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UC’s Working Smarter initiative gains momentum – and seeks your ideas

An initiative to elevate UC’s administrative practices to the same level of excellence as its academic and research enterprise has gained significant momentum in the last few months.

The University’s Working Smarter initiative launched in March with a five-year goal of redirecting $500 million annually from administrative costs to UC’s academic and research missions.

Two dozen projects underway
Two dozen projects are now underway, including ambitious plans to achieve carbon neutrality; deploy a single, unified payroll system; and develop several regional data centers. A status report outlining progress on each of the 24 projects is available here.

The initiative’s success hinges on participation and leadership from across the UC system, said Nathan Brostrom, executive vice president for Business Administration. The Office of the President is acting more as a facilitator than the primary driver.

Seeking staff ideas
As such, UC administrators hope there will be widespread staff involvement, and they are actively seeking employee suggestions for additional ways that the university can work smarter and reduce costs, he said.

“We are keenly aware that there is no shortage of good ideas,” said Peter Taylor, chief financial officer and the co-lead with Brostrom on the initiative. “We encourage staff to come forward with their suggestions.”

Please send your ideas – large or small – to lisa.baird@ucop.edu. Suggestions may also be sent, anonymously or otherwise, via regular mail to: Lisa Baird, 1111 Franklin Street, #10303, Oakland, CA 94607.

Semi-annual progress updates
Brostrom and Taylor will update the Regents on the initiative’s progress in January, with subsequent updates every six months. Their semi-annual status report will detail overall progress, the addition of new projects, and the extent of administrative changes occurring on each of the campuses.

Although the initial focus is on maintaining momentum for projects already underway, new projects will be added at a rate of roughly one per fiscal quarter over the next five years, Taylor said. Projects will be regularly showcased via a case study document in the semi-annual status report. And some projects will be selected for presentation at a Regents’ meeting, either to show progress or to celebrate final implementation, he said.


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  1. TJ Pierce November 17, 2010 Reply

    I suggest printers be shared by workgroups no larger than 10 persons. BRC productivity is being impacted by the use of one printer for 30-odd people–both printing and copying. There are lines, people pick up the wrong jobs, etc etc. It’s not useful to have so many people sharing a printer.

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