November 11, 1997

UA President's RSO Recommendations

November 11, 1997  NR 23-1997

University of Alaska President Jerome B. Komisar's recommendations to the Planning and Development Committee of the Board of Regents on the redesign of the university's administrative system and the creation of administrative service centers were distributed to the regents Monday.

President Komisar's memorandum is available now on the Board of Regents' Web Page at If you want a faxed copy of the memo, please call Kate Wattum at 907-474-7272.

Dr. Komisar's recommendations are based on the extensive work and analyses of the Committee on the Redesign of the System Office and Campus-based Administrative Cost Savings, chaired by UAF Chancellor Joan Wadlow. That committee's final report is also available on the Board of Regents' Web Page.

The president's recommendations represent agreement between the president and the chancellors. "In putting these recommendations together we used the following tenets to establish an administrative structure, which, while emphasizing collaboration and teamwork, will have clear lines of accountability and reporting responsibility," Komisar said.

He outlined the tenets as follows:

  • A strong presidency and lean executive staff.
  • The chancellors, in conjunction with the president, will continue to form the core of the university's   executive team, but the new structure will formalize their roles.
  • The chancellors' responsibilities will extend beyond the boundaries of their own campuses and involve   both specific and general systemwide responsibilities.
  • Organizational structures and administrative processes will promote improved services at lower cost, often   by emphasizing collaboration and coordination.
  • All service centers will report to a senior executive, not to a committee.
  • All service centers will have an advisory oversight committee of major "customers" of the centers.

Highlights of the president's recommendations follow:

  • Establishment of a President's Council composed of the president and the three chancellors. The council is designed to enable strong presidential leadership and accountability while formalizing the relationship between the president and the chancellors.
  • Establishment of a number of service centers to perform essential university functions at high quality and reasonable cost. All resources from the system office and the campuses which are used in performing similar and overlapping functions will eventually be responsible to a single service center which will assume responsibility for delivering those services throughout the system. A joint advisory council (JAC) for each service center will be appointed by the president in consultation with the President's Council.  Although line responsibility for the service centers will be assigned to one of the chancellors or to the vice president for finance and planning, the personnel assigned to the service center may be located at one or more sites. It will only be centralized if that proves to be the most cost effective mode of delivery.
  • The types of service centers envisioned and the reporting responsibility follow:

The president said he expects that the new organizational arrangement will allow the university to shift more of its limited resources to its academic missions. The anticipated administrative costs of the new structure, using FY98 as a base, and assuming a general fund allocation from the state that keeps up with inflation, will allow the university to invest an additional $4 to $6 million by FY2002, in its instructional, research and service missions.
Of the $6 million goal, $4 million will be accomplished by FY2000 in the following manner.

The final $2 million identified to be available for reallocation to academic programs, information technology, or to meet unfunded fixed cost increases - $1 million in FY2001 and $1 million in FY2002 - will come from Retirement Incentive Program savings, outsourcing and the increased use of the service center model.

Additional reductions in administrative costs will occur as the concepts presented in this memorandum and other ideas are adopted by the university's extended campuses, Komisar said. However, the work of the committee appointed to examine the costs and organizational structure of the extended campuses is still continuing and it is too early to include the results of its effort in the above analysis, he added.

The Board of Regents' Planning and Development Committee, chaired by Regent Sharon Gagnon, will meet Friday, November 14, beginning at 10 a.m. to discuss President Komisar's recommendations. The meeting will be held in the chancellor's conference room in the administration building on the UAA campus in Anchorage.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Bob Miller, Fairbanks, 907-474-6311