Faculty members introduce legislation to halt Shared Services plan


Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

UT faculty introduced a resolution to stop the implementation of shared services during Monday's Faculty Council meeting.

The resolution — coauthored by Dana Cloud, associate communication studies professor, and associate English professor Snehal Shingavi — calls for the "the immediate suspension of pilot shared services implementation." The resolution further supports the suspension of further implementation of any part of the plan until specific information regarding data and campus impact are disclosed.

Faculty Council chairwoman Hillary Hart said the executive committee within Faculty Council will be looking into the concerns outlined in the resolution and may draft a resolution of its own.

The Shared Services Plan is a series of recommendations and calls for a centralization of University services. The plan outlines the elimination of 500 jobs in order to combine services like finance, information technology, human resources and procurement into one centralized office. University officials predict the majority of the jobs will be eliminated through attrition and retirements.

The resolution states the current investment and profit projections outlined in the plan have not been supported with adequate evidence, and it calls for this evidence to be made available. It also calls for clarification of the projected cost of implementing shared services while simultaneously changing to a new enterprise resource planning software. It requests further details on which jobs will be moving to the Shared Services Center, which jobs will remain where they are and which jobs will be eliminated. 

"The resolution as it stands is mainly designed today to get the conversation started," Cloud said. "We wanted the faculty to know the reasons why we have serious questions and concerns about the implementation of the Shared Services Plan."

The resolution also voices concerns about the University contract with Accenture, a management consulting firm. In 2008, Texas terminated a contract with Accenture after the company mismanaged both the Texas' food stamps and children's health care programs. Additionally, the Shared Services Plan emerged out of a series of proposals by the Committee on Business Productivity, a group formed by President William Powers Jr. to find cost savings in the University's administrative functions and comprised of prominent business leaders. The committee was chaired by Steve Rohleder, a UT alumnus and an executive at Accenture.

According to Kevin Hegarty, vice president and chief financial officer, a reorganization of administrative services is unavoidable if the University wants to prevent drastic staff and monetary cuts.

"The path that we are on today is more of the same — budget cutes, budget cuts, budget cuts," Hegarty said at the Faculty Council meeting. "The path that we're on, if we do nothing, will almost guarantee the concerns that exist about the possibilities related to shared service."

Hegarty said the University should wait to resist the plan until they see the results of a pilot program in a UT unit.

"I think it would be really ironic if a Tier One research University wasn't willing to, as it relates to their administrative services, at least go out and gather some real data in a real pilot," Hegarty said.