Objectives, Leadership Design and Benefits
What was the purpose of a Comprehensive Administrative Review?
The Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR) provided an in-depth and critical look at administrative functions across the University System of Georgia (USG). The administrative review was designed to gather input from campus stakeholders across all 26 USG institutions and the University System Office. The CAR supported the USG’s goals of greater degree attainment, student affordability, and institutional efficiency through its examination of administrative spending and processes. Ultimately, the CAR identified **opportunities for savings through a combination of more efficient and effective processes, realignment of positions, and the restructuring and centralizing of certain operations.*
Who led this effort?
The CAR initiative was led by a cross-institutional steering committee, chaired by University of West Georgia President Dr. Kyle Marrero, in conjunction with the USG Office of Organizational Effectiveness, under Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness John Fuchko III. Huron Consulting has worked with USG institutions to develop data requests and provide feedback to the USG. Huron Contract, Huron Contract Renewal
Each institution within the system had an opportunity to participate in the effort and provided recommendations as to how the review could better utilize their resources and improve services to students.
What were the major components of the CAR?
The first step was an activity assessment conducted with a large group of employees. In order to better understand how USG institutions were allocating resources to perform administrative functions, Huron Consulting Group’s CAR Project team administered the Activity Assessment to select staff at each USG institution. The number of individual employees selected to participate varied and participation was mandatory.
*This assessment was NOT intended to measure or be associated with an individual’s job performance or ability to complete their job duties efficiently and effectively. The results from this assessment combined with other quantitative and qualitative analysis being conducted as part of the Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR) project.
*This assessment gathered initial input on the amount of time spent on a variety of administrative functions and activities. Each employee was asked to use their best judgment to estimate how they spend their time.
*Depending on the number of “hats” an employee wore, they could expect this assessment to take, on average, 30 minutes to complete.
*The assessment was created to be taken in a single sitting. Each institution was tasked to make sure that the appropriate amount of time was available for each employee to complete the assessment. Institution faculty who had partial load assignments related to administrative functions could have also been a part of the Activity Assessment.
Staff responses were shared with each staff member’s supervisor for review and validation as part of this process. Individual responses were not published as part of the CAR report information, only being presented in the aggregate.
In addition to the Activity Assessment, an Opportunity Identification Survey was also administered. The goal of the Opportunity Identification Survey was to collect information on functions and processes at our institution that worked well and those that needed improvement or otherwise could present an opportunity for improved administrative effectiveness, efficiency, and best practice. The survey solicited responses to identify existing best-in-class operations, areas that could be improved, and potential solutions to common challenges at each institution. Responses to the survey were anonymous and only presented in summary.
Following the Assessment and Survey, on-campus focus groups and interviews with select individuals were held at each institution to more thoroughly explore the results of the Activity Assessment and Opportunity Identification Survey.
Why did the USG initiate the CAR?
The goal of the CAR was to address the challenge of how to provide quality instruction in the most cost-effective manner. The objectives of the CAR were to:
*identify ways that administrative functions can be conducted more efficiently and effectively;
*enhance support for delivering on the global, statewide, and local missions of USG institutions;
*achieve opportunities for savings to provide greater affordability and access for students; and
*strengthen the core academic enterprise and improve student support services.
Specifically, the CAR was expected to assist the USG and the respective 26 institutions by:
*developing model organizational structures and processes that will enhance our ability to deliver on our teaching, research, and service mission;
*developing and implementing 21st century operational models;
*gaining input to enhance administrative effectiveness and efficiency at all levels; and
*identifying administrative cost savings that can be redirected to benefit students and support our core functions of teaching, research, and service.
What were the benefits of the Comprehensive Administrative Review?
It helped the USG better understand how it is structured to deliver administrative services at the University System Office, institutions, and across the University System of Georgia as a whole. As a system for public higher education, the USG has the ability to leverage best practices and economies of scale to the benefit of the USG and its stakeholders.
The CAR also helped to build on efforts already underway to improve efficiency and to increase effectiveness across the USG. Streamlining services, system standardization, and process changes are required to achieve savings and sustainability to better serve our students without increasing costs. A comprehensive examination of how the System and the institutions are administered in light of the new realities in higher education helped ensure that the USG was fulfilling its mission today and tomorrow.
USG institutions benefited by their participation in the Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR) in the following ways:
The CAR allowed institution leadership to:
- benefit from a deep analysis of organizational structure and activities;
- compare processes and functions to peer institutions;
- identify and incorporate best practices utilized by peer institutions;
- refine best practices as they shared those best practices with others;
- identify opportunities for improvement of management processes; and
- reduce duplication of effort and redundant or unnecessary processes.
Who was included?
The CAR initiative gathered input from all employees with substantive administrative responsibilities. This included all employees who perform administrative functions throughout USG institutions, including the academic and research areas. Because the CAR initiative only focused on non-teaching activities and roles, only faculty with administrative responsibilities were involved in the Activity Assessment.
Did Fair Labor Standards Act(FLSA) status have any bearing on who got the activity assessment?
No. Participants were identified based on the kind of work they do. If the work involved administrative activities, then they were included, regardless of FLSA status.
Was participation in CAR anonymous?
Participation in the Opportunity Identification Survey was confidential. The Activity Assessment was neither confidential nor anonymous. The submission from each employee was shared with their supervisor. Results from the Opportunity Identification Survey was only presented in summary. Results from information gathered during the interviews and focus groups were provided only in a summary format back to the institution. Individual responses were not to be shared. All information gathered may be subject to the Open Records Act.
Was participation in CAR required?
Participation in the Opportunity Identification Survey was voluntary. Participation in the Activity Assessment was required for those selected as “in-scope” for the assessment. If there were employees who were unable to complete the Activity Assessment due to extenuating circumstances, their supervisor completed the assessment on their behalf.
Focus Groups and Interview Process
How were people selected for the interviews and focus groups?
The individuals who were invited to participate in interviews were key leaders of major units or functional areas. The number of participants interviewed varied by institution. For the focus groups, Huron Consulting looked to engage, in small group formats, employees and students who had first-hand experiences with the functional areas where they wanted to gain greater information. The focus group topic areas were selected based on the results of the Opportunity Identification Survey.
When did the focus groups take place?
If an employee was selected to participate in a focus group, they were notified and a time was arranged for the focus group session. Sessions lasted about one hour each.
Target Timeline and Potential Savings
What was the timeline for the CAR and will decisions be published?
There were two primary phases. Phase 1 began with the University System Office and six institutions. Phase 2 included the remaining institutions. Each phase took 8-16 months to fully complete. Once the CAR concludes, the final reports will be published to the CAR website. Reports for individual institutions will be found on the institutions’ websites.
How much money is expected to be saved by this initiative?
Savings will be posted within the CAR’s final report, which will be posted on the CAR website once the audit concludes. The Administrative Review should result in opportunities for savings to provide greater affordability and access for USG students, to strengthen the core academic enterprise, and to improve student support services.
How will savings be used to provide greater affordability for students?
Higher education has undergone fundamental changes in who enrolls and why, how instruction is delivered, and how it is paid for. Actual savings will vary by institution but could result in cost avoidance, lower costs, and/or enhanced services.
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