OE2C stands for Operational Excellence for the Second Century. We are engaging in this process because a number of external factors are having an impact on higher education institutions throughout the nation, including SMU. The institutions that will thrive are the ones that take proactive steps now to improve efficiencies and direct funds more fully to academic purposes. Some of these factors include a decline in college-age population and greater competition for the level of students we seek, decreasing federal research support and greater competition for grants, limits on what we can charge for tuition, growth in federal regulations and a decline in interest income.
The budget analysis we have conducted shows that although SMU will continue to receive revenues from tuition and fees, the amount of increase that can be implemented will not be enough to keep the budget in balance when factoring in other expenses such as financial aid and salary increases. To avoid a deficit, SMU must conduct across-the-board cuts, as we have done recently, or we must draw from reserves. Neither are desirable or sustainable strategies.
The OE2C program will enable SMU to fulfill its Strategic Plan. It aims to secure the long-term economic vitality of SMU and its academic mission through operational improvements and savings. The primary objectives are to 1) identify opportunities to redirect spending from non-academic to academic purposes, and 2) sustain a high-performance, financially strong organization for SMU’s long-term future.