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Washington State University Office of the Provost

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Administrative Systems and Operation

September 21, 2015

Progress Report on Administrative Systems and Operation Task Force Recommendations

In Spring 2014 President Floyd, Provost Bernardo, and the Chancellors initiated plans to address longstanding academic and administrative issues within the multi-campus system. The Administrative Systems and Operations Task Force took up issues related to WSU’s administrative infrastructure. The Task Force assembled subcommittees to identify issues and recommend solutions in four areas: Finance, Administration, and Budget; Marketing and Communications; Information Technology Services; and Student Affairs/Enrollment Services. Each subcommittee presented short-term and long-term issues and recommendations. This report summarizes the progress made on those recommendations.

Information Technology Services

The Information Technology Services Subcommittee discovered that information technology services at the urban campuses have become decentralized with time. Because of this, the subcommittee focused on issues of communication, leadership, and future directions. The greatest amount of progress has been made on their recommendations. Specifically, WSU has taken the following steps:

  • Creation of the Information Technology Executive Board (ITEB) and Information Technology Strategic Advisory Committee (ITSAC), with representation from administration, staff, and faculty, and across campuses. These groups have already been assigned the following tasks:
    • Develop a strategic plan for Information Technology Services (ITS)
    • Create a directory of experts and/or centers of excellence to facilitate information sharing across campuses
    • Establish remote access as an enterprise service
    • Consider establishing a system-wide wireless service set identifier
    • Develop a method for ITS to provide enterprise architecture recommendations and guidance
    • Streamline the site license acquisition process
  • Initiation of discussion among the campuses on opportunities to improve WAN troubleshooting. The recent campus security incident has increased the frequency of these discussions.
  • Global Campus/AMS is in the process of centralizing the scheduling of videoconference rooms with the Registrar. As part of this strategy, they are moving videoconferencing equipment out of specialized classrooms and into general university classrooms that have a maintenance budget.
  • A cross-campus LMS communication group has been created that shares information and solutions about integration and management of the new Blackboard Learn system.
  • Establishment of the Capital Planning Workgroup that involves ITS staff (both centrally and locally) in the design and construction of new buildings. This group has completed and provided detailed IT infrastructure standards for construction, and holds monthly meetings.
  • Initial investigation of Spokane-area locations for a disaster recovery site, and involvement of WSU-Spokane in implementation of One Drive-based disaster recovery implementation. Note that further action on this cannot be taken until ITS receives targeted funding in the next biennial budget.
  • ITS is implementing plans to migrate the Exchange email system to the Office365 cloud (where OneDrive resides) to improve email security.
Long-term issues
  • The subcommittee also recommends that WSU consider a redesign of the Exchange architecture, when it comes time to refresh the Exchange system, to pattern it after Active Directory and thus improve its functioning at the urban campuses.
  • A model is needed for maintenance of videoconferencing equipment across the campuses.

Student Affairs and Enrollment Services

Student Affairs units across WSU campuses work fairly independently and effectively. They consult as necessary around key issues such as Title IX and student conduct. Challenges have primarily involved Enrollment Services operations. Like the Information Technology Services Subcommittee, the Student Affairs and Enrollment Services (SAES) Subcommittee found that student affairs operations are mostly independent across campuses, and so focused on improved coordination and sharing of resources. A considerable amount of progress has also been made on their recommendations, specifically:

  • Greater involvement of the urban campuses in financial aid and work study decisions and processing, and increased local control over financial aid consortiums.
  • Implementation of local processing of student applications, including provision of SAT/ACT scores to urban campuses.
  • Implementation of 411 technology to improve information sharing and communication about admissions.
  • Enhanced collaboration of all campuses at workshops for high school counselors.
  • Decentralization of the process to defer the $200.00 tuition deposit.
  • Establishment of weekly admissions meetings involving all campuses.
  • Provision of names of urban-campus students who are carrying a balance to urban-campus staff for follow-up.
  • Urban campuses now have the ability to waive late fees and can view description codes for negative student indicators and direct deposit.
  • Posting of Chapter 33 (veterans) guarantees in a more timely fashion, which allows veterans with financial aid to get their funds more quickly.
  • Student Financial Services is initiating service-level agreements with each campus
  • Development of a shared marketing piece that can be used by all campuses with a consistent brand (anticipated availability in September 2015)
  • Establishment of quarterly meetings for recruiting and marketing personnel (Integrated Recruitment Workgroup)
  • Conducting coordinated recruiter training for representatives from all campuses.
  • Development of a shared WSU recruitment philosophy:

“WSU admissions and outreach representatives are expected to have basic knowledge of all system campuses and centers, in order to effectively represent WSU and to meet the shared goal of finding the best fit for each prospective student.”

Long-term issues
  • A plan for resolving issues that arise within Student Affairs and/or Enrollment Services is under consideration by the administration and needs to be finalized.
  • SAES recommends developing a set of shared expectations around recruitment.
  • Work needs to continue on development of individual campus training plans for distributing admissions processing responsibilities.
  • Clearly define how “one university, geographically dispersed” applies to Student Affairs and Enrollment Services.
  • A communication structure within Student Affairs and Enrollment Services (e.g., annual or semi-annual meeting) should be established that will ensure accountability and continued development of the system.
  • Consider creating service-level agreements with functional offices (e.g., Admissions).

Marketing and Communications

The Marketing and Communications Subcommittee found that the marketing directors across the campuses work largely independently of each other, an approach that seems to have reduced efficiency and effectiveness. Their recommendations focus on increased coordination. Recommendations that have been implemented are as follows:

  • The Marketing Council, consisting of marketing representatives from each campus, was formed, and is meeting about once a month, sometimes in person, sometimes electronically.
  • Student recruitment marketing efforts have been coordinated with the Integrated Recruitment and Marketing Communications Task Force.
  • A system-wide communication audit of WSU branding is being developed.
  • Brand awareness efforts are being expanded to incorporate system-wide messages and highlights.
  • An institutional advertising plan that coordinates across all entities that make advertising purchases is in development.
  • A variety of online tools are being developed that will more easily allow sharing of information and marketing materials.
  • A central directory of cross-campus marketing expertise and resources is in development.
Long-term issues
  • There is an ultimate need for a system-wide manager of marketing and communications who will coordinate operations, messaging, and branding.
  • A system-wide Strategic Marketing Communications Plan should be developed.

Finance, Administration, and Budget

The bulk of the Finance, Administration, and Budget Subcommittee recommendations revolve around the ability of regional HRS offices to manage and sign off on personnel positions. To comply with RCW, WACs, and consistent with discussions with President Floyd, Central HRS has responsibilities of personnel management to ensure consistency of approach and consideration of the impact of potential personnel actions on the unit and university. The recommendations that have been implemented are below.

  • Regional campus HR professionals now have the same level of access within the OPDRS system as that provided to Pullman HR consultants and assistants, with the exception of final approval of salary recommendations (see “Recommendations not implemented” below). Central HRS also retains management of OPDRS.
  • EP9 was revised to require a letter of support from the Chancellor when a request to rename a building located on an urban campus is put forth.
  • Changes and additions to policies and procedures within BPPM Chapter 60 are being circulated among the regional campus HR professionals for review and input as part of the existing process for policy revisions.
Recommendation not implemented
  • “Salary determinations for A/P and civil service should be under campus authority up to 10 percent above mid-point or step H.” Central HRS retained final approval of salary as per consultation with President Floyd.
Long-term Issues
  • Definitions of the campus funding models, including the functions and responsibilities associated with those models. The most basic needs are to clearly distinguish a “Traditional” and a “Co-located” campus, and to define what functions will be assigned to a “new” campus and the pace at which other functions will migrate to a campus as it matures. Note that this issue is being taken up through implementation of the Academic Issues Task Force report.

A review of the 11 percent fee that all campuses are required, as per EP29, to return to Pullman should be undertaken. This fee is to pay for a variety of central support services. However, this subcommittee developed a list of activities assigned to institutional support for the urban campuses, and a list of services received from the Central Budget Office, and the lists overlap significantly, if not fully. The review should look into the activities and depth of support that occur with this funding.