Friday, November 2, 2012

University of Minnesota eliminates Office of Academic Administration; move saves $1.6 million

Simply amazing...

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The University of Minnesota is taking what it called its most decisive step yet to shrink administrative expenses.

The university is eliminating its Office of Academic Administration to coincide with the departure of Robert Jones, the vice president in charge of that office.

The U estimates shutting that office and divvying up its roles among other departments will save about $1.6 million. Of the savings, Jones' salary and benefits account for $414,300. 

 "Because Robert has done such a good job, we're now in a place where we don't need the convenient function his office provided," said Amy Phenix, Kaler's chief of staff.

Former Regent Steve Sviggum, state legislators and others have questioned whether the U is too top-heavy, an assertion Kaler has disputed. They have urged the university to find ways to operate more efficiently. In the biennial funding request the U is pitching to legislators, it vows to trim $28 million in administrative spending over two years. 

Michael McNabb, a member of the U's alumni association and outspoken critic of its administrative costs, said the move is a step in the right direction, but the university should do more: "The excessive cost of administration is one factor for the skyrocketing tuition over the past decade that has imposed financial hardship on students and their parents." 

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