SMU has hired Bain & Company as part of Project SMU: Operational Excellence for the 2nd Century (OE2C) according to an email President R Gerald Turner sent Friday. Bain is a consulting firm that companies and organizations hire to make spending and operations more efficient.
The timeline for the project is estimated to run 12 to 18 months.
Several factors such as a declining college-age population, decreasing federal research funds and greater competition for grants and declines in interest income generated by universities’ operational reserves are affecting universities across the country.
“These undeniable forces require all universities, including SMU, to increase innovation and carefully review their operational functions and costs,” President Turner wrote.
According to the letter, Bain will conduct interviews, focus groups, surveys and other interactions in order to “provide process, structure, focus, analytical rigor, and insights and best practices from other universities.”
According to the Times article, Bain’s recommendations for University of North Carolina would have saved them $150 million a year. An anonymous donor footed the bill for North Carolina. According to Berkeley’s chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau, Berkeley’s Bain contract cost $3 million.
SMU is providing open access to information, historical context and viewpoints to Bain. The consulting firm will develop and give recommendations, however SMU will be making all final decisions according to the letter.
An Executive Committee, comprised of Provost Paul Ludden, Vice President of Executive Affairs Tom Barry, Chief Business and Financial Officer Chris Regis and Turner will be formed. A Steering Committee, comprised of the Executive Committee except Turner, the incoming president of the faculty senate, a dean or associate dean and a staff member, will make recommendations to the Executive Committee.
A dean or associate dean and staff member will be announced soon.
Daily communications with Bain will occur with two program coordinators, Chief Human Resources Officer Bill Detwiler and Associate Dean of Meadows School of the Arts Martin Sweidel. These co-coordinators will work the Bain team and communicate with the Steering Committee.
A microsite has been established to allow the community to track the progress of the project (smu.edu/OE2C).