Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Got Cultural Change?

Yes, UC is resistant to change-yes, UC is full of professional foot draggers- that is the problem!!! We have to be truthful, even when it is really painful to say it.
From my own experience-- I have to say that at UC there is indeed " 'cultural' support for outdated and incompatible software and for five layers of procedural checks" and far worse-- I guess we will just have to agree to disagree with Chris Newfield's comments to the contrary- see his post below at the bottom--

Anyway, below is a compilation of posts about the supposed $500 million dollar savings UC hopes to achieve and present at tomorrow's UC Regents meeting.

We have questions though:

Does the $500 million savings include savings on avoiding future legal fees and payments that could be paid out in future years to students, alumni, patients, staff etc for data security "issues", breaches, identity theft, HIPAA fines etc. due to educational IT security incidents? Are they projecting future savings in part based on what they have had to pay out thus far without the necessary streamlining of enterprise systems? Or are they solely talking about administrative costs, software purchases, and IT staff etc?

And are the Regents going to fund a system-wide Data Stewardship-Security Council to monitor the security of these new streamlined system-wide HR and financial systems? A Stewardship Council that is not housed at UCOP or funded by UCOP directly. Wouldn't it be great to have a Data Stewardship Security Council that has students, staff, alumni, faculty on it -- a sort of watchdog group that the Regents fund and that is impartial and unbiased and looking out for the interests and privacy rights of the entire community?! Up to this point, such groups have been headed up by IT and other senior admin types who may not be the best judge and jury of their own work-- if you get my drift... How 'bout it Regents?

University of California Plans to Slash Spending
May 18, 2010


The University of California was set to unveil plans for a sweeping financial and administrative overhaul that could reduce annual operating expenses by more than $500 million, as the much-scrutinized public university system moves to deal with a widening budget shortfall.

Under the efficiency plan, which will be presented at a UC Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, the system intends to streamline, consolidate and standardizeoperations across its 10 campuses. Among other things, UC plans to roll out common supply-procurement and human-resources systems to replace individual campus systems.

Other measures include accelerating energy-efficiency projects, consolidating information-technology operations and loaning campuses money for equipment leases in lieu of more-costly third-party loans.

The overhaul followed steps taken by universities nationwide to cut administrative fat amid falling state funding and withering endowments.

In total, UC’s plan was expected to save more than $500 million from its $20 billion annual budget within five years of implementation, including at least $100 million from supply procurement, UC officials said.

The plan will also result in administrative job cuts, though officials declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated, citing the early state of the restructuring.

“We’re forced to make some fundamental changes in the way this place operates,” said Peter Taylor, UC’s finance chief. “We don’t have a choice.”


Robin Garrell, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and chair of its faculty body, welcomed an operational overhaul. “This is an area where there certainly are opportunities to save money with little impact on academic programs,” Prof. Garrell said. But, she added, “I would be wary of a one-size-fits all model,” especially for cutting administrative jobs, because “each campus has its own needs and character.”

Nationwide, in fiscal 2009, which began July 1, 2008, for most states, state funding for higher education fell $2.8 billion to $77.9 billion, though the drop was largely offset by $2.3 billion in stimulus funds, the State Higher Education Executive Officers, a nonprofit policy association, reported.

The UC system is closely watched as the nation’s largest university system by budget, and it has been hit particularly hard by California’s fiscal troubles.

Over the past two fiscal years, California has cut funding per student by 22% to $7,570, UC officials said. Adjusted for inflation, state funding per UC student has fallen 54% since the 1990-91 fiscal year, they said.

According to the State Higher Education group, excluding federal stimulus, total state and local funding for higher education in California fell 24% per student between the 1990-91 and 2008-09 fiscal years, compared with an 11% drop nationwide.

The budget shortfall for UC, which has around 230,000 students, has grown as a result. The budget gap is projected to rise to $1.2 billion for 2010-11 from $1 billion for the 2009-10 year, according to UC officials.

In response, UC has cut $232 million in operating costs over the past two years by laying off 1,900 workers, furloughing employees and cutting academic programs, among other measures. Some of the moves, including raising undergraduate fees 32%, have sparked student protests across the state that at times have turned violent.

Even with higher fees and a possible $305 million restoration in state funding, UC remained $237 million in the red for the coming 2010-11 fiscal year, officials said.

UC officials are considering other proposals to shore up its finances. One is to offer online courses for university credit, which drew sharp criticism from a group of UC Berkeley faculty last week.

Some fear such online courses could undermine faculty control over curricula and degrade instruction quality, said Wendy Brown, a political-science professor and co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association.

source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704314904575250710618322500.html?KEYWORDS=CARI+TUNA

U. of California to Propose Administrative Overhaul to Save $500-Million

By Josh Keller

The University of California will propose a vast administrative overhaul this week that it hopes will save more than $500-million annually in a bid to restore severe cuts in state support.

The proposal, which will be presented to the system's Board of Regents on Wednesday, seeks to reduce costs by streamlining procurement, centralizing payroll and human-resources systems, exploring the feasibility of shared research computing, and adopting other common measures across the system's 10 campuses.

The system has already cut $232-million from its $20-billion annual budget over the past two years, officials said. Within the next five years, officials hope to achieve more than $500-million in additional savings. Details of the plan were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

In March, Peter J. Taylor, the university's chief financial officer, told The Chronicle that adopting common financial systems would encounter cultural resistance in such a decentralized system. "The hard part isn't identifying the opportunities," he said. "It's driving the cultural change that will have to take place."




Administrative Overhaul at UC?
So reported the Chronicle yesterday, with supposed savings of $500 million. The changes involve procurement streamlining, increased software compatibility, etc. It is presumably Regents item F3, but as of this posting there are no public materials to review.

Quite gratuitiously, "Peter J. Taylor, the university's chief financial officer, told The Chronicle that adopting common financial systems would encounter cultural resistance in such a decentralized system. 'The hard part isn't identifying the opportunities,' he said. "It's driving the cultural change that will have to take place.'

UC has been talking about things like regularizing computer systems (e.g. for payroll) for 20 years. The obstacles have been No Coordination - these are complicated operational problems that require long-term effort from UCOP - and No Money. It's true that campus offices don't like unfunded mandates from on high, but contrary to CFO Taylor's remark, there is no "cultural" support for outdated and incompatible software and for five layers of procedural checks.

On the other hand, there is a need for central administration finally to follow through on their talk, which will also entail that they not foolishly imply at the start of a process that the campus personnel who will implement any changes have been causing the problem by dragging their feet. Several of UCOP's most vocal figures now routinely address everyone below the rank of senior manager with a reflexive, defensive, arrogance that makes them look pretty silly while reducing the chances that even worthy programs will succeed.
Posted by Chris Newfield at 6:24 AM


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