New proposals aim to save campus more than $2 million

Three project proposals — one of which involves hiring an outside consulting firm — were approved by Operational Excellence leadership Monday.

The proposals, which include creating a council to oversee campus advising, hiring a team to plan for new technology and forming a center to help staff navigate online systems, will cost the campus more than $1.6 million.

The executive committee of Operational Excellence — a campus cost-cutting initiative aiming to save $75 million annually — approved $559,000 in funding toward a proposal from the student services initiative team to create an Advising Council that would work to improve campus advising over two years.

The proposal states that advisers spend too much time on administrative tasks and that the council could help the campus save more than $2 million annually by making advising policies more consistent campuswide.

“There is more potential for time-savings with access to consistent policy and information,” said Bill Reichle, communications manager for the initiative, in an email.

If the council is “deemed successful,” the campus will determine how to continue funding it after its first two years, according to Reichle.

In response to a request from the committee to submit a more detailed plan for five new technology systems on campus originally proposed in July, the team proposed a new plan Monday that would involve hiring a new team to develop a more detailed plan.

According to Reichle, the student services team — made up of “campus volunteers” — would not be able to plan as well as the soon-to-be hired Student Services Initiative Technology Program Management Team, which would cost the campus $459,000 to hire for four months.

The five technology systems that the new team would be charged with implementing — which could cost the campus more than $20 million — will include building an online academic commons and online course registration to replace current systems such as Tele-BEARS and bSpace. The team will present its recommendations to the committee and could then be hired for the long-term to carry out its plan.

The proposal also suggests hiring a consulting company to “assist in providing the most recent competitive landscape overview” of online systems. This could cost between $50,000 and $100,000, Reichle said in an email.

The executive committee also approved a proposal to form an Application Support Center with six new staff members to help staff become familiar with three new technology programs that will be introduced in the first half of 2012 as part of Operational Excellence.

The three programs — BearBuy, Cal Planning and Timekeeping — will involve ordering supplies for the campus, budget planning and keeping track of staff work hours, respectively.

The center will cost the campus $588,000 to implement and will address “high call volume” from staff learning to use the technology, according to Reichle. The center is not expected to generate any savings for the campus, Reichle said in an email.

Alisha Azevedo is the lead academics and administration reporter.

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