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Davis, California

Monday, October 25, 2021

Editorial: Organizational Intelligence

Chancellor Linda Katehi announced plans for an Organizational Intelligence initiative in her first State of the Campus address last Thursday.

The initiative will consolidate the service centers for human resources, accounting and payroll. These administration changes could eventually result in a 20 to 50 percent savings, Katehi said.

This sounds great – in theory, at least.

It’s easy to be skeptical of any budget-related assurances without seeing specifically where and how cuts are being made.

This time, those specifics are presented. That’s why we’re optimistic.

For Katehi, the process starts with creating the proper framework. With so many people from so many disciplines on this campus, it doesn’t make sense to create a central strategic plan. Instead, the specific colleges will make their own plans within the university’s larger framework.

Currently, there are 1.3 central administration positions for every one unit-specific position. The vision is to reverse that ratio.

“Having most of our staff located centrally – that’s not a good thing,” Katehi said. “The units are not supported as much as they should be. One more central position means one less department position. We can’t have that.”

By consolidating human resources, accounting and payroll into one shared services center, between 150 and 200 staff positions should eventually be eliminated from the university. The center should be fully functional within a year and a half.

It’s those staff positions – not the payment of high-end administrators – that are costing UC Davis the most money.

This problem is now being addressed.

“We’ll reclassify the categories and rewrite all the job descriptions,” Katehi said. “It will create a faster system, one that’s less bureaucratic.”

These administrative changes will by no means solve UC Davis’ budget troubles in their entirety. They do show, however, that the university is listening to its critics and taking steps in the right direction to address the size of the administration.

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