The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs has passed two resolutions related to the administration’s plan to consolidate financial transaction and human resource functions at a new Shared Services Center.
Both resolutions are scheduled to be considered Dec. 9 by the Senate Assembly, which consists of 74 elected faculty members from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.
SACUA, the executive arm of U-M’s central faculty governance system, on Monday unanimously endorsed suspending implementation of the Administrative Services Transformation project, which includes shared services.
AST should be suspended “until its impact on the educational and teaching missions of the university can be fully considered and properly evaluated in light of the diverse and often specialized needs of various academic disciplines and units across campus, and that such deliberations include representatives of central faculty governance,” the resolution says.
It states that SACUA joins the Board of Regents and administration “in seeking to deliver excellent education at affordable cost” but that AST was performed “without the meaningful participation of and evaluation by the faculty, resulting in inadequate consideration of the consequences and costs of the program.”
SACUA’s action followed an announcement earlier in the day by top administrators that faculty immediately will be brought into the process of the shared services initiative, to evaluate the project’s timeline and ensure it is structured to meet the needs of faculty and students.
In the second resolution, which also passed unanimously, SACUA addressed the use of outside consulting firms in the university’s cost-containment efforts, specifically mentioning AST, the IT Rationalization project to reduce redundant IT services, and a recent retirement benefits and savings review.
“SACUA advises that any continued and future retention of external consulting firms be contingent on supplemental and meaningful consultation, participation, and evaluation by faculty with content expertise in the targeted initiatives,” the resolution says.
The university expects recurring savings of $5 million-$6 million a year once the Shared Services Center is fully operational. It is part of the university’s overall strategy to keep U-M affordable for students and to protect resources for the university’s core missions of teaching and research.
The plan calls for 275 employees to move to the new Shared Services Center, but that move has been delayed beyond its original April launch, the administration message said. Staff members slated to move to the center will be interviewed during the next two weeks to discuss their skills and preferences. The move to the new center will be accomplished without staff layoffs.
The Administrative Services Transformation has generated much concern among faculty. More than 1,130 faculty members have signed an online petition asking the administration to terminate the AST project.