The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Support services taskforce also affects students

By in News
Graphic: Cody Schumacher/Graphics Editor
Graphic: Cody Schumacher/Graphics Editor

Since the TransformUS taskforce reports were released to the public on Dec. 9, 2013, much focus has been given to academic programs, leaving little time for explanations of the support services report.

The support services taskforce assigned gradings to categorize administrative and academic support services into five quintiles. The quintiles are numbered one through five according to whether the services are candidates for increased resources, for maintained current resources, for reduced funding, to be reconfigured for effectiveness and efficiency or for phasing out.

Based on the service’s importance to the U of S, internal and external demand, quality, cost effectiveness and opportunity analysis, 388 services were categorized into the five quintiles.

The first quintile, the smallest, has 46 services categorized into it while the second quintile is the largest with 128 services. Fifty-four services are candidates for reduced funding, 91 may be reconfigured and 69 may be phased out.

With a total of six, the College of Arts and Science has the most services in the first quintile. These services were noted as being efficient and well used by the public.

The College of Kinesiology has 11 services that fell in quintile two. The children’s athletic camps were suggested as the university’s top outreach priority. Meanwhile, the College of Law saw seven of eight support services and the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy saw its only two services in this category.

The College of Education had three of five services in quintile three and the colleges of nursing and veterinary medicine each had four. Large budget or resource allocations are recurring notes in these three colleges.

Due to the College of Medicine being in a restructuring period, the taskforce put 10 of its services in the fourth quintile, where they are suggested to be reconfigured, because of the high likelihood that they will undergo changes outside of TransformUS. The taskforce report suggests an amalgamation of the colleges of medicine and dentistry. The College of Dentistry has three services that are candidates for phasing out.

All services in the College of Graduate Studies and Research are in the fifth quintile with the suggestion that its services be carried out by other units in the university.

The taskforce report notes that over time the U of S has “developed a deep administrative layer” which has complicated the university’s organizational structure, resulting in inefficiencies and a lack of transparency.

“We seem to have been quick to add new administrative positions to our historic structure over time, in some cases without adequate consideration of structural and organizational changes that would improve efficiency and effectiveness,” the taskforce report states.

New administrative positions have  accumulated over time to the duplication of roles in financial and communications departments as well as inequities in research support units.

“We believe that the university must fundamentally re-shape and streamline its administrative structure, not only to address financial realities but to better support the core mission of the university: teaching, research and outreach,” the taskforce wrote in its letter to the U of S president.

Student Central, International Students and Study Abroad Centre, Student Health Services and Student Employment and Career Services are some of the programs that may receive increased funding which will have a direct impact on students. Notably, the Aboriginal Students’ Centre was put in the first quintile to meet a growing demand for its services, especially when the Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre opens. Student Health Services are expected to benefit from increased funding in order to offer vaccinations.

Suggested to remain in their current state, the Board of Governors, the Campus Computer Store, residences, residence meal services, health services for athletes and Physical Activity Complex operations are all part of quintile two. The Campus Computer Store is noted as being an efficient, very useful and desirable service to all — but lacking in transparency.

The grounds and custodial service of the Facilities Management Division are recommended to receive less funding as some services are not as vital as others. The report suggested outsourcing some services. Similarly, the staff sergeant and 24-hour patrol service of U of S Protective Services may have funding reduced but quality should not be affected. The student dental clinic and parking services are also in the third quintile.

In order to create more efficient services, textbook sales are expected to slowly be replaced by eBooks, the campus mailroom is recommended to cut back on delivery and off-campus degree credit delivery — Indian Teacher Education Program, Northern Teacher Education Program and regional colleges — has been slated for reconfiguration.

The University President’s tour was deemed possibly ineffective, FMD safety training could be outsourced and the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus is of low university priority.

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