BATON ROUGE – A team of independent consultants charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the University of New Orleans made 28 recommendations to guide UNO’s next leader in a report released today by the University of Louisiana System. The recommendations touched on a variety of areas including shared governance, strategic planning, budgeting practices, athletics, communications and institutional partnerships.
“Conducting an institutional review in conjunction with a presidential search has become a standard practice in our system. Since UNO is transitioning into our system it was even more important to have the out-of-state consultants take an independent and critical look at the institution. I believe this report will help guide the search committee and board in selecting a new leader as well as provide the new president a roadmap to hit the ground running,” said UL System President and UNO Presidential Search Chair Randy Moffett.
A three-person team spent much of this fall reviewing campus materials, conducting phone interviews and meeting with various groups on campus to develop the report. They were Gary Reichard, former executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the California State University System; Robert Lovitt, former vice president for finance and operations at Lamar University; and Rodney D. Smith, chief administrative and university planning officer for Hampton University.
The 52 page report reflects the work of all three consultants who state in the overview, “…this is a moment of tremendous opportunity for the institution and for a new president. The surrounding community is eager to embrace UNO as a full partner-and a stimulus-for the revitalization that is already underway in the region. Nearly all of those with whom members of this review team spoke seek a new president who will lead and implement a full re-engagement of the university with the city and surrounding community.”
“UNO has a set of tremendous assets on which to build: a committed faculty and staff, motivated students and a strong array of undergraduate and graduate programs. Set in one of America’s greatest cities, the next leader has many of the ingredients necessary to move the institution to greater heights,” said Winfred Sibille, Chair of the UL System Board of Supervisors. “The team’s good work suggests that the first step in uniting all of these parts is the development and implementation of a collaborative and comprehensive strategic plan that is strongly tied to the resurgence of New Orleans. We will be looking for a new leader who has the ability to do that – and more.”
The full report is available online at www.ulsystem.edu/UNOReview. Below are the 28 recommendations:
1. UNO should initiate a participatory process both campus-wide and with the community in re-affirming the purpose and vision for the future of the institution which should be widely disseminated and broadly and continuously communicated.
2. UNO should re-examine the impact on budget and faculty workload of striving to achieve SREB Four Year-1 status as a part of revisiting the current University Strategic Plan.
3. UNO should conduct a full institutional evaluation of current strategic planning goals, strategic initiatives, objectives, measurable outcomes, established completion dates and responsible units/divisions. These should be reviewed and coordinated with newly established priorities and include broad based campus participation throughout.
4. UNO should implement a campus-wide criterion-based prioritization of all academic and non-academic programs and services, followed by re-budgeting in accordance with established priorities using master planning simulation projections.
5. UNO should review and assure that it has a functional Institutional Research and Planning Office.
6. UNO should establish standard operating procedures for all academic and non-academic units and these should be well coordinated with the policies and procedures of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
7. UNO should re-examine its budget processes and make such changes as necessary to improve communication and strengthen participation across the campus. Expenditure control is a very significant part of the budgetary cycle and, as such, timely financial information needs to be provided to the campus operating units so appropriate decisions can be made to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
8. UNO should review the online personnel approval process to ascertain whether the current flow is the most efficient method, while maintaining the necessary internal controls.
9. UNO should review the current organizational structure to determine if there might be possible efficiencies in the structures of the Financial Services and Campus Services units.
10. UNO should engage in campus-wide “institutional branding and imaging” via surveys and focus groups. This should be followed by coordination of recruiting, marketing and admissions practices that support the institution’s mission, while taking into full consideration the requirements of the LA GRAD Act.
11. UNO should engage in a rigorous campus-wide coordination of programmatic curricular, academic support, and student affairs services that fully supports the University’s mission and aids in the transition of students from recruitment to admission to persistence to graduation.
12. UNO should re-examine its policies and practices with respect to shared governance, with the objective of improving and strengthening collaborative approaches to University decision-making.
13. UNO should conduct a salary study to determine the extent of salary compression and inversion, and use the results to inform development of a comprehensive faculty salary policy.
14. UNO should increase the availability of training and assistance to faculty in the use of the new Learning Management System (Moodle Rooms).
15. UNO should re-examine policies and practices concerning distribution of indirect costs from sponsored research and contracts, with the objective of maximizing incentives for faculty and staff participation in such activities.
16. UNO should designate an individual from senior management to be the liaison with the Staff Council for improved communication with this group.
17. UNO should review its policy on personnel evaluations to ensure that all employees are being evaluated on an annual basis.
18. UNO should designate an individual from senior management to establish regular monthly meetings with the student leaders and create an atmosphere of shared planning for the development of the institution.
19. UNO should explore means of addressing the needs of all student constituent groups (commuter, residential, traditional, non-traditional, international, in-state, out-of-state, graduate and undergraduate), including especially the adequacy of flexibility in course scheduling to meet the needs of the non-traditional student population.
20. UNO should take the steps necessary, as part of its Student Success Initiative, to ensure regular and adequate academic counseling and support services for student-athletes.
21. UNO should develop a strategic plan for athletics, which includes fund-raising and marketing plans, to support the revenue and expenditure projections contemplated in the plan.
22. UNO should review its staffing to ensure that student-athletes are receiving the assistance they need in such areas as medical support and strength training.
23. UNO should continue to negotiate with Delgado and Nunez Community Colleges to expand the use of “connection agreements” for incoming freshmen that will permit first-time freshmen with developmental course needs to receive such instruction from community college faculty on the UNO campus and move seamlessly into UNO after completion of those courses and an appropriate number of additional course units.
24. UNO should continue to engage in faculty-to-faculty negotiations with Delgado and Nunez Community Colleges to develop articulation agreements to ensure that coursework taken by recipients of Associate degrees at the community colleges will be fully transferable to UNO.
25. UNO should work to improve relations with local and regional media to ensure strong and positive coverage of the University and its contributions.
26. UNO should strive to replicate “best practice” in making the University website user-friendly for students, faculty, staff, and the external community.
27. UNO should ensure that operating agreements with the 501(c)3 foundations operating on its behalf have adequate risk assessment and management safeguards in place.
28. UNO should consider ways to involve alumni, faculty, and staff in support of the fund-raising activities coordinated and led by the UNO Foundation Board.
“Our institutional reviews have traditionally provided UL System presidents with a well-rounded set of short- and long-term considerations to make our institutions better. To those who have not previously participated in a similar process, the recommendations may seem daunting, but they are not,” said Wayne Parker, Vice Chair of the UL System Board of Supervisors. “I see a set of doable actions that, if implemented, will only make the institution stronger.”
The institutional review report is timely, as five semi-finalist candidates will interview for the UNO presidency starting Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend all five public interviews with the search committee as well as the final meeting of the search committee on Friday, Dec. 2. During the interviews, there will be an opportunity for the public to submit questions for each candidate. During the Friday meeting there will be a chance for the public to provide feedback to the committee before deliberations.
The search committee is charged with recommending at least two candidates to the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. Plans call for the Board to interview finalists and select a new president on Dec. 9 in Baton Rouge.
To learn more about the UNO Presidential Search including meeting agendas and candidate applications, visit www.ulsystem.edu/UNOSearch. To submit questions and comments to the committee, you can send an email to UNOPresidentialSearch@uls.state.la.us.
ABOUT UNO: The University of New Orleans is a major research university in one of the world’s most fascinating cities. For more than 50 years, it has been one of the city’s foremost public resources, offering a diverse set of world-class, research-based programs, advancing shared knowledge and adding to the city’s industry, culture and economy. Since 1958, UNO has educated students from all 64 Louisiana parishes, all 50 states in the United States and more than 100 countries. Today UNO offers more than 60 undergraduate and pre-professional programs and more than 40 graduate programs.
ABOUT THE UL SYSTEM: The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in the state enrolling about 83,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. With the addition of the University of New Orleans pending SACS-COC approval, the UL System’s enrollment will grow to over 94,000 students.