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September 21, 2023

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University explores cost-saving measures

The University hosted its second round of Accenture forums Thursday, discussing staff supervisors and student retention.

This week’s forums are for University officials to inform about how they have implemented cost-saving and revenue-raising measures since December. Two separate forums addressed employees and benefits, and student services, respectively.

The first forum took place in the Union at 11:30, presented by Chief Financial Officer Sherri Stoll, who is the Accenture Report Out Committee chair.

One of the goals for the University is to “increase the span of control,” which means attaining more supervisors for University staff.

Stoll said the University has lost $30 million in state support since 2009 and expects a loss of as much as $10 million in coming years. This is one of the reasons Accenture, a management consulting firm, was hired in fall at a cost of $500,000 to recommend ways the University can save money and earn more revenue.

“Accenture’s report provides us with a number of opportunities to pursue,” Stoll said.

The University is in the early stages of putting Accenture’s plans into motion, attempting to “dramatically improve” their financial situation through revenue.

Stoll said increasing the span of control could earn the University $2.52-3.24 million in five years.

Another forum started at 1 p.m., hosted by Joe Frizado, vice provost for academic operations, where he discussed student services.

Frizado said the University needs to reform its student services in order to get higher admission rates and higher retention.

The goal emphasized by Frizado was that of co-locating student services, which include admissions, financial aid and the bursar.

The plan is to consolidate these services into one area in order to make it easier for students to access them, instead of having to go to different places around campus.

Frizado said the University plans to streamline its website to make it easier to navigate these services.

Another goal for the University is to tailor programs to non-traditional students. This involves allowing more flexibility in classes and assignments to suit these students’ needs. Frizado said one of the focuses of this plan will be veterans.

“Veterans are a very important community to us,” he said.

According to the Accenture report, the University could save a few hundred thousand dollars in three to five years, but Frizado thinks it’s “a bigger deal” than Accenture does, and thinks the University can save millions.

The University will host two forums on Friday on the third floor of the Union. The first at 11:30 a.m. addresses core administration and the second at 1 p.m. addresses auxiliary operations and facilities.

There was originally a forum scheduled for Wednesday to address the educational platform, but it was cancelled due to weather. This forum will be rescheduled, but a date has not yet be set, said University Spokesperson David Kielmeyer.

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