Syracuse University has made significant operational improvements in recent years. In fact, for the first time in several years, the University achieved a genuinely balanced budget. We have successfully streamlined processes, reduced costs and controlled expense growth in key areas as we carry out our promise to responsibly steward tuition dollars, federal research funds and philanthropic contributions. We believe we can do more to reduce administrative costs, such as creating cross-campus collaborations to provide better services, modernizing our processes and improving effectiveness. These efforts will yield further savings and allow us to redirect resources to fund Invest Syracuse: Advancing Academic Excellence and the Student Experience.
The Academic Strategic Plan will continue to serve as a roadmap to guide the appropriate allocation of academic program dollars. To accelerate the implementation of the Academic Strategic Plan, the University will identify an additional $30 million in administrative cost reductions. These new savings are in addition to the $14 million realized as part of the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP). The funds generated as a result of VSIP have been and will continue to be reinvested to support the academic plans created in each of the schools and colleges, strategic faculty hires, current faculty salary adjustments and research and academic priorities.
Collaborating to achieve efficiency and create opportunity
All members of the campus community are integral to helping the University achieve greater efficiency and create opportunity for growth. Improving efficiency and reducing costs will fuel new investments in priority areas for academic and research initiatives and enhancements to the Syracuse student experience. We will:
- Launch a Working Group on Business Excellence, and a corresponding online portal, to solicit, evaluate and implement ideas recommended by students, faculty and staff.
- As noted above, in support of the Working Group, the University will create an online portal to enable the real-time submission of innovative ideas focused on cost savings, structural efficiencies and optimum business operations. The ideas generated as a result of these efforts will help the University identify new opportunities for consolidated services, reorganized units and other cost-saving initiatives. The savings created will be reinvested in implementing the Academic Strategic Plan and the strategic plans of the individual schools and colleges.
Identify streamlining opportunities and cutting administrative spending to invest in academic programs
Of the $30 million in spending the University will seek to reduce, already $20 million in savings have been identified. Those savings include, but are not limited to, the following:
- More than $5 million in savings will be generated as the result of the Division of Business, Finance and Administrative Services identifying reorganizing opportunities and reducing spending in several administrative units.
- A savings of more than $2.5 million will be recognized as a result of the elimination of vacant non-academic, administrative positions in the Office of the Provost and in other support units and special programs where funding at prior levels no longer aligns with the University’s academic vision and mission.
- The Office of Human Resources identified and realized more than $2.3 million in savings as the result of the University joining a prescription drug coalition, reducing insurance costs to better align with current spending trends and the consolidation of non-academic, administrative units.
- Information Technology Services will save $1.5 million by restructuring to gain efficiencies within the network infrastructure and general operations.
Additional administrative cost cutting totaling $10 million will be identified via a deeper analysis of all University operations. This process, which will include input from University stakeholders, will help identify where operational efficiencies, enhanced support services and process improvements can be implemented. An initial analysis suggested the following opportunities should be more thoroughly explored:
- Identification of operational efficiencies in all school/college, non-academic responsibility centers and support units
- Functional improvements in University enterprise IT systems to increase end-user efficiency
- Reduction or elimination of fund allocations to non-academic responsibility centers facilitated by enhanced revenue or cost reductions
- A cost review of current University leases to determine lower cost options
- Consolidation of such services as IT support, instructional tech support, recruiting, communications, budget and career services
- Improvements to financial transactional flow and services across the University to include the removal of all paper-based forms, providing better service and better data for analyses