Administrative Burdens Task Force
The Administrative Burdens Task Force is charged with gathering ideas that address administrative burdens and identifying opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce the time required to complete administrative processes. The task force will gather ideas through listening sessions, surveys, and other solicitation methods, and submit a full report to President’s Cabinet recommending ways to reduce inefficiencies and strengthen administrative processes, including the cost and effort related to implementation.
The task force has worked diligently to identify and prioritize ways to reduce or eliminate excessive or unnecessary administrative work for faculty and staff.
The task force distributed a survey to all staff and faculty, soliciting input on tasks, processes, or functions they feel should be addressed. The survey received more than 700 submissions. The task force then identified the top six recurring themes in the submissions for a deeper dive: 1) purchasing/account payables; 2) the hiring process; 3) PCRs; 4) the IT contracting/procurement process; 5) travel; and 6) and the key/access card process. The other categories were then sent to the appropriate departments for their responses and input.
Early Recommendations – “Low Hanging Fruit”
Task force members divided into small teams that were each assigned one of the top six categories. The teams then worked with the units and offices responsible for those processes to brainstorm and troubleshoot challenges submitted in the survey. This collaborative process involved several meetings and focus groups.
To expedite solutions, the task force submitted several “low hanging fruit” recommendations to Cabinet for deliberation – modifications that should require minimal effort while providing an immediate reduction in administrative burdens. Some early recommendations have already been approved by Cabinet.
The remaining challenges gathered in the survey will be sent to the respective units and offices to be deliberated. The task force will include additional recommendations in its final report.
Cabinet Approved Early Recommendations:
- Cabinet approved, where feasible, to allow remote work as a viable option during Energy Conversations Days. It’s now up to each vice president to determine whether their essential offices can be closed during Energy Conservation Days.
- It’s no longer required to secure Vice President approval on AP-12’s Food and Beverage for anything that doesn’t involve alcohol.
- The Staff Handbook, which was previously printed, has been moved to fully online and has become a digital catalogue of frequently used human resources policies and procedures.
- TXST will utilize Adobe Sign for more document approvals and provide templates for many commonly used documents that are routed for approval.
Additional Modifications Complete:
- The required SACSCOC outcomes assessment reports have been reduced significantly for our administrative support units.
- Salary increases over 10% or $10,000 no longer require presidential approval.
- The communication protocol of Accounts Payable has been modified to alter the tone of emails by changing formatting specifications that can sometimes be misinterpreted as adversarial.
- Several themes that emerged in the survey were assigned to the Remote Work Task Force to address.
The task force’s final report will include a summary of the culture and related structural challenges. This analysis of challenges will run parallel to the individual “case studies” of survey submissions, to provide the language and recommendations required to address the larger need for cultural shifts.
President Damphousse notified the task force members of their charge on September 22, 2022. Task Force Chair VPIT Ken Pierce has been asked to submit the group’s final report by January 9, 2023.
1. Ken Pierce, Vice President for Information Technology (Chair)
2. Nicole Anable, Director, University Advancement
3. Alicia Barthel, Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
4. Carole Clerie, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources
5. Bryan Dean, Senior Associate Athletics Director, Athletics Business Office
6. John Fleming, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication
7. Dittmar Hahn, Chair of the Department of Biology
8. Bobby Mason, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Compliance and Ethics, and Chief Compliance Officer
9. Brandi Martinez, Chair of Staff Council
10. Bill Mattera, Senior Director for the Department of Housing and Residential Life
11. Stacey Rodriguez, Executive Assistant, Office of the Provost
12. Alexis Stokes, Associate Professor, McCoy College of Business
13. Britney Webb, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Health & Human Performance
“Reducing the administrative burden on our campuses is one of the top priorities of my presidency. Reducing excessive and unnecessary administrative burden is a critical next step to improving faculty and staff morale, enhancing student success, and becoming a Research 1 (R1) university. Thus, I have established the Texas State Administrative Burdens Task Force.”
– President Kelly Damphousse