ConnectionPoint launches travel and expense services

On Campus News, September 9, 2016

On August 29, ConnectionPoint officially opened its doors, phone lines, email and online resources, an effort that has been almost two years in the making at the U of S.

“I’ve reflected a lot in the past month on what it has taken to get here,” said Wade Epp, director of service design and delivery. “This is a huge milestone in moving forward the work that started as one of eight institutional priorities launched in September 2014 to focus on mission.”

Based on data collected over a one-year period—including a survey of the tasks administrative staff spend time on, a satisfaction survey and countless conversations with groups across campus—Connection Point was developed as a new, central model for delivering administrative services.

“The satisfaction survey really helped guide our focus on where to start,” said Epp, adding that initial services will focus on travel and expense support, general inquiries, and research support.

Later this fall, ConnectionPoint will launch additional services within financial services, human resources and research services, Epp said.

Service design and delivery progress

On Campus News, April 1, 2016

A lot has changed in the two years since the service design and delivery work began to realign and consolidate administrative functions across seven campus units—advancement, facilities management, financial services, human resources, information technology, research services and student services.

What has not changed in that time, said Wade Epp, director of service design and delivery, is the underlying goal.

“We’re trying to enhance administrative services for the purpose of providing faculty with more time to be doing the research and teaching mission of the university, and not focus on doing administrative work,” said Epp. “We know that faculty do important administrative things, like make decisions and support collegial activities, but it’s the other work that they don’t need to be doing.”

Effective and efficient

On Campus News, October 9, 2015

The end goal of the service design and delivery project—providing the best service possible in support of the teaching and research mission—is simple, but achieving the goal is not.

Last year, said Wade Epp, director of service delivery and design, the original project set out to take a closer look at the work happening across campus in seven administrative functions—advancement, facilities services, finance services, human resources, information technology, research services and student services—with an eye towards delivering efficient and effective service.

Epp said that while the scale of the project has changed in this initial phase—now only focusing on research, human resources and finances—the concept has not.

“We are looking at how we are delivering those services. Are they the right services happening in the right place?” he explained.

Updating the plan

On Campus News, March 4, 2015

Almost six months after the TransformUS program prioritization process was laid to rest and a new set of priorities established, the interim provost and vice-president academic is encouraged by the effort being brought to bear on significant projects for the U of S.

Ernie Barber said the eight priorities outlined last September in fact refocus the institution on the objectives of its third integrated plan (IP3), Promise and Potential.

“This set of initiatives needs to be understood within the framework of what we wanted to do in Promise and Potential. They’re all in the plan in various ways,” he said, adding a period of leadership transition like the University of Saskatchewan is in at the upper echelons of the organization “is not usually the time to strike off on a new strategic direction.”

Since the priorities were announced, a person has been appointed to lead each and Barber is seeing members of the campus community “putting our individual and collective energy into projects with university-wide importance. Our guidance is still IP3. We’re demonstrating we can focus and we are modelling distributed leadership, and I’m very pleased with that.”

From money to mission

On Campus News, September 16, 2014

Significant headway in reducing a projected operating deficit means the University of Saskatchewan is now in a position to advance a new plan of action that focuses on mission rather than money.

“As everyone is aware, we have been through what I call a crisis,” said Interim President Gordon Barnhart, referring to recent efforts to reduce operating expenses through a process called TransformUS in the face of a projected $44.5- million deficit.

“The TransformUS banner is down but a great amount of what was produced in TransformUS was good. It’s just that it was too much too quickly,” he said in an interview with On Campus News.

After a summer of discussion and consultation, senior leaders at the U of S have developed a plan that includes a number of priority areas and projects. The plan was unveiled to the campus community Sept. 9. The community also heard that more than $32 million in savings had been realized through a combination of expenditure reductions and revenue increases.