UI officials address efficiency

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 31, 2014 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa officials, along with members of the state Board of Regents and representatives from Deloitte, an auditing and financial advisory firm, addressed public concern March 28 related to the efficiency study to be conducted at the regents’ universities.

Regent President Bruce Rastetter told The Daily Iowan the regents will not vote on anything resulting from the study without first hearing public input.

Rastetter also said members of the public may voice their concerns at the regents’ office in Urbandale or through websites set up for each university.

“Everyone’s going to get to see the numbers; everyone’s going to get to look at those and be involved and have input in it,” Rastetter said. “If the students see waste … please say; we need them active and involved in the process.”

The efficiency study is the first comprehensive review of the state universities since the 1980s and will cost $2.5 million.

The study will occur in three phases: data collection and benchmarking, development of solutions, and implementation of those solutions.

Any savings found from the study will be reinvested in the university they are found in.

Rastetter said Deloitte will work with faculty in a bottom-up approach to find those inefficiencies and that the implementation of solutions will be a gradual and ongoing rollout process.

Rick Ferraro, a director at Deloitte, said the study will be led by the consulting aspect of Deloitte’s services, not the audit arm.

“We address the most difficult business challenges that these organizations face,” Ferraro said.
The objectives of the review are to be creative, Ferarro said.

“The first stage is just to find out where the opportunities seem to be, we don’t know where they are,” Ferraro said. “We don’t know Iowa well enough yet.”

In order to get to know Iowa, Ferraro said the consultants will interview more than 200 people associated with the universities — including faculty.

R. Virginia Fraser, who will oversee the day-to-day operations of the study for Deloitte, stressed that the study is still in its infancy.

“We are at the very, very beginning of this initiative,” Fraser said. “This is not the last time you will have contact with us.”

The members of the public may voice their concerns on the UI website, and Fraser said people will receive the response they need.

“We know this project can’t succeed without you,” Fraser said.

Rastetter said he thinks people will embrace the study as it progresses, noting that people will be able to look at the report and see where dollars can be used more effectively.

Regent Larry McKibben said he hopes the study will be transformational and will resonate with other universities at the national level.

“We are going to lead the nation from the center of the nation,” he said. “We’re going to be a bright star when we finish this,” he said.

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