Objectives, Leadership, Design and Benefits
What is the purpose of a Comprehensive Administrative Review?
The Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR) will provide an in-depth and critical look at administrative functions across the University System of Georgia (USG). The administrative review is designed to gather input from campus stakeholders across all 26 USG institutions and the University System Office. The CAR will support the USG’s goals of greater degree attainment, student affordability, and institutional efficiency through its examination of administrative spending and processes. Ultimately, the CAR will identify opportunities for savings through a combination of more efficient and effective processes, realignment of positions, and the restructuring and centralizing of certain operations.
Who is leading this effort?
The CAR initiative is 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 been engaged to work with USG institutions to develop data requests and provide feedback to the USG.
Each institution within the system will have an opportunity to participate in the effort over the next two years and will provide recommendations as to how it may better utilize its resources and improve services to students.
What are the major components of the CAR?
The first step will be an Activity Assessment conducted with a large group of employees. In order to better understand how USG institutions are allocating resources to perform administrative functions, Huron Consulting Group’s CAR Project team will administer the Activity Assessment to select staff at each USG institution. The number of individual employees selected to participate will vary and participation is mandatory.
- This assessment is NOT intended to measure or be associated with an individual’s job performance or ability to complete his/her job duties efficiently and effectively. The results from this assessment will be combined with other quantitative and qualitative analysis being conducted as part of the Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR) project.
- This assessment will gather initial input on the amount of time spent on a variety of administrative functions and activities. Each employee is asked to use his/her best judgment to estimate how they spend their time.
- Depending on the number of “hats” an employee wears, he/she can expect this assessment to take, on average, 30 minutes to complete.
- The assessment should be taken in a single sitting. Each institution will make sure that the appropriate amount of time is available for each employee to complete the assessment. Institution faculty who have partial load assignments related to administrative functions may also be part of the Activity Assessment.
Staff responses will be shared with each staff member’s supervisor for review and validation as part of this process. Individual responses will not be published as part of the CAR report - information will only be presented in the aggregate.
In addition to the Activity Assessment, an Opportunity Identification Survey will also be administered. The goal of the Opportunity Identification Survey is to collect information on functions and processes at our institution that work well and those that need improvement or otherwise present an opportunity for improved administrative effectiveness, efficiency, and best practice. The survey will solicit 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 will be anonymous and only presented in summary; candid responses are encouraged and appreciated.
Following the Assessment and Survey, on-campus focus groups and interviews with select individuals will be held at each institution to more thoroughly explore the results of the Activity Assessment and Opportunity Identification Survey.
Why is the USG initiating the CAR?
The goal of the CAR is to address the challenge of how to provide quality instruction in the most cost-effective manner. The objectives of the CAR are 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 is 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 are the benefits of the Comprehensive Administrative Review?
It will help 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 will also help to build on efforts already underway to improve efficiency and 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 will help ensure the USG is fulfilling its mission today and tomorrow.
USG institutions will benefit by their participation in the Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR) as follows:
The CAR will allow 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 share those best practices with others;
- identify opportunities for improvement of management processes; and
- reduce duplication of effort and redundant or unnecessary processes.
Who Is Included?
The CAR initiative will gather input from all employees with substantive administrative responsibilities. This includes all employees who perform administrative functions throughout USG institutions including the academic and research areas. Because the CAR initiative will focus only on non-teaching activities and roles, only faculty with administrative responsibilities will be involved in the Activity Assessment.
Does Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) status have any bearing on who will get the Activity Assessment?
No. Participants were identified based on the kind of work they do. If the work involves administrative activities, then they would be included regardless of FLSA status.
Is participation in the CAR anonymous?
Participation in the Opportunity Identification Survey is confidential. The Activity Assessment is neither confidential nor anonymous. The submission from each employee will be shared with his/her supervisor. Results from the Opportunity Identification Survey will only be presented in summary; your candid responses are encouraged and appreciated. Results from information gathered during the interviews and focus groups will be provided only in a summary format back to the institution. Individual responses will not be shared. All information gathered may be subject to the Open Records Act.
Is participation in the CAR required?
Participation in the Opportunity Identification Survey is voluntary. Participation in the Activity Assessment is required for those selected as “in-scope” for the assessment. If there are employees who are unable to complete the Activity Assessment due to extenuating circumstances, their supervisor will complete the assessment on their behalf.
Focus Groups and Interview Process
How are people being selected for the interviews and focus groups?
The individuals who will be invited to participate in interviews are key leaders of major units or functional areas. The number of participants interviewed will vary by institution. For the focus groups, Huron Consulting will be looking to engage, in small group formats, employees and students who have first-hand experiences with the functional areas where they want to gain greater information. The focus group topic areas will be selected based on the results of the Opportunity Identification Survey.
When will the focus groups take place and how will I know if I am involved?
If you are selected to participate in a focus group, you will be notified with enough advance notice to get it on your schedule. Focus group sessions will last about one hour each.
Target Timeline and Potential Savings
What’s the timeline for the CAR and will decisions be published?
It’s anticipated there will be two primary phases, but it could expand to one or more additional phases. Phase 1 will begin with the University System Office and six institutions. Phase 2 will include the remaining institutions. Each phase will take 8-16 months to fully complete and may overlap. The final reports will be published to the CAR website.
How much money is expected to be saved by this initiative?
It is too early in the process to determine how much money may be saved. The Administrative Review should result in opportunities for savings to provide greater affordability and access for USG students, strengthen the core academic enterprise, and 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.