Faculty and Staff - February 17, 2023

As I prepare to engage with Trustees at their retreat, I want to give you an update on a couple of items of institutional significance. 

From previous communications you know that Gray Associates has been engaged to help us analyze our instructional economics data in clear and actionable ways. We are excited that phase 1 has been completed and our partners have loaded the university’s FY20, FY21, and FY22 data into their proprietary tool. Gray Associates also has held a day-long workshop for academic leadership, deans, and senior leaders to understand the data within the tool, as well as how it can be leveraged to increase efficiency and identify strategic savings across the academic enterprise. In order to ensure the tool will continue to add value in our planning process, the university will contract with Gray Associates for the next three fiscal years (for nominal fee) to update the data for FY23, FY24, and FY25. 

It is important to note that Gray Associates was not engaged to make recommendations. Rather, through their tool, we are able to see where concerns exist and where efficiencies may be realized in order to begin to take steps ourselves to make necessary changes in how we operate. Leadership is already using the tool in collaboration with the deans to influence FY24 budget planning and will continue to identify areas where we can make use of the tool and what we have learned so far. Also, because staff have shared their questions and concerns about what we are learning and how it impacts them, I want to make clear that the Gray tool addresses the academic enterprise exclusively (credit hour production, instructional costs, and tuition revenue mainly), meaning we will continue with normal budget processes and planning on the administrative side of the house.  

In other good news, we have determined our partner for strategic planning. Berkeley Research Group (BRG) will assist us, and they will begin their work very soon. I have asked Special Assistant to the President for Community Engagement Gary Simrill to chair the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. BRG will meet with a variety of different constituents across campus, and there will be ample opportunity for faculty and staff to be engaged in the process. More to come on this. Just know I am very excited that both BRG and Gary will be assisting us as we move forward!


Edward A. Serna