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These are ideas that were received and processed through April 22, 2011. More suggestions will be added periodically.
I suggest ending some administrative positions, administrative furloughs and administrative salary cuts.
Close the University on Fridays completely.
Eliminate all private phones, especially from faculty offices. We have email, cell phones and BB/Vista to communicate with colleagues and students.
Form different task forces to examine each department to eliminate unnecessary costs.
Have a hiring freeze and travel reduction for administrators, staff and faculty. Yet travel for junior faculty must be available and they must be awarded one trip a year. Presenting at conferences and networking are two major and necessary activities.
Engage students in cost reduction.
Increase hybrid courses and coordinate classrooms accordingly.
Use the slow economy to increase expansion.
Develop ideas to make online degrees marketable nationwide.
Identify ways to increase enrollment (late start, mini-semesters, eight-week semesters). The winter semester was successful, but we have heard of a mini-semester during May.
Save money in the summer from May to August on electricity by having staff (or faculty if possible) work Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch and work on Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon. An example of this program was at Prairie View A&M University. If a cost analysis can be conducted for this time, maybe UHD can save over $300,000.
If furloughs are approved, have staff select the day they want; then add/create a personal leave of eight hours (one time in a fiscal year) for each employee to use for a religious holiday, their birthday, or an EXTRA day during the winter break.
One area besides saving money would also be a "green" idea, that is for all to stop ordering bottled water. The spring water of old is rare. Facilities Management has connected some departments here at UHD with water dispensers that filter city water. This would greatly cut cost and earn UHD "green" points.
Another "green" idea would be to stop wasting paper towels, and install the new "XLERATOR" hand dyers.
Look for better deals at hotels when you go to a conference rather than automatically staying at the ones the brochures list.
Building Energy management ideas:
• Roof tops shall be painted appropriately (i.e. white) to conserve energy.
• Windows shall be tinted to make HVAC efficient.
• Selected rooms shall be provided with motion sensors to open/ shutoff lights.
• Evening classes shall be grouped and scheduled first to lower floors in blocks to conserve energy.
• HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems shall be programmed to turn on/off at properly scheduled times.
• Glassed vestibules shall be installed at main building entrances.
• Newer, more efficient florescent light fixtures shall replace older ones.
• Personnel shall not be allowed to stay after work to do personal work.
• Plumbing fixtures and paper dispensers shall be retrofitted with automatic sensors.
• We should also research and apply for energy-incentive refunds and rebates from federal and state agencies.
Parking and parking lot ideas:
• Redesign parking lots so they are more efficient.
• Inspect staff parking for code violations and inefficiencies.
Establish a moratorium on non-essential travel for tenured faculty members (non-tenured members should be allowed to attend one conference per year on a strict budget) and staff.
Eliminate distance education stipends, and stop paying avoidable overloads and overtime.
Institute a firm hiring freeze for ALL faculty and staff. Why are we currently searching for 18 new faculty members?
Remove telephones from faculty member offices for those faculty members who do not use them. I do not use mine nor do I use voice mail. Students are asked to write me emails on Vista. If I need to speak with my students, I give them my cell number.
Eliminate free food and beverages for faculty and staff.
Change the computer rotation to 4 years. I know this is HEAF money, but I suspect that not all of the costs associated with the three-year rotation policy are covered by HEAF.
Lengthen the cycle time for UHD police cars.
Increase class size to a minimum of 15 students. Allow exceptions for graduate classes, senior seminars, and required courses for undersized but important majors (e.g., math).
Tenure and tenure-track faculty members should teach classes not tutorial labs. Stop the practice of giving course releases for working in tutorial labs. Adjunct faculty and lecturers should be assigned to these tasks.
Stop creation of new undergraduate programs that do not promise to add SCHs, and stop adding sections to the schedule that do not promise to add enough SCHs to offset the instructor's pay in the new section.
Stop upgrading software every time our software vendors release a new version unless the software offers a vast improvement over the previous version (e.g., abandoning Windows Vista for Windows 7 was a good idea). Businesses have been doing this for years.
Go to zero-based budgeting. Force department heads to justify all M&O funds each year. This should include all academic departments, Technology, Facilities and the police department. Publish these budgets and justifications where they can be evaluated by the entire university community.
One way I see that the university can cut costs is to examine honestly the purchases made by various departments in terms of equipment. I have heard of instances/rumors where equipment is bought that exceeds the requirements of the user to do his/her job. My understanding is that various departments can make their own hardware/software purchases. For example, someone has purchased a computer that is far above what they need for their job, or they have 2-3 displays on their desks when one is enough or they may have a phone with a number of options that are nice to have but not required for their position.
Since the university is open at night anyway, why not rent rooms to other corporations/entities that may want to have non-college courses downtown? For example, Leisure Learning has classes all over town; it would beneficial to have real estate, investment classes, etc, offered at a university. Perhaps a small drama troupe in the city would be willing to rent the theatre during the time the University drama department is not using it?
I'd like to see if every position that has been vacant for a long time, has been reviewed to see if it really needs to be filled or could be delegated to someone else within the hiring department. I'd like to see some reorganization of departments since I know of cases where one manager/director has only 1-2 employees but I'm not sure if that would result in any cost savings.
Maybe the university should consider hiring part-time positions rather than fill new positions with full-time people to save money on benefits. I heard of one instance where an employee retired from academia was able to be hired by the university and since they were in a 'retirement' state, the university did not have to pay health insurance or other benefits for them.
I'd like to see if all positions can be converted to salary positions rather than be hourly positions. I know of positions at the University of Houston that are salaried that are hourly at our university. I don't agree that people work 1 hour over 40 and are compensated time and a half pay for that 1 hour especially if no true oversight of that work is being done.
I think at least at the university, we should consider limiting people's access to the internet. I think there are lots of cases where people are viewing YouTube, conversing via instant messaging, etc and not giving a full day's work for a full day's pay.
Consider taking out the phones in the faculty's offices and doing away with voicemail. Most of us don't even use the phone; we use email or give our students our personal cell number. That would save a small amount of money saved individually but overall it may come out to a lot.
• Reminding faculty to turn off the lights in their offices
• Energy saving light bulbs - going green all around which we have had a good initiative with this year
• Getting rid of snack machines (electricity - and people barely use them)
• Give more administrative responsibility to faculty
• Really taking into account student evaluations - if you have a professor that doesn't care, it is a useless expense.
• I am not sure if we get revenue for the bookstore, but most of our students buy their books online.
I would like to provide a suggestion that will not only cut costs but also will have a positive impact on the University's retention rate. In the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the student advising is carried out by an Advising Center. The faculty has no role in student advising, except to complain about the quality of advising. This is the only university with which I have been connected, either as a student or as a member of the faculty, in which the faculty has not been responsible for advising the students.
My suggestion is to eliminate the Advising Center in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and have the faculty provide the advising. Obviously, any individual faculty member would only advise students majoring in the faculty member's field of specialization. Interdisciplinary Studies majors would be spread among the faculty with lower advising loads. A faculty advisor should be assign as early in the student's academic career as possible, ideally in the freshman year. Once assigned to a faculty advisor, the student would retain with the same faculty advisor until graduation. Exceptions would be made for a change in the student's major or personality conflicts.
A stable faculty advisor for each student has several advantages for student retention and for providing a high-impact educational experience. Each student will have his/her faculty member who teaches in the student's major to whom the student can turn for advice. Now the only official contact between the student and the faculty in the student's major is in the classroom. Some students and faculty develop informal contacts. Other students graduate, or drop out, without forming any direct contact with a faculty member. I have had seniors in my classes that do not know in what academic department their major is located. Freshmen and sophomores have almost no contact with any faculty in the area of their intended major, much less with a faculty member who has responsibility to provide guidance in their academic career. As a non-resident university, it is especially important to provide students with a bond to the university. Having a faculty advisor is one more way to increase that bond.
When I have floated the idea of faculty advising with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty I have receive both strong support for the idea and dozens of reasons why it will never work, or is a bad idea. Most frequently, I have heard the faculty will need a course release in order to take on advising. My response is that the faculty already has course release. It is called, "4-3." It is common in other universities, especially those with a three-course load, for the faculty to perform the student advising. If we, the faculty, at UHD are truly interested in student retention we should welcome a move that will provide more faculty student contact.
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Last updated or reviewed on 4/22/11