Models of Efficiency

Stepping It Up

Comptroller’s Office

Cash flow is as important to nonprofits as it is to corporate entities. That’s something officials at Salisbury University in Maryland had in mind when they engaged outside help several years ago to provide students with online payment gateways, tuition payment plans and electronic bills.

The steps resulted in increased efficiencies and more timely payment. But with enrollment up a third over the last decade—and no increase in accounts receivable staffing—officials knew it was time to take the next step.

Agile Marketing Makeover

Marketing

For years, The Extended Campuses of Northern Arizona University used a traditional marketing model. The four-person marketing team would create an annual budget and tie its goals and specific projects to it. Freelancers and local advertising agencies provided support for the 50 or so marketing pieces produced throughout the year.

That model worked fine until around 2010, says Ann Marie deWees, director of strategic marketing. “Then things began to change with increasing digital expectations.”

Automating Inspection Report Generation

Environmental, Health and Safety Office

The Texas A&M Health Science Center’s Environmental, Health and Safety Office is responsible for inspecting facilities and laboratories across eight campuses in the Texas A&M University System.

Changes in Store

Computing Services and Systems Development; Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor; Housing and Food Services

Tech support is rarely fun—even, apparently, if it’s a lot closer than an overseas call center. Despite 24/7 help desk availability and in-person technical consulting, Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) staff at the University of Pittsburgh believed their services were being underutilized by the main campus’ 26,000-plus students.

Centralizing Student Information

Distance Learning Center

In the past, University of Wisconsin-Platteville staff had to manually enter the records of any student pursuing an online degree. With more than 2,500 students enrolled, this was no easy feat—especially considering staff also had to manually enter course registration, financial aid and even basic contact information. This effort required approximately 500 hours of staff time each semester—or 1,500 hours a year—to accommodate the university’s three-semester system.

Digitizing Travel and Procurement Card Expenses

Procurement Service Center

Picture the amount of paper associated with almost 42,000 travel reports and 300,000 procurement card transactions. That’s how many expense-related documents the University of Colorado’s four campuses generate in a single year. Besides the sheer challenge of filing and storing so many receipts, a few years ago there also were major hurdles for reconciling and auditing.

Dialing for Dollars

University Information Technology Services

When was the last time you took a good, long look at your wireless bill? What it contains might surprise you. An international roaming plan used for a trip last year that you neglected to cancel, perhaps. Scores and scores of unused minutes that roll over into infinity. Or 411 calls made despite your smartphone’s ability to search the web.

In taking a look at a year’s worth of wireless invoices, administrators at the University of Massachusetts found the system was spending a lot of money it didn’t have to.

MAUI in the Midwest

Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

When you think about the blinding pace of technological change, it’s a wonder the University of Iowa’s student information system worked for as long as it did.

More than 30—yes, 30—years old, Iowa’s SIS was less an integrated series of data processing functions and more a collection of individual siloed systems that didn’t work very well together. Because the underlying technology and architecture were so old, enhancements were difficult. Data were redundant and difficult to synchronize. And manual, paper-based processes frustrated users.

Models of Efficiency Honoree Update

Tracking further progress of past Models of Efficiency institutions

Since UB’s Models of Efficiency program launched in 2010, more than 100 campus departments have been honored for their efforts in saving resources while enhancing service. We’ve shared their initiatives, but with efficiency stories, there is no “The End.” This year, we will periodically check in with past honorees to catch readers up on the institutions’ latest, greatest efficiency successes.

Customer Care, Office of Information Technology at Boise State University

Relocating Computing Hardware

Despite having 4,500 computers and dozens of printers deployed campuswide at Boise State University in Idaho, students had to wait in line to print out assignments and term papers during busy times.

CIO Max Davis-Johnson arrived in 2010, and officials began taking a closer look at how technology was being used, and where. Davis-Johnson uses the phrase “keeping score” to describe this process of tracking technology usage to ensure that every available asset is being productive for the university.

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