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Alignment and Allocation Task Force Reports

May 2021

Equipped with their comprehensive report, published June 30, 2020, the Alignment and Allocation Task Force developed the following assessment tools as a helpful starting point, as each of the university’s divisions reviews the performance of its various campus units.

August 2020

The Task Force completed its final report, including a detailed explanation of their work on the task force and recommendations to President Neuhold-Ravikumar.

Alignment and Allocation Task Force Final Report

On August 27, 2020, President Neuhold-Ravikumar, Vice President Kevin Freeman and previous Provost John Barthell presented the Task Force's final report.

Aug. 27 Forum Video


Alignment and Allocation Task Force Meeting Summaries

Feb. 11, 2020

The Task Force continued discussion of a model for measuring performance criteria among administrative units in order to optimize resources. A subgroup of members from the previous meeting refined the previously introduced models for integration and presentation to the entire group. A discussion ensued that examined a construction of cost considerations in relationship to the university as a whole and the administrative units within the university. It was agreed that this topic would be considered again after the meeting (as referenced below).

Additional conversation centered on assessment mechanisms for understanding the context for university programs, including the Self-Study for Continuous Improvement (SSCI) process that reports out every five years (including to the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education). An adaptation of this model was considered for other units on the campus as well recognizing that there are some inherent differences between academic and non-academic units. Some time also was spent in discussion of how to present the findings of the committee beyond the upcoming forum, perhaps through workshops and/or focus groups with the possibility of using SWOT and/or TOWS analyses. The committee also reaffirmed its charge to develop a mechanism for measuring performance criteria that allows more rapid institutional decision-making while also meeting the needs of students as delivered in the classroom and in other learning and living spaces.

In anticipation of the next meeting, the committee will subdivide writing responsibilities for the report to be delivered to the President at the end of June 2020; these will be sections that include (1) an Introduction, (2) Institutional Guide Posts (e.g., Vision 2020 Pillars), (3) Cost/Performance Model, and (4) Application of the Model (to future budgets).

Feb. 4, 2020

Task Force members met to further discuss the presentations of the previous meeting pertaining to quantitative models and their use in measuring productivity vis-à-vis guide posts that reflect the university’s mission and values. There was a consensus that general guidelines for a resource measurement tool should be in hand for presentation at an upcoming forum for community feedback.  A subgroup subsequently met to address this issue and create a more focused discussion at the next task force meeting. Additional discussion was contextual in nature and covered topics such as community partnerships (e.g., internships) and the changing demographics of student populations.

Jan. 21, 2020

After several meetings examining broader considerations for the alignment and allocation process, the Task Force met to discuss quantitative approaches to assessing revenue investment. To begin that discussion, presentations were given by Doroteia Borzhagova, director of Finance in Campus Enterprises, with Ben Hastings, associate vice president of Finance and Operations; Gary Steward, Ph.D., co-interim vice president for Academic Affairs; and, Charlotte Simmons, Ph.D., co-interim vice president for Academic Affairs.

The first two of these presentations were complementary in nature and discussed contribution margins, or the cost of delivering services for a given unit and the contribution of that unit to the overall financial needs of the institution. There was some discussion about defining the nature of variable costs and how those would be considered in these models. This included a consideration of the size of different universities and their missions. The last presentation described a “pain index” that relates to the workload of a given unit relative to its contributions in credit hours to the university, a process used in Academic Affairs to assess workloads and credit hour productivity among departments and programs.

Overall, the Task Force agreed that a consideration of the overall mission and strategic vision of the institution must guide further discussion on this topic and that the next two meetings will help to advance that discussion. Finally, a university-level forum was tentatively scheduled for Feb. 25, 2020.

Dec. 10, 2019

The Task Force that met on this day included a new student representative and the results of the polling conducted prior to the meeting were shared with the group.  Two subgroups were then formed to assess the findings and to report out by the end of the meeting as to the value of the two types of factors/variables and to give at least three “take home” messages resulting from their discussions.  A summary of these are provided on this website in association with this report and include the following considerations.

UCO’s strategic plan, with its associated four pillars, provided an overarching theme that should be assumed throughout the process. It was also noted that some factors considered previously were redundant (e.g., workforce needs and stakeholders/job market) and that these “buckets” needed to be reduced in number. Among quantitative variables, credit hour production was described as the best means to measure enrollment and that workload concerns related to resource availability (time, equipment, space, etc.) were an important consideration as well. Among other observations, it was suggested that tuition and fees should be important factors for assessing competition among institutions. In addition, assessing efficiencies outside of the academic area may require new measures that are not currently under consideration.

Group Collective Summaries Task Force Survey (Ranked)

Nov. 26, 2019

Consistent with the discussion at the previous meeting, the group generated lists of factors that might be worth considering in an alignment and allocation process. The discussion and listing of these variables took up the majority of the time of the group but it was agreed that these would be prioritized with an electronic poll prior to the next meeting.

Quantitative factors considered were (1) the “pain index” (workload levels within units), (2) Self-Study in Continuous Improvement (SSCI) data reports, (3) summer revenue sharing (currently inactive), (4) enrollment, (5) persistence (retention and graduation), (6) accreditation reports, (7) physical capacity (e.g., classrooms), (8) tuition and fees (vis-à-vis student debt), (9) credit hour production, and (10) “competitor” rates.

Sources of qualitative factors included (1) SSCI reports, (2) accreditation reports, (3) UCO’s four strategic pillars, (4) stakeholders and the job market, (5) the mission of the university (as reflected at both regional and state levels of oversight by regents), (6) the state legislature, (7) workforce needs, (8) disciplinary foci (e.g., centers of excellence), (9) demographics (rural, urban, metropolitan-based, etc.), (10) student satisfaction, and (11) NCAA reports.

Nov. 12, 2019

The Task Force met and reviewed at least 18 other institutions for evidence of best practices that could be used in our own process (see attached document). These institutions ranged from sister institutions (comprehensive universities) to private and large public (R-1) institutions across the country. Each Task Force member addressed their example institutions and comparisons were made as to how they approached similar situations on their campuses. The discussion revealed how widespread these circumstances are across regions and types of educational institutions. The Task Force agreed to glean from their examples different types of qualitative and quantitative factors/variables that should be considered in our own alignment and reallocation process and to provide examples of these at the next meeting.

Institutional Examples

Oct. 29, 2019

The Alignment and Allocation Task Force first met with President Neuhold-Ravikumar in order to be charged. She provided five areas of consideration that included seeking (1) best practices of peer institutions, (2) to garner feedback from the campus community, (3) to reach across organizational boundaries, (4) to create a balanced/holistic and innovative perspective acknowledging the needs of the new education economy, and (5) to provide recommendations that enhance the UCO’s ability to respond nimbly to threats and opportunities in the marketplace.

The President requested that the Task Force seek to complete its duties by the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2020). The group also briefly discussed the initial Campus Forum that occurred Oct. 8 and the feedback from those who had gathered there. The Task Force then discussed approaches to the charge and ultimately decided that each person should investigate at least one institution in the country that had gone through a similar process and to share their observations at the next meeting (readings were provided to the group prior to the discussion).

Alignment and Allocation Forum

Oct. 8, 2019

President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar, Provost John Barthell and Vice President for Finance and Operations Kevin Freeman address the campus community and introduce the task force leading the alignment and allocation process. The forum was the first opportunity for the campus community to learn more about the yearlong collaborative effort, including future opportunities to have deeper conversations and offer feedback

Forum Slides Forum Video


Alignment and Allocation Effort Announcement

Sept. 13, 2019

President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar sends an email to campus addressing the needs of the university and future plans to overcome the financial deficit.