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University System’s Benchmarking Project Launched

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Pappas Consulting Group, Arthur Andersen and MGT to Conduct Work Jointly

Atlanta — March 8, 2000

Representatives from the Pappas Consulting Group, Inc., Arthur Andersen LLP and MGT of America, Inc. - the partnership selected in a competitive bid process to conduct the University System of Georgia’s Benchmarking/Management Review - appeared before the Board of Regents today for a status report on the comprehensive project.

The management review is a collaborative effort being conducted by Gov. Roy Barnes and Board of Regents aimed at measuring the University System’s performance against other higher education systems and assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of its business practices. The generated data, findings and recommendations will be used to inform decisionmaking and enhance business practices. Gov. Barnes has conducted three assessments of state agencies; however, the Board of Regents is the first agency to volunteer for participation in the Governor’s initiative. By volunteering for the process, the Board of Regents was able to link the Governor’s efficiency audit with its own planned benchmarking initiative. The external review will evaluate the performance of the University System’s 34 institutions, review the business practices of the Board of Regents central office and a representative sample of System institutions, and review the System’s data systems and data administration processes.

“The Pappas, Andersen and MGT group brings tremendous expertise to this project,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen R. Portch. “They have assembled a team of experts with an understanding of the context of public higher education and have approached the project with an appreciation of the enormity of its scope and impact. I’m confident that we’ll see informed and meaningful recommendations for improvement in keeping with our strategic priorities.”

The Pappas Consulting Group, a wholly-women-owned firm, is the prime contractor for the project. Its president, Alceste T. Pappas, Ph.D., serves as the project leader/director. James H. Roth, partner-in-charge of Arthur Andersen LLP’s Higher Education Practice, serves as project co-leader/director. J. Kent Caruthers, Ed.D. senior partner of MGT of America, Inc., is directing the benchmarking components of the review.

All three partnering firms have extensive experience in the project scope. The Pappas group has served hundreds of post-secondary institutions and systems at the strategic and operational levels, with staff members leading pioneering work in business and student process redesign. In the last several years alone, Arthur Andersen has worked with over 50 colleges to redesign business processes and improve the application of information technology, including integrating applicable corporate practices into the academic environment. MGT is well staffed with personnel who have served as college/university administrators. The group is particularly known for its expertise in conducting comparative studies of state systems of post-secondary education, benchmarking/best practices and policy analysis.

The review will encompass the University System’s academic and research areas, as well as its service support and administrative operations. The consultants will:

  • Conduct a benchmarking study of the 34 University System institutions (by sector) of selected strategic performance indicators and suggest target ranges for performance and practice, including, but not limited to: establishing a database to enhance decision making and strategic resource allocation; proposing a framework, such as a template, for USG institutions to measure performance against appropriate peer and benchmarked institutions on a state and national scale; and identifying apparent issues or problems on strategic measures, and accessing best practices;

  • Perform a management review of the central office as it relates to the management of the USG institutions; and

  • Develop a structured, effective, formalized process for the USG to use in collecting data, performing analyses, and reporting accountability. This component will include reviewing the administration of the existing data system administration to insure its capability for implementing the recommended process.

The eight-month project began this month, and will continue through mid-October of this year. Periodic progress reports will be provided to Board of Regents and System officials, with the final report scheduled for October.

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