Is the OE2C Project saving SMU money or just reallocating funds?
Most of the consultant-assisted projects in higher ed are initiated by universities responding to some level of financial crisis. While SMU has a slight structural budget gap (annual expenses exceed annual revenues), SMU’s leadership chose to be proactive by engaging the campus in a review of our organizational structure and business processes so that we could allocate resources more strategically to the core academic mission. We believe this is a critical and prudent set of actions that will sustain us during the uncertainties facing higher ed.
For the most part, funding reduced in the administrative areas of the University will be repurposed directly to teaching and research. Fewer positions, and importantly a commitment to contained position growth in the future, will result in savings. Savings will also be realized by more efficient use of space and energy and other costs associated with space as well as with the more efficient purchasing of furniture, fixtures, equipment and supplies and more strategic third-party spending. The end goal is an organization that is more productive, with fewer layers of management to better enable the flow of information and decision making, where employees are aided by best-practice business processes.
Success begets success. When SMU stakeholders see the results of a better organization both from repurposed and saved funds, we expect their participation and interest in SMU will increase, resulting in better and more qualified students, faculty, and staff and the ability to attract greater donor and grant funding. We also hope that reducing costs and enhancing revenues will allow SMU to be less reliant on, and more competitive regarding, tuition rates. So the expected outcome of OE2C is that we will be able to continuously advance the performance and standing of our university through the investments we will be making.