To: Members of the Administration and Management Review Committee
From: David M. Dooley, President
Date: September 20, 2012
Introduction. In these challenging financial times for public higher education, it is especially important to insure that our resources are allocated strategically and spent wisely. Developing ways to make additional investments in the core academic missions of the university, while doing all we can to control tuition, should be among our top priorities. Accordingly, I am appointing a committee, chaired by Associate Vice President Anne Marie Coleman, to review the administrative and academic organization, administrative structures and procedures, and the business practices of the University of Rhode Island. The overall goal of the review is to identify opportunities and mechanisms by which URI can reduce the costs and improve the performance of its administration, management, and business practices, and add value to the academic and co-curricular experiences of our students. Savings that are achieved can be reinvested in priority areas, such as teaching, research and scholarship, and student services.
(1) Consult faculty, staff, administration, and students in the conduct of the review.
(2) Examine the academic structures, the administrative structures, and management structures of the university with a focus on promoting appropriate synergies across related units and minimizing any administrative redundancies that may exist. All divisions and areas of the university are to be included.
(3) Examine the administrative processes and business practices of the university with a focus on streamlining and enhancing efficiency and effectiveness.
(4) As appropriate, compare and benchmark URI organizational structures, policies, and processes to peer institutions.
(5) Identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve productivity and efficiency in URI’s administrative, management, and business practices.
Elaboration. Many aspects of the University of Rhode Island’s structure and organization are the result of decisions made decades ago. Indeed, this is a fairly typical situation for many higher education institutions. A critical re-examination of the organization across divisions, colleges, departments, and units is appropriate and timely for several reasons. First, we should not assume that historical administrative, academic, and management structures are necessarily the most appropriate now. Second, one of our key responsibilities to our students, and to those who support URI, is to do all we can to use our resources as wisely and efficiently as possible. The faculty, working with the Deans and the Provost, has undertaken a thorough, innovative, and productive revision of the academic work of the university, with the guidance of the Academic Strategic Plan. Their excellent work may be facilitated and magnified by changes in the organizational structures and business practices of URI. Third, if we can develop cost savings or productivity gains in the areas of administration and business practices, those resources can be reallocated to enhance education, scholarship/research, and student services.
Conclusion. I want to thank in advance the Committee, and the university community, for what will be a demanding and, at times, challenging endeavor. The outcomes of your work have the potential to make substantial and long-lasting improvements in the university, for the benefit of our students and our state.