Saturday, March 27, 2010

Don't get your hopes up

The Eagle headline:
A&M picks new leaders
is actually about this:
The chief of staff for Texas A&M University's president will be the new senior vice president for administration, and a Washington University philosophy professor will be dean of the College of Liberal Arts, under appointments approved Friday.

Chief of Staff Alex Kemos will fill the high-level post that a search committee began looking for earlier this month. The $300,000-a-year position will oversee non-academic operations such as facilities and be a senior adviser to the president.
The story also reports the selection of a new Dean for Liberal Arts.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Exemplary commitment

The Regents voted to approve the NCTM (again).
“The NCTM exemplifies the Texas A&M System’s commitment to public service through education and research,” said Dr. Michael Pishko, head of Texas A&M’s department of chemical engineering, who will lead the NCTM team.
Just think how great this will be if it comes anywhere close to the System's commitment to shared governance.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pankratz leaves

Today's Eagle:
A top financial officer of Texas A&M University has resigned to become vice chancellor for finance for the University of North Texas System.

Terry Pankratz, vice president and chief financial officer, has worked at the 49,000-student university and within the A&M System that governs it for nearly 22 years.

Administrative changes announced in January appeared to lessen Pankratz' role.

In a series of moves that more closely aligned the flagship College Station campus with the A&M System, he was made to report directly to B.J. Crain, who is now the chief business officer for both the university and the A&M System. She reports both to Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin and A&M System Chancellor Mike McKinney.

A spokesman for Loftin, Jason Cook, said Crain will lead the university's Division of Finance.

"At this time," Cook wrote in an e-mail, "there are not any plans to fill Mr. Pankratz' position."
Resistance is will be assimilated...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pulling savings out of our RASS

Last year, the BoR and the TAMU System created nine shared services teams to look for ways to
To review current services or activities and determine if there are efficiencies and any associated cost saving by sharing these services without sacrificing quality.
In January, Chancellor McKinney summarized (pdf) the progress on shared services. Notably absent from the list of possible savings was anything from the Research Administration Shared Services (RASS) team. It seems the RASS team didn't find very much to cut.

Yesterday, VP for Research Seeman updated the CPI on what happened after the RASS failed to find much to save from sharing services. It seems the Regents didn't like that answer and sent the team to redo the analysis. The RASS still didn't find things where sharing would cost less. Not willing to accept that answer, the BoR is now looking to pay an outside consultant to look for savings.

Places where shared services can save significant amounts without sacrificing quality were also elusive in 2007, when the Integrated Research Administration Project committee went looking for them. But Vision 1920 is confident that if we just keep looking, there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Vision 1920 is also proud of our BoR's patriotism. Research administration is part of the indirect costs applied to extramural funding, so we're sure that when those savings are found, the BoR will return an appropriate share of the found money to its rightful owners in funding agencies of the federal government.