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Team to Review Statewide Programs and Services

Memorandum to SW Staff from President Gamble

To:                  Staff
From:              Patrick K. Gamble
Subject:           SW Transformation Team Formed
Date:               March 23, 2015

The University of Alaska system regularly reviews its programs, services and processes to ensure they are tied to mission, efficient in use of resources, and effective in delivering results. Prioritization efforts, program reviews, the annual budget process and Shaping Alaska’s Future are all key drivers of the continuous improvement needed to meet the higher education needs of Alaska. With the fast pace of change in higher education and the state’s deepening fiscal crisis, UA’s three universities have accelerated the pace of program reviews to ensure the budget reduction decisions they make are aligned with the system goal to maintain as strong a core as possible.

Statewide also took its share of cuts in FY15, but it is now time to conduct an even more thorough review of services and programs. Towards that end, Michelle Rizk has been assigned to assemble a small, agile team to conduct this review. 

The committee will review SW functions, services, and programs. Questions they will address:  What are we doing now? What is essential for a SW staff to do going forward? What’s the best way to accomplish what’s absolutely needed?  Consideration will also be given to relocating certain SW functions, services, or programs within any of the three universities.

The estimated eight- to ten-member team will include members from SW and the three universities. While small, one of its first tasks will be to develop a framework for ensuring meaningful communication with and input, feedback and review by the full range of stakeholders throughout the review process. That will include mobilizing ad hoc sub-groups in specialized areas to provide more detailed and technical analysis of specific recommendations before they are sent to the Summit Team for decision.

The team will review MacTaggart/Rogers and Fisher reports to determine what recommendations from those reports have already been implemented and to assess relevance and impact of the remaining recommendations.  They will also gather and analyze other ideas. Finally, they will recommend priorities for action and develop an implementation plan.

It’s important to note this is not primarily a budget exercise. The goal is to define what they are and how we deliver a strong and sustainable set of core services and functions in support of the entire UA system. It is a long-term focused evaluation and planning process that will position UA for the coming years. The plan will be developed for FY17 implementation with certain recommendations put in place earlier where it makes sense and implementation is possible with shorter lead times. This will help to meet state budget reductions we expect in FY16.

I am grateful to everyone at SW for their ideas and energy during a challenging time and recognize that while this transformation process will be good for the University of Alaska system, it won’t be without impact to the people who work here. Michelle is committed to open communication and dialogue throughout this review to ensure you have the information you need to inform your own personal planning and decisions.

With sincere appreciation for the great job you do.

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