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The University has begun implementing changes to support administrative and academic departments as recommended during the summer by the Organizational Review Committee. Chief among those alterations are extending grant management resources, creating an administrative service center and expanding desktop support services.

These changes are a part of an overall effort to compensate for the economic downturn's effect on the endowment, said Karen Davis, vice president for human resources.

Over the course of several fiscal years following the economic downturn, the University has decided to cut $95 million from the budget. The ORC and the University Resources Committee "worked long and hard last year to identify additional savings," Davis said. During the first phases of the budget alternation, the University trimmed the deficit by $65 million.

This was done by eliminating 139 staff positions that had been vacated by staff members who chose to take advantage of the offered retirement incentive program, Davis said, as well as by implementing a general hiring freeze.

The committee also worked to eliminate operating costs and use that money to directly support academic programs, Davis added.

For the last $30 million, Davis said, the University will alter current programs and create new ones instead of making more cuts.

One of these programs consists of shared grants and resources for contracts in the humanities. The Department of Applied Mathematics has a grant management resource that it is making available to some humanities departments, Davis said.

With grants, there are "additional things you have to do to manage that money," she said, and "that's been an area of need around the campus."

Another program that has been developed is the administrative service center. This serves to bring people who work for the administrative units across campus together physically or virtually in order to become more efficient, Davis said.

Through the service center, one or two people can do the work for multiple units, which include tasks like paying employees, buying supplies and scheduling travel for faculty, Davis said, adding that this gives people in those departments the capacity to do other things.

This makes it easier for administrative departments to track money, people and financial transactions as well as to generally "get smarter about doing some of the basic transactions," she said. Many universities have already created such centers, she added.

Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98 appointed Sara Walsh as director of the center, which is now located in University Hall.

The University has also increased desktop support services, which came as a recommendation from the ORC during the Corporation meeting in February, said Chris Grossi '92, assistant director of desktop support services.

Prior to this development, Davis said, there was one position within the administration that provided troubleshooting.

This person would cover desktop support primarily for those in Human Resources because there are "a lot of feeds that are going to and from the main human resources system," Davis said.

"It wasn't a very efficient use," she said, because if that one person was out sick, there would be no one to help maintain the personal computers of people in Human Resources.

This new system, which is overseen by Computing and Information Services, will "make computing support in academic and administrative departments more consistent across the University," Grossi said.

CIS is now providing this support to "even more departments across the University," Grossi said.

There were as many as 20 departments that did not have this resource built in, Davis said, which left them mostly on their own.

The program's expansion does not extend across the entire University but focuses on the majority of the humanities and a mix of administrative departments, said Scott Martin, manager of IT support consultants.

Giving CIS this responsibility "improves computer infrastructure" and makes it easier to "manage the volume of students and faculty," Martin said.

Davis said CIS offers a bigger, more expansive team than the University had before.

"When I call my IT support person in CIS, they know my computer," Davis said. "They can walk me through it" by knowing how the computer is configured and literally seeing the desktop, she said.

There is always someone who can take care of a problem, she added, and it does not require physically bringing a computer to the Help Desk.

They are "already seeing the advantages," Davis said.


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