Archive for Tuesday, November 8, 2011

University initiatives will involve cutbacks in personnel, provost says

Provost Jeffrey Vitter has been the leader of Kansas University's cutback evaluation process, which he acknowledged on Monday will include some cutbacks in personnel.

Provost Jeffrey Vitter has been the leader of Kansas University's cutback evaluation process, which he acknowledged on Monday will include some cutbacks in personnel.

November 8, 2011


Areas for efficiency

Kansas University chose eight areas presented by the Huron Consulting Group on which to focus in the coming years to improve efficiency as part of its Changing for Excellence plan.

• Budgeting process — The university will look to redesign its annual budget allocation process to encompass all sources of funding.

• Campus construction — KU will increase its involvement in the construction process in many areas, including the way it purchases materials for construction.

• Creation of business centers — These would centralize functions done in several departments in one central, specialized location by employees who specialized in those functions.

• Enrollment management, domestic and international — KU is looking at new ways to increase its enrollments and retention rates among students.

• Facilities maintenance and upkeep — The university is hoping to achieve savings by combining its maintenance operations.

• Human resources — The plan calls for KU to upgrade its software and establish a strategic role for its HR functions.

• Information technology — The university will look to centralize and standardize its servers and IT staff.

• Procurement — KU hopes to continue its efforts to seek savings in how it purchases goods and services.

As Kansas University officials and members of the Huron Consulting Group told KU staffers about plans that will likely lead to job cuts, consolidations and other efficiencies in how KU does business, maintenance staff members expressed frustrations with the process.

Jeff Vitter, KU’s provost and executive vice chancellor, acknowledged in an interview that some of the initiatives will involve cutbacks in personnel.

“We would certainly do everything we can to use attrition to handle job reductions,” Vitter said. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be job losses.”

He said the overall level of staff reductions associated with the effort still wasn’t known.

After audience members peppered Allen Humphrey, KU assistant director of human resources and equal opportunity, and Mike Phillips of the Huron Consulting Group with questions for about 40 minutes on issues related to KU’s plans to consolidate its maintenance operations throughout the campus, one questioner expressed concerns.

“It sounds like to us you have virtually no specific answers to specific questions that have been asked,” the questioner said, after which the audience leapt into applause.

Humphrey tried to answer the group’s questions, but said many elements were still unknown.

“I want everybody to understand we really are at the beginning of a process here,” he told the crowd. “It’s going to take awhile to move through that process.”

Though handouts distributed at the meeting included some specific mentions and time lines — they said the maintenance changes could be implemented by March 2013 — Phillips said those weren’t hard-and-fast dates.

Humphrey encouraged the group to submit feedback, and placed a sign-up sheet for those interested in contributing to more discussions at the front of the room.

The level of interest in the maintenance part of the plan took KU officials by surprise, and they had to move the gathering from Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union to the bigger Woodruff Auditorium to accommodate the more than 200 interested people who showed up for the presentation.

On Monday, they discussed the eight “business cases” selected from the 12 options presented to KU. Vitter said the university won’t tackle all eight at once and will move forward with some of the easier-to-implement plans first, like a change in the way KU handles its procurement processes.

The more the changes involve personnel, the longer they will take, Vitter said.

Among options not chosen by university officials included a plans to improve efficiencies at KU’s libraries, research administration on all campuses and administrative support at KU Medical Center. KU officials said that efforts already underway to improve efficiency in those areas would continue, but would not involve the Huron Consulting group.


pace 2 years, 5 months ago

I am not on mant. I can't afford to take a job that pays so little and affords little respect and is daily becoming harder, people doing the job of two sometimes three. I respect them. they are asked to clean and polish, to keep a building functioning, the grounds lovely. The administration sells a beautiful campus, good buildings, the crews realize them. I am impressed by how well they do, and appalled at how they do not get support or respect they should. The ones I know and have seen work have my respect. I have seen their job get tougher and tougher and I think you are a cad to denigrate them as lazy. You are out of your mind. many of them love the University, most take pride in the job and work they do. You are out of your mind. The students often treat them like servants, the professors expect the halls to be cleaned and their trash cans emptied and bawl like babies if it doesn't magically happen. I appreciate them, they are as vital as the teachers and students. I once heard the staff were there to support the professors. NO the professors, the staff, the crews are there to support student being educated, to support research to further knowledge. Get over your prejudice and maybe show some respect to your betters.


RustWatcher 2 years, 5 months ago

I cannot forget Vitter's comment about the School of Business's $32,000,000.00 questionable usage of money as being like Ivory Soap. 99.9% pure. Sorry, I don't buy it. The trust KU has lost still exists at KU since some of the players are still there.

The School of Business mended their ways, and I love the new Dean. Outstanding choice as I hear it.

But there is a culture of vultures at KU.

A certified audit of every $ flowing in and through KU/KUCR/KU Athletics and whatever else KU is connected with would be fruitful to determine just what the cash flow of this "Public" institution is.

To this, we have KU HREO's Allen Humphrey. Humphrey will only parrot what he's been told to say. This makes him the perfect HR parrot for Jeff Vitter. In the background, KU Legal boy's and girl's all making sure no matter how much they decide to bully employees and the town itself, they can hide behind the 11th Amendment Sovereignty Rights of States. As such, KU creates its own truth very often to look just right. You know, 99.9% pure.


Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

Let's see...a number of years ago said Vitter's Brother had his digits found on the rolodex of a Washington DC call girl. Mr. David Vitter was also involved on the periphery of the Abramov scandal with the Louisiana Coushatta Tribe lobbying to prevent the newly recognized Jena Band of Choctaw Indians from having a casino. Before any tos comes up all of this is true. I grew up in Lousiana and I'm Choctaw. Corruption is part of the political fabric of both Louisiana and Mississippi especially with the Delay and Abramov mess of the early 2000's.


kuprof54 2 years, 5 months ago

I've interacted with Vitter on multiple occasions. I also know Huron. Vitter is unqualified, inept, and a horrible leader.

  1. He is the operational leader of KU. He should have been able to perform the task he hired Huron to do.
  2. You do not hint at potential job cuts and have a best answer being "more details to come later." You anticipate and have answers. In fact, you wait until you know next steps so you can communicate clearly and the plan that's to unfold. Leadership means you manage your employees and lead them thru difficult times. You don't publicly state that you will cut jobs and then let chaos break loose.

Vitter has to go. So does BGL. Completely inept and incapable of leading KU. I wish I could be horrible at my job and hire consultants to do it and still be overpaid.


JJE007 2 years, 5 months ago

KRichards is a GOD. Do not doubt his wissdumb! Contractors are better for the world. They save the world. They save the world from our creation of tribes able to act upon what they know, as opposed to speculation (the name of the current game). It is all about management...cold, hard factoids, initial and tertiary reports! Be well in the regime.

Graham Greene: "The Archbishop of Westminster read me a letter from the Holy Office (it was) "paradoxical" and "dealt with extraordinary circumstances." The price of liberty, even within a Church, is eternal vigilance, but I wonder whether any of the totalitarian states ... would have treated me as gently when I refused to revise...on the casuistical ground that the copyright was in the hands of my publishers. There was no public condemnation, and the affair was allowed to drop into that peaceful oblivion which the Church wisely reserves for unimportant issues."

Get a clue.


yourworstnightmare 2 years, 5 months ago

To all those who claim that the liberals at KU are destroying it, etc., let me remind you:

Jeff Vitter is the brother of ultraconservative GOP Louisiana senator David Vitter.

I don't know Jeff Vitter's politics, but I doubt they could be described as "liberal".

If anything, Jeff Vitter seems to be bringing a corporate mindset into shaping things up at KU.

This Huron Group review is straight out the the corporate (and I might even say GOP) play book.


uglyrumor 2 years, 5 months ago

bringing in consultants clearly shows a lack of qualified people at ku. paying consultants to give you ideas on how to save money is just dumb.


Keith Richards 2 years, 5 months ago

Half the people posting here work for KU Facilities with most only posting recently. Work a little harder and we might not be in this position. All of you are lazy and thought you had a job for eternity with no repercussions to your poor work.


nanimwe 2 years, 5 months ago

So just how big is the budget for the Provost's Office? And I wonder how much it has grown in recent years.


consumer1 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought this was a liberal university/??? Yet these Liberal Administrators are behaving as conservatives???? Riddle me this???? Could it be, because there really isn't much difference between the two when it comes down to making cuts???? Swallow hard all you people who think being a liberal is going to save the world. They must be being influenced by that mean old Brownback. That is what the weak left will say.


bd 2 years, 5 months ago

Always cutting from the bottom! What a shame!


konzahawk 2 years, 5 months ago

All this is great about recruitment and retention, but KU continues to ignore the fact that nearly any Kansas resident with a pulse can get admitted to KU. Implement the propossed admission standards and recruitment, retention and graduation rates will take care of themselves.


Getaroom 2 years, 5 months ago

FHNC must be working for Brownbackward and clearly has a profound dislike for higher education. So when was the last time any reader here was aware of a Republican initiative to bring a workable solution to creating jobs in this country? When was it that Rev. Gov. Brownbackward actually did anything except slash budgets, punish the underserved, and pave the way for Big Corporations to gain a greater foothold in this state? Suppose there is any connection to his behaviors or appeasing his Corporate donors? I suppose not, since he is such a good Christian! Anyone know where that anti kansas state tax bus is now? Be looking out for sales and property taxes to go way up to balance the budget under Crusader Brownbackward. Our eco-friendly Governor - powered by the LORD! On campus: Watch out for cracking sidewalks, no ice melt, falling branches, leaking roofs, deteriorating structures, filthy classrooms, less bus service, fewer highly qualified instructors and University ratings to fall, ticket prices to rise. But you know it's all for the good cause, bulging sports program budgets. More athletic scholarships so players can smoke pot, fight between teams, and in general break team rules and all because they are entitled - right? Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you wanna be pros. Grow up, the silver platter is only on the table for 4 years, appreciate it. Tweet about that.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 5 months ago

The union sweeper on the front page of the paper leaning on his broom for 30 years says it all.

At the very least. He is eating well.


ku_for_me 2 years, 5 months ago

Do we have data on how much money KU wasted on the Huron consultants? And any reasons why KU lapped up all the other recommendations from the report, and yet threw out the libraries, research admin, and med center?


ku_for_me 2 years, 5 months ago

And so we read more about the stepping stones for KU's exec's. Prophecy: Vitter sticks around long enough to say on his resume "implemented changes at KU that resulted in yearly savings of over X million dollars". Then he takes a position as dean or provost of another higher-paying/profile university, leaving before he has to face the consequences of his drastic actions.

No, that would NEVER happen...LaRivierre anyone?

Its starting to get disgusting just how many high-level positions at KU are being used as stepping stones. You can see it all across the University, especially in the more recent hires. Maybe we should start posting signs that say "Don't Tread On Me" across campus.

Five years from now we're not going to be saying "ooo, our University is so efficient"...we'll be saying "who the hell screwed this place up so bad", and they will be nowhere to be found.


Oldsoul 2 years, 5 months ago

Cannot believe the level of ethics and integrity KU has in officials like Allen Humphrey. Yep, criminals sure are running the place these days, and their only recourse is to point fingers at anyone who thinks they should be held accountable.


pace 2 years, 5 months ago

They have cut maintenance and cleaning in good time and in bad. It makes the administration look tough, What is tough is what it does to the buildings, the crews and it is upside down. They have to quit, we can get by without cleaning crews and repair as long as we have administrative staff. The Administrators should do one building a week. Now that would be helping the University. They don't know what they are really doing.


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