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FAQ: Transforming WVU

Why is WVU looking at transforming the institution?

WVU needs to implement strategies that lead to effective management of resources and provide for transformative growth. The time is now for us to think differently about higher education

What challenges do we face?

WVU is facing an increasingly competitive enrollment market for students. This will cause a downward pressure on tuition revenues as enrollment declines and as the University continues its tuition discounting strategy to encourage growth. The contraction of state revenues also will reduce the allocation of state funds for the next several years.

State appropriation and tuition revenues account for about 70 percent of the University’s unrestricted revenues. Any significant reduction in these resources will cause negative operating margins and a dwindling cash position unless spending levels are reduced or new resources of revenues are identified.

Where are the opportunities?

Enrollment growth will be achieved only if student recruitment and retention improves significantly. In addition, tuition revenue growth will be achieved only if tuition discounting strategies are managed effectively. Bold transformation is needed to re-imagine the University’s services and programs within the existing regulatory environment.

What is the strategy?

The days of identifying a “budget cut” are in the past. We must be innovative in our thinking. We have developed SWOT teams to support transformation.

The teams are charged with identifying $45 million in cost savings and revenue generation over the next five years. Each SWOT team chair will meet weekly with the University’s Bureaucracy SWOT team to address the following issues: opportunities identified to reduce costs, revenue generating concepts, implementation plan with possible challenges and timeline for achieving results.

What are the SWOT Teams addressing?

Team No. 1

Adjust the financial assumptions used in developing the FY16 five-year financial plan and fiscal strategies used to manage the University’s resources.

This team will look at possible strategies such as managing tuition increases but ensure new revenue targets are obtained through planned increases or enrollment growth/retention. The team is chaired by Joyce McConnell.

Team No. 2

Position management and authorization to fill vacant positions.

This team will review University positions including vacant positions, the University’s 9-month strategy and develop a position management tool to help manage personnel cost. This team is chaired by Russ Dean.

Team No. 3

Fully utilize available dollars in the WVU Foundation.

This team will review endowment funds supporting professorships, scholarships and other financial aid to more effectively utilize all sources of funds, as well as other growth strategies. This team is chaired by Liz Reynolds.

Team No. 4

Simplify and standardize business functions; reduce the cost of procuring goods and services; and curtail spending while improving services and quality.

This team will transform how goods and services are procured with more focus on strategic procurement. This team is chaired by Dan Durbin.

Team No. 5

Consolidate or coordinate student academic support services.

This team will coordinate implementation of strategies to support the goal of a 90 percent first year retention rate. This team is chaired by Louise Veselicky.

Team No. 6

Evaluate supervisor positions.

This team will examine the HR hierarchy system and improving supervisor skill levels. This team is chaired by Cris DeBord.

Team No. 7

Generate new sources or expand existing revenues; review auxiliary business models.

This team will examine such strategies as generating ad revenue through new opportunities and expanding conference services. This team is chaired Rob Alsop.

Team No. 8

Assess if unit functions/tasks are needed to support the primary mission; assess how to begin and end new initiatives; increase overhead recovery; and reduce the cost of research.

This team will assess the Research Corporation’s five year financial plan and determine ways to reduce costs and increase revenue. This team is chaired by Fred King.

Team No. 9

Consolidate, coordinate or reduce the number of marketing, fund raising, event planning and corporate relations positions and/or events.

This team will gain an understanding of the cost to support the various functions and determine if opportunities exist to reduce costs and improve services. This team is chaired by Sharon Martin.

Team No. 10

Implement behavior-based utility management programs.

This team will work to educate the campus on utility costs and usage and explore opportunities to reduce usage and costs by changing how employees and the campus consumes utilities. This team is chaired by Randy Hudak.

Team No. 11

Transform the support of general education and improve quality measures; eliminate non productive courses and programs and improve the admission processes.

This team will review courses to improve student outcomes that address 21st century needs of graduates, as well re-engineer the admission processes, integrate technology and reduce non-productive tasks. This team is chaired by Sue Day-Perroots.

Team No. 12

Explore how graduate students are being funded, particularly through graduate assistantships and tuition waivers.

This team will propose changes in funding support for graduate students that will improve efficiencies and savings while supporting quality graduate education and maintaining the contributions of graduate students to the primary missions of the University. This team is chaired by Katherine Karraker.

How will the campus community know what is happening with the teams?

Transformation team chairs will communicate with all constituents and across campus frequently regarding updates, areas identified for transformation, savings and achievements. Different channels including E-news, websites, Campus Conversations and group meetings will be used to share information and gather feedback.

How will decisions be made?

The Transformation team chairs will drive decisions by collecting data and moving the transformation process forward in a deliberative and assertive manner. The University Planning Committee will review all decisions to ensure the University’s larger goals are being met.

How long will this take?

The teams are moving quickly with a July 1 due date for recommendations. Teams may move more quickly, depending on task.