Realignment Questions and Answers
- Do you envision further realignment once this phase is complete?
Realignment for greater efficiency and effectiveness will be an ongoing process. In addition, the state budget also will impact our organization and likely cause further realignment.
- How did we get to the point of needing this kind of reorganization?
Typical of many universities, NC State has grown in response to perceived needs in particular areas of the university. Often, the need is met within a given unit and not necessarily linked to similar initiatives in other parts of campus. For example, we have diversity efforts in several areas of the university. By linking them in a single entity, we can have a stronger diversity effort. In addition, NC State has taken budget cuts in 16 of the last 20 years at a time when our enrollment has grown dramatically. Those factors combine to necessitate a review of our operations with a goal of becoming more agile and dynamic and focused on our core mission.
- When will the realignment plan be complete?
Some changes can be made quickly – even before the next fiscal year begins on July 1. Others will take time, in some cases a year or more.
- In dollars and cents, what does this realignment mean?
These changes are designed to strengthen the university, creating greater efficiency and effectiveness. Cost savings are an added benefit, but weren’t the primary reason for the realignment. However, with a more than $2 billion state budget deficit, we are likely to see further realignment as the budget process is complete later this spring or summer.
- Do you view this realignment as part of the strategic plan, or separate from it?
Our strategic plan draft helped to guide our decision-making on the realignment plan.
- How would the business service centers shared model work?
Business services are provided in different ways across our campus. In some cases, staff is devoted full-time to the effort, in some they are a portion of an individual job. This approach has led to a lack of consist processes and to some inefficiencies in terms of how quickly and effectively the work is done. By adopting a shared services model, we will be better able to bring consistency to the definition of the job and to our processes. A network of lead finance/HR representatives will be established with a direct reporting line to Finance and Business, while keeping the college/division line. A Director of Business Operations will oversee all Business Operations Centers and will report to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business. Some titles may change, but not immediately. The initial change in reporting lines will take place by July 1. Work locations will not change July 1.
- How will the reorganized business service centers look and how will it be better?
We will redefine how the job of providing business services is carried out. The most obvious difference is that right now we are often broad but not very deep in terms of the expertise available within the academic and administrative units. By realigning into centers that will serve the units, we will create much more depth and available expertise. For example, instead of 25 percent of one person’s job being devoted to this work within a given unit, we will have teams of several people who will serve several units. In addition to more depth of experience, Business Operations Centers will: (1) provide backup in the event of staff vacancies, (2) maintain support of the unique needs of colleges and support units, (3) provide services more cost-effectively, (4) bring central services/approvals closer to the colleges and divisions, (5) streamline/standardize business processes, (6) facilitate cross-college activities, and (7) automate additional business information and processes. Goals for the realignment of business services are to: (1) balance risk and trust, (2) move authority to a lower level, (3) improve support services to distributed units, (4) create career paths for business support staff, and (5) invest cost savings in the core mission.
Why are our graduation rates low by comparison?
- Compared to many of our peers, our four- and five-year graduation rates are low.
Compared to schools that are strong in science and technology, our graduation rates are comparable. Many of our majors take a longer time to complete; many of our students take more than one major; and many of our students take time off during the process. Those realities impact our graduation rate. Even with those realities, we will look for ways to strengthen student support and improve graduation rates.
- How many people are affected by this realignment?
The number will not be clear until implementation plans are complete.
- When will the teams involved in the review and implementation be appointed?
It’s important that we move quickly into the next phase of this realignment plan. There is a lot of work to be done to carry out this plan. Several teams will be appointed over the next two to four weeks.
- How will these actions affect students and their progress toward graduation?
One of the goals of the realignment plan is to take steps to focus resources on improving retention and graduation.
- Will seats and sections be affected?
Seats and sections are not directly affected by these changes. However, with the potential for deep reductions in our state budget, it is likely that the number of class seats and course sections would be reduced.
- Why is my academic program being cut?
No academic programs have been cut. Several programs and classes have been recommended for further review to determine whether we should continue to offer them in their current form, whether they could be consolidated with other similar programs or whether they should be eliminated. These decisions will be made with broad faculty input.
- How are you combining departments and programs?
No decision has been made to consolidate any academic college, department or program. Instead, the plan recommends review of certain aspects of the university to determine whether structures should stay the same, be consolidated or be eliminated. This review will be done by a team that will include faculty, deans and the provost. On the administrative side, implementation teams will be established to help guide, for example, the creation of the shared business services model.
- What about students who are in programs that are eliminated?
If a program is eliminated, any students in that program will be given time to complete their degree.
- What changes do we need to make in distance education and summer education?
Both will be reviewed to make determinations as to how to more appropriately utilize them to make stronger contribution toward student success. That includes reviewing the fee structure for distance education and how better utilization of summer education could help students progress faster toward graduation.
- Do you foresee raising tuition?
Our tuition is already set for next year. However, it remains to be seen whether the legislature will increase tuition as it did just prior to the beginning of this year.