Your September 2015 Guide: OE2C News and Highlights

OE2C September News & Highlights

As new printing and travel procedures and Shared Services initiatives became more established in September, the OE2C Office continued to provide more specifics on new policies. The OE2C Savings Tracker debuted on the website and now offers a cumulative look at where cost savings have been identified and how they are being allocated to SMU’s academic mission. An explanation of the cost of Centennial celebrations and a feature on the success of employees making OE2C suggestions both helped to provide context on the project within the University.

OE2C Savings Tracker

The OE2C Savings Tracker illustrates the savings SMU captures from operational changes once they are implemented. See the latest savings figures.

Ideas Turn Into OE2C Initiatives

When SMU asks staff, faculty and students to share ideas on ways to help the University operate more efficiently, it’s not just for show. Some of the suggestions and observations already offered up are on their way to being implemented under SMU’s OE2C initiative. Read more. 

SMU Travel, Simplified

Booking your trip through the new process is as simple as A-B-C: approval, booking and creating an expense report. Read more.

Other September updates:

FAQ: How can we justify the cost of large tents and fireworks as part of the Centennial celebration?

FAQ: How do I order paper for my printer or copier?

FAQ: How do I print confidential or sensitive documents to a secure printer?

News OE2C

New Contract Initiative Makes for Smoother Processing at SMU

16572388075_61f5c7276c_zEfforts to reduce the time it takes to process contracts at SMU have been a huge success under a more streamlined method, say OE2C leaders, who found the previous contract process among the top complaints when polling campus employees.

OE2C leaders believe the new system, which went into effect April 15, has already made significant strides in reducing employee frustration. The new method uses contract leads in each school to determine the course of each proposed contract – if it needs legal eyes on it, it goes to the Office of Legal Affairs for review, but if not, it advances through the next steps to completion.

“People were frequently looking for a work-around to avoid sending contracts to legal,” says Melanie Bailey, who previously worked in SMU Legal Affairs but was named under the OE2C initiative as senior contracts administrator in the Office of Business and Finance.

In the former process, all contracts (with few exceptions) went to Legal Affairs before they could be processed for signature. The contracts were not always “stuck in legal,” as was the perception, Bailey says; sometimes they were edited and returned to departments, vendors or other campus resource areas for revisions, and then sent back to legal. The result was a bottleneck of contracts waiting to be finalized.

Under its new process, SMU named 28 contract leads – existing employees designated by deans and vice presidents in each school and department – who were trained to review contracts, simplifying the process, Bailey says.

Since the new method launched, 575 contracts have been processed. Of those contracts completed, the average time to process standard contracts has been reduced to 2 days and the time for non-standard contracts has been reduced to 21 days.

Dean David Chard of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, who co-chairs the contract initiative, describes the improvement in the number of completed contracts as “remarkable.”

“These data alone illustrate why we needed to do this and what can be accomplished,” he says.

The cycle time for contract reviews will continue to improve, says Paul Ward, vice president for Legal Affairs and Government Relations, “as additional standard templates are developed, a more robust purchasing function is established and as contract leads assume a more direct role.

“The Office of Legal Affairs is delighted to participate in this process,” Ward says.

The OE2C committee has mostly received positive feedback for its contract initiative. Dawn Norris, executive director of Student Life, says she’s thrilled with the revised process.

“We have a contract that we submit annually. Last year it took a month to process. This year, under the new system, it took one day,” Norris says.

Lydia Dale, student activities coordinator, says she’s also pleased with the recent changes.

“The OE2C contract initiative has made tremendous improvements in the processing of contracts involving student organizations. Due to the funding nature of student organizations, they don’t have a University org,” Dale says.  “As a result all contracts, even simple purchasing-type agreements, had to be processed through the Office of Legal Affairs. This could delay the process by weeks, sometimes months. Through the new initiative, a procedure within Purchasing was created so we could bypass the org requirement, allowing a vendor-type agreement to be fully executed in one work day.”

Beginning this month, as part of its efforts to continuously optimize the process, OE2C will initialize Selectica, a software that tracks contracts from start to finish – analyzing dollar value, term, expiration and renewals in schools and departments.

“This will allow SMU to better track the business of the University and capture savings when it can,” says Bailey, adding the OE2C team will continue to look for ways to further improve the system.


News OE2C

Six FAQs Covering Shared Services

shared-services-FAQWhat is Shared Services?
Shared Services is the provision of a service through one centralized part of an organization, whereas the service previously had been sourced from multiple parts of an organization. Under Shared Services, a central department manages the services for the campus as a whole, acting as an internal service provider.

Why are we moving to Shared Services Centers?
To improve services and increase campus-wide efficiency. 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.

What areas are transitioning to Shared Services?
The areas of Finance, Information Technology and Facilities will transition to Shared Services.

Who will lead these teams?
Finance is under the direction of Ernie Barry, Associate Vice President for Budgets and Finance; Information Technology is under the direction of Joe Gargiulo, Chief Information Officer; and Facilities is under the direction of Philip Jabour, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management and University Architect.

Will people actually move someplace?
At the outset, 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.

Will people lose their jobs?
Most staff transitioned to Shared Services will simply have a different reporting structure. However, 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.


A Letter from President Turner Regarding Shared Services


News OE2C

New Faculty-Staff Group Will Add Important Piece to Campus Communications 

16571248732_5945fc4b1a_zA new council of SMU faculty and staff will serve as a grassroots channel for gathering and disseminating OE2C-related information across campus and for providing important feedback from the campus community.

The members of the OE2C Council are listed below:

Athletics – Tom Buning, Christine Phelan

Business & Finance – Brian Kelly, Mary Stall

DEA – Bob Bucker, Yvette Castilla

Legal – Diane Rives

Provost – Sue Bierman, Kate Livingston

Student Affairs – Darin Ford, Jorge Juarez

CUL – Bill Dworaczyk, Elizabeth Killingsworth

Cox – Marci Armstrong, Bill Dillon

Dedman – Luisa del Rosal, Tim Rosendale

Dedman Law – Pat Heard, Winston Tubb

Lyle – Julie Ellis, Paul Krueger

Meadows – Melissa Keene, David Sedman

Simmons – Lisa Bell, Milan Sevac

Perkins – Council members to be named


News OE2C

SMU Ramps Up Doctoral Fellowships

oe2c-binders-kimleesonOE2C Savings to Fund New “University-wide Fellowships” Initiative

SMU has begun taking steps to increase the number of Ph.D. students on campus by creating a new “University-wide Fellowship” program. Using funds saved as a result of the OE2C initiative, new graduate fellowships will be awarded this spring to up to 15 high-achieving Ph.D. students in a variety of SMU’s 22 doctoral programs.

Faculty graduate advisors across SMU were invited to submit up to two nominees for the new fellowship. The nominations were reviewed by the SMU University Research Council, a committee of faculty members drawn from disciplines across SMU; the council meets three times a year to vet nominees for SMU Ford Fellowships and other grants.

According to Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies James Quick, increasing the number of Ph.D. students will provide benefits to the University as a whole.

“We want to have outstanding faculty to provide better education to undergraduates as well as graduate students, “ says Quick. “We want to have outstanding grad students because they add to the educational experience of the undergraduates. They are intermediate in their career development between faculty and undergraduates and are role models. If the grad student is also functioning as a teaching assistant, they add to the faculty member’s ability to teach.

“The new University-wide Fellowship program will enrich an outstanding Ph.D. program, and outstanding students coming to SMU enriches the atmosphere.”

The move to build up SMU’s doctoral programs was encouraged by the SMU Faculty Senate, which, in its resolution of December 4, 2013, urged SMU to create University-wide fellowships for doctoral students, saying they “play a crucial role in engaging and interfacing with undergraduate students in faculty research projects that in turn helps us recruit high quality undergraduates and raise the academic quality of the incoming class … and … [that] doctoral students are the future leaders of research, innovation and scientific progress, of creative enterprise and arts, and of great scholarship, all of which are some of the longest lasting contributions and legacies that SMU can make to the local economy and community. …”

The Faculty Senate followed up with a resolution on April 2, 2014, requesting that the SMU administration devote “… a substantial and appropriate portion of any savings or additional revenue resulting from Project SMU” toward recruitment and retention of high- quality faculty; investment in research infrastructure, university libraries and doctoral programs; increasing the number of laboratory and teaching assistants to improve the quality of undergraduate education; and University-wide fellowships to attract high-quality graduate students.

The new University-wide Fellowship program fund is expected to grow over time, starting with $150,000 for the program’s first year. The inaugural selected Fellows will receive up to $10,000 in addition to teaching or research assistantships offered by their department.

Quick expects the first award recipients to be announced after April 15.