Campus hill summer imageThe Operational Excellence Program helps the University be more effective, achieve efficiencies and create opportunities to fund investment in the Strategic Plan and the Campus Master Plan. Under Operational Excellence, the University is evaluating opportunities to deliver better levels of service to students, faculty and staff to improve the overall effectiveness of the University, and be good stewards of our students’ tuition dollars. The program embodies Chancellor Syverud’s belief that tuition should not fund administrative costs that do not provide direct value to students.

It is the next step in the Innovation and Opportunities Assessment process that began in October 2013. At that time, an Innovation and Opportunities Assessment Steering Committee—with representatives from the faculty, deans and administrative departments—led the work. The assessment included a University-wide forum, interviews, focus groups and an employee survey intended to capture a wide range of views on potential areas for improvement.

In April 2014, a report describing the summary findings from that assessment was shared with the University community. The report found that while the University continues to build important strengths, like many other institutions of higher education, it faces significant challenges, including effectively allocating resources, controlling rising costs and modernizing systems and processes. Importantly, the report further found that the majority of Syracuse faculty and staff believe the University must change significantly to remain successful in the future.

The Operational Excellence Program’s objectives are:

  • Increase efficiency and effectiveness across the University
  • Control costs and find better ways to do business
  • Foster, encourage and help realize good ideas
  • Generate savings and new revenue for investment in the priorities identified in the Strategic Plan and Campus Master Plan

Members of the campus community have a valuable role to play in the program. More than 90 student, faculty and staff are on cross-department working teams with support from the Program Management Office staff. These teams are using external benchmarks and best practices and designing the solutions and the plans to implement them–to improve the way we work, study, and collaborate on the campus. The University community can first expect changes in operational areas, including facilities planning, human resource processes, purchasing processes, fundraising processes and organization design.

The Program Management Office serves as the umbrella office coordinating and supporting the work of teams from across the campus that are focusing on achieving cost savings in such already-identified areas as procurement, business processes, development, office supplies, travel and human resources. The PMO has the responsibility to coordinate, track and monitor the implementation of administrative cost savings that will be reinvested in University priorities outlined in the Strategic Plan.

Success requires the University community to be fully involved and for members to share their best ideas for moving Syracuse forward. Do you have an idea for how to move Syracuse forward?

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