Uni to re-evaluate support services

By Katy Anderson

In an attempt to save millions of dollars, the University of Calgary is conducting an administrative review.

The iS² Project, or the Innovative Support Services Project, will look into all non-academic services at the university, including: finance, human resources, information technology, the provost group, external relations, supply chain management and research services.

Vice-president development and executive sponsor of the review Gary Durbeniuk said it aims to provide better service in the most cost effective way.

“The change in the world economy will effect all organizations, both private and public,” said Durbeniuk. “Clearly we’re going to be in for a lot of years of tough budgets.”

Durbeniuk said not only is there a fundamental attitude shift that staff want to provide better service, but said change is a natural process in any institution.

“We’re trying to respect what people have done, but universities change and the University of Calgary today is very different than it was in the past,” he said.

In Phase 1 of the review, which took six weeks, the university hired PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The consultants then interviewed 150 campus stakeholders, including students and staff.

In their report, the consultants recommended project leaders focus on four work streams: finances, information technologies, human resources and facilities management and development and supply chain management.

Durbeniuk stressed that the process is meant to engage stakeholders, but at this stage many campus members haven’t yet been involved.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees local 52 chair Shirley Maki, who represents non-academic staff, said she is concerned the results of the review could violate the university’s collective agreement.

“I think that overall a look at it is not a bad thing, but where they’re planning on going with this, I don’t know,” said Maki. “We certainly see pieces here and there that could be changed.”

Although students were involved in the initial phase of the project, Students’ Union president Charlotte Kingston said the SU hasn’t been consulted since.

Phase 2 of the review will take 22-24 weeks.

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