A Letter from President Turner Regarding Shared Services

Dear SMU Colleagues,

As you know, the University started on a path toward Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C) more than a year ago. The goal of this effort has always been to identify funds currently supporting administrative and operational costs that could be redirected toward academic priorities. As part of OE2C, three teams of SMU staff, faculty and administrators are in the final stages of important initiatives focused on the areas of finance, information technology, and facilities.

One result of these initiatives is the development of Shared Services Centers in the areas of Finance, Information Technology and Facilities. Shared Services will bring together staff members with a breadth of skills and expertise, allowing for greater collaboration and innovation, opportunities for career growth, the more efficient use of resources, reduced operating costs, and consistent, streamlined and effective processes throughout the University. Necessary functions of the University will be met by the Shared Services Centers. Service Level Agreements are being developed to ensure appropriate service levels are maintained and will be communicated. At the outset, most staff members will stay where they currently office. Over time, some staff may be moved. However, many staff will remain embedded in their schools or units.

In designing SMU Shared Services, the three initiative teams have examined national best practices and gathered data and feedback from the campus community through surveys and focus groups. Over the past year, input from deans, vice presidents and other staff and faculty stakeholders has been critical in finalizing these designs. The OE2C Executive Committee – which includes Provost ad interim Harold Stanley, Vice President Tom Barry, Vice President Chris Regis and myself – has approved the transition to Shared Services.

Approximately 250 positions will be included in Shared Services. Roughly half of these positions are already within the current Finance and Information Technology offices. Every effort will be made to notify staff members who are joining Shared Services before the beginning of classes in August. It may be necessary to eliminate additional positions in finance, IT and facilities beginning in August as we streamline processes and continue to recognize efficiencies. We are fully committed to working with every affected employee to provide transition assistance with sensitivity, respect and care for any outplacements as we did during our organization design efforts earlier this calendar year.

We will continue to communicate with you in the weeks ahead about Shared Services. The move to Shared Services will be a transition over time. I ask you for your understanding and patience throughout this process.

We are grateful to all of the OE2C teams for their hard work in launching initiatives this year ¬– including in travel, procurement and contracts – and to the many staff and faculty members who have provided helpful input. By implementing these important changes, we are ensuring that the University can maintain its focus on teaching, learning and research.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President


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