Frequently Asked Questions
These FAQs will be updated as new information becomes available or as additional questions are raised.
Why are you doing this now?
As we assess our current resources, constrained budget picture and the challenging financial climate we face, it is important that we take steps to ensure that we are using our available resources in the most effective manner. We will be facing these sorts of challenges over the next decade or longer, and the sooner we take actions such as these, the better we will be positioned for a confident future.
How did you decide the subject-matter groupings for these teams?
The groupings were selected based on organizational structure and reporting relationships or because the operational units were performing similar or complementary functions to maximize efficiency of the review. One goal is to review the current portfolio mix within and between the UA administrative units to determine whether they are optimally positioned to serve the campuses and that reporting lines are appropriate.
Will the Office of the Vice President for Health Affairs (VPHA) be reviewed?
As we discussed the mission of the VPHA, it became clear that training health care professionals and providing clinical services, have significant overlap with academic units, which undergo a review process that differs from the administrative units subject to this review process. The other units that are part of this review facilitate administrative operational services, e.g., payroll, purchasing and similar activities. The VPHA has been and will continue to be reviewed, but under a process more appropriate for an academic unit.
Will the Office of the President and the Office of the Board of Trustees be reviewed?
This review is focused on the UA administrative units that report directly to the President, except as noted above for the VPHA. The Office of the President has a small administrative and professional staff which supports the activities of the President. The operational support of the campuses and other UA units comes primarily from the units already subject to the review.
The Office of the Board of Trustees reports directly to the Board of Trustees and due to recent leadership change has been the subject of extensive review and engaged in activities designed to reduce the administrative expenses of the office, e.g., electronic distribution of all Board materials. Additional savings will be achieved at the initiation of the Board of Trustees and subject to the oversight by the Board.
Why are some of the review teams looking at so many offices, especially given that some of the offices are quite large/have many responsibilities?
We wanted to limit the number of teams needed due to the demands on their time that will be required to complete this process. We worked carefully to try to balance the workload between the teams.
Will this process produce any real outcomes?
Yes, there will be. There are real opportunities for savings through elimination of some units and resolving duplication and overlap. Potential outcomes may also include merger of administrative units or functions, realignment of administrative functions to the campuses, and outsourcing if there are functions that lend themselves to outsourcing and we can demonstrate that they can be provided at the same level of quality and responsiveness at less cost. It is also possible that we will need to increase the financial and administrative support in a particular area if additional investment is indicated after the review. To the extent that the review identifies opportunities to reduce the University’s administrative burdens or regulatory compliance concerns, this information and any recommendations generated will be shared with legislators and policy makers regarding relief from costly and/or time-consuming red tape.
The President and his leadership team will make decisions about the recommendations and which ones should be implemented.
Will the campus communities have any opportunity to offer input in this process?
Each of the seven, six-member review teams is composed of deans, administrators, faculty and staff. The teams have been tasked to address a set of questions/issues in their review and were asked to give careful thought to devising a process that will allow them to provide thoughtful, informed and comprehensive responses. It will be important for them to consult with staff within the units and related units, as well as external users of their services on each of the campuses. The website for this review, web.uillinois.edu/uareview, includes a space for users to offer general feedback on the review as well as feedback to the individual teams.
How will you communicate the outcomes of this review?
Via a dedicated website (see above) and periodic updates/reports from the review steering committee and/or the President. A final report will be issued.
What is the cost of these reviews, both in expenses and diverted time/effort, and do we have the manpower and time to conduct reviews of UA units and their budgets annually?
The costs will be primarily the time of our faculty and staff involved as part of the review process. A goal of the review is to determine and implement a formal process whereby these units’ budgets and performance are reviewed annually. We want to assure that the amount of resources devoted to these activities is appropriate, and that the activities contribute and support the delivery of the core academic missions at an appropriate level.