February 27, 2006
Present: Allen Berger, Tracy Bigney, Ralph Caruso, Tracy Elliott, Frank Gerry, Tom Hopkins, Dana Humphrey, Sue Hunter, Dick Kimball, Jan Loomis, Cindy Mitchell, Tom Potter, Laurie Pruett, Claudia Quintal, Rosa Redonnett, Janet Waldron, Bill Wells, Eddie Meisner—Recorder
1. Business Case for the Center
Ralph led the group through a presentation of the draft Business Case for the back-office processing center (or the shared student services center) and requested questions and comments. The next iteration will be shared with the presidents at their meeting on March 9. The presidents have received a letter from the Chancellor informing them that he has approved moving ahead with center planning for Fall.
The University of Maine representatives noted concern over the title “shared student services center,” as there is already a “student services” office extant on that campus, and two organizations with the same title could cause confusion. They will check with others on their campus about this. Steering Committee members should submit other possible names.
Ralph emphasized that accountability to the campuses will be built into the center. In response to a question about whether cost savings can be realized with 30% more data entry anticipated, Ralph noted that we envision a highly trained staff that will be able to push more data through than can seven different campuses doing it seven different ways. Laurie said that the expectation is that the center will never get behind in entering data.
As more on-line applications are received (we should try for at least 80% System-wide, according to Jan), the center staff will be able to take on more, and different, responsibilities, in addition to processing admissions materials.
The director of the center and campus liaisons will have to work through the eventual migration of other responsibilities to the center, with the “above the line” and “below the line” analyses providing a guide to eventual goals. Service level agreements will need to be reached between the center and the campuses. These will evolve as processes appear ripe for centralization, campuses gain confidence in the center, and center operations themselves become more efficient (e.g., through the migration to e-applications).
The center planning team will meet later this week. A subcommittee of the Chief Financials Officers is working on chargeback issues.
Laurie said that we really need to develop a plan for transition processing. All constituents must agree that a process (from the MVP list) is ready before it will transition to the center. Jan added that our goal should be to develop such an effective center that campuses will be “beating a path to the door” to develop service level agreements for a variety of functions.
Human resources issues were also discussed, including: how does the anticipated net reduction in FTEs distribute itself across the various campuses? What should be the public message? Frank suggested that if descriptions for positions in the center are written to target incumbents, we can take good advantage of the skills/ability/experience already available within the System. Some campuses may have no applicants; others may have many (which in fact is a concern at Orono). Laurie reiterated that HR is working closely with center planners during this phase. It is very important that campuses look at how work is done and how new business processes might affect the mix of job responsibilities.
HR directors have been asked to identify people who are most likely to be impacted by the center. There are no definitive answers to employees’ questions yet, but planners are looking at how center positions will be filled and will try to identify negative impacts. We don’t yet know specifics like classifications of positions at the center. We need to acknowledge that our employees are in an anxious period, but avoid providing premature/inaccurate information. Tracy B is talking to all campuses.
Financial issues mentioned included the fact that the Chancellor’s Office is funding $700,000 for the first year’s operation. Allen expressed concern about campuses accruing personnel savings in year two; they will need confidence that personnel reductions really can happen in order to find savings equal to the charge-backs to the campuses for the second year. Ralph noted that we may see savings in other areas as time goes on, such as e-applications, e-payments, etc. It’s hard to predict these at the outset. (An e-payment vendor should be identified in a month.) Ralph also suggested that System experience on the loan collection side (UM/UMF, for example) can inform and perhaps serve as a model for how we institute charges for campuses in this area and others.
A three-year replacement cycle for scanners, faxes, and PCs in the center has been built into the $700,000 budget.
2. Status of Communications with Admissions Directors
A summit with the Admissions Directors took place on February 15 and brought them up to speed on current knowledge and plans. They have submitted a number of questions. Ralph, Cindy, Laurie, and Eddie will meet by phone with the Admissions Directors on Friday, prepared to answer these questions. Ralph will then update the Steering Committee.
3. Search for a Director of Shared Student Services (Back-office Processing Center)
The job description for the Center Director has gone to the Sponsors. Tracy B will distribute it to the Steering Committee later today; she should receive any comments by Thursday. Sponsors will have final approval of wording. Allen suggested that Steering Committee members mention to their presidents that they have provided input on the job description.
HR’s intent is to post this position for current regular UMS employees very soon, allowing two weeks for applicants to identify themselves. A subcommittee of the Sponsors and Steering Committee plus a representative from the Admissions Directors group will then begin review of applications. The successful applicant will be identified as soon as possible so s/he can assist in identifying and hiring staff, but will not actually take office until sometime in the summer.
4. Timeline toward Start-up of the Center
Jan and Ralph will construct a detailed timeline to get from here to go-live and distribute it in two weeks. Jan anticipates working with a small team at each campus to see the flow of documents and determine what the process should be. Campus liaisons will work with the center team.
5. Status of One-Stop Planning on the Campuses/Needs for Next Steps
The one-stop planning leaders met last week, and will continue to meet regularly, according to Claudia, who is a participant. HR issues were discussed. Tracy E noted that facilities issues were also discussed, including how to set up the structures, flexibility, accessibility, alternative service stations, kiosks, maintaining confidentiality, security, long term and short term visions as they evolve, infrastructure power/data needs, segregation of duties. Tracy B added that the real value was in having people from the universities get together and hear each other.
Allen asked Steering Committee members to talk with their one-stop planning team leaders and to be agents of communication about needs, what’s going well, etc., in order to advise Jan. It was noted that UMM and UMFK did not have representation at this meeting.
One-stop planners did request examples of job descriptions from other universities that have one-stop centers, which Jan will provide. Rosa said that Jan’s visit to USM was extremely helpful to the planning group. Laurie encouraged other campuses to take advantage of Jan’s expertise while he is available (through September only).
6. Update on PeopleSoft (including recommendations to Sponsors)
Allen emphasized that we need to know that the timeline for go-lives makes sense and is do-able. Sponsors and Steering committee will monitor, make final decisions about when we go live, determine risks, and make plans to manage risks.
Cindy said that recommendations related to Student Administration Services (timeline for implementation of student records and student financials) are being developed and a proposal will be forthcoming very soon.
Another initiative, she reported, is naming of the product. We cannot continue to use the name “PeopleSoft.” A strategy for coming up with an appropriate name is being developed.
More information on the schedule for academic advisement will be available at the next meeting.
IDP for the web application is beginning next week, with consultants ensuring that we’re on the right track. Since we do have experience (35% of UMS applications are received on our existing webapp), we can update the look and feel to make our application more current and appropriate to our needs. As the design phase continues, we will consider the data we wish to collect, and the appropriate times for collection—at application? at matriculation? at graduation?—that will have the least amount of negative impact and the most value. What are the implications for advancement offices, alumni research, funding initiatives, etc.? This group will probably be asked to sign off on the design of the new application.
Allen suggested that the Business Case powerpoint should be provided now to relevant directors (especially admissions and student loan) at the campuses, but not distributed further until it is considered a final document after the March 9 presidents council meeting. At that point it will be widely distributed by the presidents and others anyway. We need to emphasize the message that this is being done both to improve service to our “clients” (students) AND to save money.
Ralph is visiting UMF, UMA, and UMM during the first week of March.
Focus, or pilot, groups of employees in the student services areas are being established at each university. Eddie said the training and communication team hopes to use them to review the draft overview presentation before it is provided System-wide.
A final comment from Allen: spring semester is our opportunity to gather some baseline data to use for later assessment after establishment of the one-stops.
The next Sponsors and Steering Committee meeting will need to occur before the meeting scheduled for March 29. Monday, March 20 or Tuesday, March 21 were suggested as possibilities.
The meeting was adjourned.
Eddie Meisner, Recorder