structure merits significant consideration, the draft proposal does not reflect complete consensus on the location of all departments within the new college structure. Indeed, among the reasons for circulating the draft was to gain some additional perspective on those issues.
These are the major considerations that informed the draft that we have circulated for your consideration. Although we include within UPAC a wide range of experience and understanding of the university, we recognize and acknowledge the limitations of our ability to grasp the full impact of this organizational plan on some departments or programs. We are genuinely interested in alternative distributions that would improve upon the draft that we have circulated, but we are committed to the notion that we can achieve economies by reducing administrative costs. We have not made a recommendation to President Corrigan, and any recommendation that we might make in the future will be heavily dependent on your feedback. We recognize that some may fear that this draft could serve to close off the consideration of alternative approaches, but all we can do is to assure you that it was offered with the opposite intent.