Efficiency report recommends areas of improvement

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April 19, 2011

2:57 AM

College of William and Mary President Taylor Reveley announced the findings of the Business Process Innovation Project to the Board of Visitors Thursday. The project, developed in response to Reveley’s pledge last year to increase internal efficiency as a way to cope with state budget cuts, identified specific ways the College could cut expenditures while retaining a strong academic environment.

Despite the fact that the College is ranked 31st overall among all national universities by U.S. News and World Report, it is ranked 85th as far as available financial resources.

“Our challenge has been to provide support functions with very few resources, and that requires a hard-working staff that believes in our mission,” Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Jim Golden said.
The report sought to record gains in efficiency that have already been made, to develop new revenue initiatives and to start university-level projects to enhance business innovation despite state budget cuts in the College’s operational funds.

“Innovation leading to even greater efficiency is a key part of our plans to maintain taxpayer support, increase earned income and enhance philanthropy,” Reveley said in a press release. “To attract resources, we need to let everyone know that our people are already amazingly efficient, and that we are aggressively pursuing ways to become even more innovative and effective. This report shows that William and Mary is doing just that.”

It also identified 17 specific projects at the university level that could increase efficiency across campus. Reveley picked eight of these projects for immediate implementation.

“The simplest one will probably be to shift our computer leases from three years to four years,” Golden said. “That alone will save about $180,000 per year.”

Examples of these eight projects include streamlining the faculty and staff recruitment processes, expanding net revenues generated from summer programs and reducing the costs of computer leasing.

“All of the projects will take time and effort from people who are already fully committed,” Golden said. “We will be tracking progress and making periodic reports to President Reveley to make sure we stay on track. Many of the projects will require IT support, so we will have to set clear priorities for the use of IT resources, and we will have to make sure that support is coordinated.”

One of the most successful efficiency-enhancing projects was the creation of the Office of Creative Services in January 2010. Formed by a merger of the web team and the publications department, the office falls under the jurisdiction of the Office of Strategic Initiatives and handles design, multimedia, social media, photography, and visual identity projects for the College. It was responsible for the mascot search process that resulted in the selection of the Griffin.

Omicron Delta Kappa, a co-ed honor leadership fraternity, granted the Office of Creative Services its annual Campus Improvement Award Wednesday. Creative Services Consultant Marilyn Carlin cited this as evidence of the department’s success.

“I think it’s been very successful,” she said. “I think we’ve done a lot since the merger. It seems as if it’s been well received, and when the presentation of the award was made there were some very kind things said about what the Office of Creative Services has done since it was established.”

Despite maintaining high rates of efficiency, Golden emphasized the College’s need for more funding.

“We are at a point now, however, that to sustain the high quality of our academic programs we do need additional resources,” Golden said. “Being as efficient as possible is important, and we work hard at that, but that alone is not enough to sustain the high quality that is the hallmark of a William and Mary education. We need to be efficient, but we also need additional resources.”

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