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January 26, 2018

U of I System administrative realignment enters final stage
Efficiency initiative will shift 115 FTEs from system offices to campuses

URBANA – University of Illinois President Tim Killeen announced today that the three-university system is in the final stage of an administrative realignment to further downsize the central system offices and move certain functions to the campuses for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

It is part of a series of initiatives to improve administrative services launched since Killeen became president in May 2015 that have reduced staffing and costs in system offices. When it is completed in July, the administrative realignment will have shifted 115 full-time equivalents and $8.4 million in recurring funding from the U of I system offices to the three universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

Among the services impacted by the realignment are administration of grants and contracts, budgeting, purchasing, online learning and information technology. Although system offices will continue to include portions of these operations, a realignment task force formed by Killeen recommended that certain services contained within the system should be transferred to the universities.

“Our objective is an alignment of administrative functions so that we may collaboratively achieve the strategic goals of each university and the system as a whole,” Killeen said. “The result will be improved efficiency and effectiveness of these essential administrative services.”

For example, the realignment will move all grant and contract functions to the universities, which had prepared and submitted applications for funding while system offices supervised compliance and administration once awards were made. The shift will move services closer to the faculty who receive awards and create synergies that will streamline and improve their research projects.

“The realignment project was undertaken to ensure that units and reporting lines are situated in the best possible location for maximum impact, effectiveness and efficiency,” said Interim Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Avijit Ghosh, who helped lead the realignment review. “The focus was not only holding down costs, but also on aligning our functions in the best possible way for operational excellence.”

The president’s realignment initiative was launched in 2016 with the formation of a task force representing the system offices and all three universities, which reviewed administrative operations and made recommendations in 2017 to transfer certain administrative services performed by the system offices to the three universities. The recommendations were reviewed and approved by Killeen and the three universities’ chancellors, and an implementation team was put to work.

The team set out to eliminate duplication of work, improve service by moving it closer to the users on campuses, manage performance by linking it to users’ satisfaction, and enhance collaboration and trust between university and system operations. The realignment transition began in 2017 and is scheduled to be completed this summer.

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The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 83,000 students, nearly 25,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 22,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.