OE2C project aims to streamline contract administration process

SMU’s OE2C project has identified its next initiative: to update and streamline the University’s contracting processes.

To meet this goal, an SMU team “will seek to update risk policies to streamline the contracting process and to create a prioritization system for contract requests,” according to an update for SMU’s OE2C website dated Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

“These actions will help individuals understand how the contracting process works and create more transparency about the time required,” says Bill Detwiler, associate vice president for business services and program manager for OE2C.

Simmons Dean David Chard and Professor of Music Thomas Tunks, a former SMU associate provost, will lead the Contract Administration initiative. Additional team members are being identified. The organizers expect their work to begin in early September.

> Read the latest news at the redesigned SMU OE2C website: smu.edu/OE2c

SMU OE2C announces first initiative: travel and entertainment policy and tools

Dallas Hall renderingA 10-member SMU team representing various campus constituents has scheduled a demonstration of new tools to improve the way the University plans for and reimburses travel and entertainment expenses.

The vendors will visit campus to present their capabilities on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 4 and 5, 2014. These demonstrations will be open to the broader SMU community. The time and location for these demonstrations will be announced soon.

The review of the University’s existing travel and entertainment policies is part of Project SMU: Operational Excellence for the 2nd Century. The OE2C microsite will provide additional information in the coming days.

> Frequently Asked Questions about SMU OE2C

“As the OE2C team traveled across campus conducting interviews, the most frequent suggestion we heard was addressing the University’s policies and processes for travel and entertainment,” said Bill Detwiler, associate vice president for business services and program manager for OE2C, and Martin Sweidel, professor of music, associate dean for administrative affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, and OE2C program coordinator. “We determined that improving the way SMU plans for and gets reimbursed for these expenses can save the University dollars and staff time.”

> More questions? Send them to SMU OE2C

Project SMU: Operational Excellence for the 2nd Century (OE2C) is a University-wide review of SMU’s financial structure and operating model, which aims to strengthen the long-term economic vitality of the University through operational improvements and savings.

> Bain & Company briefing: “The Financially Sustainable University” (PDF format)

SMU’s current OE2C site is undergoing a redesign to feature more information and more frequent new posts. Bookmark the site to stay up to date on the latest news.

Read the full statement from Detwiler and Sweidel under the cut.

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Human Resources introduces new SMU retirement plan administration

Diversified logoSMU’s Department of Human Resources will host a series of meetings for the University community to learn more about its new single record-keeping system and the retirement plan administration company that will manage it. Faculty and staff members can register for information sessions to take place Aug. 30-31 and Sept. 7-8, 2011, regarding the move to Diversified.

A Diversified representative will answer questions during the meetings. Other speakers will include Executive Director of Human Resources Jeff Strese, Associate Vice President of Business Services and Human Resources Bill Detwiler, and two members of SMU’s University Benefits Council: Don VandeWalle, department chair of Management and Organizations in the Cox School of Business, and Steve Edwards, professor of advertising in Meadows School of the Arts and SMU Faculty Senate president-elect.

In addition, the Hughes-Trigg Student Center audio-visual staff will record the Sept. 7 meeting for an informational video that will be made available to faculty and staff members later this year.

Diversified will serve as the record keeper for SMU retirement accounts. Under new and expanding governmental regulations, funds made available by the University will be regularly reviewed by a qualified independent financial advisor as well as SMU’s Retirement Plans Advisory Council, according to an announcement made by Provost Paul Ludden and Vice President for Business and Finance Chris Casey in May.

The Retirement Plans Advisory Council agreed unanimously to the adoption of a single record keeper earlier this year. (The council includes three faculty and three staff members, as well as several ex officio members of University administration.) The University’s move to a single record keeper has been reviewed by the University Benefits Council, legal counsel, an independent investment adviser group, the President’s Council and the Board of Trustees.

Diversified was chosen as administrator after a thorough review of proposals from firms including Fidelity Investments and TIAA-CREF, Ludden and Casey said. The firm will act as a neutral plan administrator and not a fund provider, they added.

In addition, Diversified will provide new tools to help faculty and staff members manage their accounts more effectively, including a single web portal to conduct transactions for every different provider. A full-time Diversified retirement counselor will establish an office on campus this fall, say representatives from SMU HR.

For more information, visit Diversified’s secure SMU website.

> Register for an information session
> Learn more at Diversified’s SMU website
> See Diversified’s FAQ document on the upcoming transition
> Visit SMU’s Department of Human Resources online
> Read the original announcement from Provost Ludden and Vice President Casey

Be prepared: How SMU will respond to the next emergency

Speeding firetruckSeptember is National Preparedness Month, and in the wake of Virginia Tech, universities are looking to learn from past crises. Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Business Services Bill Detwiler and Director of Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Lee Arning answer questions about SMU’s new initiatives and capabilities for responding to emergencies ranging from severe weather to active shooters – and what faculty and staff members can do to help these programs succeed. Read more.

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New benefit builds retirement health care savings

SMU supplements the health care coverage it offers during faculty and staff members’ working lives with a new program to create health care savings for their retirement years. The program takes effect Jan. 1, 2008; faculty and staff members began receiving information earlier this month through postal mail and a Department of Human Resources e-mail dated Aug. 30. Bill Detwiler and Don Vandewalle discuss the details under the link.

Continue reading “New benefit builds retirement health care savings”