MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
JANUARY 27, 2014


VIII. NEW BUSINESS.

A.
Resolution Regarding Implementation of Shared Services Plans (D 11173-11173a).

Professor William Beckner, on behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, placed on the floor a resolution concerning the Shared Services plan. He reiterated the need for transparency before moving forward with any such plan. He did thank the administration, and in particular Kevin Hegarty, for the multiple presentations, town hall meetings, committee meetings, and department meetings, but noted that information presented thus far was mostly “generalities” that did not address how any long-standing University structures would be affected. He agreed that Shared Services is a proposed solution to a finance problem, but that the University’s mission to be a “research University of first rank” should not be set aside. Because Shared Services will affect positions that directly support students and faculty, specific steps for its implementation should be laid out and regular reports should follow each step, such as the pilot programs that are already in place (e.g. McCombs School of Business). He also requested increased faculty engagement, instead of relying on the vision of the administration, citing faculty pushback against the University of Michigan’s Shared Services plan.

Chair Hart then read the text of the resolution as proposed by the Executive Committee:
  1. A list of the University units that have volunteered for a pilot.
  2. Regular reports on the process of implementation in those units.
  3. A report on the results of Shared Services in McCombs, in the College of Liberal Arts, and wherever else such programs exist. And we assume that those programs that prove to be successful will be retained and not changed in some way. There’s been some fear about that.
  4. The plan for data collection for the pilots. We suggest these data should include satisfaction levels of all participants, this is what Bill was saying, as well as efficiency and cost saving information. The Faculty Council Committee offers to help draft the surveys and other data collection tools.
  5. A plan for dissemination of the data and lessons learned from the pilots to faculty and staff in a timely manner. And we also request that at least one more, there is one non-administrative member of the Shared Services Committee. We request that at least one more non-administrative faculty member be added to that committee.
Professor Elizabeth Gershoff (associate professor, human development and family sciences) shared Professor Beckner’s concerns on implementation, citing her conversation with University of Michigan Executive Committee members and personal history at that institution. She also brought up the question of Accenture’s level of involvement and quality of service, given that it had promised $17 million in savings that actually resulted in $3 million at Michigan.

Professor Al Martinez (associate professor, history) expressed concern that none of the seven Freedom of Information Act requests relating to this initiative had yet been filled. If a displacement of 50 jobs and 275 staff being displaced created an “uprising” at Michigan, he questioned, what would be the ramifications of instituting a policy that would affect 900 people here? He urged all to become involved.

Professor Snehal Shingavi (department of English), stated that the resolution was a good step forward, and that was part of the reason why he and Dana Cloud (associate professor, communication studies) withdrew an earlier resolution. He stated his concern that the Executive Committee’s resolution was “trying to walk both lines, being in support of Shared Services and critical of Shared Services at the same time.” For that reason he suggested there be some deadlines placed on when information would be forthcoming to the Faculty Council.

Professors Dana Cloud (associate professor, communication studies) suggested that the resolution be amended to include requests for: 1) an itemized list and timelines of specific job classifications that will be eliminated, 2) an itemized list and timelines of specific jobs that will be consolidated, 3) salary levels and an itemized list of projected quarterly expenses, investments, savings, profits for the next ten years, and a statement of payments plan to Accenture and related corporate entities.

Dr. Cloud inquired on Accenture’s involvement in the “delivery and implementation” of Workday. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hegarty responded that Workday and Accenture were not associated and that his office was presently in the market for consulting services.

Ms. Leah Adrian (senior administrative associate, ICES) spoke on behalf of the Staff Council. She stated that staff were split between three camps: 1) those in opposition, 2) those open to it provided more information is made available, and 3) those adamantly in favor. Those in favor, she stated, don’t want any Shared Services-related layoffs like those guaranteed to occur under the current structure. “With Shared Services we’re talking about our lives and our jobs, and that’s scary,” she said. She also called for an open line of communication between the Staff Council and Faculty Council.

Professor Linda Reichl (professor, physics) cautioned against overzealous cutting of staff, placing too much value on financial savings, and not enough value on people. “People make this place a decent place to work.”

Professor Shingavi formally moved an amendment that pilot program data flow begin at the next meeting of the Faculty Council. Discussion focused on the practicalities of obtaining such information in the relatively short time before the next Faculty Council meeting. It was pointed out that the amendment merely requires that pilot program data flow begin by the next meeting, no tthat anything be completed by that date. The motion was seconded, put to a vote, and passed.

Professor Shingavi then formally moved an amendment that pilots be suspended until information is made available. The motion was seconded, and after a short discussion, was voted upon; the motion failed.

Professor Cloud then formally moved an amendment that the information requested include information about the status, role, and compensation for Accenture and its personnel in the Shared Service plan implementation. The motion was seconded, and after a short discussion, put to a vote; the motion for amendment passed.

The resolution put forward by the Faculty Council Executive Committee, as amended to include the two additional requests that pilot program data flow begin at the next meeting of the Faculty Council and that the information requested include information about the status, role, and compensation for Accenture, was then voted upon; the amended resolution passed.


Return to main minutes